Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On the Waterfront - San Francisco’s Historic Ferry Building

An afternoon spent at San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building is a treat that can’t be missed on a trip to our city! 

 Located on the Embarcadero waterfront at the base of the famous Market Street, it is one of our favorite places to take first time visitors from out of town.   

The market is open every day, but if you can come on a Saturday, it is the actual farmer’s market day.  Bay Area locals and tourists alike, flock to the market on Saturday to discover lush, fresh in-season flowers, fruit, vegetables, plus specialties like fresh jam, local honey and salsa from Bay Area farms.  Not to mention the locally sourced cheese and the absolute BEST, most creamiest butter that I have ever tasted! With so many delish fresh goodies to choose from, live music, and farmstand restaurants, you will quickly be on sensory overload.  A veritable feast of colors, sounds, and delicious scents drifting in a sea salt breeze is the perfect San Francisco experience. 

It's incredibly easy to while away an afternoon in the sun at the Ferry Building, sitting on one of the many
wide benches facing the bay, feeling the wind in your hair,  enjoying the colorful parade of people and seafaring traffic go by. Some of our best memories are of lazy days spent with a cup of Blue Bottle coffee, doing just that. 

There are so many wonderful unique places to explore in the market! Enjoy a quick tour of a handful of my favorite shops and restaurants to check out– open all of the time, not just on Saturdays:    

Farm Fresh to You:  I never know what I might find here! Luscious, ripe fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. Yum.  Their selection of  large, gorgeous fresh flower bouquets is hard to resist.  (even it they are only for picture taking opportunities!)

Hog Island Oyster Company: We have spent many fun afternoons sitting at the oyster bar watching the "pros" open hundreds of briny, beautiful shells full of plump delicacies.  Even if you are not an oyster fan, just joining in with the other diners and enjoying the camaraderie in this fun atmosphere, make this is a must stop on a visit to the Ferry Building. (they make incredible clam chowder too!)

Cowgirl Cheese:  These people know cheese!  Honestly, I am positive that I was a cheese “virgin” before we stumbled into the shop a few years ago.  Cowgirl Cheese creates their own special triple crème cheeses from happy cows in Marin County, but their shop is filled to the brim with cheese from all over California, and  from all over the world.  Not sure what kind might be tickling your tastebuds?  Not a problem, they will be happy to suggest different types for your palette. You can try as many as you like before selecting your favorite. We always leave here with a rather large shopping bag...

Stonehouse and McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil: Both of these merchants create fabulous olive oil products, and all kinds of interesting combinations of vinegar full of flavor.  I could easily spend an hour in each shop dreaming up recipes to try.   On our last visit, we picked up some lovely tangerine infused olive oil, should be fabulous on spring salads!  Was sorely tempted by their wonderful soy-olive oil candles...

Humphrey Slocombe’s Ice Cream: All natural ice cream blended with fresh, interesting flavor combinations. 
Fluffer Nutter and Sea Salt Chocolate are a few of my go-to choices.  Tom is a follower of the "Secret Breakfast" (something about Cornflakes and Bourbon?) Be prepared, you will definitely be standing in line for a taste of this San Francisco treat.  Last weekend it was at least a 20 minute wait - but SO worth it!

Far West Fungi: The variety of mushrooms that these growers carefully cultivate on their farm south of San Francisco is astounding!   Worth a stop to admire the colors and textures, and I dare you to not bring a few of these gorgeous fungi home to sample. 

Let me know if you need a tour guide - I'll be happy to meet you by Scharffen Burger Chocolate. You can find me scoping out their famous Sea Salt Bark.  Yep, I am in foodie heaven at the Ferry Building! 

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