Monday, February 7, 2011


So the last three days have been mammoth ones where I end up coming back to my hotel room and collapsing on the bed not willing or able to spend time gathering my thoughts in a cohesive enough manner to blog them. Regardless, here goes:
On Friday I made my way around and about the place on various forms of public transport just for the hell of it. As my nearest and dearest know I am not a fan of public conveyances - give me a car any day. But there is something to be said for catching a bus that meanders up and around the hills fo San Francsico, taking you past beautiful parks and vistas like the No 31 does. And sometimes I think a bus is going to take me to a place; like the L line to Balboa Park which turned out to be an ugly terminus not a park at all. The day I visited Omnivore, I also discovered the J line ( eventually, my public transport App, did not tell me that the J ran underground where I was supposed to catch it - bit hard to find the bus stop when it's underneath your feet) which skirts the edges of the Mission district before cruising through the picturesque Noe Walley.

On Friday I also made it to BiRite and was instantly enraptured - here in a tiny tiny space was the perfect wholefoods/organic/gourmet grocery store. I spent so long there, wandering the crammed aisles and taking photos, I think the staff thought I was some kind of spy. In the dairy cabinets I spotted:

That's right folks, it's RAW MILK! Not hiding under the guise of 'Beauty Milk' or exchanged after secret handshakes in the back room of a grocer, but in the dairy cabinet in a glass bottle with a label on it. And while the USA has its fair share of food scares (almost exclusively because of massive monoculture farming) as far as I have heard there hasn't been an issue with raw milk like this.
The fruit and vege section was small but the selection vast - I bought a tiny baby cos lettuce for the grand sum of 89c for dinner to accompany the broccoli rabe salad and achiote grilled chicken breast I bought from their deli.

Birite also has an icecreamery which is a block down from the grocery. Here they make small naturally flavoured batches of icecream like salted caramel and brown sugar with ginger, which I may or may not have sampled (after waiting in a queue with the cogniscenti).

So now I have one more reason to return to San Francisco, along with all the others like:

The Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market which was Saturday's destination. The other times I've been to this big daddy of Farmer's markets, it's been early Autumn, so it was interesting to see the produce on sale. There was still the salmon, oysters and organic meats, but this time the growers were offering lots of citrus and still some apples. Little tiny brussels sprouts and multi-coloured chats were a feature and then in one small stall I spotted:

Salsify! There was a huge pile of it, and as I headed over so too did a local chef who was beside himself- he said he'd never seen this at the Farmer's Market before. Well once he had finished picking up several kilos, there wasn't a lot left, but I snaffled one alien looking root. I've never cooked it before, so am looking forward to roasting it and serving it with some free range pork and another purchase of the day: home-pickled sauerkraut.

After dropping my purchases back at the hotel I headed back to Fort Mason. It was a gorgeous day, and in a city where most people live in apartments the park was packed and it was very hard to enjoy the day without being in danger of being hit in the head by a football, rolled over by a bike or accosted by a dog, so instead I took advantage of my lovely balcony with gorgeous views to finish the day with a Corona.

Early night for an early start to head over to the Alameda Antiques Faire (sic), which turned out to be a marathon exercise. I took three forms of public transport and a 2km walk to get to this massive fair which is set on the former naval base runways which are often featured in Mythbusters. There were literally hundreds of stalls, and I spent around 4 hours wandering up and down the aisles. I found some real treasures, got some inspiration for some new lines for the shop and made a few contacts with dealers who're prepared to ship to Australia, so an exhausting but profitable day. After another mammoth public transport trip back home I went to the movies, had dinner at a diner and am now planning my last three days in this fabulous city.

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