Keep Calm and Ferry On

I’ve been given a homework assignment: Between now and next Tuesday write two blogs about food. And frankly, I have no excuse not to do it. After finding myself recently (and hopefully very temporarily) unemployed I’ve been doing one of two things- staying home in sweats and watching a disgusting amount of TV while eating take-out or spending lots of money (that I don’t have) adventuring around the city eating and drinking with friends. Either way, I’m eating.

Today was a productive day; an early doctor’s appointment got me out of bed at an hour that I otherwise would have ignored entirely. Having woken up late and hungry, I joined the masses at Whole Foods for my caffeine fix and a blueberry scone. I have to admit, if there was somewhere else within a block of my house to get coffee when I’m running late, I would go there in a heartbeat. Unfortunately all I have is the Steep Brew at WF. In my opinion, their coffee beans are over roasted and a little harsh. The scone was pretty good, but if you really want a scone that will make you abandon your diet and surrender to your fat pants, Batter Bakery on Polk is where it’s at.  Paula Dean, the Queen of Butter, would be tickled at the amount of glorious fat packed into those bad boys. Somehow, they manage to be flaky, creamy and crumbly all at the same time; and packed with fresh fruit to boot.

Lunch was a tame turkey sandwich at home while I waited for the clock to signal that it was time for me to go get my hair cut. Three hours and one fabulous new ‘do later, I was starving. I had two choices, go home and eat pita chips and hummus or call my friend Michelle to see if she was interested in cocktails and noshing. Obviously, I chose option two. We decided on the Ferry Plaza Building, and true to my word, I made sure we went somewhere that I had previously been unaware of- Hog Island Oyster Company! To be fair, I’ve actually been to the Hog Island in Tomales Bay, but I had not been to eat at their spot in the Ferry Building- or the one in the Oxbow Market in Napa for that matter.

I’ll pretty much eat anything that comes out of the ocean, so I like oysters, but being from Kentucky means I’m not exactly well-versed in oyster flavor profiles. I decided to try the 6-oyster sampling so I could do a little compare/contrast. With the help of Michelle’s serving expertise I was able to determine that I prefer Pacific Ocean oysters to Atlantic but that I also really like Kumamotos (from Japan) and a certain oyster from Long Island called a Naked Cowboy.  (I mean really, how could you not like something named after MTV’s favorite Times Square personality?) Paired with some epi bread generously schmeared with butter, a lovely frisee and beet salad topped with lemon cucumbers, daikon and a zinfandel vinaigrette and a glass of Domain Carneros Brut Rose, how could I go wrong?

I could have easily stopped there, belly full of oysters and bubbles, but we’re hardcore foodies so we soldiered on.  Next stop, the Wine Merchant for some vino, cheese and of course, more bread. Man may not live on bread alone, but add some cheese and a nice glass of wine and I think he’ll get along just fine.

If you’re shopping through the Ferry Building for picnic stuffs to enjoy in the park across the street or maybe on a bench along the pier, the Wine Merchant is a must. I can’t say for sure that it’s the only place that sells bottles in the building, but its certainly the best selection. On the whole, the Ferry Building is a wealthy picnic aficionado’s utopia; under one roof you can go to Frog Hollow for fruit, Cowgirl Creamery for cheese, Boccalone for meats, Acme Bread Co. for, well, bread, Miette for pastries or Ciao Bella for gelato, and the Village Market for produce. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

I had been into the Wine Merchant before a couple of times to peruse the wine selection, so nicely categorized by type and country that even my obsessive compulsions for organization are put at ease, but I had never sat down to have a glass of wine. They offer a number of wines that you can enjoy by the taste, glass, caraffe or bottle and a nice selection of cheese and charcuterie pairings. There are also two flights you can try with a custom cheese pairing if you so choose. We opted to pretend we were on vacation in Italy; a glass of Il Mosnel Franciacorta for Michelle, 2010 Coefner Vin d’ Seigneurs Mayolet for me, and burratta with epi (yes, again) to share. Michelle’s Italianate champs was a deliciously sophisticated contrast to the flirty pink bubbles we had been sipping with our oysters earlier. I opted for the Mayolet instead of the Sangiovese that had previously caught my eye because I had never tried this particular varietal and felt up for a challenge. Our server told me it was something he turned to as an alternative to Pinot Noir when he was in the mood for a light-bodied, spicy red.  It was incredibly light, but maintained a nice amount of body, had the aroma of sediment (in a good way) and tasted like ripe plums with toasted spices. In other (less wine-snobby) words, it was delicious. Paired with a bite of olive oil drenched burrata, it was even better.

Luckily, Michelle had somewhere to be, forcing our glorious gluttonous afternoon to come to an end.  My waistline and wardrobe are safe for another day. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to start looking into gym memberships…


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