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Archive for March, 2011

The food community at our best: Readying towards Bakesale for Japan

When Samin Nosrat comes knocking at our door with an idea, she doesn’t have to work too hard to convince us. Samin is an extremely talented chef and selfless giver of her own time. She teaches others about cooking (she’s led many a class at 18 Reasons), and pours herself into the Bay Area food community.

So when asked if we’d host a Bake Sale for Japan, we jumped right on board. Her idea for raising money for Japan was this: a simultaneous nationwide bake sale, hosted at some of her favorite bakeries, restaurants, and other businesses featuring baked goods made by some of the most talented professional and amateur bakers around.

To make it even more exciting, we’re the only place of all of her locations to host an art sale as well. Samin has lots of artist friends and she’s chosen 18 Reasons as the place to have them collectively donate art to sell for the cause. Several of them (including the one who made this classic logo design) are printing bags, shirts, and wall prints with special Japan-related designs.

When the earthquake hit Haiti last year, Samin organized a similar conglomeration of bake sales (including one here at Bi-Rite), and the combined effort raised $23,000. She wants to “double, triple or quadruple” that number this time around, and based on the amazing network of locations she’s organized around California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Texas, New York and more, her vision seems possible!

Bi-Rite is matching up to $2,500 raised at our bake and art sales to help meet her goal.

Samin chose Peace Winds Japan as the organization through which to channel all money raised, for various reasons. She says they’ve been on the ground in Japan for 15 years, so they already have ties to the people and city infrastructures. Their work in Japan is focused in the Miyagi prefecture, and they partner with Mercy Corps.

We’ll see you on Saturday from 10-2! Or if you can’t be with us in person, donate now!

Put your bacon where your mouth is

This winter, we found out that our best-selling bacon, Vande Rose Farms Applewood Smoked, was made of pork from hogs raised in confinement. We have our friends at Food Democracy Now to thank for tipping us off to Vande Rose’s use of confined housing for their sows, which led to our decision to stop selling the product. Because of the stand we’ve taken to avoiding selling meat from animals raised in confinement, we had no choice but to take Vande Rose bacon off our shelves .

We replaced it with Benton’s, which was easy to do given how delicious Benton’s is (when we had a blind bacon taste test at 18 Reasons last year, it was a top pick). Allen Benton (who our friend Ari Weinzweig in his book Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon refers to as “seriously one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, in the food world or out”) makes this super smoky bacon in Eastern Tennessee. Smoke, salt and sweet all come through, and the pork bellies come from sustainably raised Berkshire hogs.

Nothing is black and white in the meat world. The more we learn, the harder it gets to do business.. The nuances of where animals are housed, what they’re allowed to eat, and how they are processed aren’t easy to put into buckets, so we do our best to evaluate each on a case by case basis to make the best decision possible. Even though these decisions might not be the best for business, we still take a stance, voting with our dollars, with the hopes of improving food production in our country.


Spring 2011 Menu

From our Deli Case

Gold Beet, Rainbow Carrot and Happy Boy Farms Radish Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette $7.99/lb

Hodo Soy Beanery Tofu & Black Rice Salad with Pea Sprouts, Edamame and Ginger-Rice Wine Vinaigrette $8.99/lb

Orecchiette Pasta Salad with Mariquita Farms Rapini, Chili Flakes, Parsley and Garlic-Anchovy Vinaigrette $ 7.99/lb

Spanish Heirloom Bean Salad with Wild Mushrooms, Cured Artisan Ham, Full Belly Farm Spring Garlic and Grilled Chicories $ 8.99/lb

Grilled California Asparagus with Toasted Marcona Almonds and Shaved Fulvi Pecorino $10.99/lb

From our Self-Service Case

Cream of Asparagus Soup with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon $ 4.99/pt or $ 9.99/quart

Lentil Salad with Cumin-Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Curry-Mint Vinaigrette $8.99/lb

Spring Farro Salad with Grilled Baby Artichokes, Parsley and Citrus Vinaigrette $ 8.99/lb

Spring Garlic and Mariquita Farm Nettle Risotto with Parmigiano Reggiano $8.99/lb

Pad Thai Salad with Full Belly Farm Spring Onions, Yuba Noodles & Dried Chilies $8. 99/ea

Pappardelle with Braised Pozzi Ranch Lamb, Snap Peas and Fresh Mint $8.99/ea

Register Recipe: Swiss Chard Gratin

During the weekend’s heavy rains we found a lot of our guests in need of a familiar, delicious, and hot meal. Three components came to mind: cheese, béchamel, and broiling. Here’s a warming recipe from Suzanne McLuas’ A Provençal Kitchen in America. This classic French dish is rich and immediately satisfying. Great on cold or rainy nights.

