Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bread and Bivalves

The Ferry Building Marketplace is an embarrassment of riches. I get giddy at the sight of heirloom tomatoes, freshly butchered lamb, and piles of baguettes. It's overwhelming and all I can do is shuffle indecisively. I don't know where to start, but I know where I want to end up.

My bloodhound-like olfactory senses latch onto the scent of chocolate and lead me to the small stand of Michael Recchiuti. I can't resist the beautiful chocolates and squares of fruit gelees--so I don't. I leave with a small translucent carton containing a few of each, as well as a candied orange peel to nibble while I wander the halls.

That was the plan, anyway. Nibble describes my first delicate bite into the confection; devour is how I finish it.

Snapped out of my reverie, I walk toward The Acme Bread Company, the primary source of my bread consumption. Do I want a tender sweet batard to annoint with butter and olive oil? A crusty ciabatta for pressed sandwiches? I consider the slender baguettes, bronze onion rolls and the dark, dense pugliese. The patient baker waiting on me smiles when I finally select the herb slab, a focaccia-shaped loaf with ciabatta-like holes.

Keeping the momentum, I walk over to the Golden Gate Meat counter. I almost give in to spontaneity and imagine myself walking out with a perfectly frenched rack of lamb. The left brain fights back and focuses my attention on two types of Hobbs salami: the wine dry cured and the Genoa. The nice man behind the counter offers me samples of each, and I am simply taken with the former--smooth, mellow, and meltingly rich.

Purchases in hand, I eye my final destination: Hog Island Oyster Company. Taking a seat at the smooth bar, I order a glass of Andre Bregeon Muscadet, Sevre et Maine. The crisp acidity begs for plump, briny oysters. I am nearly crushed when my server informs me that they are out of Kumamotos, but a half dozen of the Hog Island Mix--two each of the Hog Island Sweetwater, Hog Island Atlantic and Effingham Bay--do the trick. I bathe each morsel with the cilantro-flecked mignonette, wash it down with muscadet, and give in to bliss.

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