Monday, August 28, 2006

2nd annual bay area food bloggers picnic

incorporating Bay Area Blogger of the Week, #51
2006 bay area food bloggers picnic pork from owen at Tomatilla

Yesterday saw the day we had all been waiting for finally arrive. My Bay Area Blogger of the Week, #51, Dr Biggles from the carnivorous Meathenge website did an absolutely brilliant job of coordinating the local food bloggers picnic event so that everything went swimmingly and seamlessly. He made it look effortless, but in fact we should all know that it wouldn't have come together if he hadn't taken the reigns and put in all the groundwork. Dr B is the star of the day. I can't thank him enough. Owen, from Tomatillo, deserves just as much praise for allowing over 60 [?] of us to descend upon his home for the afternoon where we ate, drank and made merry food-centric conversation for many hours. He also slow-cooked the delicious pork joint you can see resting in the picture above. Food bloggers sure know how to produce an enviable feast. Here are just a few of things I was able to indulge in...

2006 bay area food bloggers picnic noodle dish
very tasty mystery noodles

2006 bay area food bloggers picnic vodka picked vegetables from cookie crumb and cranky at i am mad and i eat
vodka pickles

Cookie Crumb and Cranky from I'm Mad and I Eat win an imaginary prize from me, not only for most striking presentation, but for most innovative food preparation too. They had been experimenting with vodka infusions including coffee-vodka marinated mushrooms. Cookie Crumb told me she had even managed to forage for sea beans in the marshes close to her home in Marin. I am impressed, especially since I actually parted with money for the batch I was experimenting with a few weeks ago. [News just in: Cookie Crumb's own Pickle-explanation post here]. Cookie Crumb's food styling, photographed much better by Penny, reminded me of a current Gourmet magazine cover. Not everyone is a fan of what some describe as Gourmet's somber covers, but I happen to love them. I might even go so far as to say that the current September 2006 issue of Gourmet, is one of the best presented food magazines I have seen to date. The layout inside is heading in a refreshing direction. Check it out.

2006 bay area food bloggers picnic shelled bean salad from heidi at 101 cookbooks
shelled bean salad

Another blogger displaying her always keen artistic eye was Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. Her Golden, Crispy Gnocchi with Summer Shell Beans displayed a complimentary palette of subdued but pretty colours dotted with the purple beans that added a measure of uniqueness to the look of this salad. Heidi's offering looked almost too good to eat, but I didn't let that stop me.

2006 bay area food bloggers picnic noodles
more mystery noodles

2006 bay area food bloggers picnic pate from Derrick at Obsession with food
country pate with pistachios

Derrick from Obsession with Food brought along a fantastic homemade pate with pistachios and a garnish of sour cherries. The recipe was adapted from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book which, since I was lucky enough to have been given a copy for my birthday, I should try my hand at one of these days.

2006 bay area food bloggers picnic my bakewell tarts
bakewell tarts lounging by the pool

Never one to miss an opportunity to try and save the reputation of English food amongst groups of discerning eaters, I bravely decided to make one large and several small Bakewell tarts. From what I can tell, and judging by the complete lack of leftovers, food bloggers can't think English food is so bad afterall.

Finally, I want to thank everyone, old friends and new, for making it all the way out to Lafayette to take part in the shindig. I am now going to try and list everyone who was there. I tried to circulate enough to meet everyone, but I know I missed a few people (sorry). I hope I don't miss anyone here. please correct me if I do! I am not name-checking all the long-suffering spouses and friends, but I will hasten to add that the event would have only been half as much fun without them.

Old friends:
Joy Shuna Dr Biggles Amy Elise Heidi Sean The Bunrabs [Thanks for my Bunrab hat!] Pim Derrick Alder Cookie Crumb Marc Anita Brett Laura Tea Charlotte Amanda

New friends:
Owen Penny Faith Martha NS Jennifer Mary Garret Brendon Wendy Jack Arthur Greg Cheryl

Not Yet Met:
Davina Joanne Sandy

Other Picnic Reports:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 17

| | | |
2nd annual bay area food bloggers picnic


  • At 28/8/06 12:55, Blogger Amy Sherman said…

    Who was responsible for those mystery noodles? The glass ones with a crumble of mushrooms and chicken? They were divine! Nice recap of the day, the food and the amazing people who worked so hard to make it a success.

  • At 28/8/06 12:59, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this looks so much fun. I wish I could have been there!

