Boccalone (Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA)

(Update: Well, so much for the “Tasty Salted Pig Parts”. Boccalone closed in October 2017)

Well, April 30th was the actual day of the Death March, so at 8am, we started at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, we crossed over to Vista Point, then came back, walked to the Ferry Building via Coit Tower and other side attractions, then up to Twin Peaks. Total hiking was almost 21 miles, and it’s a really good way to both learn the nuances of the city, and get some good exercise.

It also has the secondary goal of letting us indulge in all sorts of delicious foods along the way. By the time we got halfway through the March at San Francisco’s Ferry Building (which was having their normal Saturday farmers’ market), we had already had a chance to indulge in “First Lunch” of seafood and sourdough at Fisherman’s Wharf, ice cream bars at Coit Tower, and chocolate from Tcho on the waterfront.

Checkpoint #3 on the March was the famous Ferry Building, which was also a good excuse for a Second Lunch, since the Ferry building has all sorts of wonderful little food vendors, ranging from a mushroom vendor, Prather Ranch Meats (where I bought a “Praise the Lard” t-shirt), a Rancho Gordo stand (where I bought 5 lbs of beans to bring back), beef sushi from Delica, and a wonderfully sinful strawberry cream cupcake from Miette.

But my most-craved stop for this trip was Boccalone. Boccalone’s motto is “Tasty Salted Pig Parts”. Besides, who can go wrong with a motto like that. And that’s basically their business: they sell all sorts of salumi. They’ve got a giant case of refrigerated hams and other salumi, and are basically a glorified cold cut counter: you point at the meat you want, and they slice it up and serve it to you, either by the pound, or by the assortment platter. They also have what’s the perfectly little snack for someone like me, who’s basically a tourist gawking at the food stands in the ferry building: the $3.50 meat cone. The meat cone is one of those little paper cups, like you’d get with a sno cone or at the local office water cooler, filled with several slices of meat. If you go for their regular assortment, you usually get a slice of capocollo, a few slices of mortadella, and a few slices of prosciutto cotto. You can also upgrade it by specifying the exact meats you want.

I opted for the default cone, and was quite happy with the resulting selection. The capocollo, which is made from the top loin from younger pigs and aged for several months, was a nicely flavored and rich ham. Mortadella is usually not one of my favorites (I usually call it “Death bologna” in a play on it’s name), but here it was smooth, rich, and well-seasoned. Finally, the slices of prosciutto cotto (cooked proscuitto) were a nicely flavored and somewhat sweet ham. Overall, a very delicious meaty snack.

Boccalone is quite the pleasant little shop, even in the heart of the excessively busy Ferry Building. One of these days, I’ll make it back there for a sandwich.

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