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Apr 21, 2007 02:46 PM

GQ article about Ferry Building in SF

Alan Richman has an article about the Ferry Building in the May 2007 issue of GQ magazine entitled "Food Central U.S.A.". The first two paragraphs:

"On the west coast, a few yards from San Francisco Bay, looms a monolith destined to become a sacred site for those who prefer that food not reach its destination shrink-wrapped."

"The locals revere it. The rest of America has nothing like it."

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    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      you know, it isn't far off though. i work in the ferry building and just moved to sf by way of boston with earlier stints in nyc. in new york, there's the green market and the shops at grand central which remind me a lot of the ferry building, but it's not the same. is the ferry building "revered"? i dunono, i doubt it, but it's an amazing asset and had it been here the first time i visited sf, i probably would have liked the city better.

      1. re: linz

        Ferry Plaza has its own unique character, but in many ways its similar to Seattle's Pike Place Market.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Similar perhaps...but, what, a bit more pretentious. Planned as opposed to created in fits and starts over the years. I've always found Pike Place more interesting, fun and easier to navigate through the crowds. That said, I do enjoy the Ferry Plaza sometimes.

          I think the Ferry Building is a bit too consciously high end in many ways which keeps it from being something I think of on a regular basis. (The one exception seems to be Acme Bread.)

          1. re: ccbweb

            I agree with ccbweb: similar but not the same. I enjoy the Ferry Bldg. a lot, and I end up eating all kinds of fun and yummy foods when I'm there.

            But at the Ferry Bldg. you get the sense that everything is there to make a statement. At Pike Place Market you get the sense that they're just trying to sell some food.

            1. re: alanstotle

              The Ferry Plaza Marketplace is intended to make a statement.


              I think Golden Gate Meat Co., Ciao Bella, and Peet's are also exceptions to the high-end rule. Arguably also Mastrelli's, Mistral, and Out the Door.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                "The Ferry Plaza Marketplace is intended to make a statement."

                Exactly. Which is why the Ferry Building Marketplace and Pike Place Market seem different.

            2. re: ccbweb

              I agree--and (though I haven't been in a couple of years) it seemed like a one horse market. One place to get bread, one place to get wine, one for ice cream, etc. Being on the east coast now, I much prefer the Reading Terminal market in Philadelphia. I know most things will be reasonably priced and if I don't want something from one stall, most likely, I can get the same item from another.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          I probably agree that there's nothing similar in the United States. (I think Pike Place Market doesn't have enough of the prepared foods outlets like Ferry Building.) I think the Ferry Building is very comparable to the market in Vancouver and the La Bouqueria in Barcelona. I don't necessarily revere it, but I do feel lucky that we have something like that in the Bay Area.

          1. re: singleguychef

            Really? Pike Place has restaurants and prepared foods all over the place. You can find just about anything if you roam about.

        3. Like I'd read anything Alan Richman wrote after he trashed New Orleans so badly. Despite that, I love the Ferry Building...just preferably not when he's in it.

          1. SF Chron restaurant critic Michael Bauer has a blog post responding to Richman's idiotic statement that "Alice Waters and sourdough bread aside, the Bay Area has contributed surprisingly little to the culinary ripening of America":


            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I guess you could read that statement as "Alice Waters and sourdough bread" are the only unique elements that California has contributed.
              Everything that's on Bauer's list was started somewhere else outside the US. Some people made some smart choices by bringing them to California.

            2. I can't help but chuckle about how inaccurately he described Marin Sun Farm's operation:

              "eggs laid by chickens that dine exclusively on biodynamic cow poop...nibbling on parasites."

              Um, Marin Sun Farms is not biodynamic, their chickens do not eat cow poop, and they most certainly don't eat parasites (gross!)