A few weeks ago I coldly abandoned Mike in DC for a quick girls’ getaway in San Francisco with two great friends BabeBQ and The Librarian. It was the first visit to San Francisco for both of them. Giving the uninitiated a tour of my favorite city is no small feat. Type A geeks like me don’t just wing it. We spend weeks plotting out itineraries, checking lists, creating back up plans for unbearably rainy weather.  Touristy or not, some activities can’t be ignored for first-timers. I wanted to be sure we tried a few more insider options, too. (Sure the cable cars are nice but did you know you can ride an 1930s Italian streetcar into the Castro?)

This philosophy went double for food. I knew certain cozy homeruns would make our agenda, namely Cha Cha Cha’s and Crepes on Cole which BabeBQ declared “the perfect neighborhood breakfast spot.” Except I didn’t want to limit our palates to tried and true favorites. I was ready for a little strange on the menu.

Acme Bread Company at the Ferry Building
No food sojurn to San Francisco is complete without paying homage to the Ferry Building. What was once a pass-through warehouse for tourists heading to Sausalito and commuters going home to Marin County is now a delicious destination. The building hosts San Francisco staples Cowgirl Creamery and the Slanted Door as well as less known options like Boccalone Salumeri (boasting “tasty salted pig parts”) and Far West Funghi, a must-visit for any mushroom lover.

Taking advantage of our DC-based internal clocks, BabeBQ and I took an early morning walk over to the Ferry Building for breakfast. We wandered through the vendor hallway, taking in the options as proprieters rattled their doors open. In the end, we were both drawn to the same thing: freshly baked bread from Acme Bread Company. The Acme Bread Compnay is a Berekley-based bread institution in the Bay Area, frequently credited for leading the artisinal bread revolution. The Ferry Building outpost carries the full selection of Acme bread and we lingered over baguettes, croissants and other yeasty delicacies before settling on a perfect small round of sourdough bread. We paired our loaves with ruby-red, sweet organic strawberries from Farm Fresh to You, a gourmet grocery store that seems tailor-made for yuppie picnic baskets, and found a bench outside in the early morning mist.

The bread, baked with a golden, crispy crust and pliant, still-warm, tangy white middle, was perhaps the single best way to start a vacation day. It was amazing we were civilized enough to eat with our hands rather than dive face first into the world’s best comfort food. We tore into our breakfast as rush hour approached and commuters streamed past us, fresh off ferries from Marin County. “You know,” BabeBQ said between bites, “I always see people having a leisurely breakfast or coffee on a weekday and wonder who they are and why they aren’t headed into work like me. It’s nice to be on this side for a change.” I couldn’t have agreed more. 

Acme Bread Company
1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
Acme Bread Company on Urbanspoon

After the jump: Dim sum in Chinatown, Italian in North Beach, and what Mike was most jealous he missed. (more…)