How have I lived in the Bay Area for almost 20 years and never been to San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace before now? Okay, it was just a former ferry terminal that had fallen into disuse once the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge were completed in 1936 and 1937, and with the construction of the Embarcadero Freeway, it barely even saw daylight -- so I had no reason to know it existed. But after the collapse of the freeway in the 1998 Loma Prieto Earthquake, the whole Embarcadero area began to transform, and the Ferry Building underwent a massive renovation -- so after 2003, I no longer have an excuse. I had heard about the Ferry Building Marketplace, of course, but just never got around to going there. Even The Pea got to visit the place before I did!
I finally visited the Ferry Building Marketplace a couple of weeks ago when I went on a chocolate tour with a friend -- and I seriously need to make up for lost time. The place is a food lover's paradise! You'll find merchants selling everything from dried mushrooms to artisan olive oil to caviar to tea-infused chocolate truffles There are butchers and bakers and candlestick makers, restaurants and cafes. Everything looks fresh, upscale, and made with love and care.
The exterior architecture is classically grand, and the interior is bright and airy. It reminds me of Napa's Oxbow Market, with merchants lining the hall, and people wandering from from store to store, tasting, looking, enjoying. Check out some of the delicious finds at the Ferry Building:
Neo Cocoa Truffles
Hey, it was a chocolate tour. My friend and I did grab a sandwich at Boccalone Salumeria to go, but we were in too much of a hurry to stop for photos. I had to wolf my sandwich down on the drive back home, but it deserved to be eaten while sitting at a little cafe table, with a hunky Italian waiter pouring mineral water into artisan glass goblets. Yes, it was that delicious: salty salami, crusty bread, peppery arugula, spicy mustard. Yum.
I would have loved to wander around, but we just didn't have enough time. There are a couple of places I definitely would have dropped by at: Miette (to try the Parisian macarons), Cowgirl Creamery (because I love their cheese and I want to have the luxury of choosing from their full line-up) and El Porteño Empanadas (because the buttery, meaty smell wafting from their booth nearly drove me crazy).
Oh, yes, Ferry Building Marketplace, there WILL be a next time, and it WILL be soon.