FOLLOW ME FOODIE to San Francisco, California!
The 2010 2nd Annual Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival
What?! There’s an actual Food Blogger Festival? So what is it? Like hundreds of people taking photos of food and stuffing their faces until they can’t move? And then what? Repeating the routine for the next couple of days? To answer all these questions – Yes. Yes! And YES!
I was super excited to attend the 2010 2nd Annual Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival (Nov. 5-7) hosted by Foodbuzz in San Francisco, California. It was a a gathering of 350 international Foodbuzz food bloggers and publishers who share the same passion for food. I’ve never seen so many people so excited to go to a “work” convention. Work that you can eat? Say no more… and I actually really didn’t say much the whole time because my mouth was always stuffed with food.
The Foodbuzz Welcome Reception & Street Food “Fare” kicked off at the Fort Mason Centre where we were greeted with about 10 San Francisco street food trucks and vendors. It was almost like an indoor night market except the food was unlimited and everyone had a camera in hand. Even Food Network was there to capture it all on camera.
It was so weird seeing hundreds of crazy food obsessed people like myself taking photos of food. I couldn’t help but to laugh when a plate of food came by and everyone would whip out a camera for food photos. From travel and food, health and food, recipe, vegan, wine, chef and of course restaurant bloggers, I’ve never felt so much energy in the room. Eyes were popping, people were salivating and the anticipation for the welcome speech to end and the feast to start was felt by all.
I could not have been more happy to indulge at this festival with fellow Vancouver food bloggers Kim (I’m Only Here for the Food) and Sherman (Sherman’s Food Adventures). Thanks to Kim for the lovely photos too! When it comes to food, leave it to us because we try it ALL. I talked to people afterward and I think we were one of the few groups to try every single thing.
Note: My food “ratings” will be rough, considering the circumstances, because what we had may not be a proper representation of how it is actually served on a regular day. All of these food vendors have actual operations and locations within San Francisco, so it is available daily to the general public.
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!! **: FMF Recommended
On the table:
1 Ferry Bldg (Financial District)
San Francisco, CA 94111
- RoliRoti Gourmet Rotisserie is a food truck specializing in rotisserie grilling using sustainable meats.
- The line up at the official location can be 1-2 hours long in the summer or at least guaranteed out the door.
- This was generally the favourite food truck and most memorable item. It was almost like the Salumi (Seattle, WA) of San Francisco.
- **Porchetta Sandwich – 5.5/6
- Slices of porchetta topped with onion jam, watercress, a sprinkle of grey salt or fleur de sel (not sure) served in a Ciabatta bun. It was also served with a side of roasted Rosemary fingerling potatoes.
- The pork had an incredibly crispy and thick skin (aka crackling) that was salty and sweet and almost like savoury candy. It was so caramelized and crunchy and almost came across as caramelized nuts. It was delicious! The pork itself was tender and juicy, however there was some thicker clear fat marblelings where it was chewy and rubbery like elastic bands and I had to pull those parts out. Biting into the crackling while eating the sandwich was the definite highlight.
- The sweet onion jam was a great balance with the salty pork and the fresh watercress helped break up the indulgent porchetta.
- I wish the Ciabatta bread wasn’t as hard and thick as it was, but I’m sure it would be better freshly toasted at the actual location.
- It was a gourmet and delicious sandwich. It’s probably the most unhealthy indulgent savoury treat ever… but so worth it!
- Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes – creamy, buttery, tender with slightly charred skins and loads of flavour.
439 Balboa St (Richmond)
San Francisco, CA 94118
- Namu is a family owned restaurant specializing in contemporary Korean American cuisine in a modern atmosphere.
- Korean Beef Short Rib “Tacos” – 2.5/6
- On a bed of rice, nori and Kim topped with daikon and kimchi salsa, kimchi remoulade, and kalbi demi glace ($8 for 2 at the restaurant)
- I didn’t know the description until now, and honestly I would have never guessed that was all the ingredients used.
