1st Annual Foodbuzz Food Bloggers Festival – San Francisco, CA ( Friday – Part 1)

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Roberto and I were fortunate enough to spend the last weekend with 250 other food bloggers at the Foodbuzz Food Bloggers Festival in San Francisco, CA. This was our first trip to California, so we were very excited to visit San Francisco and for all the events of the weekend! Needless to say we had a great time, in great company. I have been blogging since 2006, and in that time have had a few opportunities to spend time with other bloggers. Putting faces to the names we see and hear so much through blogging and getting to meet in person people we have “known” for years in the blogosphere is a really awesome experience. These last few weeks, I have had a chance to meet many bloggers, both through the conference, and also through our travels in New England. I will try to do my best to re-live those experiences through words.

This weekend was a real meeting of the minds of food bloggers. I will attest again, for the record, that food bloggers really are the nicest people in the world.

Hanging out with food bloggers has a certain comfort level to it, because you already know up front that you have a common ground (and a high level of obsession)! So having the privilege to get to know the people behind the blogs you love, and learn more about them and their lives, beyond the food blogging aspects, is an enriching and wonderful experience. I am very thankful to everyone at Foodbuzz for the great job they did putting this together for us. Giving us the opportunity to meet other bloggers, and feeding us amazing food along the way!

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(Me with a delicious Autumn Apple Martini, with Mari from Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard, with Vanessa from Italy in SF and with Kat from A Good Appetite).

The weekend was kicked off on the rooftop of the Hotel Vitale with a meet and greet happy hour. We enjoyed cocktails from Skyy Spirits, sparkling wines, beers and sparkling juices, including a special and delicious Autumn Apple Martini which was inspired by Melissa York of Cheese Wine and Cheddar. This gave us all the opportunity to meet and greet everyone.

After happy hour we headed over to the Ferry Building and were treated to an amazing Street Food extravaganza featuring the best of the best of San Francisco ‘s street food fare. I did my best to try at least a bite of everything.

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I think the unanimous favorite of the evening was the Porchetta Sandwich with greens and caramelized onions from Roli Roti . Porchetta is a Roman specialty, and my resident Roman claims it is the best he ever had. So you can imagine how good it was.

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I also really enjoyed the Potato and Chorizo tacos from Tacolicious. Their sauces are to die for – if you can take the heat! If not, their Green Goddess herbal sauce, will cool things off. The tacos were so good, I had to go back for seconds!

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I also admit to going back for seconds at Straus Family Creamery, the booth right next to Mission Mini’s Cupcakes (this one is the Pumpkin with Dulce de Leche icing!) They served us organic coffee and vanilla bean ice cream. It was creamy and delicious! Just the way ice cream should be.

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Another delicious treat was the vegan, raw cheesecake from Alive! . Honestly the best cheesecake I have ever had – see my face! The expression says it all!

But this was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the offerings. We also really enjoyed fresh shucked oysters from Hog Island Oyster Co. To wash it all down, beer from Thirsty Bear and cocktails from Skyy Vodka- my favorite was called the Blood & Sand – equal parts of The Glenrothes Select Reserve (Speyside single malt Scotch), fresh orange juice, Cinzano sweet vermouth and cherry liquer. The drink was garnished with delicious cherries from Italy. There were also fresh chichharones (spicy pork rinds) that were perfect with the wheat beer from Thirsty Bear.

Also in the offerings were – wood fired pizzas, meat pies, roasted beet salads and more. It was a fantastic way to experience some classic San Francisco treats and meet all the wonderful vendors who create this delicious food and feed the people of San Francisco!

That night we really enjoyed hanging out and getting to know the folks from Foodbuzz, meeting my buddy Kat from A Good Appetite, Val and Giz of BloggerAid Changing the Face of Famine , Vanessa from Italy in SF , Mari from Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard , Jen from FoodBat and Donna from Cooking with Donna (anyone have her blog URL?).

It was also great spending time with our Florida friends, Peter and Christey from FotoCuisine.

Please stay tuned for more pictures and stories from the weekend!

Finest Foodies Friday – November 6, 2009

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IF YOU LIKE FOOD BLOGS, THIS IS THE PLACE TO BE EVERY FRIDAY!

As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!

What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 5,200 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! 🙂

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Two Peas and Their Pod

This blog is by “The Cooking Couple” Maria and Josh. They like tasty and delicious food, are not fans of fast food or chain restaurants. They believe if you can make it better at home, why eat out? I have to agree with that. Maria says: “We are a great team in the kitchen. We love trying new recipes, techniques, and flavors. We try to keep it healthy, but of course we have to splurge once in awhile.” Don’t we all?! Maria is also a really good Twitter buddy of mine, so be sure to check out their blog to find out how you can follow them on Twitter, too.

