February 2005

Bay Bridge Follies
Letters to the Editor
New Ship Sails to Sausalito–Opportunities for All!
Mare Island Welcome Center is Now Open in Historic Mansion
Dispatch from the Dogpatch… A SeAm Between
In Richmond Today
Crab Fest Fever
Afterguard’s Broiled
Salmon Afloat
Bay Crossings Gardens
“Food from the Heart” at the Ferry Building Marketplace
Giant Storms in LA Affect Bay Area
WTA Pages…Ferry Rewards
Minds Meet at Underwater Forum on California’s Ocean Future
Bay Ghost Phenomenon
Bay Crossings Calendar
New Horizons at Webster Street’s Arts & Crafts Campus
Love, Lust, and Heartbreak


Three Ferry Building Tenants Offer Special Discounts to the Ferry Commuter *

You, the ferry commuter, are already the envy of all your friends because your commute is not only traffic and hassle-free, but you can eat, drink, read the newspaper or a book, make friends, or just space out watching the beauty of the Bay pass by. As if that weren’t enough, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority is working with Ferry Building Marketplace vendors to start a rewards program for regular ferry riders.

Arrivals and Departures
The Ferry Building Marketplace has been lauded as one of San Francisco’s crown jewels since its inception in the spring/summer 2003. With its featured Saturday Farmers’ Market, smaller farmers’ markets during the week, and restaurants and specialty shops that offer a wide array of unique foods, beverages, and other fine items every day, it’s a destination point for San Franciscans and visitors alike. Indeed, regular ferry riders reap the incidental benefit of having the Ferry Building bookend their trips out of and into San Francisco. It hasn’t escaped the notice of marketplace businesses that the building sees foot traffic from more than 5,000 ferry passengers per day—all potential customers.

Perks for Passengers
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
Among “famous ferry riders,” Vallejo ferry commuters can proudly claim one of the leading wine experts in the nation, Peter Granoff. Riders might spot him on board several times a week taking advantage of productive commute time by catching up on e-mails, getting his day organized, reading and decompressing while traveling via ferry between his home in Napa Valley and his business in San Francisco.

Peter Granoff, Owner, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, offers free wine consulting—and special deals on select wines for his fellow ferry riders

Mr. Granoff, one of the primary owners of the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants, has been a professional wine buyer for more than 20 years. By age 12, Mr. Granoff was already working in restaurants; although he never anticipated making a career of it, working in the hospitality industry in the Swiss Alps at age 19 made a lasting impression on him. For Mr. Granoff, the wine industry poses “an intellectual challenge of knowledge you’ll never master; sensory appeal; and as a consumer product, is a bridge between the land and high culture.”

The Wine Merchant was among the first tenants to open in the ferry building in July of 2003, offering a wine store for purchasing wine by the bottle and a separate wine bar for sipping by the glass. Mr. Granoff enjoys the unparalleled synergy of the marketplace–the Wine Merchant invites customers to enjoy food brought from any other shop in the building while sipping wine at the bar. He said, “There are lots of places to buy wine, but not many real wine merchants. We rigorously screen what we put on our limited shelf space and stand behind what we offer.”

Mederick Ravel, Wine Club Manager and Dungeon Gate Keeper at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, is ready and able to answer your questions

Unmoved by mainstream wine press, the Wine Merchant shows a bias toward local, organic farmers. In addition to offering a solid product, Mr. Granoff attributes the store’s success to hiring passionate staff who want their customers to feel comfortable asking questions. “People want information,” Mr. Granoff explained. A common question pertains to food and wine pairings; the Wine Merchant’s staff, most of whom hail from the restaurant industry, can make informed recommendations.

In recognition of a key part of his customer base, Mr. Granoff invited ferry commuters to “ask about the ferry commuter special.* Although this offer isn’t restricted to new customers, we’d like to add those who are not yet in our database to our records, so that we may keep in touch about special events and offers.”


