Festival: a time of feasting and celebration. The time was this past weekend when 350 food bloggers came together in San Francisco to do what we do best: eat. We also drank and were merry, celebrating the wonderful opportunity to graduate from being “virtual” friends to finally connect face-to-face over mountains of food.
This joyous occasion was made possible by Foodbuzz (and sponsors) by hosting its Second Annual Blogger Festival. The cause for celebration? Foodbuzz has become the #1 online food property that is 4,400 bloggers, 14 million foodies and 3.4 million blog posts strong. It is now the largest food blogging community in the world and I was very happy to be a part of it all.
The festival kicked off with a welcome reception at Fort Mason with a foodie gift exchange. Bloggers were divided into small groups to exchange small gifts, a wonderful way to break the ice. I was the very lucky recipient of some rosemary-infused vodka from Brian at A Thought for Food. What a bonus not only to meet a nice (and fun!) guy but to also take home one of his creations. I’ve already had to fend my husband off from enjoying the vodka before giving me a chance to try a new cocktail with it so this post will be coming soon.
The rest of the evening passed with everyone enjoying some of the Bay Area’s best eats, street-food style. My taste buds feasted on offerings from Roli Roti, 4505 Meats and Tacolicious before my stomach had to raise the white flag.
Day Two started with a morning of learning. The Foodbuzz team organized breakout sessions for writing, video blogging and photography. As a newbie whose blogging skills are still on the uphill side of the learning curve, I appreciated so much the useful advice from these über successful bloggers: Greg at Sippity Sup, Linda at Salty Seattle, Marc at No Recipes and Brooke at Food Woolf.
And what kind of food blogger festival would this be without talk of real food? The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) presented the merits of consuming sustainable fish. If you buy seafood bearing the Alaska Seafood stamp, you can be confident that that salmon, crab or halibut was caught without compromising the surrounding ecosystem. ASMI also teamed up with Chef Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill to demo one of her restaurant’s specialties: Fish tacos featuring Alaskan Halibut and Alaskan Salmon.
The only downside? Smelling the wonderful aroma of grilled salmon and halibut and being within reach of freshly-made corn relish but having to wait to taste it all.
By midday, this blogger was hungry so I headed to Metreon with my foodie friends for the Taste Pavilion.
I finally got to taste Mary Sue Milliken’s tacos. My favorite? Alaskan Halibut tacos topped with queso fresco, cilantro, salsa verde, guacamole and sliced radish.
But there was so much more. Just like on the previous evening, my stomach couldn’t take in all that my eyes devoured. The festival sponsors were generous, offering their best while we bloggers consumed to our heart’s content.
But of course, the best was yet to come.
Dressed in our cocktail best, we gathered at San Francisco’s famous Ferry Building to dine on Seared Scallops with Bonny Doon Vineyard Verjus Beurre Blanc, Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb and Tarta de Almendras with Oranges, just to name a few. Each course was better than the next so you had to be sure to make room for each plate that was placed in front of you.
Finally, it was time to go (was not able to attend the Farewell Brunch Sunday morning), but I walked away with more than just the great gifts above. I bade goodbye to new friends confident that we will once again cross paths at future events.
Congratulations, Foodbuzz, for a job well done!
I’ll leave you with one of the recipes demoed by Chef Mary Sue Milliken. Give it a try the next time you make fish tacos.
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
- 4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the corn with salt and pepper for about five minutes. Set aside to cool in a large mixing bowl.
Once cooled, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Let sit for about a half hour to blend the flavors. Serve with your favorite fish tacos.