On Saturday, my niece was visiting from out of town and we wanted to go to San Francisco for some dining and shopping. Since the Bay Bridge was closed during Labor Day weekend, we decided rather than taking B.A.R.T. and going under the Bay on this lovely day, we would take the ferry from Jack London Square to the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco. We heard they had expanded the schedule during the bridge closure and there was a Ferry every hour.
We headed over to Jack London Square and parked in the lot next the Ferry dock that advertises 12 hours free with validation. Good thing we arrived early, as there was a long line about half an hour before our 1pm departure, and we were some of the last to board. We made our way up to the top open air seating where we had a perfect view of the new gleaming white Eastern Span of the bridge, the Golden Gate bridge in the distance, and the always inspirational San Francisco skyline.
In about 35 minutes we arrived at the bustling Ferry Building Marketplace, just as the Farmer's Market was waning and local farmers where packing up their bounty. We immediately weaved our way through the throngs of shoppers and found the entrance to one of my favorites restaurants, the amazing Boulette's Lauder, known for it's intelligent mix of fresh greenmarket ingredients and spices served in a communal table experience. We shared amazing salads and pita bread with hummus and eggplant spread. There are so many notable food purveyors, cheese, wine, coffee shops, cafe's and restaurants at the Marketplace, it is an experience you want to repeat again and again.
After a decadent chocolate custard dessert and a round of espresso, we were ready for our 15 minute walk up Market St. to San Francisco Centre, located near Union Square, the best indoor shopping mall in all of the Bay Area, with the flagship stores, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom as well as dozens and dozens of specialty and designer shops.
Along the way, we stopped by the newly renovated grand historic Plaza Hotel, to have a look at the Maxwell Parish at the Pied Piper Bar, which had been the cause of outrage through out the City, when the new owners wanted to put in on the auction block. But there it was, it all it's magnificence above the bar, next to the TV where the SF Giants were playing baseball.
Since shopping can be very exhausting, especially during the special Labor Day sale, we hopped on Muni for the trip back to the Ferry just in time to line up for the 6:30 Ferry back to Jack London Square. As the sun began to sink, we looked back from our cozy seats under the heated lamps of the ferry, as we watched the City gently become enveloped by the fog, feeling just a bit lucky we live in the sunny East Bay!