Ferry Building Fantasia

san francisco, ca
I know, I promised you recipes. I promise, they’re coming. But András and I just returned from 72 delicious hours in Northern California in honor of our one-year anniversary, and I wouldn't dare keep such delicious discoveries from you.
A trip to see the California redwoods was a childhood dream for András, and since I’m happy to be included on the grown-up version of his dreams, we decided it was the perfect place to celebrate our first year as husband and wife. As we flew over Grand Canyon, playing footsie under our tray tables, András read about our national parks in National Geographic Adventure, and I flipped open the American Way. I tried to imagine us frolicking among the giant trees of Humbolt Park, when an advertisement of a young couple glistening beachside at a Sandals interrupted me.
Spend your first anniversary in luxury
I suddenly wondered if we shouldn't be heading to relax on a beach, get a massage, sleep in a big bed with fluffy duvets. I squeezed András hand.
He set down his magazine and kissed me. “We should make it a tradition to spend every anniversary at a National Park,” he said.
“Every anniversary?” I said. “I was just thinking maybe we should be going somewhere a little more, I don’t know, luxurious. Somewhere with feather duvets.”
“Luxury make people soft.” He said.
“I’m a girl, I like soft.” I said.
Being soft isn't such a bad thing, particularly because it also includes eating stinky cheeses and cupcakes, both of which can be found in abundance at the legendary Ferry Building and its epic farmer's market in San Francisco, our first stop when we landed. András found us a parking spot a few blocks away with a 1-hour limit, giving my enthusiastic appreciation for the culinary potpourri of the marketplace an unrealistic deadline. I tried to explain that this was like telling Carrie Bradshaw she has only 15 minutes at Manolo Blahnik. It didn’t register.
Undeterred, I clicked my heels on over to the market by which time we had 49 minutes, exactly enough time to discover homemade pop tarts with fruits grown on Frog Hollow Farm, chocolate persimmons, black mission figs, tasty, salted pig parts from Boccalone Artisan Meats, Vanilla Tomboy Cake from Miette Patisserie and Harvest Whoopee Pies from Recchiuti chocolates. The foods of the Ferry Building are poetic, charmingly arranged and packaged to perfection, rendering decision-making harder than the aged Mimolette at the Cowgirl Creamy stand. So we tasted and took photos, juggling between our cameras and wallets in rapid succession.
And then, like clock work, András signaled our time was up. He ran to get the car, while I snuck in a final stop at the stunning Boulette's Larder, a labyrinthine of delights where tiny fresh eggs and delicate pastries were displayed on pedestals like jewels. Every detail was so thoughtfully arranged, and each and every person standing in the eternal line was the picture of Northern Californian prosperity. I took my place behind the elegant mammas feeding their rosy wee ones concord grapes and fresh figs, and breathed in the bliss.
Just as I approached the front of the line and reached for one of the handsome pastries pictured here, my phone rang. András was waiting outside in the car and I had to come, immediately. I took their card, letterpress on recycled paper {naturally}, and plugged their details into my iphone as we whizzed north toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Online, I found out the namesake of their restaurant is their beloved Puli, or Hungarian Sheepdog, called Boulette {which in French, means little meatball}, making their stylish sensibilities all the more lovable. I met my first Puli on the night András proposed to me in Hungary, and it sat at our feet as I ate a plate of goose and saurkraut in a local Csarda {inn}. The pup, and Boulette's Larder, will forever hold a special place in my soft little heart.


Liz T said...

From your descriptions, it sure feels like you spent more than one hour wandering the enchanted food stalls of the Ferry Building! The trip sounds lovely, a balance of long awaited dreams and new beginnings. Looking foward to tales from the forest and some recipes as well. (And, I see fluffy duvets in your future.)

Kelly said...

How could I have missed the farmer's market? I spent nearly five full days in SF last May and didn't even hear about the Ferry Building market. Well, this certainly gives me something to look forward to the next time I visit the west coast. It will be a 'must see' on my list of things to do. Thanks for the colorful introduction!

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.