San Francisco: 2011 Report The Grand Adventure Day 2
Wants: A Farmer’s Market as good as the one at the Ferry Market Building.
Day two began with me sleeping in for a delightfully long time, only to wake up and find it was still quite early on the West Coast- I love that! We got ready and headed down to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Market Building. First up was some delicious dark chocolate almond brittle from G.L. Alfieri Nuts & Fruits, which may be one of the tastiest and most addicting brittles I have ever sampled. They also have a great selection of nuts and spreads, but that brittle will be ordered for holiday events! We then sampled some beautiful peaches, then it was on to Ex-Absinthe/Arlequin pastry chefLuis Villavelazquez’s Les Elements Patisserie where we had an amazing strawberry jelly doughnut and lamb turnover. We knew strawberry was the way to go as the day before we could see beautiful fresh strawberries all over the fields. And that filling was fresh and delicious. The Lamb Turnover was also good, wish I could have toasted it just a little, but was a nice savory morning bite. I am so sorry to say I can’t figure out who I got the lovely little macarons from in front of the building, which is a real shame as she also had some lime caramel which was so good, Hubby loved that.
Inside the building we had an amazing hot dog at the Prather Ranch Meat Co. hormone and antibiotic free, with a great crispness, but juicy beef taste. Across the lane I slurped down some fresh, briny oysters at the San Francisco Fish Company.
We sampled some Pepples Doughnuts, which may be my favorite cake doughnut of all time and right up there in my top three of all doughnuts. I am very sad they don’t ship (it’s not sustainable, I know, I know). But their cake was moist and not overly dense and their flavors were magical, made from fresh and wonderful product, like meyer lemon or green tea. If anyone going to SF wants to ship me some of these home, you are more than welcome. I will repay the favor somehow, someway. Having just eaten an awful large amount of gluten for my system (I only had bites of things, but it adds up, luckily I stayed lactose free and that seems to be more of a problem for me) I picked up a Mariposa sandwich made with Boccalone salami for later.
We then stepped outside and as it had gotten a little later there were hoards everywhere. Luckily we made it to Primavera for great lemonade and tea. I had the Chi Chi Rodriguez which may be the best peach tea I have ever tasted (do you see a pattern here?) . I wish I could get this stuff bottled. It has all my drink loves- tea, ginger and peach all rolled into one delicious, balanced drink that I had to ration so I didn’t down it in seconds. Stepping back in we stopped in McEnvoy Ranch and Heath Ceramics, which is just so special they will get their own post just for them. I also found a wealth of new cookbooks I NEED (def. NEED- something I want very badly, and must acquire because it is superawesomefantabulous)(nevermind that my cookbook shelf is packed to the rim). To balance off the meatasticness of the morning we stopped in DELICA to get some salad, I got mine in the form of spinach and sesame, but they had a seaweed salad that looked super healthy and good too- next time!
I would have bought so much more except we were going right from there over to the SFMOMA and then to Golden Gate Park! But most everyplace, but Pepples, ships so I am in luck, plus I couldn’t eat any more and needed to burn off some calories walking. The SFMOMA had the Gertrude Stein collection visiting and the number of rare Matisse and Picasso’s was just phenomenal. There was also a beautiful Monet Lithograph with so many colors. The permanent collection was also very interesting with a lot of work that was beautiful and thought provoking. One of the fun moments was seeing the Matthew Blarney work, the person the internets always confuses my Hubby with. After all that walking I needed a short break to rest the footsies. We were close to Press Club, a fantastic wine bar with a by the glass list that just makes me happy. The staff has wonderful knowledge of all the tastes and provides very helpful feedback without being wine pontzs. It has a dark, but very clean and modern wood motif, with back lights and matte wine bottles in khaki colors. It is a great place to sit and relax, there are multiple bars and many seating areas. And just so relaxing.
After this I ate my Mariposa sandwich at Golden Gate Park. Umm, this is incredible gluten free bread. It makes me cry that they are so far away. They do ship though. It is so much like real bread. It is chewy and light and airy with good pull and texture. Why can’t this place be at a Farmer’s Market here!!! It was soo good. The sandwich rolls were especially good, so much better than anything I have found. If anyone wants to go in on a shipment with me let me know!!
Golden Gate Park was beautiful, the conservatory had an amazing exhibit on Wicked Plants! They also had amazing orchids and temperate gardens. They also had a beautiful Dahlia garden, one of my favorite flower varieties. The Japanese Tea Garden was very neat, but I felt the one in Sydney and the Huntington were better. The other gardens weren’t very well kept, but still nice to walk around. I think they have probably suffered from some budget cuts. After all that walking we headed back to the hotel for a pre-dinner nap, as it was a long day in beautiful sunshine.
Then the cherry on the sundae was dinner at Incanto! I love me some tasty salted pig parts. And I really like Chris Cosentino’s philosophy towards food. The dinner was stellar, the Chef was in the kitchen. Starting with the wonderful foccacio bread and tapenade. Then moving onto a country harm puree with spring root vegetables. This country hame puree was a delight, like really good grits, but smoother, denser, creamy, but in an amazing savory way. I also had the lavender lemonade, which just hit me, as did the puree as something I must make, they were just simple wonderful pleasures. I then had the pork shoulder with onion, apple and greens which was dense with meat flavor, but very light with simple, balanced flavors. Hubby had the ragu and that was rich and just homey and wonderful, like a hug from your fat aunt, it consumes you with a joyful fullness. It is simple, complex food, the technique is impeccable, but the food is honest and not overdone. Too stuffed for dessert we headed for Clock Bar for some liquid dessert, it was ok, drinks were good, but atmosphere just needed something, it was too hotely, although trying so hard not to be, I would rather do the Top of the Mark and have the view.