San Francisco & the Fancy Food Show


Basically it was just like trick-or-treating for adults. The Fancy Food Show, that is. Seriously, I haven’t been that overstimulated, inspired, or excited about food in a really long time until this past Sunday when I ventured up to the city and sampled things from bacon chocolate chip pancakes to white chocolate lavender hot chocolate to coconut curry ice cream to rosewater gin. I really was in foodie heaven. My goodness. It definitely exceeded beyond my expectation, although in reality I didn’t really know what to expect.

There were two main halls, a North and a South, approximately equal to the size of two Costco’s combined, and I surprisingly managed to get through both within a good four hours. Seriously, they had everything under the sun. You could sample cookies, cupcakes, truffles, beer, wine, tea, mustards, candy (you could sample every kind of gummy from Haribo or jelly bean, for example), yogurt, cheese (holy crap, THE CHEESE! Cowgirl Creamery, anyone?!? I now have a new favorite–Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor), pizzas, pastas, pate (no thanks), any kind of nut oil, BBQ sauces, salts, marinades, seafood, chips, nuts, soups, jams, honey, nut butters, frozen food, Indian, French, Italian, Mediterranean food, organic food, gluten-free and vegan food, seriously, THEY HAD EVERYTHING. There were entire rows for just certain types of “ethnic” foods: German, Italian, Indian, French, Spanish, Canadian. I jumped right into the cheese section but didn’t spend enough time there because I didn’t know how long it would take me to get through the whole show and I still needed to sample a billion other things. I was on the hunt for baking mixes, baking chocolates, flours, pastry cups, gluten-free products for the store, and was personally searching for anything and everything peanut butter and pumpkin related, of course. I can’t even recall half of the things I ate but I’ll do my best… (also, taking pictures was strictly prohibited otherwise I would show my experience that way so this is all I can do… next year I’m signing up as a photographer, fo reals)
-Ok, even though I don’t order chocolate, I am IN LOVE with this chocolate company, Eclipse Chocolate. Everything they have available is amazing and delicious. Different and ingenious ingredients and food combinations, like macadamia ginger, gingerbread crumb, blackberry sage, mango masala, coconut lime, sweet basil-mint, kyoto green tea chocolate bars. They also make these exotic “rocky road” combinations, like vanilla bean with marshmallow, caramelized white chocolate, pretzels, and sea salt (which I ate a few too many of). Apparently they also have lavender sea-salted caramels. Way to steal my heart, right? I’m going to bug the chocolate buyer about this guy. Seriously, probably one of my favorites from the entire show.
Peanut Butter & Co. is coming out with 3 new baking mixes, hopefully within the next month or so. I wasn’t able to sample any of them, but they sound wonderful and promising: peanut butter swirl brownies, old fashioned peanut butter cookies, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. That’s all I gotta say about that.
-These hearty breakfast pitas studded with dried fruits like cranberries and oranges, or apples and cinnamon are also a great idea.
Scone mixes (lemon ginger, lavender white chocolate, pumpkin spice) from a company that’s actually local, located on the west side of SC! Even better.
-These decadent chocolates and truffles that look almost too pretty to eat. Seriously, I didn’t even want to eat one, I just stared at the sample tray forever.
-All natural gluten-free flours like sweet potato, purple corn, mesquite, and chestnut flours, just to name a few. There were mesquite macaroon samples and I was very impressed with the hint of mesquite, it was a very nice touch to the coconut. I am SUPER excited about these, I think they would sell extremely well. At least I know that I will buy them. The textures, smells, and quality of all of them are great. Check out their blog for recipes like sweet potato rosemary biscuits and chocolate mesquite cake! Yeah, I want these flours. BADLY.
-Vanilla Fig and other tea cake mixes, along with a Chocolate Chipotle Brownie mix from the Invisible Chef caught my eye.
-All-natural peanut butter bonbons = heaven.
Vosges scored five stars with me, all around. I went back to their booth about three times. It was great because I was able to sample things that I’ve been seeing in grocery stores and wanting to try for a while now but because they are a bit pricey, hadn’t been able to. Their bacon and chocolate products, for example, are ingenious. There’s the bacon chocolate bar, of course, but, ok, the bacon chocolate chip pancake mix, which sounds a bit odd, I know, was incredible! And I’m not a big meat eater/bacon fan. I was impressed. The sweet/salty/savory combo, topped with some maple syrup, it’s basically 3 breakfast items combined into one. It’s great, like if you go out to breakfast at a diner or greasy spoon and can’t decide whether or not to get pancakes saturated with syrup because you really want the carbs and sugar, or bacon because you want the fat and salt and grease, YOU CAN GET BOTH. COMBINED INTO ONE. It’s that simple! And with chocolate chips! GENIUS, I’m telling you, GENIUS! This chocolate bar, which I’d never seen before, is another one on my list of favorites: the Calindia, full of cardamom, walnuts, and dried plums in a dark chocolate. My kind of combo. Plus, check out these amazing truffles, peanut butter bonbons, mango bombalinas, ice creams, and hot cocoa mixes. I will definitely be purchasing that Naga coconut curry ice cream sometime in the future. I don’t care if it’s 7 dollars, it’s so worth it.
Goodness, I can’t even think of anything else right now. Bacon was a really big deal this year, kind of expected. It’s been a part of the foodie trend for the past year or so, ever since the bacon chocolate bar came out. I tried a bacon maple marshmallow, not bad, but not that great either. Here’s a sample of the loot I trucked home with me:
Lots of nut butter samples, chocolates, chips, buttons, and magazines.
Goodness, it was so much fun. And I got paid to do it! Definitely a great opportunity that I am so thankful for. I love my job! I’d happily do this again, any day. In fact, I’ll even sign myself up to go again next year even if I’m not in charge of the baking section (ie. in school full time), and I’d encourage all of you to try to make it to one of these shows, whether it’s in New York, or in San Francisco. There are only two a year. So. Freaking. Rad. I went back for about an hour after lunch on Monday before I left the city and just ate tons of chocolate. Best sugar high ever.
I also ended up eating at this restaurant and pub called Thirsty Bear in the SOMA district (following friends that wanted beer) and it was decent. They serve tapas, paella, and other mediterranean dishes, but I don’t think I’d ever go there again for the food. For breakfast, we got up early and had our sights on Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, but they were randomly closed! Out of all the days! So bummed. Next time, for sure. So we ended up roaming the streets in the rain for pretty much anything with the time we had, and went to Lori’s Diner. Another miss. The spinach egg’s benedict had waaayyyy too much yellow sauce and was probably the worst eggs benedict I’ve ever had. Probably a good place to go for a burger and milkshake, alongside that 50’s greasy spoon dining experience, but I’ve definitely had better.

