Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Food Photos

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Conscientious Carnivore

I was lucky enough to attend the Conscientious Carnivore panel at Commonwealth Club with Traca Savadago, Marissa Guggiana, Deborah Krasner, Mac Magruder and Chris Costentino.

We talk so much about ethical and sustainable that sometimes it almost seems a little redundant.Yet if so many people know so much about ethical eating, how is it we are able to learn so many new things at any given time? The answer is because even as the food system is changing, evolving and getting better, in many ways it is also staying the same. So attending a panel about being more conscience of your meat choices and hearing talk of the fact that corn causes so much indigestion in cows that they are the biggest consumers of bicarbonate of soda is a bit unsettling.

It is very easy to get the best meat and know your ranchers in cutting edge cities like San Francisco. Where I live in Oakland, finding a butcher has been harder than one would think. I am a carnivore (a former vegetarian) and I really do care about what I eat. I don't want an animal to have suffered for my dining pleasure as it won't give me any if I believe that. I also don't want to see the continued amount of waste that seems to walk hand in hand with the big Ag industry.

We are fighting against corn syrup, high fructose and otherwise, yet not paying attention that the price of corn dictates the price of beef. Or that 13 billion bushels are grown just for the purpose of feeding that cattle that cannot even digest it, stressing the animal. Stressed animals leads to tough, bruised meat and not exactly what a true carnivore dreams of on their plate.

In the past 50 years we have worried more about quantity than quality, causing us to lose not only the flavor of the food we eat but the interaction with the animals. If an animal is well loved, cared for, fed properly and honored when it is time to transition from life to food, it will mean more all around. There is no real reason that anyone raising animals has to do so without compassion. Our ancestors honored their animals when they became food, and did not waste any part of it.

As we move slowly toward a better way of eating, we move also towards a better way of living. What is healthy for the animals we raise for food is healthy for us. If you cannot stand to see someone abuse a cat or a dog why would you stand by and believe it is okay to abuse chickens, cows, lamb, pigs or any other animal? The fact that we are consuming them means we should be putting in more love and effort to keep them happy rather than less, this much is very clear to me.

Start asking questions and if you don't get answers, move on until you do. It really is up to us to make the changes necessary to ensure the world is running better in another 50 years.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Foodbuzz fest, round two: Eat, drink and be

Friday morning was the start of three days of fun & food with some friends I already had and some I was yet to meet.

Friday breakfast- For those of us who signed up for the focus group we were lucky enough to get the 2nd best meal of the festival. Bocadillos has amazing desserts and we've had apps there, but now I am all about their breakfast.

What if I answer some questions for you I get to drink mimosas and eat Serrano ham? Sweet!!

Photo Courtesy Laura Sampson
The egg sandwiches with Serrano ham, the cheese plates, crispy potatoes with romesco sauce & fresh fruit were perfect and the company was great. This was the most personal I got with any of the Foodbuzz staff over the weekend and it was great. 

photo courtesy Laura Sampson

They care about our thoughts and opinions, which is important. I will admit that once or twice I felt they were asking different questions than what they were looking for.

Oh yeah and when you're invited to be a part of a focus group? Please don't dominate the conversation.

Friday night- I got to meet up with a lot of my local pals & meet some of my newer twitter followers.

I love the gift exchange idea, though I heard some people didn't bring gifts (party foul) or were rude about what they got (party foul) or couldn't figure out how to successfully trade a gift they didn't like.

I was happy with my gift. And the person I gifted seemed pretty happy, too, so yeah!

Also I landed at a great table with fun people (okay, I have to say it, one of the people was not fun. She was scary. And local. Seriously, I'm praying she was just drunk. Otherwise I have no explanation.)

Now the whole weekend would have been a lot less fun without: Heather, Sam, Arnold, Steph, Tracy, Laura, Elise, Irv,Annelies, Crystal, Amir, and a host of other amazing people who should just tell me I forget them!

4505 as usual rocked the house so much I had to go outside and tell the guys on the grill thanks. Pork with jalapeno on a cornmeal sesame bun? I do!

Magnolia had my favorite beer of the night with a Bitter that was clean & smooth and indeed very drinkable.

Hand over the cookie and no one gets hurt..... Courtesy Laura Sampson

Tacolicious was good but sorry, Namu super rocked the taconess with a Korean taco: nori wrapper cradling short ribs, rice, kimchee... I don't even know, but it all made my mouth super happy. Namu? I luv you.

My Roli Roti plate caused the same stir as last year. I get it without the bread and people assumed I said I was gluten free. Roli Roti isn't like that! Just tell them you don't want bread and they'll hook you up with all the yums without the bread. You ain't gotta lie to kick it, peeps.

