Sunday, November 6, 2011

What is a "Foodbuzz 2011"? Food, friendship and Social Networking Technology!

 Photo taken via Instagram.

I'm very fortunate, that in less than two hours, I can drive on Highway 101 and there is one of my favorite cities-- San Francisco.

 Photo taken via Instagram.

This weekend, I returned for my second time to attend the 2011 Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. For those of you who are following me on twitter or my Facebook Fan Page, you couldn't help but keep up as I tweeted throughout the weekend. 

For last year's Foodbuzz Blogger Festival, I felt like a bit like a country bumpkin when my friend, Monica, and I checked in to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel.  Both of us eagerly rummaged through our welcome bag,  that was chock full of food samples, kitchen gadgets and coupons.   Though Monica and I had never met, before, we were to be roommates. At that time,  neither one of us had an iPhone and I could barely understand what the big deal was with Twitter-- let alone, I couldn't understand what a "hash tag" was!    Still, we took classes on photography, food writing workshops and food demos.  The fine folks at Foodbuzz fed us very well, and we met many food and drink vendors at the Taste Pavilion event.  With the exception of our transportation and hotel expenses, the whole event was free! 

I marked my calendar, well ahead,  for this year's event. I was not going to miss it. Since last year, I had finally upgraded to being an  iPhone owner.  I downloaded the Twitter app.  I had Instagram.  I was armed, ready and dangerous to step up to a new level of technology!

This photo is a bit blurry, I know. I took a quick snapshot of a new friend, Ally Gaffan (right) and "Josh", in unfavorable lighting conditions.  Ally was staying at the same hotel as I was. Josh and I just "met" via Facebook.

This year's event ended at our farewell brunch at 9:00am, this morning.  By now, I'm sure that there are a multitude of food bloggers who have already posted their photos of all the food and San Francisco sightseeing and shopping that happened this weekend. Of course, I took lots of pictures!  How can any food blogger bypass a food buffet, and not want to take photos?  When Tyler Florence made a surprise appearance of our Taste Pavilion, the food paparazzi line grew long in no time at all!

I've already had the opportunity to meet Tyler Florence, and so my life is complete. Plus, I knew I'd see him at Saturday night's Gala Dinner. So,  I just stood in the background and took this shot. I have no idea who this lovely young woman is, but I can understand why she's smiling.

I've been trying to decided exactly how I want to share my weekend experience with you readers.  Do you want to hear all of the details? (There aren't any sordid ones, I can assure you, as my husband joined me, at my hotel,  to attend a local Geneology Conference.)  I didn't want to write a post that just shows all the fabulous food we enjoyed.  I mean, is that fair, when you couldn't be here?  Instead, I'm going to try and share with you what I learned at the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival.  I met a lot of Blogging "Royalty", and learned a lot more about photography, social media do's and don'ts and a bit about Adobe Lightroom. 
I had never been to the cocktail lounge on the 36th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

This was just after 5:00pm on Friday, and the "Golden Hour" lighting was a spectacular sight to see!

Several buses transported a very large group of food bloggers (I think there were 350) to the Terra Gallery for a Welcome Reception, sponsored by Sabra.  Sabra makes hummus, salsas, guacamole, veggie dips and vegetarian sides. 

In true Foodbuzz style, Sabra provided a beautiful spread of finger foods.  I've never been a big fan of  hummus, for some strange reason.  But, honestly, I liked these spreads.  NOTE: Sabra is not paying me to say this! 

Drinks were generous-- wine, beer and cocktails.  The room was loud, but I sure had fun meeting new food bloggers.  An hour later, we were ushered upstairs for a buffet dinner and dessert bar.

Perfectly seared scallops with a celery puree. They were tender and my favorite.

Small tastings from the comfort food bar: brown sugar chicken, meatloaf and red mashed potatoes and mac 'n cheese.

The dessert bar offerings.  This is Josh's plate.  I didn't want to stand in the long line for macaron  desserts.

I nabbed a Pomegranate and Kumquat dessert.  It was "interesting".  I'll leave it at that. We headed back home, on the bus, after 9pm.  After a few glasses of wine, it was lights out until our morning sessions.

I've taken a lot of photos, and collected a stack of business cards. I need a little time to sort through all of this, plus editing photos does take time.  I'm tired, and I have a 5am wakeup call for work.  I'm thankful for daylight's savings time, except that my brain thinks it's bedtime right now-- just a little after 8pm. 

I was delighted to see Julie, from Willow Bird Baking.  She's wins "Miss Congeniality" as she has such a lovely North Carolina charm about her.  I love her blog!

After a few exchanged tweets, Joanne of "Eats Well With Others" and I finally connected.  So glad to finally meet you, Joanne!  I've been reading her blog for quite some time. She makes great recipes, but her writing is so "Carrie Bradshaw".  Coincidentally, Joanne is from New York. 

When I do post Part II, I will try to summarize what I learned in the classroom sessions.  If you are wishing you could be a part of this, next year, you can!  Food bloggers who are Featured Publishers are always invited to this event.  If you have a food blog, and want to be a part of this, here's how you can sign up here.

With that said, I'm going to say good night for now.  Sampling food, dining with food bloggers and watching Tyler Florence giving an entertaining food demo right before my eyes is very hard work.  It's tough, but I someone has to do it.

Ah, my nice big king-sized bed that I share with my husband and cat....

Good night!

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bellini said...

It looks like a whirlwind of events, food and fun as always Debby. I am so glad you attended so that I can live vicariously through you.

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

Love all your photos! It was great to meet you this weekend. I'm excited to search through all your great recipes. :)

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

So good to see you again, Debby! Miss you already!

Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} said...

It was certainly a lovely weekend and I am so glad I had the opportunity to run into you!

FOODalogue said...

I'm glad you mentioned your husband was with you b/c I was horrified you took a photo while driving. :)

Loved photo with you and Julie. You both look terrific.

Joanne said...

It was so great meeting you Debbie, after reading for all this time! I had so much fun this weekend. Fabulous description of the weekend's foodie shenanigans!

Kara Miller said...

That's ME in the pic with Tyler Florence! :) Wish I would've met you this weekend, I was not expecting to see my picture on your blog as I came by to visit!

Maureen, Milwaukee said...

Sounds like a great meeting. You look wonderful in the pics you posted - you're very photogenic! Hope to hear more about what you saw and learned there.

Stacey Snacks said...

I really debated whether or not to make the 6 hour flight, had no idea Joanne was going to be there too.
Well, maybe next year. It looks like you had a wonderful time and you got to see your "boyfriend" once again!!!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Wow, what a great experience, and in one of my favorite cities, too! I would love to attend this event...maybe next year.

Monica H said...

Sounds like you had an amazing weekend and met some lovely people Debby. I wish I were there but I'm thankful that you at least shared with me via iPhone :-)