Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Day: Mijita, Cowgirl, Andante and Scharffenberger

San Francisco was looking quite windblown and lovely yesterday. We toddled down to the Farmers' Market at the Embarcadero (along with about a zillion other people)I love this part of the city life though -- thinking about tons of people cooking with all that good food.

First bit of business was getting to lunch. Yes, I know, we're supposed to be at the market at daybreak and picking out the choicest persimmons before the masses have fingered them all, but we had other missions, not the least of which was a trip to the San Francisco Wine Trading Company on a search for any last remaining bottles of Sean Thackrey's spectacularly fun Pleiades. I'll let Eric talk about that, since he was the one who trekked out there, but I will also just say I dearly hope that Thackrey is able to salvage his wines after the fire in Vallejo a few weeks ago.

Anyhow, we popped into Traci des Jardins' taco stand, Mijita, for a couple of fish tacos, a carnitas taco and some guacamole. Personally I found the tacos tasty, but not as punchy in flavor as I was expecting for the price ($4 for the carnitas and $4.75 for the fish) The guacamole was quite good though. Very buttery and "avocado-ey" which says to me that she doesn't get her avocados from the same place that I do. The guac at Mijita needs no lime or cilantro, and the chips, thick ones that seem to have a hint of smoky adobo and were fried in some very tasty oil, are yummy.

From there we proceeded on mission to say hi to our friends at Cowgirl Creamery, tasting the fresh fromage blanc -- recommended to us for use in cheesecake ... mmmmmmm -- and the fresh ricotta, which is thoroughly unlike any storebought ricotta cheese you've ever tasted.

When we mentioned about the recent dinner at Zuni, they asked if we'd had any of the gnocchi, which unfortunately we hadn't. Apparently Zuni is using the sheep's milk ricotta in the dish. We're, um... going to have to go back to Zuni to, um.... confirm that. Yeah.

So we wound up purchasing a Sir Francis Drake (top left), which is I think, a triple cream, like their Red Hawk, and washed in sweet wine. The currants on top call to mind maybe the Aromes du gene au marc, an autumnal cheese that is traditionally cured in marc (the stuff like skins, stalks, and seeds left over after grape crush time). This is a Tomme affinee au marc de raisin.

We also got a cheese called "Renate," an American cow's milk cheese that was a bit salty though very tasty. It's not in the picture because, well... we ate it. Not just by ourselves. We had it last night at a dinner in honor of our friend of the same name who's moving away in a few weeks.

Center in that picture is, of course, a Saint-Marcellin. Always gotta have one of those around. And then on the right is a Picolo from Andante Dairy. We'll let you know how that turns out...

At the top are a few Warren pears from Frog Hollow which are just coming into season. These were absolutely lusciously creamy and sweet and once we had a sample, we had to get a few. In the bowl but on the right side, there's also a stray Bosc pear that I swiped from the kosher organic salad bar at work, with the intent of poaching in wine or some such. The Warrens though are so perfect on their own I think I won't want to mess with them -- just some slices and some cheese.

And we also paid a call at Scharffen Berger where I picked up one of their T-shirts and we sampled a little piece of tea infused chocolate. The chocolate there is really still top quality -- despite worries that acquisition by the Hershey Corp. would change things for the worse. Still, as Eric is fond of observing about pretty much any chocolate we sample, from any place, "It's no Maison du Chocolat." Sure, but where else except Paris can you expect to find a 1-inch sub-orbital ganache bomb? Tout les plaisirs du chocolat indeed.

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