One of my favorite spots in the city is the Embarcadero, the three-mile bank on the eastern side of the city along the beautiful San Francisco Bay. It starts at Second and King near AT&T Park and travels north, passing under the Bay Bridge, continues past the Ferry Building at Market and ends at the Fisherman’s Wharf by Pier 45.
I love the Embarcadero for so many reasons. I love running down the waterfront with the Bay Bridge as the dramatic backdrop. I start my morning runs in the Dogpatch, work my way toward the ballpark, trace the Embarcadero toward Pier 39 , turn around and run back home. On days when I feel particularly strong, I continue past the Wharf and run as far as I can, sometimes reaching as far as Crissy Field in the Marina, or even the Golden Gate Bridge!
If I’m not running, I’m walking. I love taking lunchtime walks to the Ferry Building on bright, sunny days, ending up in one of the benches right above the Larkspur Ferry Terminal with a Boccalone muffaletta sandwich, a bottle of water and Michael Chabon. I love early evening walks along the water, too. Dressed comfortably in warm fleece, I wait for the day to end, staring at the golden shiny Oakland buildings across the Bay and admiring the gorgeous dusk sky studded with Bay Bridge lights.
If I’m not walking, I’m shopping. I love spending early Saturday mornings at the Ferry Plaza farmers’ market, shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, and then rewarding myself for waking up early with a couple of dark chocolate covered cherry rugelachs from Noe Valley Bakery & Bread Company.
If I’m not shopping, I’m eating. The food choices along the Embarcadero are endless but I particularly love the haute street cuisine at the Ferry Plaza on Thursday afternoons. Every Thursday, the farmers’ market hosts an elite group of street food purveyors whose ingredients are mainly sourced from the market’s local farms and vendors. The street food market is the perfect middle-of-the-week, something-to-look-forward-to treat.
As we continue the countdown to Jun-Blog’s first year, I am featuring a couple of my favorites from the Thursday farmers’ market, a bowl of ramen noodles from Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen and kalbi short rib tacos from Dennis Lee of Namu. Hapa Ramen’s fried chicken ramen bowl with sous vide egg is topnotch. Nakano’s handmade noodles are wonderfully chewy and his four-day broth is amazingly flavorful. The best way to enjoy Hapa Ramen is to lift the bowl and slurp away. It is truly comfort food in a bowl, perfect for a cool summer San Francisco day.
And Namu’s Korean tacos are outstanding as well. Delicious chopped kalbi short ribs on top of seasoned rice with daikon and kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, and housemade teriyaki are all folded into strips of nori and garnished with sesame seeds and green onions. The mix of flavors are as vibrant as the colors of this Korean-Californian taco reinvention.
Food this good is reason enough to keep coming back to the Embarcadero. Plus I need to run and burn off those irresistible Arlequin maple bacon beignets.