Destinations,  San Francicsco,  USA

San Francisco 2010-Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, MOMA, First Crush

Fresh Produce at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market
Saturday, September 4th, 2010

The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market is one of my favorite places in San Francisco. Saturday morning we opted for coffee and pastries in the hotel’s lobby and then went down to Market street and caught the F tram to the Ferry Plaza stop. By that time the market was in full swing. David couldn’t resist buying a maple-bacon beignet from a bakery stand, and I bought some intensely flavorful and juicy organic green and purple pluots.

We wandered the market for a while, admiring all the offerings, but the real reason we were here was the Roli Roti truck. Sometimes our experiences with places, food, are not as good as the memories were the first time around. I’m happy to say, the porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti truck is not one of those disappointments.  The pork is perfectly seasoned and they make sure that each sandwich gets its share of the sliced pork meat and crispy skin. The bread is soft, but doesn’t fall apart, and the addition of caramelized onions and peppercress perfectly compliment the roasted pork. It is, hands down, the best pork sandwich I’ve ever had.
We got in the long line and waited about 20 minutes to get our sandwich. We sat in the sunshine for a while enjoying our food, watching the other market-goers, and watching the seagulls and a duck dive for fish off the pier. After a while we went inside the Ferry Building, but the shoulder to shoulder crowds drove us out in short order. No Boccalone salami for us this time, but I do love the bike they have out front.
Our next destination was the San Francisco Muesum of Modern Art (MOMA) and for this we hopped back on the F tram and took it to the 3rd and Market stop. Along the way, there was a commotion at one of the stops. There was a man who looked homeless sitting on the bench just outside the tram’s open doors. He had his head down and hood pulled up so we could not see his face, but his fly was open and peeking out for the world to see was…well… something which should normally be kept inside one’s pants. It was clearly deliberate and among all the “Oh gross!” and “Ewwwww” exclamations, my lovely husband decided to take a photo. You won’t be seeing that photo here, or anywhere for that matter. I’m sure someday it will pop up on my screensaver of random photos and I will be oh so thrilled (not).
We finally arrived at our stop, hopped off and walked down 3rd, south of Market, toward MOMA. The entrance to MOMA currently costs $18 per adult for non-members. This comes with a free audio tour if you want it, or access to the free docent led tours. There was a docent tour starting in 10 minutes so we decided to do that.

As it turns out, this tour was called “Calder to Warhol; Introducing the Fisher Collection.”  These were all pieces donated by the Fisher family who started the Gap corporation. Avid collectors, they amassed over 1100 important modern art pieces and have donated them all to the SF MOMA under the condition that the museum be expanded to three times its current size to house the entire collection by 2016. The pieces we saw were on temporary loan as a preview of what’s to come six years from now.

MOMA special exhibit; Calder to Warhol

Our tour, which was supposed to last 45 minutes, lasted an hour an a half and our passionate and well informed docent made it so interesting that the time pretty much flew by. We saw works by Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol and more. This specific exhibit is no longer there but gives a good indication of the types of works in the museum and the direction it’s going the future.

One of the artists I liked a lot but was unfamiliar with was Gerhard Richter. He had a very eclectic style and didn’t confine himself to one genre of painting. All of his pieces were shown in one room so the viewer could appreciate the stylistic differences.

All three pieces are by Gerhard Richter

One of the other more interesting pieces was by Sol LeWitt. These were pencil drawings done right on the wall and would be removed after the exhibit, so they were temporary. But it’s not the fact that the giant X was done entirely in pencil line drawing which made it interesting, what I found intriguing was that the work was done after the artist’s death. The pieces were created to the exact specifications and instructions given by the artist and were meant to be recreated anywhere. This of course led to the discussion of what is art and who is the artist?

Line drawing by Sol LeWitt
Afterward we checked out some of the other exhibits, including one celebrating the 75th Anniversary. We really enjoyed the museum and look forward to going back in 2016 to see all the changes.
After the museum, we stopped in at a bar called Dave’s, on Third St, between Market and the museum. We’d passed it on the way to the museum and my Dave wanted a hat with their logo on it (his name and a martini glass). We ordered a couple beers on tap and what turned out to be a giant order of “small” nachos as a snack. This place is an odd cross between local dive bar and tourist stop. You could tell there were some regulars sitting there at the bar mid-day, every day. Dave got his hat and we watched the US Open Tennis semi finals for a while before walking back to the hotel for a break before dinner.
For dinner, we met up with one of David’s colleagues who was in town visiting a friend. We wanted something more casual so we chose First Crush, a wine bar/restaurant only two blocks from Union Square. First Crush offers more than a dozen wine flights (tastes of three different wines in a theme) and small plates which is a nice way to eat and share everything with the table. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in our conversation, I forgot to take pictures of anything but the menu after the first two plates; the cheese and the charcuterie.
The other items we did have were all quite good. Out of their small plates we also had Snake River Farms Pork Belly, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with Truffled Scrambled Eggs (this was a big hit), and a Green Chard Gratin with Swiss Cheese and Bacon. We also ordered one of the large plates, the Oven Roasted Duck Breast with Caramelized Figs and Duck Confit which was also excellent.
We had a couple desserts too, but since I didn’t take pictures of them or the dessert menu, I can’t remember what they are. Dinner for two, including champagne, wine flights, and a couple extra glasses was about $120 before tax and tip.
The view from our room at night.


  • Tandem World

    Great photos! The 4 at the top where so colorful in our RSS reader that we were compelled to click through! We don’t really do “small plates” but next time we are in SF, we will definitely be having nachos at Daves.

    • wired2theworld

      Thank you! Funny, I rarely order nachos, but those were a meal all alone! But really, the best thing was the porchetta sandwich. I could eat that every day and not get tired of it.

  • Heather in SF @HeatherHAL

    I love that porcetta sandwich! They make their own rosemary salt for a final sprinkle and crunch. They are at the Ferry Building at lunch on Tuesdays and I am addicted to doing there for that sandwich, with extra pork skin. So glad you had a fun trip here, and it was interesting to read about MOMA. I had heard they wanted to expand but didn’t know why.

    • wired2theworld

      Hi Heather! Yes, it was really fun and we love the city. We also went to one of your recs, Ton Kiang on the last day.

  • Lynn

    I love the work of Alexander Calder! We have his La Grande Vitesse downtown. It was the was the first public work of art in the United States to be funded with federal monies acquired from the National Endowment for the Arts through their Works of Art in Public Places Program. One of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s claims to fame! This past spring our art museum also hosted a temporary exhibit of his work. I knew Calder was a sculptor, painter and artist well-known for inventing the mobile, yet had no idea he also designed and created jewelry. Cool stuff!

    • wired2theworld

      Yes, I actually learned on the tour that Calder is credited with inventing the mobile! I’d had no idea. I assumed that it had been around for much longer.

  • Marcy

    I had First Crush on my list for the last time I was in San Francisco and never got there…hmmm…a reason to go back! That, and the porchetta! 🙂

  • Chez Us

    I always love reading someone else’s view on our city. Great weekend write up & you hit some highlights. I have not been to Crush in years and you have definitely made me want to give it another try.

    I really enjoyed the Farmer’s Market update and all the wonderful photos. We love the guy with the clarinet; we call him Dan the Music Man. Have not seen him in a couple years and ran into him a couple weeks ago at the Bart station. I am so glad to see he is still around and even happier to see the lovely photo of him on your write up!

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