DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

August 22, 2008

                                                           

Organic Coffee and Free Range Eggs

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit, drink coffee and watch people. Even better, the coffee was Peet’s and the people-watching was on wharf in San Francisco on a foggy Saturday morning recently. It’s been quite a few years since I have lived out here and I find that when I refer to something as “new” I mean that it has been established since I left the area. Well, I left the area 27 years ago and all of these “new” things exist, like the rebuilt Ferry Terminal Building at the Embarcadero with its upscale food boutiques and the massive Saturday morning Farmer’s Market.

On that morning I arrived quite early. The coffee shop had opened, but not the other shops and the Farmers Market was just setting up. I read a book and talked with some guy and then it was time to explore. I just wasn’t expecting what I found.

The Ferry Terminal building has been totally gutted and new shops have sprung up and in true San Francisco style the range of eateries is staggering to this Midwestern boy. I didn’t realize that a Mall, let alone a city would require two (or were there three?) Olive Oil stores. I thought there was olive oil and then extra virgin olive oil and that’s about it. No, the Ferry Terminal must cater to an olive oil-challenged clientele. Every one had to taste and I dipped a small piece of bread into the Persian Lime olive oil. I did see one man make a meal out of all the olive oil samplings; the owners were not fazed in the least. There was a store devoted exclusively to mushrooms…though in retrospect, that should not have surprised me in San Francisco. One of the eateries offered truffled scrambled eggs with caviar for breakfast. I haven’t seen that on Bob Evans menus, but for $12 it seemed reasonable, assuming one likes caviar and one actually knows what a truffle is. There were 3 wine tasting shops (which at 9:30 in the morning were packing them in there on the San Francisco shore.) and 4 chocolatiers. The entire atmosphere is of eating-decadence and was, frankly, great fun. It makes Whole Foods in Dublin look like Sam’s Club by comparison.

Having fought the crowds in the eating-Mall, I decided to visit the parking lot for the Saturday Farmer’s Market. I am used to farmers’ markets that have some tomatoes, strawberries and green peppers and maybe, homemade bread.

 

What I found here was “Organic Vegan Sushi” and “Seaweed Salad (Ready to Eat! It advertised.) “Smoked Salmon Sticks” (no beef sticks here in S.F.) “Spearmint Sugar”. And lots and lots more.

If you wanted to eat a quick meal, there was seafood, Rotisserie Free Range Chicken, Mexican and Greek food.

Part of the market was surreal. The good folks of the Farmers Market were environmentally responsible with portable bins for Recycling, Composting and Trash. Whole Foods does that. But in San Francisco they have people who actually stand beside the Recycling Stations and do nothing but educate and explain where the plastic fork and chicken bones and remaining Vegan Salsa on your plate goes. A ferryboat arrived from Oakland and a number of people disembarked but on the return trip I didn’t see a soul leaving S.F. for Oakland. A couple homeless men sat on a bench drinking bourbon, which they poured, from their flask…into a wine glass for drinking.

It’s a whole ‘nother world. It is neither better nor worse than what I am accustomed to in the Midwest. I’m sure a native San Franciscan would be baffled by our county fairs and demolition derbies, our emphasis on high school football, and festivals that are devoted to a single product like Pumpkins (Circleville), Sweet Corn (Baltimore, Ohio) or the Trout-a-rama of Baldwin, Michigan (I swear I am not making that one up. It’s been in existence for nearly 50 years).

As I look at the tourists from Hong Kong or France or Mexico, it startles me that we are all dressed somewhat similar. We have the names of sports teams and designers on our shirts. We all have cell phones in our pockets and iPods in our ears. We all order espressos as if they are the only common language that we possess…and in a sense it is.

So if some festival in Ohio offers Pumpkin salsa and the shops on the S.F. Bay offer tiramisu with artichoke glaze…more power to them. Not everything has become standardized. Thank God for that.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing