Christine and I usually visit San Francisco at least once a year for her work and every time we go, one of the first places we hit is the super cool Ferry Building Marketplace at the end of Market Street.
Housed inside the beautiful shell of the historic Ferry Building (which opened it’s doors in 1898), the marketplace can best be described as a gigantic indoor farmer’s market. With offices upstairs, the bustling lower level is home to some of the tastiest gourmet grub in the city.
Artisanal cheeses, chocolates, meats, tea, coffee, breads…there is nothing you can’t find at this place and if you are lucky enough to come on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday between the hours of 10:00AM and 2:00PM, you’ll find a real life farmer’s market camped outside the building as well. And, man alive, is that place amazing!
But even if you can’t make it for the outdoor farmer’s market, the permanent storefronts inside the Ferry Building will more than satisfy you. We’ve eaten at almost every joint in there and aside from the bland, totally overpriced Mexican food at Mijita, everything we’ve eaten there has been excellent.
That said, we are total creatures of habit and almost always eat at the same two places. First stop is usually Charlie Phan’s Out The Door. Located directly behind Phan’s already-legendary The Slanted Door, Out The Door has some of the best Vietnamese “street food” I’ve ever had. Soups, salads, spring rolls, out-of-this-world Vietnamese coffee, this place is probably one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Seriously good food!
And the meal we had the one time we actually managed to score a dinner reservation at The Slanted Door — which is usually booked months in advance — will go down in the record books as one of the finest meals I’ve ever had. I kid you not, amigos, I have actually had dreams about their world-famous Chicken Claypot with caramel sauce, chilies and fresh ginger. DELICIOUS!
Our second favorite spot in the Ferry Building is Miette Patisserie home of awesome cookies, pastries and the second-best cupcakes in the city (right behind my all-time favorite, Kara’s Cupcakes!). But cookies and other baked yumminess aside, the thing that keeps Christine and I coming back year after year are Miette’s incredibly tasty Chocolate Pots de Creme. Holy crap, these things will totally change your life!
Served in a tiny glass jar (which you get to keep!) the chocolate pot is like the best pudding you ever had topped with a healthy dollop of dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth, creme fraiche. Yum!
And while we were a little sad to learn that they no longer uses the Miette logo glassware for the pots (which make rad tea light holders back home), as long as the chocolate keeps tasting this good, who really cares what it comes in?
Our two favorite stops aside, this past visit we decided to try something different for lunch. So, at the urging of Grandma Wendy, the four of us jumped into the long line outside Boccalone Salumeria to try their Food-Network-famous mortadella hot dogs. And, lemme tell ya, the sign out front, “tasty salted pig parts”, doesn’t even begin to describe how good this fancy hot dog was.
The sight, the smell, even the sound as it popped in your mouth when you bit into it, this was truly a weiner for the ages…delicious!
My only complaint about the Ferry Building Marketplace is the lack of parking. This was our first time driving to SF with Greta (we’re saving her first airplane trip till January!) and the parking really sucked. The dedicated lot they do have is very small and street parking is a nightmare. And when you do find street parking, it’s metered up the wazoo, so, bring your quarters!
Oh, and one more cool thing. The Ferry Building Marketplace has free WiFi, so, bring your laptop and sit a spell at one of the giant wooden tables facing the bay…the view is incredible!