San Francisco: Day 2 - The Ferry
I woke up around 10am eager to start my day exploring the city and especially the renovated Ferry Building. I successfully got Boy up to, opening up the curtains and luring him with our complementary morning coffee and tea left at our door. He had partied lightly the night before with our friends while I lay in deep sleep unable to move out of the cozy bed, exhausted from the long uphill haul with what felt like all of my life's belongings. I drank my hot complimentary tea and munched on a few Manner wafers I had gotten from Rosamunde the day before. The chocolate covered hazelnut one was good but the raspberry wafers were the right ones to start my day off with.
We hustled down to the Ferry with what had started as a nice walk and suddenly turned into sprinkles. But the rain never got that bad, thank goodness, and the sun was soon shining through the refreshing chilly air. The Ferry has a farmer's market every Saturday which was the other reason I really wanted to make it down there early.
cheese, cheese, and more cheese! a beautiful view of the internal store.
First stop was the Cowgirl Creamery's table from which we got Bellweather Farm's San Andreas cheese. This cheese went fast from my constant munching in the afternoon. My own way of having a nice appetizer before heading out for dinner. We also got naan and cilantro chutney from Sukhi's, which happens to be also available in Southern California in certain markets. These were also delicious but sorta expensive at $11.
A few tables down was Swanton's Berry Farm's Strawberry Jam. At my first taste on a itsy piece of bread I was hooked on this super fresh jam. The guy said it had to be eaten within two weeks because there are no preservatives in it. But that's why it tastes that much more delicious. Wow, this has kind of inspired me to try making jam. Sort of, maybe... next time. But if it's gonna taste this good why not?
After a few more photographs we headed in to the building. I knew that it had stores and restaurants and such but did not expect such a standout grouping of quality produce, baked goods, products, etc. The Ferry site states that "the Marketplace, organized along the central Nave, provides a distinctive space for bringing together the greater Bay Area's agricultural wealth and renowned specialty food purveyors under one roof." Yes indeed. I had a field day feeding myself, taking photographs, and shopping.
I was immediately drawn to Culinaire which specializes in antiques from nineteenth century France, England and America. There was a beautiful hundred-something piece set of French tableware. So beautiful! Lately I've been addicted to buying plates and tableware but always within my budget, scouring the shelves at discount retail stores. These were something else though. Such awesome craftsmanship. I guess I could have whipped out my credit card but I didn't even want to ask how much. Someday. Instead I got a set of vintage menu reproductions. Really cool but don't know if I'll every use it because it is too cute.
Next stop was Frog Hollow Farm. Their super cool label looked awfully familiar and then I realized that a family friend had gotten me a jar of their orange marmalade. The 120-acre organic certified Frog Hollow Farm is located in the agricultural town of Brentwood. Their freshly baked pastries smelled so warm and inviting, we could not resist getting one for a little snack. We gobbled up one of their Black Forest Ham and Gruyere Turnover. Super flaky and slight warm, it upstarted our appetites.
I love how these mushrooms, at Far West Funghi, looks so surreal.
Look at this kid working his oyster skills out.
There is no way I'm passing up $1 fresh oysters but Boy tried to resist by trying to save himself for our lunch at Canteen. But me, I was all over those oysters in no time. They were so delicious! Fresh, briny, and cold with a tiny dollop of horseradish and cocktail sauce. You can probably feel my happiness growing rapidly at this point. And Boy did end up eating more than the "one" that he requested.
And then came the shopping... I got a box of Fleur de Sel Caramel from Recchiuti Confections for $20. Yes, it was pretty expensive for very small 16 pieces but so worth it. It fleur de sel adds a delicate touch of saltiness as the caramel melts away in my mouth. When you bite down on the caramel you can feel the texture of the salt. This is my treasure that I am hoarding, hopefully to last me through the end of this month. This is something really special. Something to be savored, even in private for your own personal moment of bliss and happiness. Yeah I love those moments.
Next stop was Miette, an organic bakery. I know it seems like I've said that I loved everything, but I really liked this bakery right away. It was adorable with adorable cake stands, adorably packaged cookies, and adorable t-shirts. As soon as my eyes read "Lavender Shortbread" I knew I had to get it. I could only imagine, the beautiful floral lavendar in a delicate buttery shortbread cookie. Yumm.
We stopped for an american caviar sampler at Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Cafe with a glass of sparkling wine. Very pretty and pleasing endeavour except I really only liked our last caviar, the hackleback sturgeon. I'm not a huge caviar fan nor have a lot of experience of eating caviar but if you are going to consume any, do avoid the american ones at this cafe. Ginger, wasabi, beet & saffron, truffled? I don't know. I just wasn't down with these. Next time I will go for the premiums. But I do say sampling these beauties perched upon small and delicate blinis with a cold glass of sparkling wine during the afternoon was still pleasurable.
But even more pleasurable was our next stop, the Hog Island Oyster Company. Okay, so we had some oysters a few stores ago but why stop there? It was time for clams this time, one of my favorite seafoods. It was steamed in white wine and butter, pretty typical, but the extra little kick from the red chilis rounded out this dish nicely making the briny bread dipping broth even more sumptuous. I love spice. Then I, in complete glutton mode, ordered oysters casino. Oh my god, this was sooo good. A raw oyster is a gem in itself, but now I know an oyster casino can be too.
Somewhere between all the consumption, shopping, and browsing, we knew we couldn't make it to Canteen for lunch. Which made me sad but then leaving the Ferry without due exploration would have made me sad too. Even when we got to the other end of the Ferry to Slanted Door, we did not even have enough room for a drink. What a dilemma. Another SF trip has to be in the works soon. Just to make up for all the places I didn't get to... 1550 Hyde, Canteen, Citizen Cake, Golden Flower. :/ But at the same time the Ferry was so awesome. I can live there. Definitely.