Burp! Where Food Happens

I really love Lo and Peef’s blog! They has a great sense of humor, and their food is always really yummy. Burp! Is the name of their imaginary restaurant that they came up with one night, and this dream became the inspiration for their blog. This is how they describe their food philosophy: “We’re two hopeless food geeks who harbor a genuine love for delicious (sustainable) edibles. We’re not fancy, or fussy. But, we do love to create new and wonderful things in the kitchen. We keep the dream of BURP! alive through daily experimentation, and we share our successes (and failures) with you.”

The Feast Within

This blog is written by Gabi who comes from a long line of cooks! At the tender age 14, after years of experience making mud pies and easy bake oven treats, she began her real cooking career. She devoured her mom’s Larousse Gastronomique French Encyclopedia of Cooking looking for recipes. After baking some croissants and making Coq Au Vin and she was hooked! She says: “I’m sure I now own well over 300 cookbooks -(including one of my family’s recipes that my mom put together about 20 years ago and all its various reformations.) I never get enough- I devour them like novels.” She blogs because of how much inspiration she has received from the blogging community, and hopes to give a little back! Isn’t that a great inspiration?

Cafe Nilson

Raquel who writes Cafe Nilson is all over the place! She is a regular Jouster in The Royal Foodie Joust and has been featured on Foodbuzz’s 24,24,24 several times. Her blog is her online cookbook. It contains her collection of recipes from places they have lived in and visited, shared by friends and family and fellow foodies on the internet. So she invites you to grab your favorite table and enjoy a cup of coffee in her online cafe!

Laws of the Kitchen

Cakelaw writes the story of her life, through her food adventures. She is an Aussie lawyer who loves to cook. She started her blog back in 2007 to share her efforts in the kitchen with those who would like to hear them. She says: “cooking evokes fond memories of my childhood and allows me to connect with my heritage by using the same recipes that my mother and grandmother used”. There is a blog focus on baking, but other culinary treats can be found as well!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.

I NEED NOMINATIONS!!!!!! I know we all have our favorite blogs that we read everyday, and I would love to know about them. We have a very diverse food community, and I would love to see more of the blogs you love featured. We also have a lot of humanitarians out in the Foodie Blogosphere. If you think there is a food blogger out there that deserves a little recognition for their culinary skills, or what they are doing to help the world through the lens of food, please tell us about them!!! Please post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday! They would love to have your feedback.

Beans and Rice: The Ultimate Leftover Meal

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I got a comment recently from a new reader. She said she was enjoying my blog, but didn’t see many recipes for leftovers. That comment kind of surprised me, because most of the food I make uses some kind of leftover component. However, I don’t always specify that when writing my posts. So I want to make more of an effort to point out the leftover components I am using, and to talk about other ways that my food philosophy extends, but yet still encompasses “leftover qualities”. Things like making food from scratch using what it in your pantry or fridge, making things you eat often like bread, cheese and yogurt, or preserving seasonal vegetables and making your own condiments. This is all part of the Leftover Queen philosophy – use what you have on hand, make substitutions whenever necessary, to be able to focus on what using what is on hand, and make as much as you can from scratch using wholesome basics.

In this vein I want to talk about beans and rice. I love beans and rice, and it is certainly a meal that embraces leftovers. Beyond the basic components of beans and rice (and even within those two ingredients there are many varieties), you can throw anything you have lying around in the fridge that needs using up. As usual I always soak my rice and beans ahead of time. I generally take a day during the weekend, and do large batches of soaking – grains, flours and legumes, and then cooking til almost done, so I can just package them up and throw them in the freezer for quick yet nourishing meals later on.

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The week before vacation is always a busy time, so I was happy to be greeted by beans, rice and other grains when I opened the freezer that I could throw together for a quick meal. For this particular batch of beans and rice I added some chopped up organic kielbasa and sauteed it with the rice. Then I added about 2 cups of chopped kale, some spices like New Mexico green chili powder, cumin and coriander, a few tablespoons of homemade tomato sauce (also from the freezer) and water. I let everything come to a boil, and cooked on low heat for about 25 minutes, adding more liquid as necessary.

Beans and rice is a combination dish that is eaten all over the world. It is frugal, healthy and delicious, and you can constantly change it up to suit your tastes! Make it with leftover meat, or keep it vegetarian – the choice is up to you! Top it with shredded cheese, yogurt (or sour cream), salsa or even guacamole!

So enjoy some beans and rice for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast, today! 🙂

Stay tuned for some posts about The Foodbuzz Food Bloggers Festival that I will be attending this weekend! Looking forward to meeting many of you there! 🙂