When I lived in the Bay Area, well before my Celiac diagnosis, I visited the Ferry Building often. We were headed back to SF for a Giants game, and I was worried that I might be disappointed if I made a stop at my favorite San Francisco Marketplace. The Ferry Building was amazing, a G-Free Foodie wonderland. The Giants, not so much. Apparently, they've decided not to hit the ball when the Dodgers are in town. Yeeish.
Here are the high points from my Ferry Building visit - a Gluten Free Foodie checklist for your next SF trip:
Boccalone Salumeria: Filled with small-batch cured meats made from premium pork. All of their meats are gluten free, and they will happily make you a G-Free sandwich with Mariposa Baking Co. Gluten Free bread from across the hall. My suggestion - a meat cone filled with 3 kinds of salted pig parts (do not miss the Mortadella.) Keep an eye peeled for local chef turned Food Network personality Chris Cosentino, he's a co-owner. Can't wait? Order Boccalone products online like I do.
Cowgirl Creamery: Always my favorite stop, and now it's better. The folks at Cowgirl have added a G-Free Snack pack - Mary's Gluten Free Crackers + Cowgirl Creamery cheeses - to their dairy case. Full boxes of Mary's Crackers are also available, in case you're looking to eat a lot more cheese or brought friends. My suggestion - tell the counter staff what kind of cheese you like, and they'll find several you love (the store contains cheese from Cowgirl Creamery & all over the world.) If they have fresh Paneer, give it a try - it might be the only time you find an un-aged version of this Indian-style cheese. You can find Cowgirl Creamery products at Whole Foods or online.
Far West Fungi: Wild mushrooms without the trip. Ask for a sample of the ice cream made with Candy Caps - a mushroom with cinnamon-maple flavors that are hard to believe & out of this world. This shop is the truffle source from many of San Francisco's best chefs, check out the cooler case for a view of some rare finds. Ask if Oregon White truffles are available, just the smell will blow your mind.
Mariposa Baking Co.: Located in a kiosk within the building, Mariposa Baking Co. is an exciting spot for G-Free Foodies. They have a huge selection of Gluten Free baked goods, along with some cool stuff in the freezer. Grab a roll for a sandwich at Boccalone or some of their Gluten Free focaccia bread to eat with your cheese. Many of their items are dairy & nut free or vegan, so everybody can enjoy this stop. My suggestion - Mariposa does a great job on everything, but the cinnamon rolls, bagels & focaccia are my favorites. Ask for a "penguin" for your little ones - it's their Gluten Free version of a Hostess cupcake, complete with filling. Mariposa Baking Co. sells some of their products online.
Recchiuti Confections: Sinful handmade chocolates in traditional & indulgent seasonal flavors. (Can you tell I like this store?) I love the Burnt Caramel & Kona Coffee truffles, my daughter is stuck on the Peanut Butter Pucks. They sell some of their items, including the deliciously tart Key Lime Pears online, but the experience in the shop is completely unmatched by home delivery. Also, Recchiuti always has the most friendly & knowledgeable staff I have ever experienced at an artisan chocolate shop. (And frankly, I have a mild addiction to premium chocolate shops.) My suggestion - try to control yourself.
Culinaire: Is a food & kitchen antique shop with some of them most amazing things - even if you're not in the mood to buy, stroll through and get some culinary history & great ideas for your home.
Stonehouse Olive Oil: You can taste pure California Olive Oil at Stonehouse - but do it the right way! This isn't Mexico on Spring Break - hold the oil on your tongue for a bit to bring out the flavors, especially in their Blood Orange and Persian Lime infused oils. (I'm such a sucker for a Blood Orange.) My suggestion - find an oil you like, and take home a bottle of that & their famous dipping oil. Stonehouse sells their products online, as does Bari Olive Oil - which is a California producer that I also love.
Ciao Bella Gelato: It isn't a trip to the Ferry Building without a visit to Ciao Bella. Heavenly gelato and refreshing sorbet - all are Gluten Free unless they have a mix-in that contains gluten - like cookies or malted milk balls. Ask for a sample of some of their seasonal flavors - I like the Cranberry + Blood Orange sorbet, but we've already covered my affinity for Blood Oranges. The sorbet is also dairy free, so if you have a GFCF friend with you, they can enjoy Ciao Bella too. My suggestion - check out the case for a flavor you think sounds delicious - it will be. Still need a suggestion? Try Chocolate Hazelnut or Coconut. Ciao Bella sells their gelato & sorbet nationally, so look for it in the premium ice cream section of your grocer's freezer.
The Ferry Building hosts Farmer's Markets on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. All in all, it's a condensed version of San Francisco: on the water, lots of personality, amazing food, & a little bit nuts. My kind of town.
Frisco Love -