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Sellers Market

Bringing the Farmers Market to Your Lunchbox

Tuesday afternoon finds the Financial District awash in a sea of worker bees carrying bags stuffed full of fresh organic produce and artisanal breads and other treats from the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. Yet most of the area's lunch options are overpriced delis and unremarkable chains or expense account fine dining.

There's not a lot of choice for the foodie on a budget. The desire to provide high quality, affordable sustainable cuisine that focuses on local producers is a major inspiration behind Sellers Market. This commitment is apparent on their take out menus and their menu boards -- both call out key suppliers such as Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove, and Niman Ranch and explicitly state the Sellers Market mission of supporting area producers.

The bright space has surprisingly comfortable booths and tables, and sports a sound system heavy on Depeche Mode and Bjork if my recent visits are any gauge. There's also a selection of hip design and city magazines to peruse while you wait for your order to be assembled in the exhibition kitchen in front of you. Throughout the space, wood from an old red barn rests aside sleek metal, giving the restaurant a uniquely rustic urban feel.

The breakfast menu features Thomas Keller-favorite Equator Coffee ($1.75 20oz) and pastries from Boulangerie Bay Bread, including their almond-paste filled croissants ($2.25) which melds a perfect, buttery pastry with sweet moist almond paste, topped with toasted almond slivers. Although they also offer flatbreads ($6.95-$7.95) and tartines ($6.95-$7.95) for those who want a more hearty breakfast, I've been stuck on the almond croissants.

The lunch menu ranges from salads to hot and cold sandwiches, thin crust pizzas, and "tartines" topped and toasted slices of artisan bread.

The free range turkey and triple cream brie "minis" ($6.95) -- 2 small sandwiches served on rolls with a side of aromatic mixed greens -- is a full lunch despite its name, with just the right amount of brie covering the roll without any excess oozing out the sides. Also excellent is the free range turkey club ($6.95), with applewood smoked bacon, avocado, and aioli which I paired with the surprisingly fluffy bacon and cheddar mashed potatoes ($3.45).

Friends have enjoyed the garden pizza, with an appropriately thin crust and not-overcooked artichokes, spinach and mushrooms (add prosciutto!), although the reports on the dungeness crab salad cups note a heavy hand on the chopped cabbage and not enough crab to be noticeable.

The ham and cheddar tartine ($6.95) had gorgeous baby asparagus and was nicely toasted in the pizza oven, but the plastic utensils made it a little awkward to eat, as did the wax paper underneath which I shredded and nearly consumed.

Making up for the minor awkwardness with the tartines is the incredibly potent Sharffenberger brownie made on site. Dense and almost fudge-like, it's a decadent end to a feel-good, Sellers Market artisanal luncheon experience.

Cafe Eats
Financial District