2010 Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival – Day 2: Gala Dinner

FOLLOW ME FOODIE to San Francisco, California!

The 2010 2nd Annual Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival

I was in San Francisco, California for the 2nd Annual Blogger Festival hosted by Foodbuzz. It was a gathering of 350 food bloggers all prepared for one thing – eating. Sure there was some networking, learning,  and meeting of new people, but when it comes down to it, we always have our forks ready.

The first day of the festival was the Foodbuzz Welcome Reception & Street Food “Fare” which featured about 10 of San Francisco’s street food trucks and vendors. The second day kicked off with food blogger seminars (blogger breakout sessions), a tasting pavilion (food sampling similar to Eat BC) followed by a formal gala dinner at the Ferry Building.

In between the tasting pavilion and gala dinner I actually squeezed into the Slanted Door with Sherman before meeting up with Kim (whom I have to thank for the photos). We, or I, had been eating all day already… but what else is new? Nonetheless I was looking forward to the last Foodbuzz event of the day.

The formal dinner actually took place inside the Ferry Building and the food was catered by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering with wine pairings from Boony Doon Vineyard. We enjoyed an outdoor cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres and wine before entering the Ferry Building for our 4 course dinner. Overall the food was pretty good for a banquet style type of catered event, however I was more impressed with the ambiance. One of my most memorable and best hotel catered banquet events was the one at Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, BC – see my post here.

A farewell brunch the next morning was the last Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival event, but I decided to skip out and partake in my own dining adventures. Until next year, thank you Foodbuzz for creating a space where food bloggers can share their passion and love for food.

On the table:

Beef Tenderloin and Chive Roll Ups

I think these were Cornflake Crusted Chicken Balls

I think these were Cream Cheese and Red Pepper Stuffed Madeleine (Tasted almost like a Frittata)

Polenta with Minced Vegetables

Mini Gruyere Cheese Fondue in Puff Pastry

Roasted Golden Beet Tart

  • Crimson Beet, Feta and Currants, Wild Arugula and Basil Puree
  • Wine Pairing: 2009 Boony Doon Vineyard Ca’ del Solo Albarino (Good with Asian food or seafood)
  • The tart was well presented and on the sweeter side since it was made with beets. It wasn’t exactly a creamy beet filling, and it was more like a solidified custard (that might have been due to the banquet style catering though). I liked the contrast of the 2 types of beets and 2 styles of using them.
  • The sweetness of the beets were matched with sweet and tart dried currants, salty bites of Feta cheese and the freshness of basil puree for more flavour. I could have used more because there wasn’t enough to finish the dish, and it wasn’t strong enough where a little goes a long way.
  • It was enjoyable and a nice alternative to a simple salad.

Seared Scallops with Bonny Doon Vineyard Verjus Beurre Blanc

  • Served with Braised Fennel and Garnished with Fried Fennel Fonds
  • Wine pairing: 2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc (tart, slight licorice taste, with spicy notes)
  • The scallops were massive, but only seared on one side so it was missing that extra dimension of crispy, sweet and nutty caramelized crust.
  • It was savoury, buttery, meaty scallops balanced with a sweet braised fennel with a very mild hint of licorice taste. The beurre blanc sauce was incredibly rich and flavourful, and the wine was nicely infused giving it a slight acidity as well as sweetness. The crispy and light fennel fonds were a great idea that I don’t see being done very often.

Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb

  • Served with Local Wild Mushrooms, Pinot Noir Sauce and butternut Squash Puree
  • Wine pairing: 2006 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant (red fruits, herbal and earthy, medium bodied)
  • This is when Sherman commented on my “nice rack” … my rack was bigger than his so I decided to swap plates with him because I could sense his jealousy.
  • The lamb was a bit consistent with some being medium rare and some being medium, given that it was banquet style catering, it was expected.
  • It was tender with slight gaminess and a decent crust, but it was lacking in Rosemary and garlic flavour. I could have used more sauce as well. It was just a very basic lamb entree and it wasn’t very memorable.
  • The mushrooms and butternut squash puree were tasty, but standard. They were nice sweet side dishes to the hearty lamb.
  • Overall I found it a bit simple and average… especially when you consider it was being showcased to 350 food bloggers. (Although not everyone is as picky as me… or even more so Kim 😉 )

Tarta de Almendras with Oranges

  • Buttery Almond Cake with oranges and Spanish Sherry Sabayon
  • Wine pairing: 2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vinferno (Juicy apple, hazelnuts and hint of lavender honeycomb)
  • The almond cake reminded me of a strawberry shortcake except made with autumn fruits. It wasn’t too sweet but I could have used more of a nutty taste. There was also a tart raspberry coulis and the citrus tang of orange to help balance out the sweetness.
  • It was almost like a deconstructed fruit parfait and I loved the colours of everything. It was served with a thick creamy Sabayon which was made into a mousse. It had an egg custard like flavour and although it is somewhat mild in sweetness it is actually very rich. It was a great accompaniment to the light almond cake.
  • I loved the naturally sweet fresh fruits as well, but put a black mission fig on any dessert and I’m almost sure to like it.


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