The Ferry Building is a must visit for any food obsessed traveler visiting San Francisco. The Saturday farmers market is a picturesque example of the best produce the city has to offer (though fairly prententious to boot) with lots of wonderful made to order food stands from local restaurants. All of the eateries inside the hall are fabulous as well, in addition to the precious little stands lining the hall selling donuts, oysters, dumplings, whatever. It’s great. We buy a lot of gifts there, from Far West Fungi, Richutti Chocolate, Stone House Olive Oil, Heath Ceramics, etc. and we never make a trip that doesn’t include a visit to the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. I am a member of their wine club now, so I go with my mother in law once and a month, and we eat, and drink, and people watch.
The FPWM has really phenomenal offerings. All of the wines are small batch and quite a few are local. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and ready to help you pair bottles with whatever you plan to cook. I can’t speak highly enough of the whole operation.
The have a store, and they also have a wine bar. The wine bar has indoor seating, but they also have a “patio” that sits out in the hall. When you are sitting there, you can people watch to your hearts delight.
We kicked off with some caviar, just to have a special treat. Caviar is a new addition to the menu, as is smoked trout. They don’t do the craziest caviar presentation, and I am a definite fool for that, but I’ll honestly take caviar any way I can get it. This spread was a simple crème fraiche, lemon, and water crackers. The caviar was a deliciously briney golden osetra.
Our server brought us a complimentary glass of sparkling rose, one of my favorite drinks on the planet.
Then we got down to business. We always order the wine club flight, so we can taste the wines that we are about to bring home. Of course, we always pair it with some food. The Wine Merchant only serves wine snacks; i.e. olives, marinated mushrooms, charcuterie, cheese, pate, etc. Some of the best meat, cheese and bread to be found in America is served at the Wine Merchant, much of it from neighboring vendors in the Plaza. Cowgirl creamery is their primary cheese vendor, Boccalane their meat, and Acme, their bread.
There are a few different cheese plate combos on the menu, but they also offer a cheese pairing that goes with the wine club flight. Since we are always drinking our wine club wine, we pretty much always order the cheese that is meant to be paired with it.
If you have never had Acme bread, and you are in San Francisco, you need to seek out Acme bread. Really, all bread is pretty freaking phenomenal here, but Acme is just perfection. My absolute favorite loaf to buy from them is the beautiful epi baguette. It’s really delicate and lovely, almost like a long branch of pretty leaves. This is a section of one:
To round our selection out, the sliced Italian meat plate, composed of Molinari coppa, Hobb’s wine cured salami (I love that stuff, the flavor is nice and strong), and marinated olives and mushrooms.
My final haul was two months worth (we couldn’t make it last month) of red and white mix. Sadly, one of those bottles is already dust.
If you do plan to visit the wine merchant on a Saturday, be aware that it gets slammed by around 11:00, so grab a table or spot at the bar early!
The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant http://www.fpwm.com/index.php
One Ferry Building, Shop 23
San Francisco, CA 94111