SF This Week with Mom -- Ferry Building Recommendations Please
Flying in to meet Mom on her way to a China tour in SF on Wednesday. Staying at the Prescott. Wed early dinner probably at Tadich if we can beat the crowds, Thursday dinner at Zuni.
Thinking on Thursday will spend noontime and into the afternoon at the Ferry Building. Sad to say, I've never been. I have read some reviews and blogs. I'd like your opinions of stands or shops that are not to be missed. Should I plan to stop somewhere specific and make a reservation for lunch or do a picnic kinda grazing thing?
Mom loves chocolate, so I don't want to overlook something special in that area. When over the two days can I work in a mission-style burrito? -- I've been jonesing for La Cumbre for years.
Thanks to the SF hounds for feedback on Tadich -- I know I have to be there by sixish at the latest to avoid a wait.
Anything special on display at some museum or the Exploratorium or a new store or shop or something that would be special for me and Mom to see?
There's an excellent little Mexican place for lunch - we had an excellent lunch with tasty tacos and queso fundido to share. We loved the caviar shop - it's not all terribly expensive, there's wonderful whitefish caviar that's flavored with wasabi that's under $20.00. The Creamery is fantastic - some really great cheese.
We really enjoyed the Wine Merchant, we had a bottle of wonderful Cava - and did some people watching. What a wonderful treat for your Mom.
If by the Mexican place you mean Mijita, with the exception of a couple of things, it's not very good and it's expensive for what you get. Although there hasn't been a report for a while, there have been lots of complaints about small servings and lukewarm food.
Agreed that you can spend a fortune at Fog City News. More than you should have to, in fact, because their markups are ridiculous. For example, one of the Recchuiti chocolate bars is $7 at their shop or on their website, and $8.95 at Fog City News. And oh yeah, it's $5.95 at Confetti in the next block, which pretty much exploded the manager's justifications about his rent when I told him. Plus, they don't put prices on things, so you have to ask about each and every thing you might be interested in or risk serious sticker shock at the register. However, the selection is great and the staff is knowledgable, and if you don't mind paying the premium for that, then it's definitely worth a stop. Actually, you can do a chocolate trifecta with Fog City, Confetti (which carries Recchuiti, Neuhaus and some other premium chocolates by the piece/pound) and the See's across the street at Market and Sansome.
I'd rather spend my chocolate $$ at Recchuiti in the Ferry Building. I personally don't care that much for their herb/spice chocolates -- they're interesting but not great. But the fleur de sel caramels are divine; actually, pretty much anything with caramel is a good bet, as are the fruit flavors.
I think folks have covered the food at Ferry Building, but as far as the chocolate. rechuitti does some nice work, but not all are winners of course. I like the anise/pink peppercorn and of course their signature burnt caramel. If you don't want to trek over to XOX truffles, which are wonderful, then you can buy at Whole Foods in SF. Also, a real treat for a chocolate loving visitor is to walk up to Fog City News on market. It is close to the Ferry Building and has a fantastic selection of chocolates. A real chocolate lover could spend a fortune there. They are just bars (of all sorts) not truffles or other confections.
There's a taco place right next door to the Ferry Building. It is where Slanted Door and Taylor's Refresher is. Just walk outside and you will see it. It is a good burrito if not the ultimate ... or you can run around.
For food ... Boulette's Larder. Be careful about Miette. They do some things well (so I hear but have yet to taste), but so much is over-priced dreck. IIRC, the chocolate tart is good (hey, chocolatetartguy, isn't that right?) If you sit at the bar, Slanted Door is not that hard to get into and the desserts can be really good.
On a non-market day like Thursday, I would get a variety of cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, some nice bread from Acme, and some fruit from the Capay store, then eat it all while drinking tastes or glasses of wine at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. If you want something more substantial, Slanted Door To Go and Lulu Petite both have to go items that are yummy.
Then for dessert, since she loves chocolate, go to Recchiuti and buy as many different flavors as possible and sample them all.
Then, before you leave, go to Miette and buy the chocolate sable cookies for her plane trip. They are very chocolately, crisp like shortbread, with a salty finish. Addictively good.
Thank you for your replies and great ideas so far. I will follow up on some of the chocolatier suggestions.
We will be coming up from SFO by cab tomorrow around noonish. Should I ask the cabbie to stop along the way to Union Square to get a SF burrito at La Cumbre or get lunch after settling in at the hotel?
I like going to Mastrelli's Delicatessin, getting a sandwich, and going to the wine bar for a glass or two. You can also get a few snacks there. Their marinated olive / cheese plate is great and comes from the creamery next door. Or, Taylor's Refresher is good for a burger and a beer. There's a Sharffen Berger outlet in the ferry building, as well.
There have a smaller version of the Saturday Farmer's Market on Thursday evenings in the Summer/Fall with some vegetable stands and live music. Good timing on your visit...
If you can get over to Berkeley, you mom might enjoy touring the Scharffen-Berger chocolate factory.
On a non-farmers' market day, there's less grazing at the Ferry Building. But I think Slanted Door is the only place that would require a reservation. Just go and browse and see what appeals. One thing to remember is that the wine bar allows you to bring food in, so if you decide to go the grazing route, you can take your booty and sit with it and a glass of wine and enjoy the scene.