Being a general avoider of reality, mortality isn't one of my top subjects to ponder, but I have decided that when it comes time for me to go to the big chocolate waterfall in the sky, I would like my ashes scattered in the hallowed halls of the Ferry Building, San Francisco's epic waterfront smorgasbord. Morbid? Maybe. But who wouldn't want to spend the afterlife sprinkled over Miette's macaron jars, Hog Island's oyster bar, and the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant's "sidewalk" tables? That's what I thought. Here are a few of my favorite FB nosh stops, for now and FOREVER.
This tip's for Hog Island's Ferry Building oyster bar, any self-respecting bivalve fanatic's first stop. If you're on a budget, go Monday or Thursday from 5-7pm for happy hour--1/2-priced chef's choice specials. You can get oysters to go too!
One of my favorite farmers' markets, this is the best kind of tent city--they're all selling gorgeous produce (as a Portland girl, I'm always in awe of the fresh citrus & avocados) & prepared foods (Della Fattoria Bakery's bear claw will change your life).
Follow your nose to this busy bakery, where fresh-baked loaves of organic olive bread and walnut levain will have you eating your gluten quota for the year in a single sitting, right out of the bag. Get an epi loaf for sure--and try not to eat every single bread 'leaf' before you've even left the building.
If a devoted cheeselover died & went to heaven, it would look like this jaw-dropping Ferry Building cheese shop. Give me a wheel of Mt. Tam & an epi loaf from neighboring Acme Bread Co., and we're friends for life. (unless you eat more than your share)
Besides the flawless produce (their Tarocco blood oranges made me question everything I thought I knew about how citrus should taste), this cute bay-facing Ferry Building favorite bakes sublime pastries. Love the Meyer lemon tarts, cherry & blueberry tarts, and Meyer lemon cake!
If you can't get a reservation at this wildly popular Vietnamese hotspot in the Ferry Building, don't despair--the bar and lounge are first come, first serve. Perennial favorites include the signature Slanted Door spring rolls, grapefruit jicama salad & the spare ribs. Great cocktails!
Years ago, during a girls' trip to SF, my British friend fell so hard for this chocolatier's legendary fleur de sel caramels that she used to make me mail boxes of them to London. Which I gladly did, because I completely understood--they are unforgettable. And while you're here gathering caramels for your favorite Brit, might as well get a ginger heart, rose caramel, Force Noir truffle, peanut butter puck, & sesame nougat for yourself.
You can be assured of two things at Blue Bottle--great coffee and lines of people who love it. A quintessential San Francisco experience!
They've definitely got beef at this popular Ferry Building meat shop--sustainably raised, certified organic beef (and pork, lamb, buffalo & poultry) sourced from small independent ranches & farms. Get juicy steaks & chops for dinner, buy a fresh hot dog to snack on (or a burger from their adjoining eatery), and get Praise the Lard t-shirts for every pork lover in your life. (Like me. I really want one.)
I'm never happier than when I've landed a much-coveted "patio table" at this super popular Ferry Building wine bar. Sip 2-oz champagne pours (makes trying them all affordable), nibble Cowgirl Creamery cheese & Acme bread, & watch passerby to your hearts' content.
Miette's Hayes Valley mothership is worth the pilgrimage for the made to order organic cotton candy alone, but if you're downtown and can't make the trek, pop into its exquisite Ferry Building storefront for some cake-gazing, one of each macaron (or at the very least, the chocolate orange and hazelnut), a lemon tart, and an eclair.
A serene spot to take a tea break, most of the teas on this leafy little Ferry Building oasis' extensive menu can be sipped Gaiwan-style for only $5. Since you've likely been eating your way through the building, get the Yunnan Puerh, it's a digestive aid.
You've likely seen this Sausalito-based potteries' wares in some of San Francisco's best dining rooms & with good reason-they're beautiful, durable & timeless. Leave some room in the Ferry Building shopping budget for a set of the gorgeous mixing bowls...sigh.
Get schooled in the finer points of one of those pantry essentials we tend to take for granted, at this vendor of exceptional California-born olive oils. Samples abound & don't miss the blood orange, it's my favorite & amazing in recipes (blood orange olive oil cake...yes, please!).
(This tip's for Far West's Ferry Building shop.) If you've ever wished you were a more educated mushroom consumer, look no further than this funky fungi fest of a shop, which sells all sorts of wild & cultivated mushrooms & truffles, as well as an assortment of related whatnot. Truly a unique experience! Buy a mushroom mini-farm & learn to grow your own at home.
This fresh juice company knows their stuff--every blend I've sampled has been exceptionally flavorful & balanced, and oh-so-healthy! Speaking of sampling, the lovely folks at Pressed's Ferry Building kiosk (across from Sur La Table) will let you try anything & everything, so explore away. Love the Green No. 4 with watercress!