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Lunch at Ferry Plaza Thursday Farmers Market

I bumped into several 'hounds at the opening day of the thursday farmers market (10am to 2pm) at Ferry Plaza today and had a chance to share lunch. The market mix is 70% prepared food vendors and 30% farmers, making for a nice lunch stop.

What were your favorites?

My top picks were the Korean kimchee fried rice topped with a pastured egg and the real Korean "tacos" made ssam style wrapped in toasted seaweed and rice from Namu. The okonomiyaki, OTOH, was a big disappointment. The margherita from Pizza Politana was lovely, as was the pepperoni pie. Enjoyed the bistecca arrosti sandwich, unveiled by Roli Roti as a new item, and it will be getting better in future iterations as Thomas intends to butterfly the top sirloin to season it throughout then roll it back up. He's also looking to improve the bun. Tacolicious has some trouble keeping up with orders. The fresh corn tortillas from La Palma were excellent, the tacos themselves and salsas didn't excite me. I did enjoy the not overly sweet white nectarine agua fresca from Tacolicious though I did need to stop them from overloading my cup with ice. Also had a taste of the lox sandwich from Capt'n Mike's, still don't like the plasticized cream cheese here.

Some photos of the day (click on thumbnails for captions):

439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Roli Roti
, Hayward, CA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

Pizza Politana
91 Rocca Drive, Petaluma, CA

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  1. Did Roli Roti have porchetta today? I'm hoping that makes their Thursday line-up.

    6 Replies
      1. re: david kaplan

        This is the last day for roast beef, will be making porchetta onwards.
        lifebeginsat30 "Thomas (RoliRoti) realizes that the Sat mkt wait for porchetta is too long & will be offering at Thursday mkt so locals can get their fix."

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Darn! Went to Il Cane Rosso to grab a porchetta sandwich... Thought I would be able to get the Roli Roti's beef sandwich next Thursday... :)

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            No porchetta today. They said that today would be the last bistecca day, with next Thursday marking the start of porchetta. I was happy to get one chance to try the bistecca sandwich, and I really liked the mix of rarer and crisped-end pieces of meat, carefully arranged on the sandwich to get both in every bite.

            1. re: david kaplan


              Well... Guess it was good I never was able to try this sandwich... If I liked it, would have never seen it again... ;)

              1. re: slew

                Meh. No big loss. The roast beef was cooked too much and came out tough. And there was too much meat - not enough balance. I'd opt for the brisket sandwich at Il Cane Rosso over it any day. Loved the tongue, though.

        2. I was there today too, though I think a while after you because by the time I got there everything from Namu was sold out. I got a shredded pork taco from Tacolicious, which took a little while, but they said that they were unprepared for how busy it would be. I liked the tortilla a lot, and while the filling wasn't great, I really liked the tomatillo salsa (though it needed more heat). I'm definitely looking forward to trying that Roli Roti sandwich soon, and the Korean tacos.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JasmineG

            I arrived at about 10:45, and Roli Roti and Pizza Politana were the only ones ready to vend at that time. As my friend and I were sitting down with our Tacolicious order, we saw ChowFun standing on the sidewalk with a hot-out-of-the-oven margherita pizza in hand looking around for someone to share it with. We gladly volunteered! We ordered from Namu in stages, the fried rice being our last request and we got the last portion.

            I did like the crispy chicharrones in the pork filling, but as my vanilla-faced friend said, "They take out the fat and salt for white people." The meats were good quality, but quite underseasoned. None of the salsas showed any heat, even the roasted tomatillo one which was described as very hot! The green guac salsa had the green pepper taste of jalapeƱos but the heat was missing. The cascabel salsa, meant to be the sweet one, was not very interesting and too sweet.

            Inside I tried a nutella bomboloni again. This time it was fresh, but the filling didn't seem very nutella-like, maybe I was given the wrong one. And the glaze was crystallized. I think that's the last one for me, I'm writing them off.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Ah, when I was there, the guy said that none of the salsas were very hot, which made my expectations low, so I was glad that I liked the flavor. The pork filling was definitely underseasoned, but I reallly liked the chicharrones in them, it was a nice little surprise.

              How much was the kimchee fried rice? I forgot to pay attention to prices when I saw that it was sold out.

              1. re: JasmineG

                Funny thing is, a couple gals sitting next to us had tacos. One took a bite and said, "that's really HOT!" Beats me. Having been forced to take my mother to El Pollo Loco, I can say that the salsas at EPL are hotter than these, at least the two branches in Salinas.

                The fried rice was $8 + $2 for the egg supplement. It also had cubes of bacon in it. The menu for Namu and Tacolicious are in the photos I linked above.

          2. I was hoping someone tried the bacon/peanut butter brownies....

            4 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                According to EaterSF, 4505 will be there starting next week.

                1. re: Nancy Berry

                  Oddly, Menupages reports "4505 Meats was there with smoked hot dogs"


                  The market manager told one of us that the number of farms and vendors would gradually increase over the summer.

              2. re: Scrapironchef

                straying OT, but despite being a total 4505 fan, i had the brownies at one of the pork butchery events and they didn't do it for me. maybe it was just in the context of so many other delicious pork products, though.

              3. According to Namu's twitter page, the Korean "tacos" have been added to the dinner menu at the restaurant. The difference in "beefiness" between Namu's prep and Tacolicious's bland braised beef shortribs was quite marked. Street food/antojitos are little snacks and should pack a lot of flavor into small bites.

                Also forgot to mention that Roli Roti will be making lengua in the future.

                Anyone else check out Thursday's offerings?

                1. Did anyone go today? I missed it, but heard that Ryan Farr of 4505 was there making hot dogs.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: JasmineG

                    4505 was there making hot dogs and some kind of sausage (chicken beer? can't remember), and they also had an orange-saffron "gobba gobba hey" dessert (looked like a moonpie).

