Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Seafood Lunch at Pier Market

A visit to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 is not complete without enjoying a seafood meal in an area where fishermen and the fishing trade dwell; hauling in the abundant fresh catch from the sea every single day.

Voted as the "Best Seafood in San Francisco" by the KRON 4 TV Best of the Bay as proudly publicized on their homepage, Pier Market boasts of their fresh seafood served in their very own distinguished styles guaranteed to leave that memorable tastes in their guests' minds (and mouths, of course).



Be welcomed by the warm ambiance as one steps into the restaurant's dining area, where live seafood swim in the tanks at the front of the restaurant which is decked in wooden furnishing.
The casual-dining environment with a light note of elegance in the concept of their interior sends that very message intended by the Simmons family; the founder and developer of Pier 39 and also of this place, and Pier Market Seafood Restaurant has been in operation for more than three decades; managed by the 3rd generation of the family.


One can also choose to enjoy the cool breezy environment in their open concept of alfresco dining; where tables and chairs are laid out under the signature blue shades from the awning, allowing the friendly rays of the sun to shine through amidst the cheerful colors of the garden flowers dancing gaily in the weather. Besides enjoying the food, one can take in the atmosphere of Pier 39 and of the visitors taking a stroll down the wood board floors of the marina.


We chose to dine inside as the breeze was a little too chilly for us tropical climate dwellers, and we made ourselves comfortable as we enjoyed the view from the observation deck which provided scenes of the overall Pier 39 and the famous islands.

Started the meal with their fresh Sourdough Garlic Bread


The term fresh was definitely apt to describe this soft pillowy texture of the bread lined with the crackling crisp outer layer. The firm yet brittle bite of the crust was a perfect complement to the chewy and spongy white bed, and is good enough to enjoy on its own.
Garlic butter is provided as well, as with most bread baskets to start the meal.


One of their house specialties and definitely a unique option to start the meal is their
Crab Cakes ($12.95)


Served with Cajun Remoulade, the well-battered moulds stuffed to the brim with the moist minced crab paste was rather the distinct offering compared to those usually found in the Thai cuisine.
The generously sized crab cakes were mixed with their home recipe, providing that luscious taste of the crab paste which melts in one's mouth against the flaky crumbs adorning the outer skin will definitely leave one with that memorable longing for a second bite.
Try it with a squeeze of lemon and with that special cajun remoulade, and you will be hooked.


Pier Market Mixed Grill $23.95 was a modest platter combining the grill of fresh Salmon, fresh swordfish and shrimp skewer, served along with cole slaw and rice.
(One can opt to have this in Cajun Style, Teriyaki or BBQ Glazed and to serve with either rice or garlic buttered new potatoes).


Slightly left a little longer on the grill which gave it that slight overcooked tastes, the platter is still a good option for one who would like a little more variety of the seafood in one single serving.
I definitely enjoyed not having to choose between salmon and their fresh swordfish and even shrimps, and the serving left us satisfied, though the grill could be improved with a lighter touch.

We were treated to this cookie at the end of the meal; complimentary from the restaurant to polish our overall meal.


We found the shop selling this a few doors away from the restaurant :-)


With the many seafood restaurants around Pier 39 to storm you dizzy with choices for meals, one can easily stumble upon any restaurant and for us, I must say that my lucky stars helped me to decide on Pier Market which turned out to be a good one to add that finishing touch to my experience on Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and definitely of San Francisco too.

After all, more than 30 years of operation definitely says something about Pier Market, doesn't it?
Looking forward to visiting again on my next trip :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 and the Seals

The fishermen neighborhood complete with the fleet of fishing boats docked by the bay, their well-polished hulls glistening in the sun, and windy sea breeze blowing against the flapping tiny flags amidst the bustling urban modernization of a well-established commercial center and marina aptly describes the famous Fisherman's Wharf of San Francisco.

Dating back to its early history from the days of the Gold Rush in San Francisco which drew a crowd of migrating Italian fishermen to the coast eager to earn from the flowing opportunities, Fisherman's Wharf has seen generations of bidding fishermen until this very day. The early boats in sign were emblematic of the Italian's common fishing boats; known as feluccas, seen bobbing up and down along the bay as the early ancestors of these fishermen scour the coast for their catch. The lateen-rigged sailboats, or the feluccas represent the identity of the fishermen, or as they were modeled in the same build and design known to the fishermen as in their very homeland.
The fishing boats were not the only thing these fishermen brought, as they serenaded the bay with their songs; one that was beautifully and hauntingly melodious, as their common language of communication which can even be heard over the thick shrouds of fog.

Most of the fishermen settled down in the area close to the wharf and the fishing industry continues until this very day, by the great grandchildren known to be the descendants of the early fisher folks , in this very area, forming the heart of the Fisherman's Wharf with their unmistakable sights of fishing fleet and turning the place into one of the dearest attractions in San Francisco among the locals and tourists.


Pier 39 is the most well-known pier located at the edge of Fisherman's Wharf; bringing to life the commercialization of a shopping establishment forming the pulse of this very marina itself along with the seafood restaurants, souvenir shops, video arcade, aquarium all being part of the list of attractions.
The popular tourist attraction was the brainchild of entrepreneur Warren Simmons and was officially open to the public in the year 1978.




Pier 39 overlooks the tourists spots of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island (where the once notoriously famous prison was located), Bay Bridge and even the iconic Golden Gate Bridge which can be spotted on a clear day at this very marina.


Take a stroll down the wooden plank boards of Pier 39 among the tourists and locals and take in the lively environment set up by the local vendors running the shops here, while enjoying the cool and windy sea breeze blowing from the bay.
It can be quite a relaxing experience, and I can definitely see the appeal of this place and the reasons for its popularity. Friendly locals, interesting displays and merchandise, chilly sea breeze and scenic views from around the area are all just the few to name capturing one's attention while here on Pier 39.





Pier 39 is not just any ordinary pier filled with only the commercial aspects as it is also the home to the California Sea Lions which were originally spotted along the San Francisco Bay.
The seals have since found their new homes near Pier 39; hauling their body masses on the docks since the year 1989. While the reasons for their migration remains unclear, it was believed that the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake could be one of the starting points for the seals to move to their new homes; sheltered and being within a bay which provided more security to the families of seals.


The masses of sea lions resting on the docks quickly garnered public attention and the sight of these mammals became one of the tourist attraction as well.
Viewing docks are set up for one to take in the natural image of these live seals plopped on the wooden docks and it can be quite a daunting sight to watch the masses, or at least it was for me.



The marina is indeed full of its charms and life, as seen in the living pictures of the snapshots which are just capturing the tip of the essence of the offerings of Pier 39.
I am easily captivated by the simple view of a marina, with that picturesque scene of boats resting peacefully by the docks, and the occasional floating/bobbing motion which explains my personal fixation on this place.




As the sign says, Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 is definitely the pride and part of the soul of San Francisco's identity and definitely truly significant of the city itself.

What else says better about this City by the Bay than a visit to capture that view of life by the bay itself?