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February 20, 2007 > Around and about: The Embarcadero

Around and about: The Embarcadero

By Pat Kite

Today, both of my stomachs decided they needed a healthy adventure after the holiday stuffing season. Off we went, via BART, to the beautifully remodeled Ferry Building at the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco. A special treat on Tuesdays and Saturdays is the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market that runs the entire outdoor front, and sometimes the back too, of this entire indoor huge, trendy, tourist mecca. Big signs proclaim the type of Farmer's Market edibles offered: organic fruit, organic vegetables, and organic nuts, animal free, all natural, taste the difference. You can buy Yali Asian pears and Quingli Asian pears. There are potatoes, labeled baby red, baby purple, baby Yukon gold. I positively drooled over the Indian smoked salmon, albacore tuna lox, salmon candy. It's always difficult to carry big stuff home on BART, but my $3.25 packet of fresh Almond Brittle covered by bittersweet chocolate didn't weigh much. Actually, it didn't weigh anything by the time I got home, but that's another tasty story.

By lunchtime, I headed indoors. While there are a multiplicity of gourmet dining sites, with tables and seating, I'm a plop on a bench person. Stopping at the cheese shop, with about 70 international cheese varieties offered, I purchased four ounces of super marbled bleu cheese for $4.26. Then I meandered to the bread shop, where you can buy a roll for a buck, or loaves for very reasonable prices. I got a big hunk of pumpernickel for a few smackaroos, bought a cup of expresso Americano, and headed outside. There is a splendid boardwalk that runs the entire back of the Ferry Building. You can sit on a bench, watch the ships coming in, contemplate cloud shapes, and just think about how, on some days, life is absolutely splendid.

Indoors again for a little cr¸me scone, only 50 cents at the organic patisserie. I managed to pass by the chocolate obsession store, the store selling about 20 different kinds of mushrooms, the caviar cafˇ, the olive oil center carrying tangerine olive oil among other varieties, and a grocery with about 12 different kinds of sea salt, including truffled sea salt. A fun stop was Culinaire, selling "antiques for and about food." They had the weirdest looking gadget, resembling a combination of metal plunger and egg beater, which the manager explained was a wine bottle cleaner. Apparently years ago, the bottles cost more than the wine, so they were cleaned and reused. Next to this store was "Sur La Table" specializing in modern cooking equipment.

The Ferry Plaza and Ferry Building at Embarcadero Center are both wheelchair and walker comfortable. It's just a block from BART. There are also plenty of parking options. Check out www.cuesa.org. Or call 415-291-3276.

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