I am a lucky girl to be living so close to San Francisco, such an amazing city full of wonderful childhood memories for me. I don’t think I could ever get tired of visiting the city, checking out the crazy crowds and smelling the amazing blend of eats coming from amazing restaurants every 2 feet. So when I heard about Foodbuzz’s Blogger Festival, I knew it was my opportunity to finally check out a blogging event.
Dragging my hubby with me, we made it to San Francisco yesterday afternoon and what an experience so far! I just got out of the breakout sessions, but more on that later. Let’s talk about day 1! We arrived at the Westin St. Francis Friday afternoon and got this great, funky old-but-renovated room.
Love these old door knobs!
What a view!
Hmmm, not sure about the chandelier.
A bathtub for people no more than 4 feet tall. Problem is hubby and I are 6 feet and over!
Ready to blog!
After I checked into the festival and picked up the goody bag, I had to thoroughly go through it back at the room!
So much sweet loot! A magnet towel, utensils, gadgets, samples, coupons – so much foodie joy in one little bag!
Starved, we ripped into the 479 Black Truffle + While Cheddar Popcorn and yum! Not entirely vegan, but oh well!
Next thing I knew it was time to catch the shuttle bus to the welcome reception in the hotel lobby where tons of other bloggers were already waiting. The first thing I noticed was the huge number of digital SLR cameras everywhere! I started feeling a little inadequate with my cute, little point-and-shoot digital camera. It was easy to pick out the more serious, full-time bloggers from the part-time noobs like myself. At first I had a great time just standing on the outsides of the waiting crowd just checking everyone out, what they were bringing for the foodie gift exchange and what they were wearing. I brought bamboo salad servers and a sushi sauce dish and chopstick set from Crate & Barrel, BTW. Not exactly homemade, local or even super creative, but raw related. I found out about the foodie gift exchange two days earlier and dashed to the mall to pick something up since my crazy work schedule kept me from putting too much time into it.
Anyway, we were escorted to two huge, luxo buses waiting outside the hotel.
The buses were amazingly nice for the short trip to Fort Mason and we were greeted with an amazing sunset before entering the pavilion.
It was funny that the first thing everyone did getting off the bus was start snapping pictures and the variety of cameras used was very interesting. Some were using iPhones while others had high-end digital SLRs accompanied by large accessory bags for lenses, etc. It was nice being among so many bloggers, for once I didn’t feel awkward taking pictures of all things edible. :-)
Every table had these beautiful appetizer trays in the center, the fruits were amazing and I think I ate most of the figs from each one. :-)
The Foodbuzz cupcake display, too pretty to eat!
The reception was well organized, everyone got table assignments on the way in with instructions for the foodie gift exchange.
Mmmm, lots of wine tasting.
Sadly, there weren’t a lot of vegan options at the reception which was one way to keep me out of trouble. One great option was this bean and squash taco from Tacolicious.
No vegan options here. :-(
The vegan paella was wonderful with veggies.
I tried the vanilla bean beer and it was wonderfully unique.
Wine and beer – I swear I’m not a drunk! :-)
The Food Network was filming bloggers tasting from the cupcake table, so many of us were avoiding it in fear of an off-guard interview.
After sampling and chatting around inside the reception, I moved outside to check out Off the Grid.
D’oh, not vegan. :-)
Vegan hot chocolate? This I’ve gotta try!
OMG, it was liquid heaven!
Overall this was a wonderful evening and I just had a blast chatting with so many bloggers and amazed at how far some traveled to get to the event – Alaska, the east coast, etc. It was awesome! I spent a lot of time chatting with Carolyn of Lovin’ Losing, Gudrun of Kitchen Gadget Girl, Catherine of Munchie Musings, Amy and Janesse of Two True Foodies and Geri of The Princess Gourmet. Some people are natural social butterflies that thrive in crowds and networking. I envy them because that’s not me. And it’s one of the reasons that the year I worked in marketing for an IT company hitting every business mixer in the area and swapping business cards was so stressful. But it’s also why I wanted to come to this event, to step out of my comfort zone and get to know other bloggers and share experiences. And I’m so glad I did!
By the 9PM bus ride back to the hotel, I was pretty wiped and not the only one yawning like crazy. I heard other bloggers were hitting the town to keep the night going, but I was ready to hit the comfy bed in our hotel room. Pretty exciting, huh? But I needed to rest up for another action packed day!