Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Foodbuzz Blogger Festival 2012: Weekend Highlights

In late October, I attended my first FoodBuzz Blogger Festival in San Francisco.  It was my official coming out as a food blogger.  I wasn't quite sure how a born again Slovenka with a passion for vintage cookbooks would fit in. But my husband and I had a fine time.

Here are a few highlights.

Saturday morning:  We boarded the train and headed across the Bay to downtown San Francisco.  At the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, I signed us in and donned my official DailyBuzz Food name tag.  Next stop: the Taste Pavilion, at the nearby Metreon.

The Taste Pavilion featured local and sustainable products from Northern California.  There were vendors to meet and products to sample.  These tiny cupcakes were quite a hit.

After we had sampled our way around the Taste Pavilion, we headed across town to our cool Art Deco motel in the Outer Sunset. The Ocean Park Motel, the oldest in San Francisco, was built in the 1930s.  It is right by the zoo and the beach. 

We had time to explore the neighborhood before we changed into our evening finery for the Festive Gala.  Right around the corner from the motel, we discovered San Francisco's Irish Cultural Center.  It was a good old-fashioned ethnic hall, complete with a restaurant and bar.  I was excited to learn that they served a traditional Irish Breakfast for Sunday brunch.  An ethnic dining adventure would be the perfect finale to the weekend, before we returned home tomorrow.

At just before seven on Saturday night, we arrived at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. As we entered, we were greeted by a phalanx of waiters offering drinks and elegant appetizers. Then we stepped into a magical undersea world of shimmering fish, bridges over waterways lit from below, coral reefs, and exotic creatures I had never seen before.

There was plenty of food and drink as we wandered among the sea life.  Open bars and strategically placed appetizer stations, with a delicious assortment of local California cheeses, nuts, and preserves.

Finally, it was time for the main event.  Back upstairs for an elegant sit down dinner. Just reading the menu was overwhelming.   My favorite dish the from the Small Plates Action Station was described like this: "Housemade Artichoke Ravioli with Arugula and Shaved Asiago, with Grissini and Carrot-Ginger Soup." The fancy cousin of Slovenian zlikrofi!

One of the best parts of the Festive Gala was getting to meet some of my fellow bloggers.  We had a delightful group of dining companions at our table: Kristianne from My San Francisco Kitchen, Sam from All You Eat is Vegetables, Danica from Danica's Daily, and Kate from Something We Dreamed. After dinner, while we were waiting outside for the taxi that never arrived, I met one more blogger: Annelies, The Food Poet.  Such lovely, intelligent women, all different, but joined by our common passion.

We slept well that night.  We didn't even hear the fellow who was banging on the door to the motel at three in the morning with a garbage can lid.

On Sunday morning, after coffee and croissants at the Java Beach Cafe, we enjoyed a bracing beach walk along the Pacific Ocean.

By the time we met my brother for brunch at the Irish Cultural Center, we had worked up an appetite again.  They had a nice, woody, old-fashioned bar. Great Guinness on tap, I hear.

Their traditional Irish breakfast was something a Slovenian would love!  Irish bacon, sausage, black and white pudding. All pork, of course. Fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, home fries, and eggs any style. With two kinds of soda bread on the side.  

When we returned home late on Sunday afternoon, it felt as though we had been away for more than a day and a half.  It was quite an adventure, with warm memories and a whole bag of foodie souvenirs. 

Big thanks to the folks at DailyBuzz Food who organized this festive event!


  1. I am new following you! I am a full blooded sLOVEnian! My children are half and half mixed up primarily Irish! My niece Chelsea is visiting from Oregon and she wants to cook Slovenian with me! Living in Denver, the high altitude is a big issue with the baked goods! So I am trying to get my brother to bring the kielbasi from my cousins market in Pueblo for next weekend! I am a nervous wreck! I have so many wonderful memories of my folks and my mom cooking up a Slovenian storm! Your blog will be a blessing to me! I loved your food trip! I am guessing you are in California! I will be back. Thanks for sharing! Your blog is lovely.

  2. Thanks so much for your lovely message! Where did you grow up? Yes, you are right, I am now in CA but spent most of my life in the midwest. Much luck with your Slovenian cooking adventures! Hope you will write about them. Happy holidays! Blair