You don’t have to go to Europe to experience a rotisserie: Mistral Rotisserie Provencale is conveniently located at the Ferry Building, steps away from the Tiburon and Vallejo ferry landings

Mistral Rotisserie Provencale

Betty and Fabrice Marcon are celebrating their first year of tenancy as proprietors of Mistral Rotisserie Provencale (Mistral), located within the Ferry Building. Ms. Marcon and her husband, who hails from France, were inspired to bring the European experience to San Franciscans by specializing in rotisserie cooking. Their food service backgrounds include previous ownership of Hyde Street Bistro Restaurant; in addition, Ms. Marcon was trained as a pastry chef and worked briefly at the Oakville Grocery, a gourmet stop for the cognoscenti headed to Napa Valley’s wine country.

Ms. Marcon, who used to commute regularly via ferry from Larkspur, said, “I knew the ferry rider was going to be a big part of my business. This food is ideal for the commuter who wants to bring home their dinner.” Mistral is conveniently located along the ferry building corridor most frequently used by Vallejo and Tiburon ferry patrons; Ms. Marcon says that captains and crew enjoy the convenience of Mistral, as well.

Betty Marcon, Proprietor of Mistral Rotisserie Provencale, poses next to one of her dinner boxes, the gourmet meal deal for the person on the go

Apart from their regular lunch fare, Mistral offers three different types of dinner boxes full enough to feed three to four people. The boxes, ranging in price from $26.99 to $35.99, contain a choice of roasted meat–typically chicken, lamb, or pork rib–and two pints of seasonally appropriate side dishes, such as roasted potatoes cooked in chicken drippings, ratatouille, yam, or brussel sprouts. On weekends, Mistral features specialty meats like duck, rabbit, and geese.

In keeping with the philosophy of the Ferry Building merchants, all of Mistral’s foods are organic and locally raised or grown. Ms. Marcon says, “Once someone tries [our food], I’m confident they will return for more.” She’s putting her money where her mouth is by offering a special discount for ferry commuters.*

The very energetic Ms. Marcon, never short on ideas, also envisions having onboard tasting of the Rotisserie’s offerings for ferry riders. Future ideas for adding convenience to the ferry commuter who wants to pick up dinner on the go includes having a mailbox facing the water on the outside of the shop so that patrons could drop off written orders and pick them up at a designated time. They’re also gearing up for online ordering. In the meantime, she invited customers to e-mail her before noon at mistralroti@sbcglobal.net to place an order for late afternoon or evening pick-up.


Hog Island Oyster Co.’s Manager and Alameda ferry commuter Justin McCarter (I): lured into the business by the promise of fresh oysters year round

Hog Island Oyster Company
Unlike the Wine Merchant and Mistral, both of which were heavily influenced by European tradition, the oyster business is native to Northern California. According to Justin McCarter, Manager of Hog Island Oyster Co., oysters were raised throughout the Bay Area from the mid-1800s, when Americans were beginning to settle California in droves and San Francisco was the market epicenter. Hog Island, established more than 100 years ago, is located north in Tomales Bay, leases 120 acres of pristine estuary for cultivating oysters, and currently farms 40 acres of it.

Ferry commuters enjoy Hog Island Oysters as a regular part of their maritime experience

Mr. McCarter was lured into Hog Island by the promise of year-round oysters. Prior to his tenure in the oyster business, he spent a decade reveling in his love of fish as a Manhattan fish butcher, with the benefit and prerogative of saving the freshest and choicest cuts of fish for himself. Although surrounded by oysters, he claims he never gets tired of them. It’s no wonder he is versed in the history of Bay Area oysters: since the oyster bar’s inception in November 2003, the owners of Hog Island have scheduled staff to visit the Tomales Bay farm and go out on boats a couple of times a year. The low staff turnover can doubtless be attributed to these field trips coupled with the perquisite of unlimited fresh oysters.

