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Restaurant Review: SF Ferry Plaza, San Francisco's New Gourmet Center

I was reluctantly persuaded to head down to the San Francisco Ferry Terminal today for lunch with some colleagues, and I've come back a transformed man. What they have done in the process of remodeling the terminal is incredible, and not only is the building gorgeous, they have populated it with some of San Francisco's most elite gourmet outlets and some excellent restaurants.

If you need to shop on the way home for dinner, The Golden Gate Meat Company offers their meats (up until this point only avilable wholesale) to the public across from the Hog Island Oyster Company, who will dish out fresh shucked oysters at their bar for lunch or give you a crate to take home for dinner. There's an organic grocer, a fruit stand, and a fabulous looking florist. If you forgot that you need a solid copper double boiler to make that chocolate sauce for your dessert, not to worry, theres a Sur Le Table boutique to help. And by the way, since you're making that chocolate sauce, better load up at the Sharfenberger boutique down the hall.

If you want to eat lunch there, many of the aforementioned places serve food to go or to eat at their small seating areas. There is also a burger joint there (that must be good because it always has a line out the door) along with the sit down Market Bar and Cafe. However, by far the best thing to do is to take your food, whatever it is, and wander down to the Ferry Market Wine Company where you can sit at their tables and order wine with your lunch by the half glass, glass, or in flights of three or four. I didn't have much time to wander through and look at their selection, but the retail space is gorgeous and well lit.

After lunch options include handcrafted chocolates by Recchiuti Confections, like the Lemon Verbena dark chocolate truffle (oh my god), or a scoop of Gelato from Ciao Bella. Or if sweets aren't your style, then you can relax in the Chinese tea room at the Imperial Tea company.

Whatever your fancy, the ferry building seems to deliver for foodies. The Slanted Door will be opening a cafe there soon, and it looks like there are more stores to come including a caviar boutique, a fungi shop, and an Italian specialty shop filled with goodies from Montepulciano.

I've never seen the place at the evening commute times, which may be mobbed, but as it's open on weekends, there's probably a time that works for everyone.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud