I could not make it in time for the cocktail hour or the Dine About Town events on Friday night because commuting from the South Bay to SF after work never works out. I also skipped the Ferry Building Scavenger Hunt because I did not want to spend the entire day in SF wandering around homeless between events so my first event of the day was the Taste Pavilion. Here is a quick recap of the most notable vendors.
Recall that last year I said Estancia beef was the best bite of the whole event. This year, it still holds true. After having spent 2 weeks in Brazil eating nothing but grass fed beef, I appreciate the importance of healthy, hormone-free beef. Hey, if the whole nation of Brazil could do it, so can America. I am anxiously awaiting the availability of Estancia beef in my local Sprouts markets so I could support my two favorite brands at one time. =)
Cobra Corn was a new vendor this year with a very notable product. They showcased 2 ethnic Indian flavors of popcorn. I was really impressed since I've been hooked on super spicy Indian trail mix from the Indian grocery store but have not had these seasonings on American popcorn. Curious to see how well this brand will do.
Three Twins Ice Cream was Phil's favorite vendor last year and they still preserve that same great taste and brand appeal. I had the salted caramel on the left and Phil had lemon cookie on the right. Both very delicious and smooth.
My favorite new vendor was Lundberg who provided samples of brown rice chips, products, and rice. Previously I had been eating brown rice chips from RiceWorks which is sold at Safeway or Lucky. After tasting Lundberg's chips, I think they are better than RiceWorks because the chips are thinner and are more reminiscent of Doritos or Sun Chips. With RiceWorks, you can tell you're eating brown rice because it is thicker and more bland than other chips. Lundberg is not paying me to say this, I was just very impressed. I managed to snag a sample bag of rice to try at home.
As usual there is always too much food to cover but here are some samples of all the offerings at the Taste Pavilion.
Gala Dinner at the California Academy of Sciences
The dinner could not be held at a better venue than the Cal Academy. This really reminded me of my highschool prom at the San Jose Tech Museum. Who knew museums make such classy venues?
We were greeted at the door with shots of watermelon aqua frescas. Tastes like refreshing watermelon with lemon juice and looked on so pretty to photograph.
This year the bars were well stocked with alcohol to get us all nice and toasty.
Scattered about the bottom floor of the museum were various cheese and bread platters. The brie was particularly creamy...yumms...
As we mingled, we were served hor d'oeuvres such as the crepe and duck liver(?) pictured above.
I think this is an Old Fashioned, the stuff Don Draper likes, but not me. This is someone else's drink.
Dinner was served buffet style with so many options it really made my head spin. There was this sausage and wheatberry dish which was bland.
The other appetizer was a ravioli and butternut squash soup. Hooray for the butternut squash. Always a good option. The raviolis were a cold but still tasty.
One of the salads feature endives, avocado, and grapefruit. I also have on the plate a piece of fish (forgot which type) and roasted golden beets. The beets and grapefruit were the only things I liked from this plate.
Arugula and fig salad with oranges and olives. I liked this salad the best. Actually I regret not getting a second plate but I was so full by this time. Had I known, I would skip the endive salad and sausage appetizer and eat only this fig salad. Yummy! I'm pretty confident I can recreate this one with the right ingredients.
The highlight from this year's goodie bag is the box of dried fruit and nut snacks from Naturebox. They sound especially healthy and good for you. I can't wait to dig into these throughout the work week. I also score handfuls of walnuts which I'm thinking I will turn into a pesto later this week. You can also see the Lundberg Countrywild Rice that I plan to test and review some time. Not pictured is a bottle of chocolate flavored coconut water by Zico. That was bad. Coconut water should always be plain. Only plain!
I had a fun time at this year's festival as I did the last 2 years. However, the newness of everything is wearing out on me and each year, it is quite a trek into the city and alot of planning and coordinating to spend the weekend here. This may be my last Foodbuzz festival...There is just too much I need to do that takes me away from committing to a week of foodie fun...