Mr. McCarter, like many from the Hog Island Oyster Co. staff, regularly commutes from home to work via ferry. Of his commute from Alameda, he said, “The ferry is a civilized experience–it is the champagne and oysters of commuting.” He added, “Because of its location, our business is part of the community and the commute experience. It’s in this community spirit that we offer a special discount to ferry riders.”*

Mr. McCarter explained that Hog Island’s generosity couldn’t be coupled with any other special offering since their other specials are already amazing deals. For instance, the Monday and Thursday happy hour specials from 4:30 until 7:00 pm feature $1 a piece oysters with beer priced at $2.50 a pint; and oysters-to-go are regularly priced as low as $78 for 10 dozen.

Future Plans for Passenger Perks
Stay tuned for possible future wine tasting on board ferryboats—if the proprietor of Bay Crossings, Bobby Winston, has his way. He’s floated the idea by various ferry operators, who’ve expressed interest. And, at least one Alameda winery, Rosenblum Cellers, has expressed interest in participating, especially in reaching a captive audience of Alameda residents on their commute home from work!

* See the Frequent Riders box on the following page for description of rewards and how to claim them.



  Passengers Crowd the Decks for the Holidays  
  On Saturday, December 11, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority, along with the Golden Gate and Alameda Oakland Ferry Services, offered free round-trip tickets to ferryboat riders traveling round-trip from Larkspur, Oakland (Jack London Square), or Alameda to the Downtown San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace and Farmers’ Market.

Ferry operators were overwhelmed by responses, far exceeding an average weekend’s business.

Larkspur’s Golden Gate Ferry redeemed more than 500 free ride coupons; Alameda/Oakland Ferry claimed at least 700 coupon redemptions. WTA collected the used coupons to track which publications and web sites had the greatest success in reaching the persuadable ferry rider.




  WTA Staff News

Ferries Will Sit at the Table for Making National Security Policy
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA) is pleased to announce that its Manager of Marine Engineering, Mary Frances Culnane, has been tapped to serve on the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC), the first panel of its kind. Congress established NMSAC in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 to advise the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security on maritime security and policy matters.
Ms. Culnane joins a panel of 20 members representing such interests as Port Authorities, law enforcement, shipping and cruise industry, maritime unions, and chemical and oil concerns. They are expected to meet two to four times a year.
“It’s a great honor to have been chosen as a national expert on maritime security. I bring not only the benefit of my career experience but also all the contacts I’ve built through my work on security issues necessary for building a new ferry system,” said Ms. Culnane.
The WTA is preparing the Bay Area’s Regional Maritime Contingency Plan, a disaster response plan for watercraft. Among her duties at the WTA, Ms. Culnane is responsible for coordinating various stakeholders, such as boat operators and safety personnel, in its preparation. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission last updated this plan in 1992, and Ms. Culnane expects to release the revised version late in 2005. Ms. Culnane’s past accomplishments include graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (King’s Point) and obtaining a U.S. Coast Goard Unlimited Chief Engineer’s license. She was the first woman to ship out in that position during her ten-year seagoing career with Exxon Shipping Company.

WTA Welcomes New Manager
The WTA is pleased to announce the addition of a staff member, John Sindzinski, Manager, Planning & Development. Mr. Sindzinski hails from Community Transit in Everett, Washington, where he was the Chief Operations and Development Officer. Prior to living in Washington, he gained a working knowledge of Bay Area transit issues while serving as staff at Contra Costa County Connection and Samtrans, as well as MTC. Mr. Sindzinski holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) from UC Berkeley.
At the WTA, Mr. Sindzinski will be instrumental in managing engineering and environmental projects necessary to launching South San Francisco and Berkeley ferry terminals and other services. He will act as the liaison between the WTA and a variety of regulatory agencies, interpreting and implementing agency decisions.


*If you are a regular ferry rider with one of these:


You are eligible for Frequent Ferry Riders Rewards

Discount Stipulations
Friend of Ferry Rider Special: 10%off regularly priced restaurant menu. Must show a commuter booklet or monthly pass; may not use with any other specials.

Discount Stipulations
February special: 10% off your dinner purchase.
Must show ferry ticket, commuter booklet or monthly pass; limited to the month of February.

Discount Stipulations
Specially discounted bottle of a red and a white wine chosen to complement Mistral’s meal of the day. Must show your ferry commuter ticket book or a monthly ferry pass.