Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Salted Pig Parts

Tuesday brought our cousin Charlotte!  Accompanied by my brother and sis-in-law, of course.  Holly wanted to meet up at the farmer's market at the ferry building.  Packed up and ready to go, I saw that the market was only a little over a mile away.  I could walk straight to it or navigate my car through the one way streets, find a (parallel) parking spot, pay for it, and end up still walking a quarter mile.  We walked.  Or rather, I walked, pushing a stroller laden with three kids.  This seems to be a comical sight to most city dwellers. 

The farmers' booths impress.  Had I thought to bring cash, we would now have a well stocked fridge.  The stands were quite like Seattle's Pike Place Market, but with a California flair, which is still exotic to me.  They sold persimmons and mandarin oranges, not to mention that they had anything at all for sale in the middle of winter!  I know the selection will just get better as the weather improves.

Improves?  It's 69 and sunny out there!  I would be scared of a scalding summer, but San Francisco stays temperate year round; a little cooler in the winter, a little warmer in the summer.  Beautiful all year, if you can handle some fog.  Not that we've seen much of that yet.
I think this will become a weekly excursion for us.  Despite the two and a half mile walk, this trip is easier than taking the kids to Safeway.  With its skinny aisles, crowded commotion, and urban shoppers who have never before seen children, Safeway is asking for trouble.  The open air and ample space of the market suits us much better.

Inside the ferry building are the higher class, deeply rooted stores/booths, like the one below.  Be sure to read the smaller words under the store name.  Yes, this is an entire store dedicated to the sale of tasty salted pig parts, complete with a bar counter for those of you who must consume those tasty products on the spot.
And a whole store of mushrooms in all their varieties and preparations.
The ferry building (with market) is behind Charlotte and Bethelle in this picture.  Yes, that is a homeless man right by my lovely daughter.  He was actually a little farther than he looks.  There are a LOT of homeless people in San Francisco.  The temperate weather breeds them.  I find them to be pretty polite and to mostly keep to themselves.  There is a certain harmonious coexistence here.
Street signs can be so helpful.  This one was spotted as we walked from the ferry market to Pier 39, one of the more touristy spots in the city.
Seeing the sea lions was on my checklist.  We pulled out our PB&Js here and just stared for a while.  Curie was particularly enthralled.
Speaking of enthralled, Bethelle really wants to go to Alcatraz and always spots it first.  Should I be worried?
When lunch was over, we chewed on salt water taffy and watched a pirate street performer.  The jokes were corny and I couldn't see the connection between the magic tricks and the pirate theme, but the kids enjoyed it and the moms got to sit for a few minutes.

After an adventurous morning, the crew headed back to our apartment by way of our closest park.  We started with Yerba Buena Gardens, which we had not been to yet.  It is a delightful place to bask and relax, but since kids don't really let parents do that, we continued to the play circle.  Bethelle and I had recently seen a garden maze behind our park while on Google maps, so we went on a successful maze hunt, followed by running through the maze itself several times.
We ended the night with a few strokes of bad luck including some terrible restaurant service, but at least the poor performance resulted in a sit-down dinner and dessert for eight for under 40 bucks.  Sometimes bad luck is good luck, I guess.

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