Sunday, July 30, 2006


I'm freaking out. I wish I had only taken a few bites of that (delicious, authentically french Poulain-like) apple turnover from Acme bakery--instead of eating almost the entire thing. Should I toss out the remainder of my Peet's iced americano right now to leave room in my stomach? It's 10:00am, half-way between breakfast and lunch, and the Ferry Building in San Francisco is just beginning to come alive...stalls are being set up, shop keepers are dragging out their wares, restaurant staffers are wiping down tables.

On my way in, there was a farmers market opening up, and I was handed a sample of an organic golden peach--beyond ripe and full of juicy flavor. I have to wait to buy white nectarines from that same vendor, my new favorite fruit.

Inside the market, the Cowgirl Creamery is open, and I debate buying some of the most unusual cheeses I've ever seen (big, stinky bricks) to eat later tonight in my hotel room. (I caved and bought a piece of their "St.Pats" a brie-like goat cheese with wild nettles (!) and house cured mixed olives with herbs and lemon zest.) They also have farm fresh yogurt made only a few towns away--sold in terracotta pots. Then there are the piles of amorphous heirloom tomatoes--such vivid colors, such tight skin. Should I buy one and just bite into it right now? I'm not even hungry! I was planning on picking something up from Delica rf-1 (a story in itself*), a japanese delicatessen, like rice balls and sauteed vegetables. But then I wandered past teh fresh seafood bar, lured in by its cool white marble and simple menu of shrimp cocktail, dungeness crab louis and 3 kinds of chowders. "It opens at 11, will I be hungry by then?" I wonder frantically. Can I make room in my stomach for all this? I begin to empathize with my foodie friend who has a small stomach. What do I do? I'll shop around for a bit more--to Miette patisserie, with perfectly delicate parisian pastries displayed alongside antique cake stands and homemade striped lollipops. With pink walls, of course. I wandered into Village Market, a specialty store with shelves artfully packed with treats from all over the world--pickled green beans from spain, heirloom dried beans from mexico, italian tuna packed in olive oil (the best kind), and Boylan old fashioned seltzer. I bought oolong tea gum (like nicorette for coffee quitters) which had the taste of a black bubble tea and a "mojita" bottled juice from a small new beverage company (pretty good--like limeade and mint tea mixed).

The Ferry Building is such a gourmet haven, with the famed Slanted Door restaurant (upscale creative vietnamese) and Mijita mexican, where they make tortillas right there. Each store carries a few cookbooks, and then there's the bookstore, "Book Passage," with an excellent cookbook and culinary literature section for such a small store. On my way out, I walked by a booth for "devinely d'lish" homemade granola--I saw it from the corner of my eye and just had to walk the other way. I love granola, and wouldn't allow myself the digestive overload a sampling would cause.

At about noon, I made my way back to Ferry Plaza Seafood, sat at the marble bar and had an ultrafresh crab cocktail--a pile of dungeness crabmeat with cocktail sauce over a chiffonade of romaine lettuce. mmm... and a pelegrino to wash it down as the sun shone through the huge windows and on the bay outside.

*"About Delica rf-1: Over thirty years ago, responding to the accelerating pace of modern life, Mr. Kozo Iwata founded the Rock Field Company, bringing traditional European-style delicatessens to Japan for the first time. Over time, the company began selling Sozai: a Japanese concept of meals characterized by many small dishes, reflecting a way of eating that is balanced and healthy.

Rock Field has now opened its first American delicatessen – DELICA rf-1 – in San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building. DELICA rf-1 uses fresh, wholesome ingredients and is prepared with a Japanese sensitivity towards food and life and the environment. Delica rf-1 comes to California eager to both learn from and contribute to the Bay Area’s thriving food community."-- from website

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