  • At 28/8/06 14:06, Blogger Owen said…

    Sam- nice report and it was a pleasure to finally meet you (and pretty much everybody else, too...)

    Please say hi to Fred - I was very happy that he enjoyed the pool and let my daughter beat him in a race (I know he did although he continues to swear otherwise) - and I enjoyed chatting to him - I think I'm a little starved for European sensibilities.

  • At 28/8/06 14:27, Blogger Alanna Kellogg said…

    OH SO FUN! You Bay Area folks are an inspiration, for sure ...

    And I'm fascinated by the comments about Gourmet's September photography, which came up in yesterday's meeting of the St Louis Culinary Society, panned as making the food look unpalatable. I poured through the entire issue last night (can't wait to make some of those veggies!) and didn't have that reaction. I did find the shots muddy, kept wondering if my issue were in a bad print run, but thought they paired beautifully with the vintage covers which were lovely to study.

  • At 28/8/06 15:37, Blogger Davina Baum said…

    Sam! How could I have missed you? I'm ashamed that the chance passed me by, I did really want to meet you too. Sigh. Too many people, too little time.

  • At 28/8/06 15:38, Blogger Davina Baum said…

    p.s.: the bakewell tarts were SO GOOD.

  • At 28/8/06 15:54, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm still only half conscious from eating so much. It was really hard walking back to the train station. Excellent tarts btw!
    (And the pate that D. brought was probably one of the best things I have ever eaten.

  • At 28/8/06 16:19, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    1) I met Davina! She's cool.
    2) Ohgod, blush, thanks for the props.
    3) (but should be 1) Biggles rules. Thank you so much for appreciating him out loud. I know how hard he worked.
    4) (but should be 1 -- space/time warp; who cares?) Your photography is divine.
    5) (but should be 1; go figure) The Bakewells were outtasight.
    6) I probably missed something.

  • At 28/8/06 17:56, Blogger wheresmymind said…

    Vodka pickles...interesting!

  • At 28/8/06 18:14, Blogger Greg said…

    Thanks Sam for a great post. A pleasure to meet you.

  • At 28/8/06 18:16, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, I'm sorry we didn't get to actually *meet* but I feel I know you a little after devoring a few of your Bakewell tartlets and slices of tart with newfound glee. Thanks for the inspiration - I hope we meet *officially* soon :)

  • At 28/8/06 18:27, Blogger Kalyn Denny said…

    Sam, it looks like so much fun. I would have loved to have been there to meet so many bloggers that I admire. Not to mention, I can tell the food was divine.

  • At 28/8/06 19:37, Blogger Unknown said…

    It was great to meet you and yer man too! It was a lot of fun and hopefully we can all get together for a bite to eat and a chance to chat!

    SHIBBY (Adjective): Cool, fun, or interesting.
    Ex: I had a shibby time meeting everybody at the shibby picnic.

  • At 28/8/06 21:01, Blogger Sandy said…

    thanks for the report. I guess I left too soon with moving, painting, cleaning...I missed out on so many tasty looking treats. The mystery noodles were my contribution - dan dan noodle salad with yam noodles shiitake and crumbled marinated tofu. So glad you enjoyed them :)

    sandy at tasty bytes (

  • At 28/8/06 21:29, Blogger Catherine said…

    Hi Sam,

    I wish I could have made it - I'd love to have seen everyone and scoffed one of those little bakewells. Next year...

  • At 29/8/06 08:14, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, it was so nice to meet you in person at long last! You're every bit as lovely as your writing, and your sunglasses were fabulous.

    PS: Love the re-design...

  • At 29/8/06 08:59, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh man, what a day you must have had! I guess that answers the question "What do you get when you put some serious food bloggers together?" Answer: a feast! The mystery noodles look particularly amazing, as did the bakewell tarts!

  • At 29/8/06 10:14, Blogger Guy said…

    HERE I AM !!!

    Been relaxing for the last few days (not at work). I don't have real working computer at home (dump laptop oddly perched) so I been quiet.
    It was an absolutely amazing day. I know that really doesn't put it in perspective. But from the first arrivals to the last, there was only smiles, full bellies and happy thoughts. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the Pepsi. Gnyack.
    Thank you Sam for all the kind words, it makes me feel good.


  • At 29/8/06 13:17, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh Sam! I was so upset to miss this, Martha told me all about it--sounds like it was won-der-ful.

    I'm in NY, having a grand time...But still, I miss SF!

