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Foodbuzz 2009

posted Nov 15, 2009, 5:36 PM by Jenny Penton//Planner Perfect

Home at last! We just drove into the garage a little after 6pm, returning to the house after a fun-filled weekend at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco. After eating brunch this morning with the Foodubzzers, BJ and I then drove back to the South Bay to help a friend move into a new apartment.  It's truly been a  long day, but the exhaustion is worth it.  Aside from trying plenty of new foods and being introduced to various local artisan food producers, I'm still trying to process all that was tasted and experienced this weekend.  

Here's a recap of the Day 2 (Saturday Nov. 7th):
Breakfast was on the second floor of the Ferry Building where an assortment of mini pastries and Peet's coffee were laid out for attendees to enjoy.
I took a bite of each pastry but only finished the pear tarts. While the sweets were delicious, it would have been nice to have a larger fresh fruit and protein selection, with some yogurt perhaps.

After breakfast, I attended a discussion entitled "Farm to Table," led by Chef Paul Arenstam of Americano Restaurant at Hotel Vitale and Brian Kenny of Hearst Ranch Beef. With all due respect to the speakers who were entertaining and engaging, I signed up for this session assuming there would be a larger and more diverse panel to discuss the latest topics in sustainability, the local food movements, CSAs, for example. I wasn't expected the subject to focus primarily on ranching and beef.  Brian's insights into the cattle ranching industry was informative. Learned that  a well managed grazing system is better for the farm's biodiversity and that Hearst Ranch cattle are raised in a grass-fed and low stress system without any hormones and antibiotics. After hearing Brian speak, I am starting to think that BJ and I should be more conscientious about the types of beef we buy and reconsider where we shop for meat. 

After the session, a few bloggers and I cabbed it to the Metreon to get in line for the afternoon Taste Pavillion where more than 50 top producers, brands, wineries and chefs set-up stations for tastings, sips, and food demos.
I was so happy to spot Maggie in line to enter the Taste Pavillion and took the opportunity to get a photograph together since she is leaving the South Bay. I met Maggie at a blogger meet-up last month and since then I've enjoyed our correspondences. She showed me how to pick out a kabocha squash and I am eternally thankful!
Cindy and Jennifer sample tarts at the Made in Napa Valley station
There was an entire floor filled with food stations, allowing attendees to discover new tastes and recipes. The Foodbuzz organizers did a fantastic job presenting an expansive selection of vendors, ranging from national brands like Bertolli Sauce, Nature's Pride and Kikkoman to small artisan food producers located in Mendocino to Santa Monica to Portland.

I tasted a sample of everything pictured, all divine and tasty, beginning with mini tarts from Made in Napa Valley.
Then moved on to Kerrygold pure Irish Butter.  This is possibly the best butter I've ever tasted. 
A pork and beef sausage prepared by Chef Arenstam from Americano at Hotel Vitale. The beef is from Hearst Ranch. Don't know where the pork is from.
Ceviche that included octopus and calamari. I had two shot glasses.
I also enjoyed watching the food demos from Marti and Chrystal and Amier who won the Bertolli Sauce scholarship to attend Foodbuzz for free.
Waiters paced the floor serving Bertolli Sauce creations, making sure all attendees had plenty of tasty appetizers every few minutes. It was difficult to refuse.

I also tried Sabrina's egg white frittata muffins with Nature's Pride bread topping. So simple and easy to make. I will have to try these out soon.
The sausages and hot dogs from Prather Ranch Meat Co. were the best I've ever eaten. I'm fortunate that they are local and I can buy them at the Campbell's Farmers Market. I know BJ will love to eat these as well.
And moving on to SWEETS. Thanks to the folks at Foodzie, we were able to sample an endless assortment of goodies, most of which were sweets, made locally from the Bay Area to Los Angeles.
There were several gourmet chocolatiers, each offering one generous sample after another. If there is such a thing as indulging in too much chocolate, I was quickly approaching that danger zone.
A variety of specially seasoned toffee from POP Candy in Santa Monica.
I actually saved the  toffee milk chocolate chip cookie from Annie the Baker for BJ to eat as I was starting to get full quickly. 
But I managed to make space for homemade marshmallows made with mango and other fruit flavors. I really don't like marshmallows but if I had to eat any, these would be it. 
Even though I was maxed out on sweets, I still tried a teeny tiny wedge of this homemade carmel log with a marshmallow center. It's an uncommon combination and well worth the splurge.
I was super excited to sample some beer from 21st Amendment, a San Francisco based brewery in SOMA.
La Mar's "Seasoning Sand" salt harvested off the Mendocino coast. What a perfect description. The salt was a surprise hit with me and is something I would like to add to my pantry for crackers, special casseroles, etc.
There were even pork grinds available! I've never eaten pork grinds before, but noticed that it was a hit amongst the attendees so I decided to try a small piece. Verdict - I'll stick to potato chips. My small piece wasn't greasy, but my mouth felt as if it full of oil after eating it.
A variety of gourmet popcorn, both sweet and savory from Popcorn 479.
Aside from the good eats, I also enjoyed hanging out with new blogger friends - Diana, Jennifer and Rachael
As I was leaving the Metreon, couldn't help but flip through the cookbook giveaway - Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Dr. Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. I had a chance to talk to Dr. Jeff  and was informed that the recipes are for making bread from scratch. This will be quite the challenge for me this fall as I have a breadmaker and always sometimes have trouble making decent bread with it. To make bread from scratch will be quite the test.