Showing posts with label tonga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tonga. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Foodbuzz Blogger Fest 2011

It's a little nutty to look back on the past year and everything that's occurred since my first Foobuzz Blogger Fest in San Francisco. A chance meeting on the street outside the hotel lead to my fast friendship with Andy of the Windattack, and also an introduction to Greg of Sippitysup at the kick-off event. Who knew we'd have a podcast together several months later?? On Joy the Baker's network, no less! This demonstrates that while Foodbuzz Blogger Fest has a lot to do with food and blogging, it has way more to do with casual, social, and fun networking. I approached 2011's fest with a renewed set of expectations, mostly modest set on simply meeting and talking with great people.

Buddies Andy Windattack and Sabrina The Tomato Tart strike a pose.

The kick-off party this year was off to a roaring start before I'd finished my first glass of wine. I enjoyed a lovely conversation with the reps from Bonny Doon Vineyard over a lambent glass of their 2010 ¿Querry? Apple/Pear/Quince Hard Sparkling Cider (Delish! And perfect for your Turkey Day). The smorgasbord sampling buffet was topped off with classy immaculate sweet bites by Yigit Pura. A delightful way to finish a festive evening reuniting with friends.

Boat Street Pickles' tangy figs at the Foodzie table.

Saturday's Taste Pavilion offered an intimidating amount to sample, so I zeroed in on the good stuff, and surprised myself by occasionally coming back for seconds. I spent a little too much time at Redwood Hill Farm and Bellweather Farms' tables shoveling goat, cow, and sheep's milk cheeses. I washed the cheese down with drinking chocolate and coins of Tcho's spectrum of cocoa products. Cross-pollinating makes everything more exciting, so I asked House of Balsamic (my favorite) to drizzle their apple balsamic vinegar on my Three Twins Organic vanilla ice cream. Brilliant!

There was plenty to drink and it couldn't have made me happier! New to me was Bloom Gin, a premium London Dry Gin with lush floral notes of chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle. My favorite non-alcoholic delight was the super dry California Brut flavor of the popular Vignette Wine Country Soda. 21st Amendment did it again (their Fireside Chat and Hell of High Watermelon won me over last year) with their newest ale Allies Win The War, a collaboration with Eugene, OR's Ninkasi Brewery. The earthy ale is brewed with dates, lending it a kiss of mellow sweetness. I ended the afternoon getting up close and personal with the Skyy portfolio of brands, including Espolon Tequila, Campari, Wild Turkey and Frangelico... and watching the determination to make them all work together in one cup. Witness the boozy horchata and tequila-based cocktail below, made pink by a splash of Campari...

Greg of SippitySup getting TikiBuzzed.

I probably should have taken a cocktail break, but kept calm and carried on to The Tonga Room to co-host The Table Set's TikiBuzz Happy Hour! We met some listeners and shared wonderfully potent potables with our new friends.

Our gala dinner was set in the bowels of the Grand Hyatt, with an exhibition kitchen worthy of Iron Chef helming the banquet room. Tyler Florence (quickly dubbed #T-Flo by FoodBuzzards on Twitter) demoed a lovely Eastern European-inspired meal, whilst a very different menu was being plated for us backstage.

A butter lettuce salad kit.

Pro photo tip: Candle Saucer bounce!

Kristin The Cuisinerd, ready for meat!

I lucked out sitting with a pretty amazing table really of some of the best bloggers out there. We brandished knives. We awaited delicious food. We spoke of the T-Flo.

Josie from Day Dreamer Desserts and Trevor of Sis. Boom. [Blog]

Andy, not letting his meal cramp his swagger.

Wedding steak surf n' turf does not a T-Flo cider-marinated pork chop make.

Joy the Baker contemplates the intention of her bulgar wheat and braised leek entree.

After a lackluster dessert our table retreated to the top floor of the hotel for liquid dessert, but the bar was a little TOO hopping. Forced to hang at the fringes we couldn't help but notice an open back door to a similarly lackluster wedding reception. Evil comes in many forms, and after an unsatisfactory meal, beware the mind of a foodbuzzed blogger. I won't elaborate, but maybe the reception was crashed by a flash mob, and maybe there was an animated conga line, and maybe their guest book ended up with a few extra John Hancocks. But I couldn't be sure about any of that.

Tracy Shutterbean and Stephanie of Lick My Spoon: total conspirators!

