Wow! What can I say that you haven’t already heard… Foodbuzz knows how to throw an event! From the location, seminars, vendors, guest speakers and of course FOOD, this was one rockin’ festival! The vibe was contagious and the foodies were aglow to meet each other, chat and eat! I was particularly excited by the commitment of Foodbuzz to invite speakers and local artisanal vendors committed to the local food movement and sustainability. Our entire evening banquet was held by Outstanding in the Field, whose mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. Hat’s off to you Foodbuzz and your amazing team for an outstanding weekend!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Early Friday Morning, my sister, mami, and I boarded an airplane bound for San Francisco! I was so excited to finally visit as it’s my sister’s favorite U.S. city and she’s constantly raving about it. The Foodbuzz festival was set to have an opening reception/cocktail hour Friday evening, however, I decided to opt out and spend some time cruising the streets of SF with my sis and mami. Upon arrival, we gathered our bags, easily found the Bart (subway) and headed to our hotel in Union Square, Downtown SF! I love city life! The smell of fumes and restaurants, sounds of people and public transportation really do make me happy. Always brings me back to my favorite city, Sevilla!
After checking in, our first stop was China Town! By far, my favorite district in SF!
We were starving as we headed into this sweet little district of shops, souvenirs, and restaurants. Our hunger jolted with delight as we noticed a Cantonese restaurant. We ran inside, up a huge set of stairs and were welcomed by a pleasant staff. We were seated next to a window overlooking knick knack stores we were anxiously wanting to explore.
What we loved about this restaurant is that they already had a variety of appetizers already made. Our hunger was very pleased with this!
We started off with steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings, and veggie spring rolls.
The steamed pork buns were AMAZING! I love steamed pork buns and these were great. The dough had a hint of sweetness that was complemented by the tang in the bbq pork. The shrimp dumplings were just as delicious. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture of the spring rolls, but let me tell ya, YUM!
I didn’t think it could get any better than this until my main course came out. A huge dish of sweet and spicy pork with vegetables. Oh my gosh, this meal was fit for two. I ate what I could with sheer delight. The flavors were perfect, not too spicy, not to sweet, perfect! My favorite part of this dish was the pak choy that was mixed in. I love my greens and these flavors suited it nicely!
As soon as we were done with this meal, we unsnapped our buttons and headed out. (JK!) We were happily filled and excited to hit the town! I couldn’t believe the hills in this city. They weren’t kidding about getting your days worth of exercise by just walking in this town. Literally, I have never seen such steep streets in my life. A little scary at times, but so loved the work out! I just couldn’t understand how people actually run in this city. I’ve ran up hills, but nothing like this. After cruising some of the streets of SF we hopped on a trolli and found our way to the infamous Lombard street.
Looking down on SF is breathtaking! By this time, we were exhausted and headed back to the Marriot for a good nights sleep. I was excited to get my Foodbuzz on!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I was so excited to wake up and start my day’s festivities with Foodbuzz! My sis and mami accompanied me to the Embarcadero District and the site of the Hotel Vitale. I was quickly welcomed by Alexa and Dorian from Foodbuzz and was given an amazing swag bag filled with goodies! I didn’t take a picture of it, but let me tell ya, they didn’t skimp! From Chefs Catalog cooking utensils, olives, marinades, books and chocolate… It was great! As I got the details for the events, schedule and name badge, I quickly kissed my girls good-bye for the day and headed off to a seminar I had signed up for. A Farm to Table Discussion with Chef Paul Arenstam and Brian Kenny from Hearst Ranch
Hearst Ranch is one of the largest producers of grass-fed beef in California. Brian Kenny is a knowledgeable Rancher and has a passion for sustainability of the land and raising his cattle humanely, pastured on native grasses.
From the Hearst Ranch website
Hearst Ranch cattle graze freely over the 150,000 acres that make up our two ranches. They’re not only grass-fed, they’re finished on grass at the ranches, meaning that in the months before harvest they continue grazing outdoors to fatten up on spring grasses. This high-quality natural forage and the freedom of the cattle to roam are the keys to producing our healthful beef. The animals seek out the richest and most suitable feed for their growth stage, instinctively customizing their diets to their body’s needs.
