Our first night at the Second Annual Foodbuzz Festival was dedicated to the vehicles of mobile gastronomic delights, not limited to French, Swedish fusion, Korean, Pizza, Indian, local wines, artisanal beers and many others. At the beginning of the event, I never doubted for a moment that I wouldn’t eat my way through each truck and stand, but the task proved more difficult than I though.
As we pulled into Fort Mason there was already a street food fare happening in the parking lot called Off the Grid, which some Bay Area residents informed us that this happens every Friday. Our bus (free transportation provided by Foodbuzz) pulled around to the Herbst Pavilion, which was already filling up with hungry and eager food bloggers.
In an email from Foodbuzz
sent earlier in the week were supposed to bring a foodie exchange gift to the Welcome Reception, but I missed that memo. I really couldn’t have brought what I would have wanted to bring without having to check my luggage; I hate checking my bags. I am not going to say how, but when it came time for the gift exchange, I ended up having a gift to give (wink, wink)!
We were all randomly assigned to tables and I happed to be at Table 16, which for me was a great table because not only was I seated with foodies who I follow, I was also seated with some new foodies I’ve yet to follow.
I ended up exchanging with Whitney from Amuse Bouche
, who spent her time pre-Foodbuzz fest in Napa with friends on a tasting spree. I was fortunate enough to reap the rewards with a bottle from Dutch Henry
After our gift exchange, I did some mingling and eating, as you do and came across one of my favorite food bloggers/cookbook author Super Natural Cooking
‘s Heidi Swanson
, I didn’t even think about not approaching her, but I tried to play it cool. She was really friendly and we had a lovely conversation, mostly how and why I ended up in Bulgaria. I hoped my enthusiasm for her site didn’t freak her out. I can be a little intense; I am my mother’s daughter.
Sidenote: back in 1989, Bill Murray (AKA Dr. Peter Venkman) was shooting Quick Change with Geena Davis and Randy Quaid. The film was on location outside a bar in Queens. My brother, at the time and still is a HUGE Ghostbusters fan, so my mother, after a few beers decided to get Bill Murray’s autograph, in doing so, she managed to break onto the set, find his trailer and basically freak Bill Murray out. She succeeded in get the autography, but was escorted from set and asked never to return. This story has really nothing to do with Heidi, but even when I am working at my other job in the film and television industry, I try to avoid the “talent”. One, I don’t want to seem lame and two; I don’t want to be that fan that is slightly obsessed; thanks Mom!
Back to the Fare! I tried my hardest to eat and try everything that was offered, but at one point all desire for eating just dissipated. My pants were cutting into my flesh and I just felt uncomfortable.
In generally, I enjoyed the food. Street food/ food trucks at the level that these gourmet trucks are aiming for is relatively a new phenomenon in the US. Before I left for Bulgaria in 2006, I recall seeing one truck in Manhattan and I think it was a coffee truck called the Mud Truck
that cruised around Union Square and NYU. The rest of the food that was available then was dedicated to ethnic eats like the kebab/halal meat trucks and “dirty water” dogs, which I love! These gourmet trucks are pushing limits and exploring the boundaries about what you can and can’t do in a mobile kitchen and how quick you can get it done. While some food lends itself well to this quick and mobile method, others require more tweaking.
There were two important revelations during the event one; I was stupid not to bring business cards. I was really placing myself at a networking disadvantage and two; because of my lack of preparation, I stumbled upon a project that would define my existence at the festival. For people who didn’t have business cards, like myself, I started snapping pictures of peoples faces and their ID badge, so I could remember who I met and urged others to do the same for me. By the end of the night I had about 25 snaps and it occurred to me that this might make an interesting photo collage. Let’s just say the idea morphed wildly and now includs over 200 different people from the event. Stay tuned.
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