Strolling back to the apartment I smiled at the crisp San Francisco night. Another year! So many accomplishments and yet so much inspiration still untapped. What fruits might the coming year produce? How will the unexpected surprise? And how will I look back at it all this time next year? Well friend, I suppose time will tell.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Table Set Invades the Bay *Hawaiian Shirts Included

This weekend The Table Set are packing our bags and heading north to San Francisco for the 3rd annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. As if three days of killer food, flowing adult beverages, old friends and new friends aren't enough... Greg, Andy and I are throwing our first ever Table Set bash outside of Los Angeles, a Happy Hour meet and greet at the legendary Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel!
We are no strangers to all that is tiki, and can't wait to meet all of you over a cocktail umbrella... So much so that the first 10 listeners to show up will get a Zombie on us! So be prompt, friends!

Check out the flyer below for all the deets...
And if you aren't in the Bay or able to imbibe with us on Saturday, listen to our festive tiki episode and soak in the sun the old fashioned virtual way!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Foodbuzz Blogger Fest: Day 1

I have to admit, I'd been waffling on signing up with Foodbuzz for a while. I mean, do I get enough traffic for an ad program to be worthwhile? Do I really want to cast a commercial sheen on my creative outlet? Would I be a lemming because so many blogs I read are featured publishers? Would this even help me get to the "next level"? I'd glanced at the wordy agreement for weeks, fielding several friendly check-in emails from the Foodbuzz editorial team. Then browsing their site one day, something broke the fog: The upcoming Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco. The very concept promised more than pennies of revenue, it proved to me that Foodbuzz might actually have a commitment to helping their bloggers network and grow... A bona fide blogger community. Hmm...
With a quill tip to tongue, I sent in the signed agreement, registered for the fest, and booked my flight to the Bay.
I'm sure my positive experience at the IFBC in Seattle earlier this year aided in my whim, along with my desire for a (much overdue) visit to ever lovely San Francisco. And the crisp autumn air in downtown was a bracing welcome kiss indeed. But my luck began (ironically) just after missing the shuttle from Foodbuzz HQ at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel to the opening reception. Serendipity then delivered fellow LA blogger the wind attack (OK so maybe us Angelenos can be a little tardy) who shared a cab with me. By the time we made it to Fort Mason Center we were fast friends!
Steps from pioneering vegetarian institution Greens, Fort Mason's Herbst Pavilion was a beacon against the dark bay, flanked by steaming food trucks; a rather dramatic Foodbuzz welcome.
I won't lie, as an unfortunate phone call about layoffs at my office caused me to miss the shuttle in the first place, I pretty much bee-lined to Bonny Doon's table and sampled their 2009 Ca' del Solo Albarino. Intended to take the edge off, the very drinkable white impressed me more on the palate and realigned my mind - I was here to taste and enjoy!
After a lap around the room, I met back up with @windattack at 4505 Meats' booth where there was no looking pretty munching on their mondo slider of Jalapeno-brined corn meal-crusted pork loin with pickled string beans, onions and coriander aioli on a sesame bun. Crispy chicharrones rounded out the calorie count with a crunchy wallop. Time for a beer!
En route to the San Francisco Brewers Guild booth, we picked up a bowl of Mind Your Tongue's "Viking Gumbo" – A brackish and smoky melange of squid, octopus, zucchini, peas, red peppers and chorizo.
With an easy drinking Thirsty Bear Golden Vanilla ale in hand, @windattack and I lined up at Spencer on the Go! for our first taste of escargot. This truck by Chez Spencer wraps the little sluggards in puff pastry, skewers 'em on a lollipop stick with a douse of herbal jus. With a steamy burn to the roof of my mouth and a buttery brine, I couldn't help but think of my early first tastes of fish n' chips or popcorn shrimp - a rich, distracting entry level treat. But one I'd eat again!
Before returning to the shuttle, @windattack and I perused a neighboring food truck round-up, as if I'd left room for more...
It was my first day in the city and early yet, how could I call it a night? So drinks at the infamous Tongo Room were in order. We toasted to the meeting of old friends (coffeepencilknife) and new (@windattack).
Mai Tais and indoor rainstorms drew our night to an end, with a warm fulfillment that I had done the right thing coming to the fest. Foodbuzz may have delivered some tasty bites tonight (with even more in store tomorrow), but more importantly the sometimes anxious blogger in me for once felt sated.