San Francisco Ferry Treats
The last time I set foot in San Francisco, the Philadelphia Phillies played against the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series (The Phils lost.). That was 1993.
On the heels of my Gilroy garlic experience, I have spent the past three days here -- wandering, getting reacquainted with familiar landmarks and exploring new and/or transformed neighborhoods. I didn't have much of an agenda, with one exception: I wanted to stroll through the much talked-about Ferry Building Marketplace, a newly renovated Beaux Arts building that has morphed into foodie paradise.
An architecturally-rich property that overlooks the San Francisco Bay, the Ferry Building was the original home to the Port of San Francisco in the late 1800s. Over the course of a century, the building has survived the highway, earthquakes and massive changes in transportation. Since 2003, it's latest role has been as a marketplace. It's now home to 30-some culinary points of interest, including restaurants, specialty shops, a twice-weekly farmer's market, bakeries, confectioneries and cafes. You'll notice the attention given to local ingredients and artisan foods.
Depending on your mood, wallet size and appetite, there are tons of choices. A few that won my heart include: Recchiuti Confections, the most exquisite hand-crafted chocolates from Michael Recchiuti, a Philly home boy who wanted to become a chocolatier. I can't believe he's been in business for only nine years; the level of detail, the voluptuous mouth feel and the pristine quality of his ingredients give the impression he's been doing this work all his life. Think cardamom nougat, fleur de sel caramel and lavender vanilla in your box of chocolates. Just thinking of the stuff is giving me a buzz!
If chocolate isn't your bag (and that's okay, she says with trepidation), head over to Miette Patisserie, which sells primarily macaroons. Discard that notion of the box of coconut patties from Florida; these little lovelies are Parisian style, looking like doll-house hamburgers in adorable shades of pale pink and yellow.
To shake off that sugar buzz, we needed a proper lunch. We couldn't decide, as the choices included Slanted Door, the famed Vietmamese restaurant, a caviar-champagne combo at Tsar Nicoulai caviar cafÃ© and Boulette's Larder, a unique pantry-kitchen serving up unique and artisan foods by day and a prix-fixe menu of seasonal and local goodies by night. We landed at Hog Island Oyster Company, named after its oyster farm in nearby Tomales Bay. We shared a variety plate of oysters, all possessing unique personalities, plus one of the most luscious grilled cheese sandwiches in recent memory, featuring cheese from fellow vendor Cowgirl Creamery (which recently opened a Washington location).
It was a perfect Sunday afternoon, and even better that the weather allowed for a hearty, post-prandial stroll through the streets of my new-old friend.
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