Jul 6, 2009

fried oyster update - san francisco edition

the best oyster po boy i have ever tasted. there it is. 

a storied history behind this delicious sandwich. apparently, in louisiana, when husbands were in trouble with their wives, the one gift that always placated and soothed them was an oyster po boy sandwich, brought home after a late nite out. hence the name, you po boy.

i had to go back and taste this. remembering it too fondly from our years in sf. i am very happy to report it is as good or better than it ever was. no diminishment here. the sturdy homemade white bread, thinly sliced, grilled to perfection, the oysters barely covered in rustic ground cornmeal, then fried to perfection. the homemade mayonnaise or aioli, fresh, creamy and flavorful, thinned like a dressing almost. the greens, fresh and plentiful, the tomatoes, perfectly juicy. a sandwich so simple and so perfect. conveniently, patricia unterman's hayes street grill, the source of this perfection, has the booth right next to the hog island oyster company at the san francisco ferry terminal farmer's market now. i used to have to rush there early in the morning because sometimes they would run out. (the horror). no worries now.

what is this place the houses the stand that makes the finest oyster po boy in the land? the san francisco ferry terminal farmer's market. of course, it is not just for oyster sandwiches. the produce is dreamy, seemingly the best freshness and variety i can imagine, due to the climate, diversity and agricultural legacy of california. largely organic. purveyors like frog hollow farms. right now artichokes, lettuces, garlic, onions, eggplant, pluots, apricots, nectarines, berries, all to die for. open every tuesday, thursday from 10 to 2 and saturday from 8 to 2. read more about it here.

the sea breeze, sunshine, accessibility by ferry from sausalito, larkspur, oakland, vallejo, etc. the fantastic people watching: from way cool hipsters, tourists from all over the world, and colorful local californians, to trendy parents with kids, make this a great destination for the day. inside the terminal is a permanent show of food purveryors not unlike an all star list: cow girl creamery, mcevoy ranch olive oil, rechiutti an incredibly dear but terribly expensive chocolatier, sharffen berger chocolates (bought by hershey in 2005), boulette's larder, slanted door, blue bottle coffee, peets coffee, etc. etc. etc. plus sur la table, the gardener, book passages, all great shopping destinations in their own right. 

as recently as 10 years ago, none of this existed. the ferry terminal was a derelict space, little used, empty and kind of scary. san francisco did a great job at urban development here. opened as a gourmet marketplace in 2004-2005 and with the new giants baseball stadium, it has brought new life into the whole embarcadero area. gorgeous.

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