I decided to walk back to the hotel from the tasting pavilion event and happened to run into Ashlee and Lew. I sat next to them in my first morning breakout session. They invited me to walk with them and the conversation was non-stop. They are an amazing couple and definitely the reason I enjoyed the gala dinner and brunch the next morning.
I was able to get in a nice 2 hour nap between events. I got ready and met Ashlee, Lew and Emily in the lobby. We debated between taking a cab or walking… we opted to walk the mile to the Ferry Building… in heels!
Bonny Doon wine and passed appetizers were flowing during the outdoor cocktail hour. Polenta rounds stuffed with goat cheese, beef wrapped scallions and smoked salmon tidbits (yes, I made that name up) were served. I didn’t break out my camera, I just enjoyed the company of new friends. Ash and Lew introduced me to Whitney who blogs over at Amuse Bouche and Veronica who blogs over at The Enchanted Cook – Both girls are fabulous! While chit chattn’ it up, we had the pleasure of meeting Jeffrey Saad – from season 5 of The Next Food Network Star. He placed second to winner Melissa d’Arabian. Jeffrey and his wife talked about their passion for food and his new show on the Cooking Channel – United Tastes of America. Veronica has a group photo of us in her blog recap.
Ash and Lew and Jeffrey in blue…
We sat down to a gorgeous dinner in the Grand Hall of the Ferry Building – the tables were decked out wedding style…
The menu for the evening was incredible…
Can you read all that? 😉
Whitney, Ashlee and Lew
The first course was Roasted Golden Beet Tart – Crimson beet, feta and currants, wild arugula and basil puree. I am a “beet” girl, so this was probably my favorite dish of the night.
The beet tart was paired with a 2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Ca’del Solo Albarino – my favorite of the first 3 pours.
The second course was Seared Scallops with Bonny Doon Vineyard Verjus Beurre Blanc – Served with braised fennel and garnished with fried fennel fonds.
The scallops were paired with a 2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc – my first time eating scallops other than once in a sushi roll. People kept raving about how they were cooked to perfection and the highlight of the evening. I guess I’m just not a scallop girl – it’s definitely a texture thing.
The third course was Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb – served with local wild mushrooms, pinot noir sauce and butternut squash puree.
Now that’s a rare hunk o’ meat close up. The meat was seasoned to perfection and the mushrooms were pure heaven. The butternut squash puree will be a new rotation side dish for me, loved the flavor and texture.
Tarta de Almendras with Oranges – Buttery almond cake with oranges and Spanish sherry sabayon was the final star of the evening.
I learned on 3 different occasions that I am a huge fan of fresh figs – they were screamin’ good. The dessert pairing was a 2008 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vinferno – a lovely dessert wine full of apple flavor. After looking the wine up, I found that it had apple, hazelnuts and a hint of lavender honeycomb – interesting. Two thumbs up, I would order this dessert wine again.
Lots of table laughter, good food and a full belly, what more could I ask for?
Foodbuzz hosted a scavenger hunt/bar crawl after the dinner, my group opted to head back to the hotel and I was perfectly fine with that. We flagged down a cab and my tired feet enjoyed the ride.
Unfortunately I didn’t get much sleep. My hotel neighbors decided to continue their bar hopping party into their room. They played quarters, giggled, screamed and pretty much disrupted the entire floor. Security came 2 times and I think they were finally kicked out of the hotel around 5:45 a.m. It was a long, miserable night.
The Farewell Brunch started at 9:30. I headed to the lobby to meet my peeps and we made our way to the buffet.
Fruit never looked so good – more figs, yay!
Pear salad, wild arugula, frisse, toasted almonds, multigrain croutons and balsamic vinaigrette…
Straus yogurt, raspberry (I think) and granola…
Other buffet items included applewood smoked bacon, roasted vegetable Spanish frittata and 12 grain bread stuffing, country white bread and pork sausage gravy, seasonal panzanella salad with red onion and roasted wild mushrooms and cinnamon nutty oat french toast, whipped strawberry butter with basil and villa mandori maple syrup.
Yep, I pretty much ate it all.
I said my goodbyes after brunch and then headed back to the room to grab my bags.
View from my room – the rain was really starting to come down, I was dreading the drive home.
Seeing them put up the Christmas tree got me excited for the upcoming holiday season. I am ready to break out Christmas music and decorations – guess I should enjoy Thanksgiving first.
Holy table of swag! I’ve been wanting salad sheers and wow…magnetic towels, spatulas, measuring cups, aprons, t-shirts, a ball whisk, utility knife, travel mug, thermometer, earth friendly bags, coupons, recipes, etc., SCORE! I’m slowly eating, drinking, using and wearing my way through the pile.
It feels good to be home and back to my normal everyday foods. I also hear the treadmill calling my name… Foo… Foo… remember me? I’m sad that it’s all over, but happy that I made some new blogging friends. It was really cool to be surrounded by talented people that share the same interests.