Saturday morning bright and beautiful. California St Financial District. Where the cable car stops.
The Farmer's Market at Ferry Building. Where the local residents go for fresh produce and super good eats. Where the tourists like us go to gawk at the abundance and gnash their teeth deciding what to try. Where there is also a statue of Gandhi looking at all the market activities, huh? Non-violence towards vegetables and fruits?
Breakfast. Redwood Hill Farm Vanilla Grade A Goat Milk Yoghurt with Fresh Raspberries. And scrumptious peanut butter cookie sandwich. Gorgeousssss.
This gentleman from the White Crane Spring Ranch taught me a new word. "Biodynamic" farming, which he described as "beyond organic". His produce is grown high up in the mountains where the water and air are pure. Where herbs and vegetables turned out coloured as richly as Old Masters paintings. Picture on the right shows some bay leaf wreathes.
Lots of foods to sample. Looks more like a party spread.
Hmm, don't know what he was selling. Doubt it was anything to do with meat.
And then there was more eating. Tamales, which are like Mexican versions of our bak changs. Looks messy I know, but very tasty.. from left, Mole chicken, beef and pumpkin-cheddar. Mole is a kind of chocolate savoury sauce, wished there was more of it.
Crab cakes. With real crab meat bound with a little breadcrumbs. Unlike versions here which comes with icky surimi.
There are tables at one end set with plastic tablecloths to make it easier to eat on. These tables can accommodate quite a lot of people if everyone squeezes a little to make room for others. Unlike our oblivious Singaporean companions who insisted on hogging the entire table for our party of five. They ignored my suggestions to make space for other people. Even after I said it twice. Grumble grumbled to myself. We ate quickly and said our goodbyes.
Many more things to see, touch, smell, admire. Autumn collection. Amazing varieties of peppers. French beans. Cranberry beans. Brussels sprouts-a-sprouting.
Those are not grapes people, but potatoes. But don't they look juicy? Pomegranates and pumpkins. We bought some persimmons and apples, just missed the last of the figs. Some stuff sells out fast.
Even salt can be interesting. Picture on left shows varieties of salts, Himalayan, French, Volcanic and I don't know what.
Beautiful beautiful beans from Rancho Gordo- this stand is located in the front part of the building. At the front too is a stand that sells delicious yuba (the skin formed at the top of pot when soya milk is boiled) marinated in various flavours like ma-la and sesame.
When the sun got too hot and the vendors in the market started packing up, we adjourned to the building itself, where there are many specialty shops. Cowgirl Creamery for cheeses, too bad cheese is not so easily transportable by plane. A wild mushroom shop, home ofwildly expensive chanterelles and porcini and truffles. Beautiful iced cakes at one cake shop. Another shop glowing with copper pans.
Sur La Table, again. Back home now, I am still scolding myself for walking past that Microplane zester/grater. All the cooks on Food Network were using it, as were the waiters at some of the restaurants we ate at. But we got the other appliances of the moment, the most interesting of which was the silicon spatulae-TV cooks no longer stir with spoons or ladles nowadays, only silicon spatulae would do. I also got a silicon pastry brush. There was a version which can double up as a baster, but I found it too fiddly. Silicon Valley, full of erm, silicon... they sure have found plenty of new uses for it.
For lunch, we tar-powed a bento set from Delica RF1 to eat back at the hotel. The bento box included simmered vegetables and a fat juicy scallop breaded and fried. I was also attracted to the Hijiki Salad with Soybeans like a bee to honey, this salad was sooo incredibly tasty and is likely very healthy too. Hijiki, another favourite. The yellow soup was butternut squash soup, a welcome taste of autumn.
After the lunch, sated and full, we settled on our comfy kingsized bed and watched telly. Mostly plastic surgery and food programmes. I like Rose Levy Beranbaum for her detailed instructions on baking (chill the dough!), Tyler Florence (pity he had to work with that silly Jack woman), Alton Brown and Rachael Ray (not too perky as some have said, just very organised). There was heavy emphasis on turkey dishes, Paula Deen even talked to hers, calling it Mr Tom Turkey, so funny. Emile Lagasse mumbles. And that evil horror Sandra Lee-switch channels!
That evening we were supposed to eat dinner at 1550 Hyde St. Pim recommended this too ( I e-mailed her for advice before the trip, and she very kindly gave some suggestions, thanks Pim!). But we didn't make it there.
Because my eczema was bugging me so much, and my skin was painful and itchy. The instructions that came with the loratadine said to eat only one tablet every 24 hours but I found its effects too mild. Already I have finished one bottle of lotion and the spray was as good as useless. I contemplated overdosing with the loratadine but husband, bless him, rummaged in his bags and waved something in my face-a small vial of Axe Medicated Oil. Eeks, I said, hesitating strongly. I have not used this oil for years. In my mind only little old ladies and lorry drivers use it, the former for all sorts of ills, the latter to dab on their nostrils to keep them awake during long journeys. Medicated oil has a lot of menthol, and it makes the skin tingle and burn. But I was already foaming at the mouth with frustration so it was worth a risk. At first there was no reaction, but after about 20 minutes, the tingling and slight burning sensation soothed and negated the itch while simultaneously calming irritation. Complete relief came within one hour. That night I rested well, not needing to wake in the middle of the night to scratch at some damn spot. What a little miracle. I will never doubt this humble oil again. Our forefathers were right. Axe Medicated Oil rules!