Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building Marketplace is generally recommended as one of the first spots for a foodie to check out in San Francisco. Partially this stems from the historical significance, the scenic location and beauty of the building itself.

A view of the inside of the building

The view of the Bay Bridge outside of the Ferry Building.

But like the Reading Terminal Market and to a lesser extent like the tourist trap, Faneuil Hall in Boston, the Ferry Building holds a number of cool local food and miscellani stores. A couple of examples:

Boccalone sells cured meats...

... and Farwest Fungi sells well mushrooms.

While there were a few different options for dining, the sheer number of people there on the weekend meant that most places had lines longer than the awkward pause after a fart on a first date. As a result, I opted for a place with no line: a hot dog from Prather Ranch Meat Co., which was decent.

The dog itself was a solid dog, tasting more like real meat than your generic store-bought dog. However, the best part of the hot dog was the bread, light and tasty, like a fresh baked loaf, instead of your usual miserably dry hot dog bun.

I also picked up a pastry, called Bomboloni, from I Preferiti di Boriana. It's essentially like a jelly filled donut, except much lighter and less cakey. I can't say it was that good; it's actually quite similar to a pastry served at some dimsum places and there was like a teaspoon of jelly in mine.

By itself, I was a little underwhelmed by the Ferry Building market interior. Yes, the inside stores were local, cute and quirky (blah blah blah) and you've got a great view, but really, as a tourist, I'm there to eat food or if I was a local, I would want to buy meat/produce for cooking. To this point, the Ferry Building doesn't provide as many options as Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market.

But what makes the place a worthwhile is its weekly farmer's market on Saturdays. There are numerous farmers' stands in front and in back of the Ferry Building. And let me tell you, especially if you come from the East Coast, their fruit is jaw-droppingly amazing. What's even better is that a number of stands offer free samples so you can drive yourself mad thinking about the great fruit you can't buy.

In any case, if you're on the hedge on whether you should visit, definitely do, but make sure you visit when they're doing their farmer's market.

Ferry Building Market
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 693-0996

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