Hello from San Francisco!
I have been looking forward to my trip to this beautiful city for months. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I’ve loved my time here so far.
Unfortunately it was a big headache getting here! I ended up arriving in California in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday thanks to lots of delays. By the time I crawled into my hotel bed, I had been awake for 24 hours.
It was a rocky start, but things have drastically improved thanks to the public relations and marketing team behind Smartfood, the company that sponsored my trip.
I am here with a team of bloggers to help unveil San Francisco as the SMARTest city in the United States (SMART = Savvy, Motivated, Accomplished, Responsible and Thoughtful), but I will share more about that later since the big media event surrounding this announcement is actually happening in Union Square this morning. If you live in San Francisco, please come say hi! We will be in Union Square through the early afternoon.
My first full day in San Francisco kicked off around lunchtime on Wednesday. I met up with four other bloggers (Kelly who contributes to Makobi Scribe, Sarah who writes for The Bold Italic, Sarah from Sarah Fit and Louise from Mom Start) and we grabbed a quick lunch at La Boulange with the public relations team from Smartfood.
Knowing we’d be sampling lots of goodies soon after lunch, we kept things light and I ordered a salad and a cappuccino.
It was really good and I can see why La Boulange is a hot spot in San Francisco!
After lunch, we had our first official event to attend with Chef Jody Denton.
Chef Jody has more than 30 years of experience and has worked with some famous chefs, including Wolfgang Puck! His mission for the afternoon was to create delicious dishes inspired by the flavors in Smartfood products. He said it was a bit of a reversal from his normal duties, since he now creates flavors for snack foods based on other dishes!
First up was a buffalo cheddar king ranch chicken dish, based on Smartfood Selects Buffalo Cheddar Popcorn. It was good, but a little heavier than something I would prepare for dinner myself. I’ll stick with the popcorn!
The second dish was a fava bean puree with garlic, tomato and basil, based on the Smartfood Garlic Tomato Basil Hummus Popped Chips.
It was vibrant, fresh and incredibly flavorful. Easily my favorite dish of the day!
We were given permission to share the recipes we tried today with you guys, and this is one I think many of you would really enjoy!
Fava Bean Puree with Garlic, Tomato and Basil
Serves 4 – 6
- 1/2 pound peeled, dried fava beans, soaked overnight in water
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup whole peeled garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 pints teardrop or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup sliced garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 cup (packed) fresh torn basil leaves
- Parmesan for grating
- After the fava beans have soaked overnight, place them in a sauce pot along with the chicken stock through the sea salt and half of the olive oil (1/4 cup). Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until beans are tender and falling apart. Add more water if the liquid level falls below the beans. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Preheat broiler on high. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet, toss lightly in olive oil and broil until they begin to pop open. Remove from broiler and set aside.
- In a skillet, warm remaining olive oil and sliced garlic cloves together until garlic just begins to brown. Add chili flakes, stir for 15 seconds and add basil leaves, stir, add blistered tomatoes and remove from heat.
- Place a large spoonful of warm fava bean puree on the plate. Spoon tomato basic mixture over puree. Grate parmesan over top and serve immediately.
After the fava bean dish, the next two dishes Chef Jody made for us to try were crowd favorites!
The spicy watermelon salad with feta cheese and mint was based on Smartfood Selects Feta Herb Hummus Popped Chips.
I am a huge fan of watermelon and feta salads and this one was delicious! Chef Jody added a pinch of cayenne pepper to the salad which added a nice kick to the dish.
The dish I couldn’t stop eating was the honey blackberry Greek yogurt dip that Chef Jody made to accompany the ridiculously addicting Smartfood Selects Cinnamon Brown Sugar Hummus Popped Chips.
To make the dip, simply combine, 1/2 pint of blackberries (smashed), 3 cups of Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Simple and tasty!
Our group had a really fun time talking the Chef Jody and made sure to thank him for sharing his delicious dishes with us!
Exploring San Francisco
After our event with Chef Jody was over, our group had the opportunity to explore the city. The weather was absolutely gorgeous (no sticky humidity!) and I loved walking around and taking in the sights.
Angry vizslas love San Francisco!
Of course we had to be total tourists and ride a cable car!
While we were out and about, we made a pit stop for cupcakes at Kara’s Cupcakes.
I bought the chocolate velvet cupcake made with bittersweet chocolate buttercream icing and it was fabulous! Yelp reviews promised the cupcakes would be delicious and they didn’t lie!
More San Francisco fun to come!!
Fab Giveaway Winner
- Lydia: “I would love the ice tea maker, my family loves tea and adding fresh mint or fruit would be tasty and save some $$$ making it at home!!!”
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address and I’ll ship the iced tea maker to you right away!
Question of the Morning
- San Francisco folks: What are some of your must-see sights in the city? Any restaurants I must try while I’m here? We have a free evening tonight, so if you’re a San Francisco local or have visited the city in the past, I’d love some restaurant recommendations!