The other day, I read a post about a woman having breakfast at the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace.
And, oh, if it wasn’t the cutest thing ever.
The gal talked about how she grabbed a coffee and a pastry. Naturally, when reading the post, I figured she was just talking about her pre-breakfast pastry. You know, the one you eat before you actually have a real breakfast. It can be a cookie, or a cupcake, or a leftover brownie or some sort of frosting-laden danish. It tides you over until you can have your actual breakfast – or second-breakfast, as Rand and I and most hobbits call it – which usually consists of eggs and bacon and fruit and more pastries (obviously).
So you can imagine my horror when I kept reading on and SHE HAD NO SECOND BREAKFAST. Her single, teeny-tiny pastry was the only thing she ate.
I was suitably horrified.
Breakfast is SACRED. Breakfast is MAGICAL. Breakfast is the only meal where you are guaranteed that bacon will be on the menu (I mean, obviously it should be available for lunch and dinner, too, but sometimes the world is a sick and cruel place where bacon is unavailable after 11am). At breakfast, you can justifiably EAT CAKE AND NO ONE WILL JUDGE YOU. Sure, it’s usually accompanied with the prefix pan- or the word coffee in front of it, but don’t kid yourselves – you are eating cake FOR A MEAL. It is wonderful. And this poor woman had gotten it all wrong.
She was nibbling on the corner of a quarter-sized cookie and claimed she was satisfied. No, no, no, no, no, no.
I had to rectify this. So while Rand was off doing work-related things, I went to the Ferry Building to see if I could do a better job than she.
And even though I deviated from my traditional pre-breakfast-pastry-followed-by-actual-breakfast-which-may-also-include-a-pastry format, I’d like to think that I did.
I had no desire to do a formal, sit-down sort of meal (I’d left my evening gown at home, anyway) and wanted food that I could eat while roaming around. Oh, and I’m not a coffee drinker, so forgive me when I tell you that the only beverage I had was water (for those of you insisting on a review: it was very … watery. I was pleased).
Since my casual, walking-through-the-market breakfast meant I couldn’t have bacon – because for some reason, my idea of bacon kiosks has NOT caught on – I opted for the next best thing: salty cured meats. Boccalone has them by the refrigerator full.
I really like their tagline, which is brutally honest is a kind of way that would make vegetarians cringe.
I got the cone of meat. It’s kind of like the Cone of Silence, except not at all. Also, it was much tastier. It consists of three different salumi and cured meats, which change daily. I wasn’t happy with that day’s offerings (which included mortadella, a meat I’m pretty sure was designed to punish children), so I built my own. I went for the house-made lonza (a cured pork loin which is kind of like a dark, rich prosciutto), the spicy capicollo, and a fennel salami.
As has often been my experience as Boccalone, they were all excellent. The capicollo was buttery and spicy, the fennel salami surprisingly mild, and the lonza salty and firm (and my personal favorite of the bunch).
I purchased a small pack of grissini – thin, crunchy Italian breadsticks – as well, and spent a few happy minutes wrapping the thin slices of meat around the sticks and devouring them. It was salty and delicious and totally unorthodox for breakfast. From there, I decided to go more traditional.
Outside the Village Market is a small stand where you can purchase pastries.
The name is delightfully punny, too:
Despite the fact that it was called Get Sconed, I didn’t get one of their scones, even though they looked delicious. Studded with all kinds of berries and sprinkled with sugar.
Instead I opted for what they called cannoli, but which more closely approximated a cream-filled cylindrical doughnut. No matter, though – it was delicious. If there were any criticisms to be made, I’d say the doughnut was a little chewier and not as fresh-tasting as I would have liked, but the custard filling was stellar – smooth and not too rich or too sweet (they had chocolate, too, but you guys know how conflicted I am about chocolate).
I demolished that sucker. I contemplated going back for another one, but I was afraid that the woman would recognize me since I’d been there, like, 15 seconds prior.
Salty pork? Check. Cream-laden pastry? Check. I needed to balance things out with some fruit. Fortunately, there were tons of produce vendors right outside of the Ferry Terminal.
I bought some blackberries for three dollars, and crammed them into my mouth before my tastebuds could realize they weren’t another cream-filled doughnut. The berries were lovely, but let’s be fair: fruit can’t compare to pastries, and it’s kind of sad when it tries to.
I sat by a bench with a view of the Bay Bridge, and there I finished my breakfast.
For those of you alarmed at the teeny-tininess of this piecemeal meal, fear not. I met Rand some 45 minutes later, and we got soft serve ice cream. Mine was dipped in a thick layer of chocolate, putting to shame the Dairy Queen dip cones of my childhood (there is no photographic evidence of this, because I refused to hand my cone to Rand – even for a second – in order to pull my camera out).
And that, my friends, is how you do breakfast in San Francisco.