My brother and I cooked a 10 course meal for our father's 60th birthday last night and though our cooking skills were hopefully a big part of the success, a huge thanks has to go out to the amazing food purveyors in this city.
First, there is the Ferry plaza: Hog Island Oysters are are perfect for bbq oysters (and the small sweet waters are great snacks while shopping). Cowgirl Creamery makes great Creme Fraiche and is wonderful to shop at for other cheeses such as Abbaye de Belloc. Fatted calf: delicious douck confit and yummy duck liver pate. Far West Funghi has a truly inspiring selection of mushrooms. The seafood guy at the farmers market on Saturday really has some delicious scallops. Prather Ranch sells some mean short ribs, that go great with some of the fresh produce one can find at some of the stalls: parsnips for a puree, and carrots for nice side dish. And Rechiutti sells great chocolates and fruit squares to finish off a meal.
Outside the Ferry Plaza, there is Rainbow Foods. The bulk spices are truly extraordinary and the produce rivals the farmers markets. Sun Fat in the missions is really a great seafood market. And their lobsters are both sweet and (relatively) inexpensive. Boulange de cole also helps finich off a meal with their delicious financiers.
SF is truly a wonderful place to shop for food.
(The only thing imported was smoked fish and herring for brunch from Russ & Daughters in NYC--SF needs a good smoked fish store)