  • At 29/8/06 14:10, Blogger Estelle said…

    I was stuck at work and missed all the fun :-( So unfair!

  • At 29/8/06 15:22, Blogger David said…

    Sorry I missed the pool.

    ...and all the meat!

  • At 29/8/06 17:33, Blogger Chubby Hubby said…

    WOW! That's a lot of bloggers! Over here in Singapore, we also just had our 2nd annual gathering. But our group was smaller and we decided to splurge on a meal rather than roll up our sleeves and cook for our peers. That said, there is talk that our 3rd gathering might be a potluck.

  • At 29/8/06 20:16, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, the redesign looks really nice. You can tell a lot of work (and thought) went into it. Bravo.

    ps. I'm totally up for an impromptu photo session some Saturday at the market.

  • At 29/8/06 21:13, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was great fun and so good to see you again. Lovely pics!

  • At 30/8/06 03:21, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Oh wow - 60 of you! And we think we're doing well in London when we can come up with a dozen...! Day sounds absolutely amazing - and I think Bakewells should become a "golden thread" running through all future blogmeets on either side of the Atlantic ;-)

  • At 30/8/06 07:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ah ... to have been there!

  • At 30/8/06 10:24, Blogger Jennifer Maiser said…

    Sam, this site redesign is fantastic. I really love it. I think that it shows off your photographs.

    Thanks for an awesome recap. I almost feel like I was there.

  • At 30/8/06 11:52, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Amy - it was dan dan noodle salad with yam noodles shiitake and crumbled marinated tofu from Sandy who I unfortunately did not get to meet. They were, inseed, absolutely delicious.

    Bea - we wish you were there too.

    owen - any time your daughter needs to beat a fully grown frenchman in the pool or if you need a euro-chat just call us and we will be there.

    mary - new friends soon become old friends. Twas good to meet you and your delightful husband.

    AK - i am interested in the gourmet thing too. I don't think the food looks unpalatable in this issue - i think it looks gorgeous, they are almost like paintings. The only things that spoils it is the adverts. It would flow better without them.

    Davina - yes, how could you? And how could I? Next time, next time.

    garret - what you mean the tarts weren't??????

    cookie - out of site when they were posing by the poolside, perhaps, but I think I saw you with your eye on them?

    but Andrew my blog roll for the bay area alone is about 10x bigger than the entire British one!

    Wmm - got to cookie crumbs site for all the proper details.

    Greg - I only wish we had more time!

    Joanne - good luck if you decide to try and make the tarts.

    Kalyn - it is kind of upsetting to look at all the photos post-event and realise there were so many things I didn't even get to try, aaargh!

    shibby garret!

    Sandy - thank you - we will be pestering you for the recipe once you are settled!

    Catherine - really missed you too :( But I am getting pretty nifty at the bakewells so maybe I can whip some up for our next meeting

    Jennifer - if you could see how many pairs of sunglasses I have. I rarely buy clothes but I cant resist sunglasses.

    A Man - all the food was top notch. Being a food blogger sure does have its advantages.

    Dr B - I picked out a pepsi at one point when I was thirsty, ut quickly rejected it and went for the water instead. phew.

    Tejal - but you won't to El Bulli right? So we are even more jealous of you than you are of us. I am not going to mention the bloggers who managed to make it to the picnic AND to spain for El Bulli this year. They are just show offs.

    Estelle - i am sorry you had to work and we didnt get to meet you this time.

    David - you should be even more sorry that you missed us, than the pool and the meat. They have swimming pools and meat in France, you know, but they don't have food bloggers. Ok, well, they do, but they are different.

    Chubby Hubby - have been reading about your food bloggers meet too. I think pour group is now too big to dine out together as a whole.

    Heidi - thanks - I actually think it is the food styling bit that I really suck at.

    Anita - you can bake me cakes and sweet things A-N-Y TIME!

    Jeanne - I definitely converted a few americans to the bakewells!

    Ivonne - i wish the whole food blogging world could have been there!

    Jen - thank you - so sad you couldn't be there to share with us. I hope to see you very soon.


  • At 30/8/06 22:00, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    Hello at long last.

    Glad to be write-up #16, thanks for the great links, it made my post a lot easier.

    Wait, I think I see a Bakewell Tart business on your horizon...

    Indeed the redesign is gorgeous!
    Had loads of fun with you. Was Brilliant, Cheers.



Post a Comment

<< Home