Like a well orchestrated symphony, Saturday night’s Foodbuzz dinner & awards ceremony was arranged beautifully. It is not an easy task to bring a few hundred people together for a dinner in a warehouse at one table with a makeshift kitchen. Somehow, with the help of some great locals and I am sure a lot of hard work, it came together.
Namu restaurant was brave in agreeing to the challenge of preparing a delicious meal for the Foodbuzz attendees in the surprising location of the Greenleaf Produce Warehouse. Unfortunately Chef Dennis Lee could not be there, but his team did not let him down. The location is surprising only because, well, it is a warehouse, but the pairing makes sense. What also makes sense is the one long table that brings us all together to figuratively break bread.
The concept was beautiful, and the execution even nicer.
After what can only be called an epic day at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market we piled onto busses for the ride to the warehouse. Sitting with what have become my fast good friends, I thought about what to expect from the night. The night exceeded my expectations in every way.
We pulled up to the warehouse and Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon started us off with some wine. While I have had my fair share of wine before, I am decidedly uneducated in it. However, I really enjoyed how refreshing and light this glass was.
Wine glass in tow I explored the warehouse and introduced myself to some fellow bloggers. The warehouse was a little cool in temperature, but my heart felt warm. In the short time of a weekend we had all become a true, living, breathing community, and you could feel it in the buzz of the air.
I was happy to see a small Frog Hollow Farm‘s display, especially after my morning of pear tasting. Of course, I had to have a pose.
I don’t only love Frog Hollow Farm’s produce… I also love the Foodbuzz staff. Here is Alexa, Community Manager of Foodbuzz, and yes, she is as nice as she looks.
And Dorian, the other Community Manager of Foodbuzz (photo taken Friday evening):
In visiting the Greenleaf Produce Warehouse I could feel how special and lucky I was to be there, not only for the event, but for the location itself. That was confirmed to me during introductions when we learned that spring mix was born here.
Outstanding in the Field allowed us to break down the barriers between farm to kitchen to table and see it all together in one place at one time.
When it was time for dinner I navigated my way down foot after foot of table until I reached my seat. It was time to do what we do best: eat.
Each course had a fine wine pairing by Bonny Doon, and I will say that every one of those wines was better than the last. Let me let the meal, and the wine, speak for itself:
Mushroom dashi, maitake, shimeji, enoki mushrooms:
Udon, grilled Monterey calamari in a browned butter ponzu reduction, cucumber, kaiware, frisee & yellow pear tomato with chojang & sesame vinaigrette:
Paired with a 2007 Le Cigare Blanc:
Salmon baked with dashikombu, fried garlic and Japanese curry powder:
Mushroom risotto with koshikari rice, crispy maitake mushrooms:
Soy braised beef cheeks & oxtails, baby carrots & fingerling potato, OB beer and denjang demi:
Roasted brussels sprouts, ponzu fried garlic, guanciale, bonito flakes:
Paired with a 2005 Le Cigare Volant:
Koshikari rice pudding, cookie crumble and warren pear:
Paired with a 2008 Vinferno:
Food bloggers Jenna, Kath, & Tina in action:
If the photos didn’t tell a great enough story, let me. The meal was smart, and nicely executed. The first course was a little cold, but we had one another to keep cozy. As the courses progressed the flavors became bolder, until we finally reached the brussels sprouts. Oh, the brussels sprouts! They were sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy, every pair of opposites in one bite. I almost didn’t try them as they contained guanciale (pig’s cheeks), but after hearing the nonstop talk about them I just had to take a bite. And then another. And another.
The fun didn’t end there. We still had the ceremony for the winners of the 2009 Foodbuzz Blog Awards! Charming founder & CEO Ben Dehan (with Al of Frog Hollow Farms and Ryan of Foodbuzz in the background) addressed us before Ryan announced the winners:
Here are the winners!!!!
Blogger you’d most want their “foodie” life made into a movie & Best New Blog:
Blogger you’d most want to open up their own restaurant:
Blogger you’d most like to have a show on the Food Network:
Jenna, of Eat, Live, Run!
Triple Threat: Blogger you’d most want to make you a cocktail, Blogger you’d most like to take to dinner, Best Healthy Living Blog:
Tina, of Carrots ‘n Cake!
Blogger you’d most want to be your personal sommelier:
Blogger you’d most like to cook a meal for you & Best Photography Blog:
Deb of Smitten Kitchen!
Best Video Blog:
John, of Food Wishes!
Best Beer Blog:
Most Humorous Blog, & Best Family Blog:
Ree of The Pioneer Woman Cooks!
Best Community Blog Effort:
Best Blogger Humanitarian Effort:
Caitlin, of Healthy Tipping Point! (accepted by Meghann)
Best Green/Sustainable Blog:
Best Writing Voice:
Best Baking Blog:
Best Cocktail/Spirits Blog:
Best Wine Blog:
Best Recipe Blog:
Elise, of Simply Recipes!
Best Overall Blog:
KATH OF KATH EATS REAL FOOD!
Like all great evenings, we didn’t want it to end. Solution: Paul Arenstam’s Americano at the Hotel Vitale. We settled in for drinks but somehow ended up ordering a delicious celebratory dessert: Chocolate Torta, which was served with mint stracciatella gelato and salty caramel. I only wish I had enough time or room in my belly for a full meal at Americano, because this dessert was amazing. I love dishes that combine a variety of textures and flavors, and this dessert did that beautifully.
I also had an amazing cup of hot tea, but somehow it is en fuego here:
Sadly, the celebration finally had to come to an end as Meghann and I had an early 11 mile run planned for the morning. I regretfully pulled myself away from the fun conversation and magical evening and headed upstairs to bed.
My only regret of the evening? Trying only one item at Americano.
Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to Foodbuzz for such a magical, inspirational, and heartwarming evening!
For previous Foodbuzz fun, see here:
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