Ferry Building Marketplace—Forget about that diet

in From the Mobile App, Local and Slow Food

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The SF Ferry Building (Photo ©JaGa, GNU Free Doc License 1.2)

Built in 1898, for years the San Francisco Ferry Building served as a terminal for the many ferries that once plied the waters of San Francisco Bay, carrying Marin County and East Bay commuters back and forth.

Into the 1930s the Ferry Building was second only to London’s Charing Cross Station as the world’s busiest transit terminal. A massive network of cable cars, buses, taxis and other forms of transit met arriving ferry passengers and whisked them to other parts of the city. This system worked quite well until, after completion of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, ferry traffic began to erode. In the 1950s, construction of the elevated Embarcadero Freeway obscured the Ferry Building from drivers’ sight and reduced pedestrian access. Used only as office space and out of view, the building was largely forgotten.

But after the earthquake of 1989 the damaged Embarcadero Freeway was demolished, a broad space at the foot of Market Street opened up once again—et voila! The Ferry Building began its second life. After undergoing massive renovations, the Ferry Building re-opened in 2003 with its 65,000-square-foot ground floor transformed into a permanent market—and the Waterfront hasn’t been the same since! As with all the world’s greatest city food marts, this place is absolutely irresistible, drawing crowds of food-lovin’ residents and visitors alike to peruse, salivate, debate … and, finally, to eat.

Making decisions here is almost impossible. Unbelievable aromas surround restaurants and cafés. The sight of mouth-watering delicacies stops you dead in your tracks. On flagrant display are triangular artisanal cheeses and round breads, rainbow-colored organic produce, olives like you’ve never seen, rare mushrooms, hand-made chocolates, exotic teas, precious vials of caviar, luscious Hog Island oysters.

Should you relax over a nice hot cuppa, or go for a glass of Pinot from a boutique Carneros winery? Should lunch be the Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwich at Gott’s Roadside, the Grand Seafood plate at Market Bar, or the Cellophane Noodles with Fresh Dungeness Crab Meat at the Slanted Door?

Tip: Learn about the Ferry Building’s colorful history with a free, hour-long City Guides tour on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Meet at the front entrance (foot of the stairs).

Did you know: The Ferry Building’s 245-foot clock tower is modeled after the 12th century cathedral bell tower in Seville, Spain.

SF Waterfront Editors Recommend:

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Cookbook: Internationally known as one of the most magnificent farmers’ markets in the world, the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market has inspired this gorgeous illustrated market companion. The perfect guide and cookbook—no matter where you live—each page celebrates the abundant seasonal produce grown by local organic and specialty-crop farmers along with more than 100 fresh, remarkably easy-to-assemble recipes. Organized by season, the book details the availability of products at the market and offers advice on choosing, storing, preparing, and freezing items. A foreword by Alice Waters, the history of the market, and vivid color photos throughout bring this farm fresh market guide to life. About $16. Learn more about or buy The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Cookbook

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