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Foodbuzz Blogger Fest Dinner

This year’s FoodBuzz Blogger Festival dinner was held at the Ferry Building. Not a bad location, eh? It was a formal sit-down with 4 courses and wine pairings. Look at all this tableware!
We started with the appetizer, which was an absolute beet fest! If you don’t like beets, then this would have been the worst thing ever. The tart was made with golden beets, was topped with crimson beets, feta, currants, arugula, and served alongside a basil puree. As for me, I love beets, so I totally dug this.
Next up were some huge seared scallops with braised fennel in a champagne beurre blanc sauce. These were cooked quite well, although we did notice that they were only seared on one side. I’m not all that into fennel, but this was pretty good stuff. You know me, I’m all about scallops.
Onto the lamb chops! These suckers were served with butternut squash mash and a bunch of expensive expensive mushrooms, which I promptly did not eat. But one of my tablemates took them. I’m not that crazy about lamb, but I enjoyed these particular chops. And the mash was great.
Dessert was tarta de almendras, a buttery almond cake served with oranges and figs and a spanish sherry sabayon. It’s quite a mouthful to describe, but it tasted even better. It was a lovely dinner with great new friends!

FoodBuzz Fest

I got to attend the second FoodBuzz Blogger Festival this year, once again in San Francisco. For the opening night festivities, we headed out to Fort Mason for a Welcome Reception and Street Food Fair. They had these adorable mini cupcakes arranged to form a FoodBuzz sign.
They tasted awesome too. I’m not sure what flavors they were, but I’m guessing pumpkin or spice or something. They were definitely fall flavors.
There were also beautiful arrangements on the tables of some fruits, cheeses, breads, and crackers.
Roli Roti was there again this year, with their crazy porchetta sandwiches. There’s nothing like pork skin to make a sandwich taste better. And these fingerling potatoes were awesome, and you could totally tell they were cooked in pork fat.
Mind Your Tongue had some viking gumbo. They call it this because the chef is of viking heritage. But this is not gumbo, nor is it an old viking recipe. But it’s not bad.
They also had vegan paella. This wasn’t really paella either, but this was better than their “gumbo”.
Tacolicious provided a bunch of tacos. Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with this at all. It was mostly blah.
French street food? Why yes! This is the truck version of Chez Spencer.
Here is the new england lobster cappuccino soup and the braised lamb chunks sandwich. Good stuff.
But my favorite thing of the evening was Namu’s korean tacos. They were ssam style tacos made with kalbi short ribs, seasoned rice, pickled daikon and kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, and a drizzle of housemade teriyaki sauce, folded into japanese and korean toasted seaweed. This is my type of taco! What a fun night!

Outstanding In The Field Feast – Foodbuzz Fest Dinner

The big event of the blogger fest (well, at least for me) was the dinner on saturday night. It was run by Outstanding in the Field. In their own words, “Outstanding in the Field is a mobile restaurant without walls. Our seasonal farm dinner events are organized as a celebration of place and honor the farmer and other producers of a region.” Their dinners are typically held outdoors on farms, but being in SF, our event was held at a very unique location, the Greenleaf Produce Warehouse.

The table setups for their events are art installations in themselves. To accommodate all these crazy food bloggers, dozens of tables were lined up throughout the warehouse space. They used some of the warehouse’s typical inhabitants as decoration.

Chef Dennis Lee of Namu designed the multi-course menu with wine pairings from Randall Grahm of Boony Doon. He was actually in the hospital this evening, so it was his team that created this fabulous dinner in a make-shift kitchen.

While we mingled, we were treated to appetizers of ahi tonnato on pain de mie with kochukaru (korean hot pepper flakes) and parsley. Despite the korean ingredients, this was decidedly not korean tasting… but still great!
They had shrimp chips laid out in baskets at every table. Seeing as how the chef was korean, this made some sense to me. But it amused me a bit, as this isn’t exactly highbrow stuff. I could eat bags of these in one sitting, and well, I often do!
While still on the starter front, we got to munch on various pickled treats… broccoli, greens, kimchi, and yellow beans, amongst others. The kimchi was the only korean tasting part about these veggies. Everything was extremely… well… pickled! I love pickled anything, so I was a big fan of these veggies.
Next up was the only dish where we got our own servings. Everything else was family style. This is a mushroom dashi soup with a variety of fresh mushrooms. Now you know how I dislike mushrooms most of the time, but I tell you what, I ate all these up. This was simply delightful.
Onto the next dish! Udon noodles topped with calamari, cucumber, yellow tomato, and fancy greens in a browned butter ponzu reduction. I really thought this would taste korean-ish. And once again, nope! But this was another winning dish. I love cold noodle salads.
Next up was our only fish dish. Looks like salmon, but it was sea trout baked with dashi kombu, fried garlic, and japanese curry powder. All the flavors were quite mild. This was a deliciously simply prepared fish.
Up next was the mushroom risotto. This menu was heavy on the mushrooms! Made with fancy koshihikari rice, this was topped with crispy maitake mushrooms. Again, I enjoyed these mushrooms! As well as the creamy risotto. Let’s be honest, I like pretty much anything made with rice!
You won’t believe what I ate next! Brussel sprouts! These little beauties were roasted with ponzu fried garlic, guanciale, and bonito flakes. These muscles from brussels had soaked up the flavors and were beyond delicious. Shockingly enough, I’d say these were some of my favorite bites of the entire evening.
The final big dish was soy braised beef cheeks and oxtails with baby carrots and fingerling potatoes. As it was infused with OB Beer (korean) and doenjang (fermented soybean paste, korean style), I also expected this dish to taste a bit on the korean side. And again, not at all! But it was delicious nonetheless and super tender.
Dessert was a koshihikari rice pudding with cookie crumbles topped with Warren pear. It wasn’t the most exciting rice pudding, but the cookie crumbles and the pear were amazing. In fact, the man who raised these pears was at the dinner. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!

Kudos to Foodbuzz for letting us experience a dinner this amazing and special. It truly was a meal to remember for the rest of my life. And now that I know what the heck Outstanding In The Field is, I’ll be sure to catch one of their regular farm dinners! You should too!
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