For our first full day in San Francisco we were greeted with a foggy and rainy morning. Initially the plan had been to ride the bus down to Pier 1 and the Ferry Building Marketplace but the rain swayed us towards the decision to drive down and park for the day. Thankfully the rain cleared up as the day progressed and we only got caught in one stray shower the rest of the day.
The Marketplace is definitely a foodie's dream, dozens of shops, all with some combination of gourmet, organic, free-range, handmade, natural products (all of them beautiful and/or tasty). Mom and I split a blueberry scone as a quick breakfast as we walked the length of the old ferry terminal then we went outside to see the famous tower and "Port of San Francisco" sign. As we were walking around outside we saw that we were right next to where you can take the ferry to Saulsalito. I had heard from a few folks that it was a fun place to go for lunch so we bought Clipper cards (reloadable mass transit fare cards, it was $5 cheaper to use that than to buy the fare with cash) for the 11:35am ferry and then wandered around the marketplace a bit more until the ferry departed.
Our fellow passengers on the trip to Saulsalito were almost exclusively other tourists, so most were crowded at the front or back of the boat taking photos of the passing coastline during the trip (some blatantly ignoring the "please don't stand on the seats" signs to take photos over the railing). We offloaded at the base of the main street and decided to find a spot for lunch courtesy of Yelp and Foursquare. The highest recommended place was a Thai restaurant at the end of the main road so we walked the few blocks and enjoyed some pretty tasty food at Thai Terrace. We split spring rolls and spicy fried tofu as appetizers, I had a nice green curry and Thai iced tea. After lunch we walked back to the ferry and headed back to the city.
We arrived back at Pier 1 and walked up the Embarcadero along the water up to the attractions around Fisherman's Wharf. Along the way we sampled some tasty chocolate at TCHO where we had just missed the 2pm tour, looked like it would be fun to do another time. We made a quick tour around the crazy tourist-iness that is Pier 39, saw the sea lions, and walked up around the old Del Monte Cannery and Ghiardelli Square. We stopped at historic Pier 45 which had a fun antique arcade that we walked around (and where I got my customary souvenir penny) and outside along the water we got to enjoy an impromptu Blue Angels airshow as they were practicing for their shows later this weekend for Fleet Week.
We decided to try out Bistro Boudin at the famous Boudin Bakery for dinner. Social media was divided on the quality of the restaurant, some said it was a tourist trap, others said the food was great, overall I think I would lean towards the first opinion. The sourdough bread was very good (as expected), my mom got to have one of their famous bread bowls with crab and corn chowder, Jeremy and I each had a pretty tasty local beer (Anchor Steam), but the main dishes were rather bland, and not worth what you paid. On the bright side, we did have a great view of Alcatraz and the water at sunset from our table.
After dinner we decided to go back to the Marketplace to acquire some desert before heading home. We hopped on the F electric street car all the way back to Pier 1 and went to Ciao Bella Gelato for dessert (mint chocolate chip, honey pecan, pistachio gelatos and lemon sorbet were enjoyed by the group, all good). We walked out to the back of the terminal to catch a view if the night skyline and lit bridges and "Port of San Francisco" sign and then headed back to the car.
Tomorrow, we get to explore Alcatraz and meet up with some Williamsburg friends for dinner in Palo Alto, with I'm sure some more stops in between.