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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

10 Lessons Learned at the Foodbuzz Festival

While I could write a detailed description of my weekend in San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Festival, beginning with the giant food basket (from Electrolux!) waiting for me at check-in and ending with flight delays and lost luggage, time is of the essence this week and I'm instead going to give you a list of 10 things I learned.

1. You will never regret a new food experience. Friday, before the Festival officially began, I joined a group of food bloggers for lunch at Cafe Gratitude, a restaurant known for their raw and vegan dishes. I'd never been to such a restaurant, but everything on the menu sounded drool-worthy. Though I didn't know everything I was eating on my salad or the sampler platter we tried, not to mention in the raw coconut cream pie, I dove in and loved it all!

2. My photography skills need practice, and my camera needs a new lens! (hint, hint, Ryan ;)) I had the opportunity to attend a pre-festival photo tutorial session led by Ashley and then another during the Foodbuzz sessions on Saturday morning. I've had my camera since Christmas, and while my pictures have improved, I have a long way to go. Taking pictures of the food set-ups in the photography seminar reminded me of this, and I'm now newly motivated to keep learning!
3. Mission Mini Cupcakes is onto something, both as a business model and its product. Selling $1 mini cupcakes amongst a sea of giant expensive cupcakes is brilliant. So is using the freshest ingredients possible (pumpkin! carrot! coconut!). I greatly enjoyed my fair share of cupcakes, at Friday's Street Food Fair and Saturday's Tasting Pavilion.
4. You will like the bloggers you think you'll like. I got to meet a ton of people whose blogs I regularly read and while not everyone was exactly as I pictured, there were some who I immediately bonded with. I was a little intimidated coming, knowing no one and feeling a little bit like an outsider. Thanks to Tina for making me feel like less of a nobody blogger, Melissa for being as awesome as I pictured, and Bobbi & Emily for feeling like long-lost friends!
5. The Ferry Building is enough for me to return to San Francisco. What an incredible foodie marketplace and the most amazing farmer's market I've ever seen! Some day I want to return with Ryan and really explore!
holy mushrooms!!
6. Food demos are fun, especially when you're working with Electrolux! I'm a disaster in the kitchen...I spill, I forget ingredients, and Ryan flinches whenever I pick up a knife. However, Chef Joey put me right at ease and once I stepped on the stage, all nervousness vanished. I had so much fun sharing my recipe and getting feedback from other bloggers. Thanks again Electrolux for the opportunity, and for sponsoring my trip!
7. If a food booth has a long line, jump in! It's worth the wait! Trust the foodies, they know the good stuff! I spent a good half hour waiting in line for salmon tacos at the Tasting Pavilion, a little impatiently because I wanted to be trying other foods. When I finally made it to the front of the line, I understood. Worth every minute of waiting!
8. Keep moving--run, walk, dance--do whatever you can to get that food digesting because you'll be eating again soon! We ate and ate and ate some more. It's a food festival, what do you expect? Not wanting to miss a morsel of the food, I fought the urge to sit or nap and instead forced myself to keep moving to make room in my stomach for the next event!
(here we are at the flip book station, taking a break from eating and dancing away!)
9. Any table with this many glasses guarantees a fabulous meal (see below)! Our gala dinner at the Ferry Building on Saturday night was indescribable. Four courses paired with a different wine for each. Fresh ingredients, including beets, fennel, and wild mushrooms. I was in heaven!
10. Foodbuzz knows how to throw a party. From the Friday night reception to the Sunday morning breakfast, we were wined, dined, and fed some more. They hooked us up with huge swag bags, stuffed with free samples & kitchen supplies, and organized a weekend chock full of some of the best foods in San Francisco. It was an unforgettable weekend, and one I'm so glad I got to experience!

In other news, remember my butternut squash ice cream? Contest voting is open...check out the entries here and if you think mine deserves a win, please vote for me!

Also, one of the bloggers I met this weekend (Steph) has started a new site called Foodiacs and they're having a 12 days of Christmas giveaway. All you have to do is enter your name and email here, and you're automatically entered to win a gift on one of the 12 days after Christmas! There's some great stuff up for grabs, I'm crossing my fingers for a win!

One Year Ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus