Highlights from the Foodbuzz Festival 2011

by Kelly on November 10, 2011

Now that I’ve settled back into life as usual it seemed like a recap of this year’s Foodbuzz Festival was in order.  After missing last year’s festival, I was thrilled to be able to go again, this year as the guest of Alaska Seafood.

Before the festivities officially started I did a little sightseeing in San Francisco.

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And I satisfied some post-flight hunger at a restaurant called The Plant.

The Plant San Francisco-1

I’d walked past it the weekend before while on my way to the Ferry Building but opted to eat at an old favorite, The Slanted Door, instead.  This time, it sounded exactly like what I was craving.  It was one of those instances where everything on the menu sounded good, but I opted for the seasonal pizza which featured fig sauce, roasted figs and chanterelle mushrooms.  And of course, I cannot forget the cheese.  This one was topped with both mozzarella cheese and Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk.  I was worried when I ordered it that it might be too sweet, but this wasn’t the case at all.  Between the mushrooms and pungent Red Hawk it was delightfully savory and well balanced.  It was also proof that when you cook with a high quality, flavorful cheese it goes an extra long way because even though it was used judiciously on the pizza the flavor was very apparent.  I enjoyed my pizza with another seasonal offering, their Pumpkin Margarita.  It was lightly spicy with a faint pumpkin flavor and a pleasant burn that warmed me up from the inside out.  With a simple spinach salad rounding out the meal it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

The other highlight of the festival for me from a food perspective, as it was in 2009, was the tasting pavilion.  I spent the first part of the tasting handing out my Halibut and Caramelized Onion Croquettes with Fig Dijonaise.

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In addition to my dish, they were also sampling Teri from A Foodie Stay’s Fit‘s Garlic Lime Alaskan Cod with Chipotle Crema Small Bites and Alaska Surimi Seafood Lettuce Cups.

Foodbuzz-7The latter half was all about sipping and sampling.

Foodbuzz Tasting PavilionI admit I failed at pacing so I got full quite quickly, but thankfully before my stomach filled up I discovered a few gems like Apple Balsamic Vinegar, Vignette Wine Country Soda (Sweetened only with the juice of California varietal wine grapes, it seemed to have a lot of mixing potential for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.) and Mushroom Alchemy, a mushroom powder made from a mix of dried mushrooms.  I was also excited to see TCHO among the vendors, since I had just bought a big bag of their couverture drops while in San Francisco the week before.  And last but certainly not least was a line of  Cheese Drizzlers from Sonoma Syrup Co.  Essentially, they are jams, marmalades and preserves.  This alone, is not unique as people have been making these for centuries, but what is cool is they are made especially for cheese and each one comes with pairing suggestions.  For example, they suggest serving the Meyer Lemon (pictured above with aged goat gouda, Manchego, and Bellwether Farms San Andreas.  Basically, they take all the guesswork out of pairing.  And it doesn’t hurt that the drizzlers themselves are pretty good too.  Each one was vibrantly flavored, rivaling any of the jams and jellies I’ve found locally.  I could easily see them getting stocked alongside Quince & Apple preserves and condiments that I often serve with cheese.

And beyond a full belly I of course, also walked away with many new blog friends.  I acquired quite the stack of business cards and cannot wait to update my blog reader.  Thanks again to Alaska Seafood for hosting me and your hospitality, to Foodbuzz for putting the whole thing together, and to all the bloggers who kept the conversation flowing over the weekend.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon November 11, 2011 at 8:49 am

aah, nostalgia! hopefully i’ll get the chance to attend again 🙂

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The Duo Dishes November 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Congrats on your recipe’s feature at the festival. Just saw your name in the email mention today too from Alaska Seafood. You’re a champ!

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Hannah November 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Although it doesn’t seem like there were many vegan eats, I still wish I was there! They may be foodie-inspired, but these events are more about the people than the food, as far as I’m concerned. I’m so jealous that my dad ended up staying in the same hotel, at the same time, just by coincidence for a business trip.

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Kelly November 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Shannon – I know. It definitely made me think of 2009, but I missed seeing Boston bloggers. Beyond Duo Dishes, I actually didn’t run into anyone I hung out with in 2009.

Duo Dishes – Thank you. Congrats to you too for the Alexia final four. Can’t wait to see who gets picked.

Hannah – You are correct, I don’t think there was a ton in the way of vegan eats. Part of the challenge is they could have done a better job of labeling things that would be appropriate for different diets (i.e. gluten-free, vegan, etc.) by either creating a special map or giving the booths stickers or something that would indicate whether they had vegan options. I can’t imagine trying to navigate the tasting with special dietary needs in mind. I felt especially bad for those who were vegan or had dietary restrictions at the dinners. The options were VERY limited, uninspiring, and took FOREVER to come.

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Kerstin November 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Such a great recap – looks so fun! And how cool you got to hand out your dish 🙂

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