if anyone's occasionally searching for a quality fresh pasta (and often an opportunity for a wonderful meal) seek out Onda Pasta. You'll often find them at the Hale'iwa (Weimea Vly) & Ala Moana Farmers Markets.
a hearty second for La Borinquena, and they have fresh chicharones tambien, ese... (hefty tamales there with sweet ones usually avail around the holidays as well) A good source for mexican grocery items (and the Food Maxx store in San Pablo is very good source if you are into cooking las comidas mexicanas)
Berkeley Farmer's Market has a THURSDAY night appearance (acknowledged briefly in Morton the Mousse's post) in No. Berkeley neighborhood (couple of blocks no. of the Chez Panisse/Cheeseboard locations). According to info on the Ecology Ctr site ( http://www.ecologycenter.org/bfm/ ) Thurs. nite F.M. is supposed to be ALL ORGANIC (i.e., likely a bit pricey, eh?) There is also a small famer's market on Tue & Sat in El Cerrito, very near the Trader Joe's ( http://www.elcerritoplaza.com/farmers... ); also, more info on N.Ca. Farmer's Mkts here http://www.seasonalchef.com/nocallist...
as I have often wondered myself (and unfortunately often made the decision based on whatever was available on sale) which butter is better for baking and if I've a fridge full of it, am I going to enjoy a lovely toasted onion bagel slathered with it? Nice to see Challenge held up well in the overall scores (altho', truth be told, I usually use just the regular ol' domestic Challenge or Land of Lakes butters for both baking & whatever...) Chron results here: http://tinyurl.com/uv2vq butters you have known and loved?
getting to the ferry bldg (and beyond to the wharf areas) is simply accomplished by hoping on the F streetcar (lots of vintage cars on this line from other cities/countries to add to the novelty of your day) on Market St. You actually are not too far from Chinatown either, matter of fact as far as getting out on foot for a day's venture and bringing something home for later, that can be accomplished without much trouble at all.
Hope someone told you about the Ferry Bldg Farmer's Market on Saturday morning!
offered for your casual perusal: my friend Lee and I worked at the Chron together, he's a good handle on that neighborhood's offerings. http://tinyurl.com/y5d8dg for sandwiches & the like, Latte Express (try the vietnamese style sandwiches they offer); Tu Lan (on 6th St some 20-30 yds off Market)perhaps something to take away home if the ambience scares you off
http://tinyurl.com/mf7ne rests., cafes & shopping hints check out links for Tenderloin, Chinatown and Union Sq locations via elsewhere on that page (neighborhoods
really and truly an exemplary area to walk about and make many discoveries yourself (unless you might be hindered physically in some manner), Chinatown and N. Beach environs are 20-30 minutes away; take the F all the way to the wharf, and stroll down Columbus St. back to YBG... be sure to carry your umbrella tonight & tomorrow.
finding a decent chile relleno is a nice trick, finding a GOOD one likely a combination of luck and timing, they ought to be made fresh to order, but since they can be sort of complicated, many places make a bunch ahead of time, then warm them up to serve, which usually leaves one with some manner of disappointment... there's a wee hole in the wall on San Pablo in Richmond, Tres Hermanas, where you can find a pretty good relleno and I am sure they can put it in a burrito for you. There are some folks that recommend Portumex (also in Richmond) over on yelp ( http://www.yelp.com/biz/MtsLO1EPCgvLA... )
whoa, okay, so, maybe I'll never recommend Giovanni's again... (but I will mention this to the managers next time I am there) was some years ago I dined at Beckett's, might have to pay another visit there myself... in re to pub grub, I was going to suggest the Kensington Circus, but I don't think they're open on Sunday nights...
How about the new vendor in the Westfield/Bloomie's bldg? (Bristol Farms?), maybe in the Ferry Bldg (yah I know, got to go ALL The Way Downtown for either of those...) Is J R Seafood on Bayshore still open??
have you ever tried Giovanni's (on Shattuck) in downtown Berkeley? They've a variety of options on their menu and has some reasonable prices. Likely they can handle a table of eight without difficulty.