Ok, remember I talked about visiting Borough Market in London with Musical Chef Snr and Foodie Doctor, and we were really excited about the market and the finds there? Well, I'm reminded of the scene in Crocodile Dundee when Mick Dundee is about to be mugged in New York City. The mugger pulls out a knife and damsel-in-distress says to Mick: he's got a knife! Mick Dundee chuckles and says: that's not a knife, that's a knife.
The Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, while serving as a ferry terminal since 1898, is now also a permanent home to artisan food purveyors and San Franciscan restaurateurs. Three times a week, the plaza in front of the building hosts farmers and producers from around San Francisco, who set up stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables, preserves, yoghurt, muffins and a number of other fresh, organic edibles produced with sustainability and fair labour practices in mind.
Organic and union labor
Saturday mornings are naturally the busiest, when San Franciscans (a good proportion of whom have been for an early morning run or walk along the Embarcadero) check in for breakfast and some shopping. A few local restaurants also make a temporary appearance, selling ramen, tacos and gourmet rotisserie meats. This is an experience you could only have in California: tanned, healthy-looking people picking out bright oranges, tomatoes and lemon plums in a clean market in bright sunshine, under a tower modelled on a 13th century Moorish structure (the Giralda in Seville, to be precise).
The variety on offer was simply overwhelming, so deciding what to eat (and what pictures to share with you) wasn't easy. The plan was to have breakfast at the market, go for a walk, and then have lunch. What we ended up doing was just grazing on various things. Here is a sample of what we tried.
The Rebel Within, from the Tell Tale Preserve Co.
Garlic bread, from Il Cane Rosso
Scrambled eggs with chorizo, from Mijita
Crispy Vietnamese crêpe filled with prawn and marinated pork, garnished
with mint, from Out the Door
Miyagi and Kumamoto oysters
The fruit deserves special mention. Cinnamon's friend, KB, told me about this market, and she had given me a heads up that the fresh fruit in California was outstanding. I have to say, the fruit at this market was some of the best I have ever tasted. The gold nugget mandarins were incredible, with an intense but smooth sweetness, and very much deserving of the name.
Gold nugget mandarins, from Twin Girls Farms
It's been really difficult to share just a selection, because I want to show you everything! But Frangelico and I, feeling we didn't get enough on our first trip, will be back at the market tomorrow morning. So, if you feel the same, watch this space for more...