Room with a View and Dessert Overload – Day 1 of 2011 FoodBuzz Blogger Festival

by spiceaholic on November 7, 2011

What a weekend! I can’t believe it’s already over.  As always, I’m amazed at how much goes on, how many people I meet, and how much we eat.  Here are the highlights from the first day:

Check out that gorgeous view!  As a finalist in the Alexia “Reinvent a Classic” Fry challenge, my trip to San Francisco was paid for, but I was not expecting such a beautiful view awaiting me when I checked into the hotel on Friday.  I admit, I called down to the front desk convinced there had been a mix-up with my reservation, but it was all correct.

I really wanted to explore a bit since I had a few hours before the welcome dinner that night, but I was exhausted from the flight and starving since I hadn’t had a lot to eat that day.  I texted Mara for some recommendations for nearby places to eat, since she had been there since Thursday, and she recommended Bread and Cocoa, a cafe a few blocks down.

I was STARVING, so I ordered a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo and a hot Cubano sandwich (roast turkey, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, chipotle mayo, and pickle on Ciabatta).  Perfect choice!

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Stomach finally appeased, I headed back to the hotel to rest up a bit before the evening’s events.  Later I would wish I hadn’t eaten so heartily.  You’ll understand when you see the pictures!

The welcome reception and dinner was at the Terra Gallery, and from the moment we arrived we were surrounded by food, food, and more food!  I was having camera issues, so I didn’t get as many shots as I wanted of the cocktail hour.  The welcome reception was hosted by Sabra, so hummus featured heavily in the appetizers.  Fine by me, I love hummus!

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After some nibbling and mingling, it was time to head upstairs for dinner, which was sponsored by Electrolux.

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Doesn’t that menu look amazing?  That’s only the first side!

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Where to begin?

I hit up the comfort food station first.  By coincidence, Jessica, Mara, and Jenna were at my table!

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I really enjoyed Mara’s meatloaf muffins!  Love the whipped potato “frosting.”

Made a second pass at the buffet and sampled the kale, leek, and ricotta tart and the salt cod cake.

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As we let dinner digest, we watched the blog awards ceremony.  Congrats to all the winners!

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Mara and me.  I met her at last year’s Blogger Festival — she is just as amazing in person as she is on her blog!

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Ladies in red!  I promise we didn’t plan to match. Me and my friend Sree, who used to live in Atlanta.  If you’re in the LA-area, be sure to check out her blog, SaagAHH, which focuses on Indian food, restaurants, and culture in LA.

Finally, dessert time!!

I’m not going to lie, I took almost one of everything that was on the dessert menu.  But in my defense, so did most other people!  How else am I to do my foodie duties if I don’t sample the goods?

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The cast of characters. We grabbed dessert first, then tried to guess which ones were what.  I just took a bite out of each to try and and only a few were gobbled completely.

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Marscarpone Cheesecake

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I think this was a Red Licorice Macaroon.

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Creamy Italian Nougat and Valrhona Chocolate Ganache Bite.  One of my favorites.

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Chocolate-Coffee Cream Star Cookie Sandwich

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Dark Chocolate Pomponete?  Another favorite

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Double-gem pate de fruit — I think this was the blood orange one.  Definite favorite.

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Some pomegranate and kumquat thing.  Not a fan.

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Sabra chocolate, coconut, and caramel hummus pastry.  Definitely creative, but I wasn’t a fan, it still tasted like hummus.  I was hoping it would taste somewhat like halwa, but the chickpea and tahini taste was too dominating.

By now, we were ridiculously stuffed, and I was exhausted — it was only about 9 pm CA time, but it was past midnight GA time.   I admit to being old and lame and taking one of the first shuttles back to the hotel to crash.  But what a great start to the weekend!

Stay tuned for the day 2 re-caps!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sree @ saagAHH December 2, 2011 at 1:07 am

I will unabashedly tell you that I’ve voted for you multiple times on the Alexia challenge so far! Congratulations on being a finalist; I am rooting for you all the way. And thank you so much for helping me get oriented at the festival and getting all my materials for me when my flight was delayed. Mentally, it always helps me so much to know just one person before having a new experience like this. (When I moved to Cali, I knew just one person — and that seemed to work out pretty well!) I am so thankful you remembered me from Atlanta. I will let you know next time I am in town.

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