Staying in a hotel in San Francisco's Financial District has its perks. $50 overnight hotel valet parking isn't one of them, but being able to saunter over to the Embarcadero each morning to enjoy the Ferry Building certainly is. Even if we weren't already close, this is an essential destination. The Ferry Building hosts a variety of high-end culinary delights, be you in the mood for coffee, pastries, meats and cheeses, oysters or even dinner and drinks at fine-dining restaurants like Il Cane Russo or the Slanted Door. Come on Thursday or Saturday during the day, and in addition to the gourmet artisanal servings from the brick and mortars, a jaw-dropping farmers market wraps around the entire building that puts Los Angeles farmer's markets to serious shame. Keep your eyes peeled, you're likely to run into a slew of San Francisco's top chefs, rounding out their restaurants' market-driven menus for the week.
On our most recent trip to the Ferry Building, we arrived with a checklist of destinations and every intention of turning a walking tour through the building and market into the perfect multi-course meal.
We got an early jump on the masses, which meant we also needed to kick things off with a jump start of drip-coffee from Blue Bottle. This was clearly an idea that all the other early-risers in the building had. After about a half an hour in line (below, left), we were sipping away on our pour-overs (below, right).
We also snagged one of Blue Bottle's caramelized 'Beligian Style' leige waffles (below). The attractive treat was far more savory than sweet and gave us just enough fuel to forge towards our next destination.
Our next stop was Boccalone, San Francisco's premiere stopover for all things pork-related. "Tasty Salted Pig Parts" is both an efficient and enticing description of what you're getting yourself into. We'd had more than our fair share of Boccalone meats the night before at Incanto (and if you squint, you can see a Food Network poster featuring Incanto Chef Chris Cosentino in Boccalone's store (below, left)). Before we left, we eyed their tasty meat cones (below, right).
We walked out with a handful of purchases (below) to bring back to Los Angeles with us. Angela found some head cheese, lardo (for only $20 more we could've gotten the Lardo Iberico de Bellota, which is imported from Spain and I'm sure would've totally been worth it) and some spicy Nduja sausage. The head cheese would make a great snack later, and Angela made a fantastic meal using the Nduja and lardo.
Oh yeah... and I got one of their Salumi Cones (below) - the perfect pre-breakfast treat with which to stroll further down the Ferry Building.
With *only* a coffee, waffle and meat cone in my stomach, I was starting to get hungry for breakfast and stopped in to Sidekicks. This is Cowgirl Creamery's sandwich-dealing right arm, located next door to the creamery. Their sandwich de resistance is their gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I was drawn in by the special egg and mozzarella sandwich (below), which featured hard-boiled farm eggs with creamy buffalo mozzarella cheese. Unfortunately, the sandwich was sorely lacking in the mozzarella department.
Next up? Far West Fungi, the storefront for a family-owned farm, which is equipped to handle all of your fungal needs.
Our main intention was to get our hand on some of their dried candy cap mushrooms (below, left). Candy caps have a unique taste and smell very reminiscent of maple syrup. The mushrooms have even inspired an ice cream flavor at Humphry Slocombe, and Far West carries pints and popsicles (below, right) of it in their freezer. We just made our own version of the ice cream at home, but H.S.'s version is spot-on - smooth, creamy, and never in a million years would you guess it's made from mushrooms.
On Thursdays and Saturdays the real treat is outside at the Farmer's Market. Not only will you find all the fresh produce you could ever dream of, there are also all sorts of vendors slinging lunch options. We were drawn towards 4505 Meats on the lookout for some of their world famous, melt-in-your-mouth chicarrones (we ended up taking three bags home with us).
Their bacon maple breakfast sausage sandwich (below) comes with aged gruyere, an over-easy egg and peppercress, served on a housemade griddled bun. It was delicious, filling and messy.
I can't imagine a better way to spend a Thursday or Saturday morning then gorging myself on such inexpensive, amazing food with a backdrop as beautiful as this (below).