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Saturday afternoon, after the Farmers Market we enjoyed the afternoon’s main event – The Tasting Pavilion at the Metreon. We enjoyed talking to Jerry from Cooking By The Seat of My Pants on the way over to the Metreon. Growing up in California, he told us a lot about different California grown foods, like rice, wine and cheese. In fact we talked quite a bit about cheese (and which is better, CA or VT – of course you can guess that I am all about the VT cheeses). Oh…and cowboy hats. I have known Jerry for a long time through blogging and he is just as much of a character in person as his blog would have you believe!

At the Tasting Pavilion, we tasted food and drink by many local CA producers as well as Artisan food producers from all over the country. It was an amazing experience and so inspiring to see so many people passionate about food! It was a great opportunity to network with food producers, and hopefully we will work together with many of them in upcoming Foodie Blogroll Giveaways! :)

Some of our favorite tastes were all the delicious dishes inspired by Bertolli sauces that Food Bloggers at the festival created. It was really fun to watch them prepare their winning dishes in the Bertolli Sauce Kitchen! I got to catch most of Chrystal and Amir’s aka The Duo Dishes , presentation (that is them in the collage above) and they did an awesome job! The best part was getting to taste all the food coming out of the sauce kitchen! Well done everyone! I wish I could have seen all the presentations…but there was just too much to see!

We also enjoyed talking about beer with the guys from Magnolia GastroPub located in San Francisco and Rogue Ales . If we had stayed a few days extra I would definitely have stopped by Magnolia. They brew their own historic and traditional beers, and create gourmet gastropub food sourcing local ingredients!

One of our favorite eats of the afternoon was a seafood ceviche from Fuego At The Maya. Executive Chef Jesse Perez made an awesome version of the Latin dish, including Mexican shrimp and tender juicy scallops, broiled calamari and sweet potato. Check out Jerry’s post – he has a lot of great photos about the things I discussed!

Roberto and I also attended a Merlot wine seminar hosted by Alder from the popular wine blog, Vinography.  This was an extremely interesting seminar about the stories behind the wines – about the producers, and the history of where the grapes are grown. It was a new and intimate way to learn about wines, something that Alder is amazing at doing. There was also much talk about wines in general, which was very informative. Our favorite was the Paloma 2006 Merlot, from Spring Mountain in Napa. All of the Merlots we tasted were from California and were between $25-65 a bottle. Definitely your upper end, and very different from what most people think of, when they think Merlot.

After the afternoon’s events, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the Saturday Night Dinner. This was a big night for me, because I had the extreme honor of being asked by Foodbuzz to co-host the Food Blogger Awards with Managing Editor of Foodbuzz, Ryan Stern. Coming into the weekend I was a bit nervous, but after meeting nearly everyone who was going to be in the audience I felt much better about it. Plus Ryan is a great person, so I knew I would feel comfortable up there with her!

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(Roberto and I on the bus to dinner, Me and Mari from Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard, Peter from Souvlaki for the Soul and Joan from FOODalogue, the gang at dinner).

The dinner and awards ceremony was held at Greenleaf Produce Warehouse which was the perfect place for a dinner brought to us by Outstanding in the Field . It was a bit too chilly to hold an outdoor dinner, so this really was the next best thing!

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(Photos courtesy of Peter Georgakopoulos)

Very rustic and the perfect environment to enjoy a menu of farm fresh products. Our menu was created by Chef Dennis Lee of Namu. All of the food was local, organic and sustainable and the meats were all pasture-raised. It was really nice to enjoy a guilt free meal of the highest quality!

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(Photos courtesy of Peter Georgakopoulos)

Winemaker Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon , selected wines to accompany each part of the meal. It was fun learning more about Outstanding in the Field, and chatting with Greg from Sippity Sup about being nominated for several awards, and about fashion!

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(Photos courtesy of Peter Georgakopoulos): Me and Catherine of Munchie Musings, Christey of FotoCuisine, Joan of FOODalogue, and Val of More Than Burnt Toast

We had a truly wonderful and memorable dinner, in really great company. We had the honor of sitting with longtime blogger friends: Peter of Souvlaki For The Soul, who came all the way from Australia to be at the festival, Peter and Christey of FotoCuisine , Val and Giz of BloggerAid Changing the Face of Famine , and Joan of FOODalogue . I also got to meet Angela of Spinach Tiger , another of my favorite blogs. In fact, Angela was the first blogger I saw in San Francisco – we checked into the hotel at the same time! The best thing, is everyone we met in person is even better in person! It was a fun night talking about blogging, food and everything else. I really enjoyed spending time with these people, and know I have life-long friends! I can’t wait for them all to come and visit! Thanks to Peter G for many of the great photos in this post. Your photos are truly magazine quality, Peter! You should totally be famous!

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(Val, Roberto, Me, Joan and Mary (aka Giz)

After dinner many headed over to the Americano at Hotel Vitale for a nightcap. There I got to spend some time chatting with the Foodbuzz staff and my blogging and Twitter buddy, Esi from Dishing Up Delights ! It was great finally getting to meet you! And of course we were trying to get in as much time with everyone as possible. We knew we probably weren’t going to make it to the Brunch the next day, so this was our last hurrah so to speak. It was wonderful getting to see everyone and making that personal connection. I didn’t want to leave…or more realistically, I wanted to pack everyone up in my bag and take them home with me.

If you have never been to a blogging event, I highly recommend it. If there aren’t any in your area, start one! There is nothing like meeting bloggers in person! Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for putting on this wonderful weekend, and I am very much looking forward to next year’s festivities!!!