Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival – Impossible to Describe…Literally!

This post is a perfect indication for how much things have changed for me since last year's Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival. Last year, knowing that bloggers who had never seen my blog before would be reading it (most to see how/why they were mentioned), and with plenty of free time to put it together, I did a very detailed recap with photos of just about everything I ate.

This year, I'm so busy producing video recipes already
promised to multiple corporate overlords, I'm afraid this will have to do. In addition to not having nearly as much time, any full-blown recap would have taken me four to five times as long to do this year. Why? Because of a breakout session I attended called The Write Taste.

Led by friends (and total kick-ass bloggers), Brooke (right) from Food Woolf, Linda (left) from Salty Seattle, and Greg from Sippity Sup, the panel focused on a long list of trite words that we food bloggers are no longer allowed to use – or as Brooke put it, were "Verboten!" There's regular forbidden, and then there's German forbidden.

This long list of words included: delicious, tasty, yummy, moist, tender, creamy, unctuous, and awesome. Since this represents roughly 87% of my food adjectiv
e vocabulary, writing a complete recap would have virtually impossible. It was a really fun session, but unfortunately ended before I had a chance to ask the panel what the hell I'm suppose to use in their place.

Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival 2010 – Gala Dinner Photo Recap

Saturday night was the Gala Dinner at the
2010 Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival, and it was quite an evening. The setting was San Francisco's beautiful Ferry Building, and if I knew how to use my camera at night, I would have had some amazing photos.

The festivities started with a cocktail hour in the plaza, and ther
e are very few things I enjoy more than being surrounded by hundreds of chatting food bloggers enjoying wine and passed hors'douves. A couple of my favorites were these zucchini and parmesan madeleines filled with crimson cured salmon and lemon crème; and creamy polenta cups with goat cheese and Provencal vegetables.

After just the right amount of snacking, we moved upstairs to the Grand Hall. The food was done by one of San Francisco's top caterers, Paula LeDuc, and for a crowd this large, I thought the meal was executed very well.

The first course was a roasted golden beet tart with feta, wild arugula, and puree of basil. I've never been a big beets guy, but nevertheless enjoyed this very much. The satisfying tart was impossibly light, almost weightless. The diced red beets alongside provided an excellent textural and visual foil.

Next came my favorite course of the evening, a perfectly seared diver scallops with braised fennel, fried fennel fronds, and a verjus beurre blanc. Knowing how hard it is to serve scallops with such a perfect consistency, even for a small party, I was beyond impressed. I believe I described the texture as how pinching God's cheeks would feel. I really don't know what that means either, but at least I didn’t say "tender."

The main course, rack of lamb loin with pinot noir sauce and butternut squash puree, was expertly prepared also, but suffered from the bad luck of having to follow the scallops. The meat, infused with rosemary and garlic, was flavorful and retained an appropriate level of hydration (man, I would have loved to use "moist" right there). The local wild mushroom ragout alongside was spot on, and the butternut squash puree was butternut squash puree.

Above and beyond the [whatever another awesome word that means delicious] food and wine, I was lucky enough to get several great tastes of home-brewed beer smuggled in by my favorite beer blogger (which I can't confirm or deny was Jesse from Beer and Nosh).

The dessert course featured a "Tarta de Almendras" – a buttery almond cake with oranges, figs, and sherry sabayon. The plate was topped with what I initially though was a "shredded wheat crisp" (thanks a lot, too much wine), but what turned out to be a tangle of caramelized parmesan.

Luckily, my buddy Joel, from Six by 10 Tiny Kitchen, corrected me before I made a fool of myself in front of the table, which would have been highly embarrassing since it included food blog rock stars, Pim from Chez Pim, Elise from Simply Recipes, and Mark from No Recipes.

It was an enjoyable evening of great food, wine, and conversation, made even more so when I won a $100 prize for having one of the weekend's best tweets. During the The Write Taste session we were told to use the Twitter hashtag #fbzwrite for our tweets describing bites at the Grand Tasting, after which the five best would be chosen. Here's my winning entry:

Pefect pears plucked with bare fingers, licked clean longer than need be, don't blame me, blame the tree. #fbzwrite

By the way, I've decided to donate my winnings to a holiday charity. I'm not doing this to be nice, or socially responsible, but because Tweeting may one day become an Olympic event, and I want to maintain my amateur status.

A hearty thanks to Foodbuzz for a fabulous weekend of food blogging fun!

*Bonus Coverage!

Here is a great video recap by Lynn Chen from The Actor's Diet. Enjoy!


saltyseattle said...

Here is a list of words you may use in place of those: quivering, tepid, moister, tantalizing, finger-lickin', bejeweled, taut, and gelatinous. I hope that helps, xoxoxo, Salty

ps- I may wanna borrow that pic of Brooke and I for my recap if at all possible. Don't worry, I have a REALLY good one of you:)

Chef John said...

Thanks! That totally helps! ;-) Also, my mediocre photos are your mediocre photos!

Jackie Gordon said...

What an Awesome! Yummy! Delicious! Post!!! Seriously I was regrettably not there, but I saw/read about such mouth-watering foods and heard all the accolades (which coming from such food enthusiasts, some of whom I know, I can actually believe it-- unless you were all drugged -- y'all could have been literally food buzzed ;-P )

Who catered it? They did a brilliant job!
The little cured salmon apps look divine!

Good luck with finding new words. I get tired even coming up with the usual suspects.



Mariko said...

I'm glad you provided that list of words. I need a list.
Problem is, if I start using these, they will become verboten. I am always behind the trend.
I can't believe I missed the appetizers!
They look awesome/amazing/creamy/delicious/tasty! :)

Chef John said...

Paula LeDuc did the food

Chef John said...

and, not all, but some blogger were definitely drugged. thanks!

showfoodchef said...

A delishiously awesome REcap of an amazing and yummy event (figured I'd use those words since I'm not blogging right now, right?) Loved seeing you and you were so fun and informative as a panelist in the Video Blogging session, too. I think you'd be great on screen, no matter what you think :D Whenever you're in LA, please let me know.

Chef John said...

thanks! i will!

diane and todd said...

lol, John, you rock. You really do and we mean that!
and your tweet? funny! and your reason for donating the $100? ROFL!

Chef John said...

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! Maybe one day Oprah will host a tweet off, and I'll make the big time like you guys ;-)

Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) said...

Hi John, I really enjoyed your video blogging session. Thanks again for all of the great advice!


stephen said...

You're really are making us hungry... .how should i say this??? It's more than... yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

Good luck reconstructing "creamy polenta cups" into something more acceptable to the food blogging elites.

lynn said...

i wish i had gone to your video blogging session! i did make my own of the weekend though -

yummy recap!

lynn said...

thanks so much for including my video too!!!

Wendy B. said...

I want your job....have I told you that?

Diana said...

I can help you use your camera at night! I actually got some really cool shots of the Ferry Building the night of the gala - some with motion blur of passing cars, etc. I just posted my photos today! :) Diana

Jen said...

Great recap! I feel like i was there all over again.

FOODalogue said...

I totally missed those good looking zucchini and parmesan madeleines -- and I totally missed meeting you (I guess we were on different ends of the Festival). I enjoyed your recap of the weekend and I think your photos are very nice!