During the discussion, Brian Kenny explained briefly about the differences between grass-fed meat versus conventional feed lots. Grass-fed meaning cattle are pastured and allowed to roam and eat grasses off the land as their bodies were created to do versus cattle raised in confined areas and fed diets of grains and corn. Most of my readers know this is a subject near and dear to my heart, so I was very excited to feel a part of the local food movement in California. Chef Paul Arenstam, Executive Chef of Americano Restaurant and Bar, buys his meat from Hearst Ranch. I was delighted to hear Chef Paul explain about the importance of establishing relationships with his farmers and producers to know exactly what type of product he is receiving. He actually spent time at the Hearst Ranch side by side the cattle that he would be serving his patrons of his restaurant. Now that is commitment! (Brings me back to my time spent at Ebersole Cattle Ranch in Southern Iowa!) His goals are to make the best hamburger in the United States and with the help of Hearst Ranch, I believe he will do it!
Alot of what Brian Kenny and Chef Paul were speaking about, I was already familiar with. However, it was interesting to hear the discussion of people wondering how to go about buying grass-fed beef. Being from Iowa, I take for granted my location and the resources I have for some of the best meat in the world. In Iowa we have basements, perfect locations for deep freezers and extra refrigerators. At the discussion, it became a reality that this isn’t the scenario for many people throughout our nation. So many of these folks come from large cities, living in small areas and grass-fed beef can cost an arm and a leg. I reduce my costs by buying grass-fed beef by the side and stocking my deep freeze for the year. Most of these people can barely fit a standard size refrigerator in their kitchen no less a deep freeze. So how are they able to provide the best for their family? I don’t know! I wish I had that answer. If you have any suggestions on this, please feel free to comment. I’m excited to write a post specifically on grass-fed beef encompassing some of these questions. I know for me, I find it very important to provide my family the best in nourishing foods. So for me and my family, we give up a lot of other things, such as movies or going out to eat, in order to pay a bit more for food. I also shop, utilizing many different sources to get the best bang for my buck. So I spend more time shopping for these products instead of getting it all at one place. Also, I do visit my farmers market every week to save money and buy organic. It saves me the most money and has allowed me to form great relationships with my farmers. I think for people living in the city in small areas, the best thing is to visit your farmers market, visit the farms, get to know the farmer, ask questions, ask about how you can start purchasing some of these products and their suggestions as to how you can start fitting this into your budget. You’d be surprised at how willing they are to help you. One thing is for sure, as soon as you see how much time, energy, and heart is put into raising your meat, you will start to understand why this product cost more. You will also be more willing to pay for meat knowing how it was raised, cared for and the nutritional value that far surpasses any conventional method. (And, there are NO HORMONES OR ANTIBIOTICS!!) If you’re one of these families that lives in large cities in small areas I also encourage you to visit, www.localharvest.org for a list of farmers in your area. Give them a call! Remember, Know Farmers… Know Food!!
After this heart felt discussion, I was pumped to hit the farmers market and find out what the San Francisco area farmers could bring to the table!
Right! I was not disappointed at all!! I was so excited to see so many California items that you just can’t get in Iowa starting with Persimmons!! I screamed to see organic persimmons for $2 a pound. In Iowa, Persimmons cost $2 each! I bought 2lbs to bring back with me. Can’t wait to eat these babies raw! Also, I was so jealous to see strawberries still in high season. I bought a bunch to snack on while cruising the market. One of the coolest finds for me was seeing all of the freshly pressed Olive Oil. I so wanted to buy some, but at $30 a bottle, I couldn’t find it in me! Oh well, I would love to take a trip to California someday specifically to tour family farms, wineries, and olive orchards. Sounds so fun, anyone interested?
After touring the farmers market, I caught a trolli back to my hotel to drop off my swag and took off for the Metreon and the Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion.
On the elevator up, I ran into Rachael from La Fuji Mama
and Linda from One Scoop at a Time
! I was so excited to meet them! I’ve been following Rachael’s blog for some time and she is just as sweet in real life! A genuine person with a love for food and family. I also met Jen from My Tiny Urban Kitchen
. I was so excited to meet her as we’ve been in touch through our blogs as well. Let me tell you, Jen is awesome! A lawyer by day and a blogger by night! I had so much fun with these ladies and spent most of my time in great conversation with them!
I stole the picture above from Linda! Thanks Linda!! Me, Jen and Rachael! Such great people!!
Below is my new friend Linda.
What didn’t we do at the Tasting Pavillion! It was soo much fun. Eating, taking pictures and enjoying great company! The first thing on each of our minds was to get in line and grab a copy of the new book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day!
