Afternoon Tea in San Francisco

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So afternoon tea in San Francisco may not be what you’re thinking of. If you’re thinking white gloves, tiny bites of food, and floral tea sets…you’re wrong. At least not where I went.

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Remember that spot I circled from earlier?

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Turns out that’s exactly where I ended up going! The place is actually the Samovar Tea Lounge.

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My friend Rachel (you may remember her from Serena’s Key West wedding) picked me up from Union Square and we headed to the tea lounge to catch up and relax.

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Our view.

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Rachel got the tea of the day.

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I don’t remember what the name of the tea was, but I do remember that it took a mere 30 seconds to blend and it had a pleasant taste.

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I got the Chai, which was perfection in a handle-less mug. (I think I need a handle-less mug in my life now – it was so fun to cup in my hands).

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Rachel got a tea soup, which I am going to try to re-create back home.

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In the bowl were veggies, seaweed, rice, and braised tofu, plus sauce.

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And you just had to add the tea to the bowl to finish your soup.

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Rachel shares some soup with me, so here’s my mini version.

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So light and perfect for the cold day.

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I got the squash dumplings with sesame dipping sauce.

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The dumplings were amazing…

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…but it was the sauce that really took it over the top!

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After we were done with the tea lounge, we walked around a bit before Rachel took me on a driving tour through the Castro area of town. It seemed like such a happy little place.

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With the sun setting, it was time for me to bid adieu to Rachel and meet up with my friends for dinner.

Thanks Rachel for the fun time! Next time we’ll have to hang out longer! :)

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We went back to Cafe Gratitude again!

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I had the housemade ginger ale.

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And I had a couple bites of Gina and Michelle’s appetizer plate.

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I split a Macrobiotic bowl with Michelle. I never would have picked this dish off the menu, but I was interested in trying it once I read the description. The sesame sauce really sold me.

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And I was so happy with my decision. The bowl was another success!

I can’t wait to try to re-create these quinoa bowls back home!

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Michelle and I were going to split this tiramisu but I had to run out to catch a cab. I managed a couple bites before rushing out the door for the cab. I think I may have panicked a bit, but you would too if you waited 1 1/2 hours for a cab without success just two nights before (remember that fiasco?).

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Luckily, we caught the cab, made it to the hotel, I met up with my roomie and we made it to the airport on time. I snacked on my Foodbuzz swag bag stuff, we caught our red-eye flight, tried to sleep with 2 crying babies, and landed safely in Charlotte at 6:00am ET. Phew! Not sure I’ll ever do a red-eye again (at least not without taking the next day off), but I guess it was worth it to have all day Sunday to play.

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Reunited with my boys!

It’s been fun San Fran, but I’m happy to be home sweet home!

In case you’ve missed other posts from my Foodbuzz/San Francisco trip, here’s a list of related posts:

How to Get to Sir Francis Drake for the Foodbuzz Festival 2010
Bloggies Do Chinatown
Marvelous Millennium (San Francisco)
Alcatraz Experience in Photos
All Aboard for Alcatraz
I Am Thankful for Cafe Gratitude
How We Almost Missed the Foodbuzz Street Food Fare
Foodbuzz Workshops and Tasting Pavilion
Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion in Photos
Foodbuzz Festival 2010 GalaFarewell Foodbuzz 2010

Have you ever done a red eye? What did you think?

Farewell Foodbuzz 2010

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I’m catching up on blog posts the last couple days so I’m on a roll with posting!

In case you’ve missed anything, here are some of my Foodbuzz/San Francisco posts:

On to Sunday…

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Sunday morning held the last event of the Foodbuzz Festival 2010 – the Farewell Brunch.

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There was a buffet of hot and cold brunch eats.

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Plus plenty of hot coffee and tea and icy-cold water.

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My first plate was a little on the heavy side, so I only managed to down about half of it.

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Some yogurt and fruit helped lighten things back up.

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After scoring a late check out, I went back up to my room to finalize the last of my packing (did most of it Saturday night after the Gala and scavenger hunt). I decided to go ahead and enjoy the Frog Hollow pear and wow…can I just say I now understand what all the buzz is about…this thing was the delicious and definitely the best pear I’ve ever had!

Then, I was off to meet my friends! We had grand plans of exploring San Francisco, but they got a bit rained out. At least at first.

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I enjoyed a famous treat…a Fitnessista-macaroon (another highly buzzed-about food that totally exceeded expectations…pure heaven!).

I got a little preview of Dance Trance from Gina where we Dropped It Low ;) and then it was time for shopping.

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We wandered around Union Square after the rain cleared up. I wanted to buy one of everything in Lush but managed to leave with only a tiny perfume.

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Brittany, Tina, Michelle, and Gina with the chia seed beauty product Brittany found in Sephora.

I almost made it with them to Lululemon (though now that I think about it, maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t get there…at least for my wallet lol), but ended up getting picked up by a local friend for afternoon tea.

I was envisioning a 3-tiered cake stand with tiny bites of sandwiches and sweets (perhaps my Southern influence), but found something differently delicious altogether. Details next time!

Foodbuzz Festival 2010 Gala

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Saturday was the big night – the Gala!

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Lookie what we passed on the way to the Ferry Building!

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Love!

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The Ferry Building was so pretty at night.

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I couldn’t stop taking photos.

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See the taxi?

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Almost party time. I felt so lucky being able to have a special dinner at the historic Ferry Building!

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After almost missing the party on Friday, Julie, Anjali, and I were right on time for the gala.

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Or make that…early.

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Turns out everyone was actually outside enjoying appetizers and small bites, so we went over to join them.

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There were some really fantastic little plates being passed around – beef, cheese puff, polenta, chicken ball. I think the chicken was my favorite.

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Soon enough, it was time to get the party started.

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The room was gorgeous and made me feel like I was dining like royalty.

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Me + Anjali.

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Me + Julie.

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And you’ll never guess who ended up sitting with us…Laura! The other photographer from the presentation earlier. She kindly answered a few more of my photography questions and gave me some pointers. It was so cool being able to have some good conversation with both her and Marc.

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After enjoying our appetizers, Anjali, Julie, and I actually waited at the bottom of the stairs with some others for the gala. Once we got the word, we bum-rushed the place and scored a great table. Look how close we were to the screen!

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We were one table over from the Foodbuzz CEO.

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The tables were really pretty with glasses galore.

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And some strange green thing…not sure what this is. Moss?

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I loved how each course had a wine pairing.

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We started with a golden beet tart. So light and tasty.

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Then we enjoyed a scallop course.

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Check out the vegetarian version in tofu…looked just like my plate!

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Then, we moved on to the main event – lamb.

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I would never order lamb on a menu…but I figured of all the places to try it, this was the one. The flavor was really nice and not too gamey. The sweet potato mash was a nice compliment. I did try the mushrooms (you guys know I’m not a fan), but they weren’t my thing. They tasted great, but I couldn’t get over the texture. lol

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And then we had dessert! Almost Cake with Spanish Sherry Sabayon. Loved all the flavors together – especially that berry sauce!

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Which we enjoyed with a preview of a new Food TV show.

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Post dinner, my table got together for #fbzhunt – a scavenger hunt around town. (will have photos another time)

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We did most of our photos on the way to the final destination…

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But one place was a necessary stop for my group – The Gold Dust lounge!

Phew! What a day! But there was one more to go…