Foodbuzz Festival: The Break-Out Sessions and Tasting Pavillion

The Foodbuzz Festival last weekend started out as any foodie festival should – with loads of wine and gastronomic delights.  Delights I can’t taunt you with because I accidentally deleted all of the photos that same night.  Typical.

Session 1

On the heels of that disaster, it was appropriate that my first “breakout” session Day 2, was “It’s a Snap: Hands-on Photography Workshop.”  The session was led by Laura of The Cooking Photographer and Marc of No Recipes.  They started the session off by showing a clear, colorful, TasteSpotting worthy photo – taken with an iPod.  The point?  You don’t need a fancy camera to take good photos (but it doesn’t hurt). 

Laura’s composition tips were huge for me:

  • To create tension: Pouring, dripping and other frozen movement.
  • To create movement: diagonals and spirals are your friends.
  • Photos benefit from shading.

Laura and Marc also talked angles, macro mode, lighting and shooting RAW.  Then we whipped out our cameras and started practicing.

I Still Need a Lot of Practice!

Session 2: Great Catch!

Session 2 put me face to face with one of my favorite chefs – Mary Sue Milliken. 

I’ve been eating at Mary Sue and Susan’s  Border Grill and Ciudad for years, so watching her cook live was a dream I didn’t know I had come true.  She discussed sustainable seafood use and made two types of fish tacos showcasing Alaskan halibut and salmon.  YUM.

Session 3

The last session of the day was “Food Blogger’s Guide to Success (Whatever That Means).”  Hmmmmm . . .

On to the Tasting Pavillion

After the breakout sessions, I rendezvoused with my sister and friend Julie and we headed off to the Tasting Pavillion where we ate Mary Sue’s fish tacos and this:

Miss Pearl's Spicy Shrimp

And this:

Saag's Sausage

And drank this:

Far Niente Wines

It was shocking and relieving to see an established, high-end, tasty winery at a tasting event.  

I also snagged a shot with Mary Sue Milliken:

 And attempted to get on Food Network by stuffing my face with way too many mini cupcakes – yes, I am shameless.

We wrapped the event by making a 7 second video that was turned into a flip book courtesy of Buitoni.  I’m contacting the company who made the book and seeing if I can snag their video for you all, but if not, at least there’s this:

There’s no way this weekend can top last weekend’s Foodbuzz Festival but that just makes going back next year all the more appealing 😉
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Foodbuzz Festival Scavenger Hunt: Team Tony and the Gold Dust Gals

Team Tony and the Gold Dust Gals Late Night Nosh

  • 4 shots Goldschlager
  • 1 Cosmo 
  • 15 synchronized jumping jacks
  • 4 kinds of Hostess products
  • tango sans music with a sexy stranger
  • 1 SGV Food Dood and
  • 7 mostly high-heel wearing food babes
  • San Francisco
  • Mix together and you get Tony and the Gold Dust Gals on the loose in San Francisco in the Foodbuzz Festival Scavenger Hunt.

    The last night of the Foodbuzz Festival started off innocently enough.  New friendships became stronger as people bonded over wine, food and their obsession with photographing said food.  Blog names, concepts and food photography tips were discussed at length over dinner and a simultaneous flash and click echoed through the Ferry Building each time a new course was served.  And then Salty Seattle – the leggy, chartreuse-clad stiletto wielding sous vide evangelist – took the stage and issued a challenge.  Find a team of 8-10 and accomplish 6 tasks, 1st one to the Clock Bar wins a round of drinks, best blog post about the hunt wins $500 towards attending next year’s Foodbuzz Fest. 

    Hell Yes.

    Gastrophoria, The Cooking Photographer and SGVFoodDood a.k.a Tony were up for the challenge. Duhlicious soon rallied despite a 6:30 a.m flight.   Willow Bird Baking and The Chic Life were a harder sell, but when I enticed them with a stop at the Gold Dust Lounge they couldn’t resist. 

    The Gold Dust Lounge

    We added Sandy from Foodbuzz into the mix and Team Tony and the Gold Dust Gals was born. 

    The Tasks

    •  Exchange 10 business cards with new acquaintances;
    • Take a photo of your team making a toast
    • Get a photo of at least 1 team member “noshing on a late night delight”
    • Take a picture of the hippest person you can find and 2 team members
    • 4 Team members must perform 10 synchronized jumping jacks
    • Dance with a stranger (1 team member)

    Task one was a no brainer. The weekend was a networking paradise and we were old hands by Saturday night. Business cards exchanged, we moved on to synchronized jumping jacks – in the stairway of the Ferry Building – in heels.

    Time to take the town.
    By the time we hit the pavement, Julie (Willow Bird Baking) had located a dashing waiter and dancing with a stranger was underway. (Yes, that’s me getting bossy in the background – I blame the wine, naturally.)

    Ladies of SF, find this man and find out if he’s single (and straight) – hot, can dance and is willing to? This man is marriage material (or at least, “shhh baby don’t talk” worthy).
    Three tasks accomplished and we hadn’t even left the Ferry Building – the Gold Dust Lounge beckoned.

    Now, Team Tony and the Gold Dust Gals tended to have a few overachievers in it. Which led to this:

    Jumping Jacks Round 2

    Another round of synchronized calisthenics, this time in front of an iconic San Francisco cable car.  The pic is a bit blurry – but, hey, we were in motion, people.

    We also tended to keep one upping each other on the hippest person.

    First, there was the bow-tie dandy:

    And then we found Monsieur Mohowk and his ladies.  But that didn’t feel right either.

    And then we found, him, the great-grandaddy of hipsters, Gold Dust Jack:

    We toasted our arrival at the Gold Dust Lounge with the only drink appropriate for Tony and the Gold Dust Gals – shots of Goldschlager (and a cosmo for me – my college days are so over – but apparently my Sex and the City days are not).

    With one task remaining we headed out for our late night nosh.  We tried Blondies, but it was closed.  We sussed out Lori’s Diner, but it just didn’t feel like a Tony and the Gold Dust Gals kind of place.  And then the lightbulb in my head went off – Hostess Products

    Now those of you who have followed my experimentations should not be surprised by this.  The team had a  huh? moment and then wholeheartedly embraced it.  (My kind of people.)  Off to Walgreens we went in search of Twinkies and Ho- Hos.  We settled on four packages of processed treats: Raspberry Zingers, Suzy Qs, delectable cupcakes and the classic Twinkie.  We wrangled a manager to snap our pic and took a bite.  The result is that lovely team photo above.  And, oh yeah, Tony and I ate every bite of those Twinkies – and liked it.

    Tasks accomplished, we headed to the Clock Bar.  We may not have been the first team to arrive but we were the last to leave

    Thanks to the Cooking Photographer for the pics.  And thanks to Tony and the Gold Dust Gals for making such a great team.  Can’t wait til next year!
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