Ferry BuildingIf Chinatown is one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods, continue walking for another ten minutes and you’ll arrive at one of its newest attractions, the Ferry Building. Actually, the building itself is not new, having been completed in 1898 with a tower modeled on the Giralda in Seville. The Ferry Building, however, then suffered some hard times thanks to drops in the number of passengers arriving in the city by ferry and then the construction of the Embarcadero Freeway, which cut it off from the city. In 2003, however, it reopened in a notable example of adaptive reuse, as the city’s premier food hall. Whether you are shopping for California olive oils, cheeses from nearby farms, or even handmade soaps, the Ferry Building offers a selection of lovingly made artisanal gifts. It’s also a good place for lunch, whether you are in the mood for Vietnamese noodles or fresh oysters. San Francisco’s largest farmer’s market is also held here, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Spend an Hour, Spend a Day!
Start at the Hog Island Oyster Company (get there when it opens) for a quick 6 and a Sancerre, work your way to Boulette’s Larder for a European-kitchen-inspired lunch, go by the wine store for a tasting and to browse their stacks, relax outside to people watch at MarketBar (backup for breakfast if you get there early) and have a cocktail (or dinner) at Slanted Door (rsvs recommended). While strolling, don’t miss the Beekind honey tasting stand , Happy Girl Kitchen (pickled dilly beans and zucchini will make your eyes roll in delight), the macarons at La Miette (organic and they give even Laduree a run for their money), and/or the Humphrey Slocumb ice cream stop and the Cowgirl Creamery, a local cheese maker Alice Waters style. Delicioso!
Supporting Local Food Specialists at San Francisco's Ferry Building
Besides some of the regional big names you will find small artisanal vendors in little kiosks sharing their wares. One such person is Van Dao of the Biscuit Bender, who creates wonderfully fresh and inventive biscuits on a daily basis. He accompanies the biscuits with an offering of unique jams that pair perfectly.
The food is wonderful, but the proprietor also adds his own unique flair which completely illustrates the celebration of warmth and diversity not only in the Ferry Building—where they hold a wonderful farmer's market every week—but of the city of San Francisco itself.
Warm up with coffee and friends inside the Ferry Building. The bridge is best seen from the piers along the Embarcadero, San Francisco's East waterfront.
Far West Funghi: Wildly Beautiful & Organic Mushrooms
One of the few cultivators of organic mushrooms that are both exotic and flavorful, Far West Funghi is a labor of love by the Garrone family in California who have been in the specialty mushroom business for 25 years.
Unveil your inner geek by identifying which countries these mushrooms come from (for example, organic Reishi hails from China, while the Matsutake is a pine mushroom from North America). You can pick up a box of assorted mushrooms and experiment with various recipes too.
San Francisco: A Gourmet Capital
This historic building that sits on the bay was long the hub of San Francisco's ferries, bringing commuters to the city from the East Bay and Marin County. As ferry service declined, so did the building, although its tower, modeled on the Giralda in Seville, remained one of the city's iconic landmarks. In 2002 the Ferry Building was renovated and became the home of a farmers market selling local fruits, vegetables, oils and nuts. While the market is open only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, you can sample some of San Francisco's best cuisine here every day of the week. Leading restaurants like Gott's Roadside, Hog Island Oyster Company and others are represented by Ferry Building locations.