Sunday, September 14, 2008

Foodie Friends

Last night Hubband and I were treated to a Florida Foodies dinner at a restaurant we love, bluezoo, by Foodbuzz as part of their Dine On Us program. The goal of Dine On Us is to bring together food bloggers beyond the internet, to eat together and share our common love of food and story-telling. We were lucky enough to meet Chris of Pickles and Cake, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Ingar of Taste Memory,  Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, Jenn The Leftover Queen, Erin & Chris of the olive notes, Lys of Cooking in Stilettos, Christey and Peter of FotoCuisine, and Bryan The Tattooed Gourmet. Also in attendance was Ryan, the director and managing editor of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. She flew all the way from San Francisco to join us, and I'm very grateful to her and Foodbuzz for sponsoring this gathering. Many thanks are also due to Jenn and Judy who have spent many hours over the last few months organizing this dinner, which was the first to be suggested and organized by bloggers themselves, and not initiated by Foodbuzz. 

We were treated to a six-course meal, including amuse-bouche and dessert, with wine and cocktails, in a private dining room. This was the amuse:
a littleneck clam with bacon ragout and white wine reduction. It was followed by the first course: shrimp cocktail steamrollers, which I do not have a great picture of, but I'm sure many will be posted in the next few days on some of the blogs listed above. Both the amuse and the first course were delicious, with the shrimp cocktail having a very modern presentation and amusing way of eating it that served as a great ice-breaker. 
The salad was our second course: mixed greens with roasted red beets and yellow beet ribbon, candied walnuts, walnut powder, brioche crouton, and goat cheese fondue. Delicious. The earthiness and subtle sweetness of beets, with the tang of goat cheese and the buttery walnuts, a great and classic combination with a new twist. Third course was Arctic char, curried beluga lentils, zhataar-spiced carrots, and a yogurt-harissa spill. This was my least favorite course, as my arch-nemesis, cilantro, was found in every component. The fish was perfectly cooked, however, and I wish I could have eaten it. 
The fourth course was chicken, cooked sous-vide style (vacuum-sealed and put in a temperature-controlled water bath, 66 degrees C for quite a while). The chicken was then warmed in the oven and seared quickly to crisp the skin, served with tomato sauce and parmesan polenta, and picholine olive gel. This course was good, but not amazing. The flavors were too familiar, and all the novelty lay in the cooking technique. It was, however, the best polenta I've had. 
Dessert was a warm chocolate cake, surrounded by maracaibo chocolate pudding and caramel sauce, topped with peanut ice cream. A decadent and lovely ending to a very fun meal. 
Some of the lovely ladies in attendance:
It was a fantastic night, with good food and great company. All of these bloggers (and their supportive spouses!) were warm, funny, friendly people with whom I would be happy to spend many more such evenings.
Thank you again to Jenn, Judy, Ryan, and Foodbuzz for organizing and sponsoring this event! 


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Hi Rachel! Boy, you're quick! I haven't even downloaded my photos yet.

It was great to meet you and the others last night! We should do it again soon.

erin :: the olive notes said...

It was so nice to meet you last night! We had a great time.

I think you're the first to post fast!
I'm probably going to get my post up in the next day or so.

Bryan said...

It was nice to meet you and everyone else last night. I had a great time and great food. I will be getting my post up tomorrow evening sometime.

I agree we all should do it again.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

You were really quick at getting this up!!! What a great time we all had and it was wonderful to meet you all!

We should do it again...I wonder if foodbuzz would pay for it every year???

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

You are so fast, Rachel! What a great write up! We had such a great time! :) It was wonderful meeting you and your husband! Maybe next time we should have a pancetta and wine party at your house!

Rachel said...

I'm going to be forever associated with pancetta now! Hahaha. You are all welcome to our home anytime.

Chris Sauter said...

I wonder if Ryan will ever send me some of the photos I took with the foodbuzz camera. I should track her down...It was a pleasure to meet you. I had a great night!

thepinkspoon said...

I had such a blast sharing such a great dinner with everyone! Thanks again for coming out. I will be posting pics, too, and I will also send Brian the photos he took...

thepinkspoon said...

And Chris! Haha!

PeterMarcus said...

We had a great time, too! It was so fun meeting everyone!

Nate-n-Annie said...

This Dine on Us program is great isn't it? Not only does it allow us to gather with other food bloggers and people who really *get* us, but it builds loyalty to FoodBuzz as well.

I only wish we could do more than one of these in a year. The Honolulu one was fun and now I'm finding more FPs in our area that I'd like to get together with.

Have you gotten together with other food bloggers before?

taste memory said...

It was great meeting you both!

Loved your stories on the animal kingdom and more.... ;-)

Look forward to reading your cooking + life adventures: fun blog I might add!

Thnx for the link back/I'll be updating my link list in a day or're fast!

ila said...

ain't ryan the sweetest thing? i had the pleasure to meet her at the LA Foodbuzz dinner. It was fantabulous all-around, with good food, fellow writers, and fun people like ryan.

Dragonlife said...

Holy Macaroni!
Good on you all!
Such affairs in Japan are either organized by expats or limited to small affairs!
Here in Shizuoka we are going to have an international Sake Bloggers enjoy a Japanese meal with Shizuoka Sake and Italian wine (I will have to apologize to my family in France!).
Four of us only, but our combined blogs at Tokyofoodcast, Urban Sake and Tokyodrikinglass should make for the lack of guests!
Anyway, great stuff!
I do envy you all!