Before I launch into the recap of the festivities this weekend, I feel I should mention that I was unable to attend every event of the festival, so this is not a reflection of everything that went on! I will be sure to include links to some of my favorite recap posts done by other amazing bloggers I met at the festival, so you can see the other amazing giveaways and food tastings that were offered. Okay, disclaimer time over!
So last week finally marked the arrival of the much-anticipated 1st Annual Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival, which was being held in beautiful San Francisco. Armed with plenty of ACE bandages, my crutches, and the determination to have fun regardless of being a gimp, I hopped on Amtrak and headed into the city. My first stop: the lovely Hotel Vitale for our Welcome Happy Hour.
I was greeted by Alexa from Foodbuzz, who immediately recognized me because of the crutches (and that’s how I was recognized by everyone that weekend. “Poor Girl? Oh, she’s the one on crutches!” lol…). After being given my swanky little badge and my giant bag of swag, I made my way to the outdoor terrace where Happy Hour was already in full swing. The fine folks from SKYY Spirits teamed up with some outstanding San Francisco chefs to provide us with a fabulous spread of signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. On the menu for Happy Hour:
~ Angry Mac & Cheese Poppers
~ Gruyere, Bacon and Mascarpone Gougeres
~ Pork Rillettes Crostini
~ SKYY Spirits “Autumn Apple” and “Citrus Collins” cocktails
~ Iron Horse 2002 Brut LD
~ Speakeasy Big Daddy I.P.A.
~ Tea’s Tea
~ Twelve Beverage Sparkling Juices
I made sure to try both of the vodka cocktails (don’t worry; I made sure not to end up with a Crutching Under the Influence citation), as vodka is one of my favorite spirits and I never say no to a good martini. The Autumn Apple was made with fresh apple juice with a large slice of fresh apple for garnish, which I definitely preferred over standard apple martinis. I’ve never been a fan of the artificial green apple liqueur that will go into other apple martinis because they’re too sweet & syrupy tasting, so having fresh juice was a welcome change. However, I actually preferred the Citrus Collins, the other signature drink for the evening. It was a perfectly balanced and refreshingly tart cocktail that can be enjoyed year-round.
The appetizers of the evening didn’t disappoint, either. Though the Gougeres with gruyere, bacon, and mascarpone were good, the Mac & Cheese Poppers and Pork Rillettes Crostini were by far the real stars of the hors d’oeuvres show. The jalapeño and bacon of the mac & cheese poppers added a fun kick to the rich creaminess of the little dish, but my favorite appetizer was definitely the Pork Rillettes Crostini. I am still not 100% sure what went into this pork mixture, but it was full of flavor and went beautifully on top of the crispy crostini.
The next stop for everyone was the Street Food “Fare” at the Ferry Plaza building. Logistically, it wasn’t going to be possible for me to enjoy this part of the evening (imagine trying to carry plates of food, wine, and crutches at the same time), so much to my chagrin, I had to call it a night. I wish I could have stayed because the choices sounded fantastic! Representatives from 4505 Meats (home of the best chicharrones in SF), Alive (raw vegan cuisine that I heard was pretty amazing), Hog Island Oyster Co., Mission Minis (tiny gourmet cupcakes), The Pie Truck (mini PIES!!! Oh, how I wish I hadn’t missed those), Pizza Politana, Roli Roti (organic, sustainably-farmed rotisserie meats & veggies), Spencer on the Go (SF’s only French Bistro on wheels), Straus Family Creamery (organic ice cream – yum!), and Tacolicious showed off their best eats for a fabulous tasting menu that everyone raved about the following day.
For a great wrap-up and pictures of the awesome spread from the Street Food Fare, check out Linda’s post on the first day’s festivities. Stay tuned for Day 2!