I recently flew to San Francisco – one of my very favorite domestic cities – to attend the 2nd Annual Foodbuzz Fest (here’s last year’s write-up). Follow along for the next two weeks as I recap my weekend trip!
Rolling pork loins of my dreams… hello, Roli Roti. Much like last year, Friday evening’s festivities included a welcome reception and street food fare… this time at Fort Mason in a giant (empty) warehouse.
Mission Minis once again greeted us with cupcakes everywhere. I had one. It was a cupcake.
Cheese platters at each numbered table for us to munch on… where is our food…
A bus-taraunt is how I heard this referred to. Interesting. (You’ll see the food later.)
I sat at my table, #1, and watched people filing in… no food being served yet.
The cupcakes spell out “FOODBUZZ” if I had a better angle on them. But I didn’t. So this will do. BTW, Food Network was filming… so you may see me on TV… maybe not.
Pear cheese tarts that they started bringing out… and then finally just left platters on our tables when it was clear we were all starving…
We sat through some niceties and speeches while I stared around the place, wishing the food would start serving soon!
The beer suppliers. I don’t know why I took this picture.
So here’s how we knew which table was ours: as we walked in, we were handed this sheet of paper, complete with table number and foodie gift exchange instructions.
Wait, what? Oh, right. A few days before the event, Foodbuzz emailed us and told us to bring a small gift representing our region for exchange, in the $20 range. A LOT of people didn’t bring gifts because they didn’t know about it in time, and a lot of us not from the area were like, wait… I mean, it was kind of difficult for us to bring things that really reflect our personality. If I made something, how was I going to transport it? I thought the idea of the gift exchange was excellent, but I wish I’d had more notice than three days (and what about those of us who flew in early to hang out with our friends in the area?), and I think more thought could be given to those of us travelling for the festival. The guy sitting to my left flew in from Seattle a week early and had absolutely no clue about the exchange until he read the piece of paper. Oops.
I also heard there was some confusion about people who came with blog partners – some partner-groups only brought one gift, and others brought two. Understandably, they figured out to only take one gift if they only brought one, but in any case, it seemed a bit confusing.
Watching them set up… I’m really hungry…
Here’s the 4505 guys with their pork…
…and bags of pork rinds hanging up, ooh…
According to the menu: pork loin braised in jalapeno pickling liquid crusted in cornmeal, beans, onions and coriander aioli on a buttery sesame seed bun.
According to my memory, the entire sandwich was very, very buttery, soft, but the flavors described in the placard serving as the menu? Hmm. Not really there. A slight heat, but nothing too memorable… a bit disappointing, as I’ve heard they have awesome food normally. I liked their chicharrones more this year than last, though.
Back to the bustaurant!
Viking gumbo and vegan paella (the paella is on the right). There was a bit of heat to the gumbo, but not unpleasant for one like myself who can’t take much heat. I actually really liked both of these dishes a lot, though the gumbo definitely won more points for me.
At this point, I was dying for a Roli Roti porchetta sandwich. We ran outside to the truck, but found no one there. Ummm…. wandering back in, we finally found an unmarked table with a huge line.
I figured it out. Here they were… and I figured out the trick. If you lean over and stare longingly while they slice the meat, they will give you pieces of the crackly and awesome skin.
An up close and dirty shot of their onion marmalade. My shallot marmalade is pretty awesome… but not quite theirs.
My entire plate.
My sandwich close up. Hello, my darling, my dream sandwich. As wonderful as always; succulent pork tempered by peppery arugula, onion marmalade, and that wonderful bread. Love, love, love.
Tacolicious was there again, with bags of their chips and salsa. Nice to munch on.
We also snagged Korean tacos from Namu, where I’d been looking forward to ramen… oh well.
Stringy meat on a sheet of seaweed that tasted vaguely fishy… Blondie and I both weren’t too keen on this plate. I didn’t understand how to eat it without a fork and just poked at it. Ah well.
I went back to Tacolicious to pick up tacos for us while she waited on by far the longest line of the night.
One each: chicken, carnitas, and beef. None of these interested us either; I want to say we were full, but if you look at how little we’d eaten thusfar, that really can’t be the case. It just wasn’t that yummy 🙁
The line we were waiting on at this point was Spencer on the Go, a French food truck. Funny enough, I asked someone why the line was so long, and apparently, they were part of the recent TV show on Food Network called Food Truck Wars (or something?). The funny part was that this truck was at last year’s event, but not much line at all… shows what TV hype can do for a place.
A garlicky and quite yummy escargot lollipop swimming in garlic juices. It was a bit heavy since at this point I was pretty full, but had I been more awake, I’d have loved to eat another one. It was basically escargot coated in puff pastry, then doused in the sauce.
New England lobster cappucino; I’m not sure what made it New England style, as it’s clearly red and New England style is cream based, no? 😉 In any case, this tasted like… lobster stock that was strained and then topped with a frothy foam of some sort. You have to really love the fishy taste of seafood stocks to enjoy this. I drank about half of it because I was cold and it was very hot before I had to stop… If you like lobster cappucino, this was a more than adequate version, but otherwise… not so much.
Unfortunately, the braised lamb chunks sandwich, though it looked so pretty- look!
I couldn’t open my mouth to eat. Sometimes my body just tells me no, and refuses to comply for more food of a certain type, and this fell into the ‘too heavy, if you put that in my mouth, I will barf right now’ category. Sad. Blondie thought about eating it but also declared herself too full to eat even a bite. Doh.
But I did have room for ice cream from Straus! I love their ice cream. It’s a weakness of mine. Here’s a shot of the scoop of brown sugar banana ice cream, which wasn’t overwhelmingly banana-y, which I don’t like… it was perfect. Or maybe this was caramel toffee crunch, of which I also ate a scoop… I just forgot to take a picture. So good. So, so good. The perfect way to end this gluttonous night.
..or was this? Blondie and I headed over to a waiting bus, tired from the long day we’d had, knowing we had an even longer day ahead of us. While we sat there, half dozing from our food comas, someone got on the bus and insisted we talk to each other… and I turned and noticed a guy holding this in his hand. Uhhh… Okay, I know it’s a rolling pin, but honestly, look at it! Apparently he got it as part of the foodie gift exchange. I can’t remember if it was Sherman of Sherman’s Food Adventures or Kim-Kiu of I’m Only Here for the Food! because they were sitting next to each other (and let’s face it, all Asian guys look alike… right? Right?! No? Okay, fine, sorry…), so perhaps one of them will speak up and tell me who was the lucky dog who received this… hehehe.
Yeah, I’m childish. Is this really shocking?
In any case, it was a lovely start to the weekend ahead of us. Since the table sorting was somewhat random, I’d been forced away from the only person I knew before the night started, and had to introduce myself to new people. I met a couple of new people, including Sabrina of The Tomato Tart, who gave me a lovely bottle of Persian Lime Olive Oil as part of the foodie gift exchange (and I’m really excited to use it! Soon!), and talked to a bunch of people who turned out to be really awesome (more on that in a later post).
Off to a good start – thanks again to Foodbuzz for hosting me! (As a Featured Publisher, the entire event was free) 🙂