Day 2 of the 3rd Annual Foodbuzz Blogger festival started early at 9 AM with content sessions at Foodbuzz’s headquarters. I took a cab because it was a few miles from the hotel which was an interesting experience, the driver included me on a speaker phone conversation with his young son while driving telling him there was a “pretty lady” in the car he could talk to. Awkward. $11 and 15 minutes later, I was happy to jump out. And there were plenty of bloggers already there chatting and grabbing breakfast when I arrived.
The breakfast spread wasn’t bad and had some decent vegan options, but no vegan coffee creamer options. Boo.
My first session was a featured panel discussion on blogging with these ladies:
- Sarah Matheny (Peas and Thank You)
- Jessica Merchant (How Sweet It Is)
- Joy Wilson (Joy the Baker)
- Tracy Benjamin (Shutterbean)
- Kath Younger (Kath Eats Real Food)
It was a great panel with lots of advice like posting more content in less words, being yourself, and quality photography is so important. Now I just need to finish deciphering all my notes from it. Since I was, ahem, a little late in registering for the sessions, the ones I wanted, like blog design bootcamp and Adobe Lightroom, were already filled. Another boo. So I ended up going to the DLSR-free Zone session providing tips and tricks for getting decent shots using point-and-shoot and cell phone cameras – basically never use flash, work with natural lighting, and it’s all about post processing. The final session was all about social networking where I learned I’m just not using Twitter enough, the session leaders confessed they spend a lot of time on it throughout the day. Not realistic for me with my work schedule! But I do enjoy it when I have time.
The sessions ended at noon and we piled onto more buses to get to the Taste Pavilion.
I really enjoyed the buses Foodbuzz provided, perfectly relaxing way to take in the city views and chat with other bloggers instead of shivering in the wind while flagging down a pricey cab.
We arrived 15 minutes early and had to wait in line until they opened the doors to let us in.
As fun as the Taste Pavilion is, it can be a trying experience of coordination. I was juggling a huge camera bag/purse, DSLR, raincoat, umbrella, swag bag, and usually at least one drink while trying to sample goodies, chat with vendors, and snap halfway decent pictures. Thankfully Foodbuzz allowed bloggers to bring a guest and hubby met me there to sample, snap pics, and help carry the load!
And I remembered to have blog cards made this year, very handy for swapping information with bloggers and a time saver getting info to vendors!
There was an overwhelming amount of goodies to taste even for vegans, like TCHO dark chocolate.
Generous sample bags from 479 Popcorn.
Oh, and Godiva! Their station was especially generous with chocolate samples, hot coffee samples, and they let us help ourselves to amazing coffee samples to take home! The pumpkin spice flavor was my favorite, can’t wait to brew some more on work mornings this week.
Sabra was also there with plenty of hummus and vegan creations to sample.
The Spinach and Artichoke flavor was great, reminded me of the traditional, non-vegan versions of the dip.
California Walnuts were handing out these cute shooters of flavored walnuts.
I ended up spending a lot of time at Judy’s Breadsticks drawn in by the beautiful display and many vegan breadstick options.
The most wild was the coffee bean twigs, breadsticks with crushed up coffee beans. They were fabulous, I adored the strong coffee flavor and crunch. But I’m hyper sensitive to caffeine and after sharing only one of the sticks with hubby, I was feeling pretty wired for the next few hours!
Another fave was sampling the fresh sauerkraut and pickles from Alexander Valley Gourmet. I’m no stranger to their sauerkraut, I buy it from Whole Foods when I don’t have a stash of home cultured veggies. It has a nice, mild flavor that’s not salty or too vinegary like cheaper sauerkraut can be and mixes well into salads with ginger or curry dressings.
The Ticings table was a work of art with these topped brownies which were too pretty to eat.
And I had to try Bison’s Chocolate Stout Beer which ended up being a little too heavy for me.
Then Nana Mae’s Organic Apple Juice was good, very sweet and rich.
Boat Street’s Pickled Figs was a new adventure for me, sweet, tangy, and tasty!
Bloom Gin was there with amazingly smooth gin, hubby especially liked the smoothness and he’s not a gin fan.
18 Rabbits sampling granola and bars is always a good thing, I could have hung around longer and sampled each bar.
But the Jimtown table was calling me to try amazing, savory spreads.
Chased by Oren’s gourmet nuts, I think the Rosemary Almonds are still my favorite.
Alexia Foods had a huge booth serving up hot fries and other samples.
And while I was snacking, I noticed this guy – Tyler Florence.
He was there to sign copies of his book and take pictures with fans. And many other bloggers noticed him about the same time, I had to get out of the shoving stampede for pictures and a place in the not-so-orderly line! I decided not to wait through it since I knew he’d be at the gala dinner treating us to a demo.
After all the eating, we stepped out onto the patio for a little chilly fresh air before making the walk back to the hotel. I was stuffed, could not fit another bite. All the sampling made for an interesting and fun lunch that I paid a little bit for later. But that’s okay, serious detoxing planned for this week! And since I flooded you with pictures, I’ll be back with a gala dinner recap very soon.