                    4505 was next door to Namu's tent, where I had kimchee fried rice and Korean tacos. Tacos were nori with short rib meat, kimchee, rice, a teriyaki sauce, and some other spicy sauce -- I thought the sauces were overkill and overpowered the meat, but really liked the use of nori as a wrapper. Kimchee fried rice was spicy and garlicky, with nice big crunchy chunks of daikon and a smoky bacon flavor, and the fried egg -- with totally runny yolk -- bound it all together with fatty richness. Pricey for the portion size -- $14 for two two-bite tacos and the fried rice with egg, didn't quite feel like a full meal -- but tasty.

                    1. re: JasmineG

                      What a difference an hour makes. I went last week at 12:15 and waited 45 minutes between getting in line and getting my food. Not lunch break timing. I went at 11:15 today, there were no lines, and none of the dishes were sold out. I also had the Korean tacos and fried rice - loved it all, much better than last week's so-so pizza. But the big hit for me was the sorbet from Scream (on the "other" side of the market where the produce is.) May be the best sorbet I've ever had. Definitely in the Sketch Ice Cream style - take impeccable ingredients, do really work intensive small batch preparations, and let the purity of the flavors shine. I've never had pistachio sorbet before, and I was struck by how creamy the nut fat made it. Everything I sampled was lovely, but the pistachio-chocolate combo was magical. Don't miss them next time you're at the market.

                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                        Scream sells at a number of other local markets, including Temescal. I agree that they're great.

                        1. re: Morton the Mousse

                          Oh, you missed the rise of Scream. They do amazing stuff. They always have one vegan, nut-based offering and you're right, the fat from the nuts makes them rich and delicious. Later in the summer the melon flavors are fabulous, and I've been blown away by some of their less-traditional herbal offerings (I still dream about the thai basil, lime coconut)

                        2. i have a question about the texture of the korean tacos. if the ingredients were hot, did they wilt the nori sheets? if you took your time eating them, would they have become unwieldy to eat by hand?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: augustiner

                            Yes and yes. But this is a high quality seaweed and the parts not touched stY really crisp. They are a double fold and served in a paper hot dog boat to make it a little easier to eat.

                          2. I went today and got one of the 4505 "Golden Dogs" with the kimchee/chicharrone topping (I wanted something from the Namu stand, but when I got there at 11:45, the line was already really long, and the 4505 line was much shorter). The dog itself was great, with lots of flavor, and the bun was good too. Next time, though, I'd just get the dog, the kimchee was a little boring, and the flavors competed with one another instead of complimenting one another. They also had burgers (which looked delicious, but were small), some sort of chicken/beer dog, and peanut butter/chocolate brownies with bacon on top.

                            By the time I left the Ferry Building at 12:30ish, everyone had really long lines, especially Roli Roti and Namu.

                            1. i had roli roti's bistecca arrosti sandwich today with a side of corn. the corn salad was really enjoyable, fresh tasting, slightly charred with a little bit of avocado and jalapeno vinaigrette (but the jalapeno was hardly noticeable). but even tho the meat looked medium rare, it was really hard to chew, and i ended up having to eat my sandwich piece by piece. i chose the option to add a piece of lingua to the sandwich, and that was quite tender and flavorful. the line at 1p didn't look that long (~10 people), but it still took 20+ minutes to get through.

                              i also had scream sorbet for the first time -- fennel citrus. it blew me away. the combination just worked. lots of flavor w/o being overwhelming or trying too hard.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: wahbahdoo

                                I had Namu's kimchi fried rice w/ egg. Very much enjoyed the kimchi fried rice portion... nice smoky taste from the bacon. The kimchi was actually quite bland... no real spicy kick or sourness from the vinegar. Just added a nice crisp texture. The egg, although cooked to perfection with the yolk running still, was almost unedible. Their griddle at that point (1:15pm) must have had a coating of burnt gunk and it stuck to the egg. So all I tasted was an off bitterness... like burnt popcorn. But I ate it anyways because at $2 a pop, it was too pricey to waste. Eager to try their korean tacos, which seemingly are consistently sold out.

                                1. re: Keesey

                                  I had the "tacos" at the restaurant, wouldn't order them again.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Anyone know if all these booths are still at the Thursday ferry building market, or was this just a summer thing?

                                    1. re: Agent 510

                                      Or at least whether 4500 is still around?

                                      1. re: Agent 510

                                        Thursday market appears to be going year round according to the website. I can't wait for the cold weather to come and kill the lines so I'll have my pick with no wait whatsoever.http://www.cuesa.org/markets/days/thu...

                                2. Thought I'd add some comments.

                                  Roli Roti porchetta line still ridiculous. They were also offering "spring lamb" this Thursday before Easter. Don't know how long they'll have it.

                                  I ended up at Pizza Politana for a Margherita. While the pizza was well-made, I thought the tomato sauce was too sweet and one-dimensional. If it's just going to be plain tomato, then it needs to me made with more acidic tomatoes and maybe some more salt to bring out the flavors. IMHO, of course.

                                  I'm glad that I forget in between visits that Scream Sorbet is there. They had one of their weird flavors -- parsnip horseradish -- which was interesting but not something I'd want more than a taste of. I went with bergamot almond and chocolate raspberry. The floral, perfumey qualities of the former really grew on me. They also now have prepacked pints of some of their popular flavors.

                                  Roli Roti
                                  , Hayward, CA

                                  Scream Sorbet
                                  5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                                  Pizza Politana
                                  91 Rocca Drive, Petaluma, CA

                                  1. Takoyaki stand by DelicaSF starting 5/26.