Sunday, January 13, 2008

The First Fancy Food Show Tour - "Sustainable and Local Eating in San Diego"

To fill you in, the NASFT hired me to plan and host three tours for the Fancy Food Show in San Diego this past weekend. It was a lot of work but also a total blast, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. So much so that I'm considering doing it on a more regular basis.
The group listening to Jay
If you're visiting because of the tour - welcome! I really hope you enjoyed it and I am so sorry I wasn't able to do more talking. I had the good timing to get a terrible cold this week, and lost my voice completely the day before the tour. It was back, somewhat - but I wasn't my normal chipper self.
The tour group filing into the outdoor kitchen
Still, it seemed like most of the guests really enjoyed it, and the participants really did me proud. Jay served up goat sopes and some Brandt Farms Bresaeola, and Barry and Leslie at La Milpa did pizzas for everyone - as well as salad, chocolate cake and delicious mint tea. Stone stepped up and donated three cases of beer, which were a big hit with the guests - most of whom were from out of the area and hadn't tried it before.
The beautiful Leslie making salads
From La Milpa, we went back down south to the beautiful Torrey Pines Lodge and were greeted by the staff of A.R. Valentien and ushered out to the patio for a talk by Chef Jeff Jackson and a buffet of prosciutto, cheese, dates, salumi and levain bread.
The whole spread
We left there and headed a short distance up to Waters, where we enjoyed a phenomenal panna cotta dessert - it was sitting on a toffee disk, topped by microgreens - along with some local persimmon, cubes of date cake and a vanilla bean sauce that I believe had some squash in it. It was inventive and delicious. I will email everyone to get the exact information so I can share it with you here. Mary Kay Waters then allowed everyone on the tour to basically loot the store, taking the packaged food, cookies, snacks and desserts! I filled up a bag for the bus driver, who was absolutely great. We'll have him again today.
The panna cotta dessert with persimmon, date cake, vanilla bean and a toffee disk
We were still about ten minutes late getting back, but I think it was worth it not to rush everyone. My biggest problem was my voice. What timing eh? It made it difficult for me to do a lot of "guiding" or commentary, which I felt bad about. I brought Candice Woo of Citybeat and Donna McLaughlin - local Slow Food board member and membership chair with me, and they helped me with rounding people up and hosting duties.

The full photo album can be viewed here.

I've got to run - I have another tour to do today! Tune in later for more about the tours, the show itself, and the tasting event tonight.

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