Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grazing Train at the Ferry Building

The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in San Francisco happens in miniature form every Thursday (the big one is on Saturday). Since we had done just about every other kind of eating adventure during our vacation in the big city, we actually had a day off from an official dining reservation and decided to visit the market and graze our way through its offerings. With no itinerary other than to pick what peaked our palate, we headed down there on a muni bus with stomachs ready for exploration.

Our first stop was 4505 Meats, which was the whole reason we had come in the first place. We had heard that their burger and dog were out of sight.

Yes, both dishes were better than your average fast food fare and the stand in itself offered a nice selection of steaks, chops and sausages on ice but it was nothing to garner hundreds of impossibly-fluffy sounding yelp reviews about. But it had, which we couldn’t quite understand. The hamburger bun was dark and studded with sesame seeds and came swimming with a yummy cheese sauce. The bacon, which was touted as studding the hot dog, was nowhere to be seen.

Next up was Chef Chris Cosentino’s meat emporium, Boccalone. There’s something pretty special about a place with all variations of salami, hanging dry skinned in a cooler right in front of your face with an old fashioned cutting machine as bright red and shiny as a historic fire engine.

But even more special is the “salumi cone” – a teaser piece of paper funnel that comes lain with three kinds of salami to peel right off the sides with your fingers and savor. Ours had mortadella, lonza and fennel and brown sugar salami.

Of course, my favorite stop was the forty-five minute belly up to the bar we enjoyed at Hog Island’s oyster outpost here. I had one of the best oyster experiences of my life at the real Hog Island headquarters and was happy to see that even though this time we were not shucking them ourselves by a cold, rainy bay, the quality was still scrumptious. I also gained a whole new appreciation for shuckers and their forearms as the entire time we sat there a solitary man pounded through dozens and dozens of oysters all for us patrons’ eating pleasures. A glass of sauvignon blanc to wash down the 6 varieties of the sea gem and we were off.

I was delighted to see the presence of Cowgirl Creamery as well with a small counter serving up cheesy items like an oozing gruyere-type grilled cheese sandwich that we shared accompanied by fresh pickled vegetables and onions. Not worth the 8-dollar price tag but an elevated version of the comfort food classic for sure.

At Recchiuti Chocolate we bought an affordable four pack of a new chocolate to try. For $18 we received a 1-pound load of bars including bittersweet, semisweet, dark and dark milk that we enjoyed later at bedtime. Always on the hunt for good pieces of dark chocolate, we were pleasantly surprised by the mellow depth of the dark milk variety that sent us well on our way to sweet dreams after a wonderful experience on the grazing train.

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