- It tasted like a hybrid of taco and sushi and it was really hard to eat because the nori got soggy.
- I tasted savoury minced beef (didn’t know it was short ribs) tomato salsa, sushi and a slight spice.
- It was okay and it sounded better on paper, and I probably wouldn’t order it for $8.
1 Ferry Building (Farmer’s Market)
San Francisco, CA 94111
- Tacolicious is a Mexican food truck specializing in 6 varieties of tacos and some other Mexican dishes made with local ingredients and natural meat.
- Traditional Canitas Taco - 4.5/6
- 1 taco for $3.50USD on location
- The pork was a bit inconsistent and I had one juicy one and one not so juicy one.
- It was easily flavoured and tender, but the stuff that made it was their homemade guacamole and medium salsa condiments.
- It wasn’t the best carnitas ever, but I did enjoy it very much. I think it’s expensive if I were to get one at the actual location though.
- **Guajillo Braised Beef Short Rib – 5/6
- It was very tender and juicy braised short ribs and I could taste the natural flavours of the beef. It was excellent!
- It was nice and saucy and savoury and slightly sweet with mild heat. I would order this, but I still think this taco for $3.50 is expensive.
1 Ferry Bldg (Farmer’s Market)
San Francisco, CA 94111
- Pizza Politana is a mobile mom and pop style pizzeria specializing in wood fire oven pizza made with local ingredients. Yes, their wood fire oven travels on wheels!
- Pizza – n/a
- Meat pizza: Tomato sauce, spicy sauce, red onions, dried cured pancetta and mozzarella
- Vegetarian pizza: Tomato sauce, spinach, oil-cured olives, Calabrian chilies and Redwood Hill feta
- I feel it would be unfair to “rate” this because it was one of the last things I ate and it had been sitting around a bit and I didn’t give it a fair chance.
- I did appreciate the ultra thin crust, but it was a bit cold and very flimsy. It was still flavourful and the ingredients were fresh and high in quality though.
1 Ferry Bldg (Financial District)
San Francisco, CA 94111
- 4505 Meats is a husband and wife operation specializing is an artisan butchery with a focus on gourmet meats as well as homemade relishes. It’s also known for their famous Chicharrones (deep fried pork rinds) uncured hot dog, and bacon chocolate desserts.
- This was hands down the most indulgent thing at the festival. I really enjoyed it, but my heart could only handle so much.
- **Mini Pork Loin Burger – 5/6
- Pork loin brined in Jalapeno pickling liquid crusted in corn meal, beans, onions and coriander aioli all on a buttery sesame bun. (I think it’s around $5 on location)
- This was insanely delicious, but insanely bad for you. Holy crap.
- It was a crunchy, yet tender, savoury and tangy pork cutlet on an extremely soft and buttery bun with tangy string beans followed by mild heat and a little smokiness. The aioli just made it even more indulgent and ultra rich. It’s a small burger but the richness is overwhelming.
- There was a lot of bun to this burger and it stood out more than the meat. However the bun was SO buttery and soft it just melted in my mouth! I personally loved this bun and it was the most indulgent butteriest burger bun I’ve had to date. It was savoury and sweet and it charred up nicely but remained moist and extremely tender.
- I didn’t even know I was eating pork loin. I thought it was fish since the edges of the cutlet were extremely fatty and tender to the point where it was so soft like fish without the fishy taste. It was also very crispy and very well crusted with corn meal, and after thinking it was fish I thought it was veal. It was very thin and I could barely taste the pork until I hit the middle.
- Chicharrones – 4/6
- Deep fried pork rinds. It’s one of their signature items.
- Oh god… the most indulgent side to the most indulgent mini burger. I’m not a pork rind kind of girl, but if you enjoy them, you’ll enjoy these.
- They literally melt in your mouth and I thought they were prawn chips at first. They’re very deceiving because they’re almost like Styrofoam and they’re very airy and light to eat. They don’t taste like pork rinds or even pork for that matter so you don’t feel guilty eating them (even though you probably should).