Photo Courtesy Laura Sampson

I was bummed by the lobster cappuccino & escargot. I would never have known that was escargot. But the puff pastry was nice.

As always the fabulous Randall Grahm had a wonderful offering in the Contra, and my glass of wine included a hug, which made it even better. Wine crush!

The Saturday morning Video blogging panel was really informative.

*Content is key
*If you want success, you have to find it
*You don't have to be in the picture to video blog. And you can always add a voiceover
*The more content you have, the more traffic you get

Evening- I was disappointed that some of the people who were helpful and informative on Twitter and sessions were not really that friendly in person. They were so busy being 'famous' they forget to just be real. I love my friends because they are themselves all the time.

It's cool to be a well known blogger and major kudos to you if you are able to make a living from it. You might want to make a little note to self: without your fans? You'd be back at a 9-5. So be a little less "I'm too cool for you."

The lesson came via Laura, aka Hey What's for Dinner Mom, who pointed out that people don't become asses after they are famous. If you are a genuine person (ahem, Elise aka Simply Recipes? BEST hugger EVER) then you won't let fame go to your head.

On the plus side, I think I was at one of the funnest tables in the joint and can honestly say I would be happy to dine on a Golden beet tart like that again and again.

My scallops were perfectly cooked. No really. Perfect.

The lamb (and there were quite a few lamb jokes earlier in the week, so great timing!) was beautiful, juicy, & well matched with the squash.

Each course was paired with Bonny Doon Vineyard wine (Wine Crush!) and gorgeous.....

Until I was bummed about dessert.

The fruit was lovely. After the tart, the scallops and the lamb, though, that dessert was a letdown.

We went and chocolate toffee cookies from Hot Cookie in the Castro and they were awesome.

Who's a Hot Cookie?! Laura, of course.
Sunday- I wanted bacon and orange juice but settle for bacon & tea.

After brunch we went to Art Fibers where Heather tells us we can 'taste' the yarn before we buy it. This of course leads to a frenzy of yarn tasting. Yummy!

All in all, this was a great weekend, full of food, love, laughter, food, magic, heart, soul, food and friendship. Even if some people, for me, got lost in translation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Foodbuzz Fest: The excitement builds!

This is me. Hello!

Last year I met some of the most amazing people ever in the history of the planet. And the best part is that I have become very good friends with some of them in real time and the rest on Twitter.

If you aren't a member of Foodbuzz, I think you are missing out.

Being a part of a community of food lover's who write about food, eat food and really sincerely care about the food they eat is such a fantastic experience. In this life we don't always get opportunities to meet like minded people. So this is one that should be taken advantage of.

Last year we took classes, we ate, we drank, we photographed everything! We laughed, we chatted and we meet some remarkable people who wanted to teach us some great new stuff.

I am excited because have since made new friends who are coming for Foodbuzz and because Heather, who was ill last year, actually gets to come and have fun this time around too!! YEAH!!!! And she introduced me to Laura, who will help me lovingly terrorize, should it come to that.

My little-sister-friend Tracy will be there this year, as will Jerry, Elise, & Crystal and Amir, and that is only the beginning!

Now, if you are coming to the Fest, here are some things you need to know:

1) Get ready to meet a lot of people. No, really, a lot.

2) Bring plenty of business cards. No, really. Plenty.

3) I know its been unseasonably warm but bring warm clothes. This is San Francisco, not L.A. We have microclimates and you will freeze if you decide to wear shorts and a tank top in November. And it happens pretty suddenly too!

4) Drink plenty of water. We are on the go from Friday night. We are made up of water. Hence staying hydrated will help you keep with the whirlwind pace.

5) Relax. Smile. If you feel to shy to say hello, but you are smiling, it makes you more approachable. 

6) Learn. Laugh. Live. Life is short. How about this weekend, you maybe taking yourself a touch less seriously and just really enjoy these moments? I promise it will be worth it.

Okay, well that is all for now, and I say, you look fantastic today! See you this weekend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

David Benton is one to watch

I meet a lot of people I like, but it is not every day that you meet someone you like so much that after you interview them, you really want to be their friend.

I woke up this morning to such an awesome email: It was David telling me he loved the article I wrote on him and thanking me for getting him right.

I am really happy about this, because I really do thing he is going to be the next big thing, and if he isn't it's so totally your fault!

This is what I wrote after first meeting David but I must say it is nothing like experiencing his desserts and his personality for yourself. He'll be hanging out with me at the Tasting Pavilion Saturday afternoon at Foodbuzz, so read the article before you meet the man!