Ferry Building, San Francisco

This is a bombolini, an Italian doughnut filled with Nutella, and how Jason started his Saturday morning at the Ferry Building. The ferry terminal, which opened in 1898, has been beautifully restored and now includes specialty food stands and restaurants.

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, there’s a farmer’s market outside with the kind of glistening fruit only California can offer. It just doesn’t have that same juiciness or crunch or glow once it’s trucked thousands of kilometres to Canadian grocery stores.

Ferry Building, San FranciscoI didn’t get any pics because I was too busy snacking on the samples of nectarines, peaches and cherries the farmers kept handing out. I don’t like fruit, but I like this fruit.

Inside, we actually had to hunt a bit for a nice cup of coffee to kick our morning off. To our relief, we found I Preferiti di Boriana, which imports stuff from Tuscany, and does espresso in the mornings. That’s also where Jason got his bombolini. (It disappeared fast.)

Ferry Building, San Francisco

I was drawn to Delica rf-1, a Japanese delicatessen with a quirky name. (Not sure what rf-1 stands for…)

There were some very attractive things behind the deli’s glass counter, and of course, I picked the roast beef sushi ($2 per piece), which turns out to be one of Delica’s signature items.

Ferry Building, San FranciscoThe sushi piece was yummy, topped with rare, hormone-free beef, baby arugula, minced shallots, and julienned radish.

I also got a “healthy” onigiri ($2 each), made here with brown rice and fresh roasted wild salmon. I normally dislike brown rice, but it works very well here.

The Ferry Building is a great place to wander if you’re into specialty foods, from caviar to olive oil to organic meats.

My favourite find was Far West Fungi, with various baskets of fresh mushrooms and dried varieties I’d never seen before.

There were piles of fresh morels, porcini and chanterelles (at $34 a pound), as well as glass jars of dried truffles neatly lined on the shelves like a candy store. I never thought I’d have so much fun browsing a mushroom boutique.

Ferry Building, San Francisco

Ferry Building, San FranciscoThe area outside the Ferry Building on Saturdays is hopping too. Across the street is an open market area, and that’s where we bought two prints from young artist Amos Goldbaum. His artwork is really cool and vibrant and very affordable. Check it out here.

We also saw these proud Americans outside the market, collecting signatures on a petition to change the name of the city’s biggest sewer treatment plant to “George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

U.S. law says any proposal supported by a petition with more than 7,168 signatures must go to a civic vote; these guys already have more than 8,500. Ah, democracy.

Ferry Building Marketplace, along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street. Lots of information on hours and merchants on the website.