- These had a slightly sweetened flavour and you can’t really taste any meatiness at all. It was a tad greasy as expected and I could have used a bit more seasoning on them.
New food truck
Location unknown (TBA)
- Vegetarian Paella and Viking Gumbo – 4/6
- Squid, octopus, zucchini, peas, red peppers and chorizo.
- I did enjoy the flavours, but I would have enjoyed it more if they called it a seafood saffron risotto meets paella.
- It was very saucy, a bit creamy and almost soupy and I would not call it an authentic gumbo or paella.
- There was a ton of ingredients and big tender pieces of octopus. It was well seasoned with smoky flavours and spices.
- Spencer on the Go! is a French Take-Away food truck that specializes in fancy French cuisine in a casual food truck style. All items are under $12.
- Chez Spencer Restaurant + Bar is the parent restaurant and it’s a fine dining French restaurant in the Mission area.
- The “French fast food” concept doesn’t really work… I was hoping it would though.
- Escargot Puff Lollipop – 1.5/6
- $2 each on location
- It had way too much puff pastry and I barely tasted the escargot. The puff pastry also wasn’t flaky and it was almost eating bread dipped in butter and parsley.
- New England Lobster Cappuccino – 1/6
- $5 on location
- I was stoked to try this and I’ve had something similar at RauDZ Regional Table – Crab Cappuccino.
- It was bland and the espresso seemed like it was sinking at the bottom. It was also served in a plastic cup that was melting and it was just not executed well at all.
- It tasted like a very basic tomato lobster stock with a hint of espresso and it was just too literal with nothing really going on.
- Braised Lamb Cheek Sandwich – n/a
- Half $5 Whole $9 (on location)
- I can’t really “rate” this either because I only tried the lamb and I’m not a huge lamb fan. At this point I was too full to eat it with the bread as well.
- The lamb was tender and it tasted like lamb with a slight gaminess, but it wasn’t overwhelming and there were no seasonings or spices that stood out.
225 Bush St (Financial District)
San Francisco, CA 94104
- Curry Up Now is the first Indian food truck specializing in traditional street food found in India and their menu changes up to twice a day.
- Chicken Kathi roll – n/a
- I had a bite, which isn’t enough to “rate” it.
- The bite I had was enjoyable though and it was basically an Indian style burrito.
- The chicken was tender and moist and there was a ton of flavour and sauce. It wasn’t too rich and there were a lot of tender veggies and sweet caramelized onions too. The roti roll up was a bit thick and doughy for me, but it could have been because it was sitting there for a bit before I got to it.
- Paneer Kathi roll – n/a
- I enjoyed the bite I had of the paneer one as well. It tasted like firm tofu with a mild cheesy taste and it was a bit on the drier side. I do like paneer so I liked this.
- Again there was a ton of flavour and it seemed more tomato based while the chicken version was more savoury and juicy.
3168 22nd Street (Mission)
San Francisco, CA 94110
- Mission Minis started in 2009 and they specialize in innovative gourmet cupcake flavours that are baked fresh daily. There is no minimum order and you can order online.
- I hosted Vancouver’s 1st Cupcake Challenge earlier this year, so this vendor definitely caught my eye.
- Mini Cupcakes – 3.5/6
- $1 each on location
- The cupcakes were pumpkin spiced and they were quite moist, but not the best cupcake I’ve ever had. It was a good cupcake.
- I was intrigued by their creative flavours though and creamy icing that wasn’t too sweet.
There was Three Twins Organic Ice Cream, Napa Valley wine and a beer vendor, but I didn’t really focus on them or get photos. I did really like the ice cream though, which wasn’t creamy but more icy. I like creamy gelato, but I like icier ice creams because I find it lighter and more refreshing… you know… so I can eat more of it.
I’m full just from writing this post. I literally ate my heart out.