San Francisco Eating Happy Times at the Ferry Building Farmers Market

I spent what might be the ideal local/urban/farming/foodie Saturday in San Francisco during my visit last month.  Ferry Building Farmers Market + Alemany Farm + dinner with friends to feast on all our accumulated goods = serious eating happy times.

It started at one of my favorite places of porkaliciousness on the planet, the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market…

Where you can buy color-drenched stalks of rainbow chard ranging from pale banana yellow to deep red wine burgundy…

…and stuff your mouth with bountiful free samples of the brightest, most vibrant, flavor-bursting oranges.

But it’s so much more than just a farmers market – it’s a prepared food/street cart/mobile restaurant festival of serious quality meals on disposable plates as well.  All sorts of new snacks have appeared since I last visited the market a year ago, including an array of porkaliciousness from 4505 Meats (photo at top) like maple breakfast sausage rolled and baked in brioche or a muffaletta sandwich (Salami, smoked mortadella, terrine, Gruyère, and olive salad on a poppy-seed bun) or their famous chicharrones.

I’d already eaten a smoked salmon – meyer lemon – homemade cream cheese on sourdough bread sandwich from Holy Smoke, the stall I used to work at with the fabulous Sally and Cap’n Mike, so sadly I could only fit in a tiny snack from another newcomer since I last visited the market, Namu. I’d been wanting to try their ‘Asian-inspired new California cuisine’ for ages, and never made it up to their restaurant in the Richmond before moving. So I was excited to visit their stall at the Ferry Building, offering everything from kimchee fried rice to yuzu French toast to okonomiyaki.

I ended up with a fantastic little bite of meaty happiness known as the real Korean ‘taco’: a ssam-style ‘taco’ with seasoned rice, kalbi short ribs, daikon and kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, and homemade teriyaki wrapped in Korean and Japanese toasted seaweed. Brilliant.

I loved it – inventive and playful, with a rich, punchy undercurrent of teriyaki sweet and salty soy flavor from the short ribs topped with a layer of pickly freshness from the daikon kimchee salsa, all bundled in a toasty blanket of chewy yet crackly seaweed.

I only wish I had room in my stomach for cookies from Miette…

…or a fried egg panino with pancetta and provolone, or slow-scrambled eggs with crostini and crescenza, or broken farro porridge with raisins and almonds from another new (to me, at least) addition Il Cano Rosso.

I’ll just have to come back again soon. And drink Blue Bottle coffee and eat Kika’s Treats caramelised chocolate graham crackers from La Cocina with a bag of oysters and sausage on a stick in the sunshine by the Bay Bridge.

But I couldn’t eat a week’s worth of meals at the Ferry Building, although I’d like to (every day). It was farm time, so off I went to San Francisco’s amazing Alemany Farm. Until next time, Ferry Building!

Up next –  fava bean leaves, collard greens, and massive piles of horse shit at the farm…

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