I can't believe a year has gone by since the last Foodbuzz Blogger's Festival. Time really flies when one is eating every day. *Burp*. Now unlike last year, there is a contingent of Vancouver bloggers, albeit a small one. Thus, it was slightly good and bad. Sure, I had people to hang out with who I already knew; yet I didn't get to meet as many other bloggers as last year. Was I being anti-social? Not sure, maybe... I was probably just being lazy to tell you the truth. Well, on that note, fresh off afternoon drinks and appies at the Slanted Door with Mijune, we were off to the 2010 Foodbuzz Gala Dinner. Conveniently held at the Ferry Building since we were there already! We met up with Kim and TS/JS just as they were setting up the for dinner. We were "held" in a separate area for cocktails and various appies. It's funny how we positioned ourselves near where the appies were prepared. That way, we could "intercept" them before they hit the hungry crowd. Starting from top left and going clockwise, we have the Madelaine with tuna. Then Gougère with Gruyere. After that we spotted some crunchy Fried Chicken Balls with a sweet glaze. Despite my propensity towards balls, this was only my second favourite. My
personal favourite was the soft Polenta with a Brunoise. Lastly, we had Beef Roll with scallions.
We were very much done with the appies and waited and waited and waited so more. Finally, we were seated at around 8:00pm, completely famished. I guess catering for 350 people is not an easy thing to do! Starting with the first course, Roasted Golden Beet Tart with crimson beets and arugula basil puree. This was a mild start to the meal as most of the components were quite understated, arugula withstanding. The beet tart was sweet and smooth and was accented quite nicely with the puree. Good stuff, just not my personal favourite.
Now the next dish was a favourite for sure! The Seared Scallops were some of the biggest I've ever seen. Resting underneath was braised fennel while on top was fried fennel fonds. The dish was finished with a Bonny Doon Vineyard Verjus beurre blanc. Honestly, it was all about the scallops though. They were perfectly seared (on one side) and just barely cooked. Perfection! They were naturally sweet and the mildness of the other components let it shine. I liked how the fennel still had some crunch too. Next up was the Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb. My portion was small and not picture-worthy, so I traded with Mijune. Now her rack was bigger and juicier... er... yah... Apparently it was "Frenched" as well... uh... Well, she was so impressed with the pictures of her rack, she wanted me to share it with everyone. So here you go... It was perfectly cooked and definitely flavourful. No complaints here. It was served with mushrooms, Pinot Noir sauce and a butternut squash puree. I found the mushrooms to be a good compliment to the lamb and the sauce and vice versa. Nice combination of woodsy and red wine flavour. Although I liked the squash puree, there seemed to be an overabundance of it.
For dessert, we were served an Almond Tart with oranges, Spanish Sherry sabayon finished with figs. The tart itself was buttery; yet curiously a bit dry. I liked how it was not too sweet and I could actually taste some of the individual components. Not too bad considering the silky sabayon on the side. A "safe" dessert for the differing tastes among the 350 guests. Pretty good dinner if we take account the venue and the large party size. Execution was pretty much spot on and the wait could be forgiven since they had to sear 700 scallops!