Welcome to It’s a Date, The Standard's new series of date guides to help you navigate your love life with thoughtfully planned and field-tested San Francisco Bay Area itineraries.
In case you haven’t heard, the Ferry Building is turning 125. To celebrate, we’ve put together a guide to enjoying the building’s many offerings while on a date. Whether you’re just getting to know someone or commemorating your golden anniversary, here’s how you and your significant other can experience the Ferry Building like it’s your birthday, too.
Great for: Foodies, second dates, anniversaries, splurging
Vibe: Bougie, celebratory, upping the ante
Time: 1-3 hours
Whether you’re on Date One or 100, coffee is a good start to a Saturday morning. Fortunately, the Ferry Building offers two local caffeine mainstays, Bay Area-born Blue Bottle and Black-owned Oakland-based roaster Red Bay Coffee.
The Ferry Building is not the only institution celebrating a birthday. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is celebrating its 30th this year, and the nonprofit behind the market is throwing a birthday-style summer benefit and bash Saturday.
If you miss that, you can still sample all this farmers market has to offer during a primo time for a coffee date—Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 100 farmers and food vendors participate, offering a bevy of fruits, vegetables and bites to peruse and sample.
Pick up a pastry or some other kind of goodie to nibble with your java from Batter Bakery, Frog Hollow Farm, Maison Nico, Downtown Bakery, Nusa or Saltwater Bakeshop.
Feeling romantic? Cypress Flower Farm, Devoto Gardens, Fifth Crow Farm, Four Sisters Farm, Lonely Mountain Farm and McGinnis Ranch sell locally sourced stems and posies.
For a sweet parting gift or another snack to share, Berkeley-based Bisou Chocolate offers handcrafted chocolate and vegan truffles.
By now, you’ve certainly worked up an appetite. Impress your date with a stop at Tsar Nicoulai Caviar inside the Ferry Building. The cafe for the famed Sacramento County aquaculture farm showcases its sustainably produced caviar and an international assortment of roes with housemade Slavic-style mini pancakes, known as blini, topped with crème fraîche.
If caviar gives you sticker shock, opt for the hardy and shareable house-smoked charcuterie board, which features hunks of hot smoked salmon and sweet 'n’ spicy sturgeon, luscious cold smoked salmon, an intriguing sturgeon pâté and an array of colorful pickled vegetables—all for $29—although you can add a jar of roe or caviar for $50-$259 if you’re feeling extra. The weekend menu also offers a caviar-topped bagel and lox for $19. With a glass of sparkling wine or mimosa to go with it, you can drink a toast to the Ferry Building.
If you’ve left room, check out one of the Ferry Building’s sweet shops. Head to Dandelion’s Ferry Building outpost for a cup of its divine hot chocolate or its decadent take on a s’more. Or if things are heating up too fast and you need to cool down, San Francisco’s own Humphry Slocombe offers an array of quirky scoops in flavors like Fireball Whisky & Red Hots and McEvoy Vinegar & Oil.
By this time, you’re either yearning to run away together—or just run away. Either way, at least you will have eaten well.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at email@example.com