It got better though. Monday morning I went on an adventure in the storm (well, it was beginning to pour at that point) to the Ferry Building and admired all of the boutiques, cafes, delis, grocery shops, bakeries, and restaurants. Such a cool place, I always love it there.

Then I made my way back to 3rd street to get into the MoMa‘s free admission day, because they were celebrating their 75th anniversary! So in luck. I was completely soaked from the rain and the wind walking to and fro, and even though I had on my galoshes, there could have been fish swimming in there. It was all good though, all I could do was laugh. I finally dried up toward the end when I had the most amazing pumpkin ravioli dish and chai latte in the museum cafe (see further down). That cured me.

Okay, this struck me immediately with familiarity. Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation album cover, yo! Although there was no mention of it on the talker. Is it or is it not the same picture? It has to be…

This redwood tree is 68 feet in circumference! Can you believe it?! I can’t.

Give me this chair, please.

Died and gone to heaven. Seriously. I love the museum’s cafe Cafe Museo SO SO much, they have the best food. I wanted everything. I had the pumpkin ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, mascarpone cheese, and sage, served with sauteed kale (cavelo nero) hidden beneath the ravioli, in a parsnip cream sauce with acorn squash chips. HELLO! AMAZING!! I want to recreate this… plus they have great chai lattes. You can’t go wrong.
All in all, I had a fantastic time in the city and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I even drove to Berkeley on the quest for indian nose rings but didn’t have any luck (most shops were closed and hard to locate) so I’m resorting to eBay and having one shipped to me instead. I’ve been wanting to purchase one for soooo long and I finally did it. Real 14 karat gold and diamonds. It’s gorgeous. Birthday present to myself!
Speaking of birthdays, I ordered myself my own birthday cake this afternoon. Black China Bakery’s gonna rock me out a vegan chocolate peanut butter cake with an awesome design on the top (it’s a secret!). I’ll be showing pictures, of course. For a minute I thought of baking my own cake, but then I realized that’s kind of lame and plus I wouldn’t be able to even if I wanted because I’ll be up in the mountains learning about ayurveda. Anyway, I saw this awesome owl cake on MyOwlBarn yesterday and this just makes me even more inspired and excited about the cake decorating class I’ll be taking this semester. I want to rock out something like this someday!

5 responses »

  1. Wow, this post was PURE FOODIE PORN!!!!!I am panting and my heart is racing. Thank you for sharing all this with us, sounds like an amazing event. You're making me miss my home, the Bay Area….Next time you're in SF, have dinner at the Fog City Diner (, if for nothing else, for their Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie. yowza.xocountry girl

  2. Whoa! Overload! What a great post!!The foodie fair sounds so fun… and I love your big haul of LOOT… what fun! Also, I love the pictures from SF. That Gerhard Richter painting is one my favorite paintings of all time. It's so beautiful. Also, I love the owl cake! I can't wait to see what your bday cake will look like. Over the years, I have made myself many birthday cakes, but I"ve also ordered a couple from Black China!

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