Saturday, April 21, 2007

Breakfast at Boulettes...

top row: Boulette's spice rack, rose petal jam and butter, eggs with lentils at Boulette's, Pizetta 211
second row: caramel shrimp at Slanted Door, the bar at Slanted Door, goodies from Tartine, Delfina
third row: A Tartine croissant, the counter at Boulette's, dog at Boulette's, antipasto from Whole Foods
bottom row: Pizzeria Delfina, Boulette's kitchen, outside at Boulette's, Pot de Creme at Slanted Door.
On this trip to San Francisco, I think I might have actually spent a bit too much time at the Ferry Building, with three trips in four days. It was mostly a function of convenience, and there are certainly worse places to be - but it was starting to feel a bit like deja vu by my last visit on the way out of town.

My first trip wasn't all that successful because the shops were closing and Boulette's was setting up for a private party (which looked fantastic, by the way.) I wound up at the bar at the Slanted Door for dinner. It wasn't bad - but wasn't anything special either. I enjoyed the food I had on my last visit from the takeout stand, Out the Door, just as much. I noticed that Out the Door now sells kits the ingredient kits for many of the restaurant's dishes for cooking at home. The prices are only a couple of dollars less than in the restaurant though, $11-$13, so I'm not sure about the value. I liked their roast pork bahn mi, and the salads and spring rolls look very good. They also have Blue Bottle coffee.

The next day, I had to head back down that way to pick up the keys from Tommy, who works across the street - so I went back and bought the individual bags of Recchiuti chocolates that I had wanted for gifts, and some cookies from Boulettes -which were devoured immediately at Tommy's office. While at Boulette's, I noticed that they serve breakfast and lunch - The prices are not inexpensive, around $13-15 for entrees, but the selections on the sample menu they showed me looked interesting. I knew that I would be having breakfast with Moira the following morning before heading out, so I made a mental note that it looked like a good option.
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the ferry plaza
Having already made two trips to the Ferry Building in as many days, and given that Canteen was on my list to try - I decided to suggest it for our breakfast on Friday. It turns out that they are now closed for breakfast during the week - which unfortunately Tommy and I didn't find out until we showed up that morning. We did nearly get to witness a domestic violence incident right there on the street, which was a little harrowing. Moira wasn't there yet, so rather than wait around, we went to pick her up down the street. Since I was taking Tommy to work, and then heading down to SOMA to drop Moira off before heading to the airport, the Ferry Building was once again a convenient and logical choice. Boulette's for breakfast it was.
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tables outside
We could not have made a better choice. With tables set out on the Ferry Plaza in the near-blinding sunlight, coffee in french press pots, baskets of bread, rose jam and butter - it was like something straight out of a magazine, or even a movie. There was even an adorable friendly dog weaving in and out of the tables and peeking in the door.
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le menu
The menu items on the day we visited included a hot multi-grain cereal made with "guisto's organic rye, wheat barley and oats, with assorted condiments," their housemade yogurt with jam and honey, poached eggs with salt cod, italian cheese, and "basted eggs with braised lentils, herbs and brown butter" - which is what I ordered. (See the collage above.)
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poached eggs with brandade
I wouldn't have thought to serve lentils for breakfast, but the savory flavors were a good combination. Moira ordered the poached egg dish with salt cod, pictured above, which she enjoyed. I tried it - but I'm just not a fan of fish in the mornings, for whatever reason. She also ordered the "eastern european hot chocolate" - which was accurately described as deep chocolate blended with "a very heavy cream." Somehow it wasn't as overwhelming as it sounded - in fact, it was addictive. I ordered a cup for myself after tasting hers. It's definitely the kind of thing that should be enjoyed on vacation.
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eastern european hot chocolate
One of the best surprises was the basket of Acme bread with rose petal jam and butter. Rose-flavored sweets rarely appeal to me (with the exception of the Date Madeleine Dessert with Rose Gelato at Parallel 33) but this was lovely - lightly sweet and mild - and it certainly doesn't hurt that it is such a beautiful color. Sometimes the things that make us the happiest are things we would never choose for ourselves. I love it when that happens.
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the spice counter - the sign says "not for concept only"
As far as I know, Boulette's is a relatively unique place, I don't know of anything like it in San Diego, or anywhere else for that matter. It's a kitchen with a store attached, a part time cafe, and takeaway stand. They do dinner parties and breakfast and lunch on site, and have pastries, charcuterie, spices and seasonings, entrees and side dishes available for purchase. If you buy cookies or pastries, they put them in a wooden basket and wrap it in tissue paper for you. For more information, check out their website, at - especially this page if you really want your mouth to water. It will also give you a good idea of the type of cooking they do.

I'll be back soon with more on Delfina and Temecula!

Boulette's Larder
Ferry Building Marketplace
hours and information


  1. I heart Boulette's! I seriously LOVE this place... When I first went there, I came back determined to open something like it in SD. My husband sort of brought me back to reality.

  2. I am curious about what he said - mostly whether it was the same thing James said to me to me when I came up with the same idea! :-)

  3. It was something along the lines of "why would you want to do that when you can make way more money as a lawyer -- with no risk!" He has a point, but I want Boulette's in San Diego! Or something close. Please!

  4. I just finished reading your posts about your trip to SF. Sounds like you had a nice time.

    I actually like the croissants at Tartine. I can always taste the butter but they're never greasy. And I like that they bake them European "dark".

    The Ferry Bldg is so much more relaxing and less crowded on the weekdays. Well, except during happy hour at Hog Island for the $1 oysters!

  5. Doh! Wish I had known you were in town! Next time?