On my final full day in San Francisco, I again was on my own until later that evening. After eating some breakfast I wondered around for a while before heading to my first planned stop, somewhere many people said I had to visit if nothing else to walk around, but if possible to eat lunch. So with these voices in my mind I headed out to the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace.
As I approached the Ferry Building, there were a bunch of tents set up in the park. I thought this was the Farmers Market, but instead it was for artists and artisans to sell their various crafts to those visiting the Ferry Building.
My first task was to walk through the Farmer’s Market outside of the Ferry Building. The first thing that caught my eye was the various fruits available. It’s amazing to see what different things are available on the west coast versus the east coast. The second that that caught my eye was that it wasn’t that big. If you’re familiar with the U St. farmers market in DC or the Courthouse farmers market in Arlington, VA they are both the same size or slightly larger than what was at the Ferry Building the day I was there. The one thing here that you don’t see too often in DC markets is the food vendors set up. Certainly a feature I’d love to see imported over here!
I then ventured inside the marketplace. Wow! There are restaurants, wine shops, fresh meat purveyors, cheese mongers, tea shops, candy and bakery stores and kitchen stores just to name a few categories. I could spend a few hundred bucks and several hours handpicking things to bring home with me. I would also need several additional suitcases!
With all these choices, how is one to decide what to eat for lunch? Luckily, I had a secret weapon in my pocket! I pulled out my handy-dandy phone and texted friend, local San Franciscan and impeccable food and beverage maven Anita from Married . . . with Dinner. My text was straight-forward; “Help! At Ferry Building, overwhelmed by choices! Best lunch option?” Anita replied almost right away and suggested I check to see if Hapa Ramen was set up out front. She said that they were delicious and her favorite vender at the Ferry Building. With a recommendation like that I had to check them out.
Sure enough the Hapa Ramen team were set up and slinging fresh noodles and locally sourced meats and veggies in a miso spiked broth. Their special for the day was a “Big Daddy Ramen Bowl” which had sliced slow-cooked pork, fried chicken, vegetables and a slow-cooked egg. I got a little container of spicy chili oil to add to the ramen and I’m happy to say that it was delicious!
After my lunch, I went back into the Marketplace and got a New Orleans iced coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee and went behind the Ferry Building to set on a bench on the water and take in the view. It was glorious!
After a casual walk back to our hotel, a shower and nap it was time to get ready for my next trip out. This was going to be one of the highlights of my trip because I have wanted to visit this place since it first opened. My fellow Scofflaw SeanMike has visited this bar and I’ve known the proprietor for several years and have the highest regard for him, his knowledge and hospitality. It was time to head to Smuggler’s Cove!
Of course, I’m too excited to take a photo of the signage when I get there! But once I get in, I see proprietor Martin Cate and give him my regards. I belly up to the bar and my first drink is a Dead Reckoning. This tasty libation was made with rum, pineapple, lime, vanilla liqueur, maple, tawny port and angostura bitters. It was both familiar and new at the same time. A perfect drink to get started with.
As I looked through my pictures when I got home from my trip I noticed that I really didn’t take that many photos while at Smuggler’s Cove. One reason I wasn’t as focused on pictures was that I finally got to meet Dinah Sanders. I’ve followed Dinah on Twitter and in the cocktail blog-o-sphere where she writes Bibulo.us. I love meeting folks I’m friends with online and getting to know that they are just as wonderful in real life as they are online. I knew Dinah was working on a second book, this one on cocktails, but I didn’t know too many details. I learned that it was a book on low-proof cocktails and titled “The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails To Keep You Level.” I was incredibly lucky that she brought an electronic copy of her book and let me look at the fantastic photographs and recipes. I’m happy to say that her book is being released September 2013 in both hardcopy and ebook format. You can find out more information and where to purchase here.
If you’ve never been to Smuggler’s Cove, let me tell you about the decor. It is decked out, literally floor to ceiling, in Tiki kitsch, nautical baubles and island decor. Check out a few photos below to get a sense of the place.
Thankfully, my lovely wife met me at Smuggler’s Cove. We were able to share a round of drinks and I could introduce her to Martin Cate. I love introducing my wife to my friends in the industry. It lets her put a face to a name of all the people I talk about constantly.
One thing about Smuggler’s Cove that you should be aware of if you go. They don’t have a kitchen and don’t serve any food. Eat a good base before going because you will be drinking lots of rum. If you wait until after drinking there are several good restaurants in the neighborhood and the bartenders are more than happy to make some suggestions.
After Sylvie and I had dinner we jumped in a cab to take us back to the hotel. Throughout this trip Sylvie had been stuck in her conference and unable to see much of the city. The one thing she really wanted to see was the Golden Gate bridge so we asked our cab driver to make a detour on the way to the hotel. Well, it may not have really been on the way to the hotel but she got to see the Golden Gate Bridge light up at night and we got this great picture.
Thanks to everyone I met in San Francisco for making it a memorable trip! I can’t wait to come back for more!