My local mama friends in Iowa live by this book, so I was so excited to meet the authors and join in on making great bread in 5 minutes a day!! (Thinking of you Danelle, Abby and Amy
After grabbing our book we pretty much spent the entire afternoon, tasting samples and meeting artisanal vendors from foodzie.com
This lovely couple are Lora and Bob La Mar from Mendocino Sea Salt and Seasoning Company. After speaking to Lora and Bob, I’m pretty excited to do some more extensive research on Sea Salt. Expect a post in the near future!
Awesome gals representing Share Our Strength!
The Duo doing their thang!
Rachael and Jen! Wish we all lived closer!!
If you can believe it, Jen and I stayed until the end chit chatting. I wish I would have left a tad earlier as I only had time to race back to my hotel room, drop my new load of items off and race to the Hotel Vitale to make the buss for the evening awards and dinner. I was sad, as I didn’t have time to change into my evening outfit. Oh well, lol!
As most of my readers probably already know, our evening awards ceremony and dinner was a “farm to table” feast held at Greenleaf’s produce warehouse. Dinner was was put on by Outstanding In The Field and catered by Chef Dennis Lee of Namu. It was a great atmosphere as tables wound around the entire warehouse in preparation for a family style feast.
This pretty much sums up the entire festival. Foodies with cameras, lol!
The dinner and company was amazing! The dinner was Japanese fusion. I’m still drooling over the udan noodles with grilled calamari. The brussel sprouts were also to die for. Oh… and the oxtail was amazing… and the salmon… Okay… as you can tell, it was ALL delicious. Except for the soup. It was good, but way too cold for my liking.
During the event, I had the priviledge to sit next to Kimberly from Poor Girl Eats Well. I love to meet Latina’s!! She was so much fun and another great real person! We had great conversation and there may be a possible collaboration in the future. Keep your eyes peeled!!
I also had so much fun getting to know Cindy from Chubby Chinese Girl
. A fellow graphic designer and foodie. But let me tell ya, this girl is NOT chubby, lol! She’s super sweet and cute!
Jen, Cindy and Linda
After an amazing dinner, (and a couple glasses of wine, hehe!) we all gathered to hear the winners of the Foodbuzz blog awards. I have no pictures of this as I was tweeting all of the winners for all of you people at home!! Let me tell ya, I have never tweeted so quickly in my life, lol! As expected, I didn’t win any awards. However, I was a bit sad as I was really pulling for Rachael from La Fuji Mama
to win best family blog! Really, you need to check out her blog to understand why I feel she would have been a great award winner in this category. She has a love for her family and it shines through on each of her postings. The Pioneer Woman took the award for this and goodness, she’s the Pioneer Woman, AWESOME. Keep an eye on Rachael as I know she’s going places
Kimberly from Poor Girl Eats Well
, was also a nominee under blog you would like to see have their own show on the Food Network. I was also nominated under this category and felt myself pulling for her as well! You need to check out her blog as she truly has a story behind what she does and makes remarkable meals on the cheap! She has a great following and I also know there’s a future ahead for Ms. Morales! To be honest, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Rather, I was completely excited and thrilled over the people I had met. I would come to this festival again and again, just for the bonding of people with the same interests in food and photography! What a world we live in, thank you Jesus!
The night ended with everyone getting back onto the bus. I was delighted to be met by my mami and sis! I was so excited to introduce my new friends to my family. After saying our goodbye’s, my family and I hopped on a trolli and headed back to the Marriot.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
On Sunday, I also decided to opt-out of the final brunch to spend that time with my family. My sis, mami and I rented a car and toured most of San Francisco.
First Stop: The Golden Gate Bridge
My sister loves to take pretty pictures, I think she’s pretty
Mami and Lisa
Second Stop: Fishermans Warf and Boudin Sourdough
The Boudin Sourdough was one of my favorite stops. San Francisco is said to have the best Sourdough bread in the World. Using time honored traditions of fermentation, their mother has been going on for 250 years! Wow!! That’s Awesome!!
We ended most of our tour at Lombard street to capture some pictures during the daylight.
After Lombard we ended up in oh not so friendly areas but finally made way to dinner and our hotel. This was definitely a very long post and I thank you for staying with me! As you can tell, it was a super long weekend and I’m so glad to be home in Iowa with my babies!! Yes, SF is a beautiful city, but… sorry SF… my favorite U.S. city continues to be CHICAGO!!! Go BEARS!! Go CUBS!!