[Photo Credit: cfarivar via Flickr]
Summer's come on full this year. It almost feels like LA. Almost. Even more reason to entertain, or picnic, and we recommend the following alternatives to actually cooking. Not exactly budget suggestions, but good value. Overheard at the Farmer's Market "yes, it's expensive- but anything that makes my mother-in-law think I'm a genius is worth every penny." All in the Ferry Building except the last, all accessible by public transportation or validated parking.
Cowgirl Creamery: Have the girls put together a cheese course. They can recommend a "flight" of cheeses in different styles, degrees of ripeness, and a barnyard's choice of milks; cow, goat, sheep. Plus accompaniments like quince paste or fig confit and their amazing rustic crackers. It sounds expensive, but actually you're buying just a few ounces of cheese per person. And you get to look extravagant. In the Ferry Building.
Acme Bread: Founded in the last century by a former Chez Panisse dishwasher and still the gold standard for artisanal bread in San Francisco. You can buy a sheet of focaccia to slice and grill for a crowd, or try their latest invention- flawless hamburger and hot dog buns. Next door to Cowgirl, in the Ferry Building.
Mistral: Betty and Fabrice Marcon have put together a rotisserie provencale offering roast chickens as well as their phenomenal roasted potatoes. Roasted under the chickens. Perfect, small, herb-covered Niman Ranch pork roasts. Sweetbreads. Really, when was the last time someone made you sweetbreads? For busy francophones, and others. In the Ferry Building.
Miette: Buy some lavender butter cookies to nibble after dinner. Where? Oh, between Acme and Mistral in the Ferry Building.
K&L Wines: The huge and knowledgeable staff at Curbed SF can be serious about food. But not so serious about wine. Really, it's the one massive pretension we managed miss after accumulating so many others. We call Mulan Chan at K&LWines to find out what we're drinking and to slake our thirst for the quirky and reasonable. Latest triumphs include two rosés, Cantina Terlan's Lagrein Rosé (14.99) and the Mas Ste Berthe "Passe-Rosé" ($13.99) either of which will change your mind about pink wine. Mulan is one of San Francisco's outstanding wine people- tell her what you're eating (or who you're impressing) and she'll tell you what you're drinking. In SoMa on Fourth Street near Brannan, 415-896-1734.
· Ferry Building Marketplace [Ferry Building]
· K&LWines [K&L Wines]