4 cups chard ribs, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
¾ cup Béchamel sauce
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons grated Gruyere

Blanch chard ribs in boiling, salted water. Arrange into a buttered, shallow casserole dish. Mix béchamel sauce with egg yolks and pour over chard. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Broil dish until top is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Register Recipe: Maple Rye Sour

There is a certain orange-labeled bourbon packed into an apothecary-style bottle that has acquired quite a following here at Bi-Rite.  Bulleit Bourbon is the creation of Augustus Bulleit, who disappeared sometime in the mid 1800s.  In 1987, Augustus’ great-great-grandson, Tom Bulleit, decided to revive the family bourbon business.

When we received our first cases of the much anticipated Bulleit Rye, we sold through all of our inventory in a matter of days.  Naturally when a green-labeled bottle appeared on the shelf, our customers were anxious to try (I recall one very excited guest who saw the bottle and immediately decided a pre-prandial glass was in order).

Bulleit Rye is 95% rye and its smooth, oaky body finishes with a nice balance of spice.  While enjoyable on its own, we’d like to share a cocktail created by Brad Farren from the Clover Club in Brooklyn, NY.  Might I add that it’s currently maple syrup season in the Northeast–TAP THE SAP!

Maple Rye Sour

2oz. Bulleit Rye

½ oz. orange juice

½ oz. lemon juice

¼ oz. maple syrup

¼ oz. Averna Amaro

An orange peel for garnish

Into a cocktail shaker, add ice, rye, orange juice, lemon juice, maple syrup, and liqueur.  Shake vigorously until chilled.  Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.


Let it Grow

Our theme this week is “Be Your Own Farmer.” For the first time ever, we’re selling organic vegetable and herb starts in front of the Market, ready for planting in your backyard, window box or even (for some of them!) flower pot.

Vegetable 6-packs

We have a nice selection of Brasiccas (Toscano Kale, Red Russian, Broccoli di Cicco and Cabbages). These crops like cooler weather, but are also good in full sun, especially if you want to grow a large head of cabbage. Kales will grow in partial shade, and if the leaves are continuously picked the plant could produce for over a year. Brassica plants are large and like to have at least 18 inches  between each plant.

The Onion and Chard 6-packs have multiple plants and can be carefully taken apart to create more plants. Bonus!  Giving each individual plant the proper space helps with the productivity of the plant. Chard plants can also produce for over a year if the leaves are continuously picked. Both of these crops love full-sun but can do alright in partial shade.

The Lettuce and Escarole look amazing and are probably the easiest crops to grow in the city. Lettuces are cold weather crops that should be harvested between 30-50 days before they get too bitter; escarole will take at least 50 days to grow a mature head.

Peas are a true sign of spring and are a great plant to grow in a 2-3 gallon pot  up a trellis or fence.

The Chives and Cilantro also grow well in pots, as long as the pot is big enough to let the roots grow.  Herbs work well on sunny windowsills.

Transplanting Tips

  • All of these starts are ready to transplanted and will thrive with a hit of organic fertilizer.
  • Remember to massage the roots and break them up a bit.  This prevents them from growing in a ball and never really living up to their expectations.
  • Plants love their space so they don’t have to compete for sunlight and water.
  • All of these plants can be grown in pots, but will do better in a nicely prepared garden space.
  • These starts are in small containers and can dry up quickly.  They usually need a little water every day if they are in full-sun.

If you’re someone who really likes to start at the beginning, we sell an assortment of seed packets from Baker Creek, a great heirloom seed company out of Missouri. They opened a seed bank up in Petaluma and from their collection I selected a handful of varietals that grow well in our SF climate. Just $2.50 a pack, give it a try!

Introducing our updated catering menu

With winter coming to a close, we did a bit of spring cleaning and are very excited to introduce our updated catering platter menu.  The menu  includes new platters such as:

Mini Thai Chicken Meatballs served with a spicy Sriracha Aioli

Orecchiette Pasta Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Walnut-Parsley Pesto, Piquillo Peppers and Shaved Parmesan

Wild Mushroom Focaccia Flatbread with Ricotta, Fresh Thyme and Chile Flakes

We’ve also kept the crowd favorites, such as the House-smoked Salmon, Grilled Chicken Skewers, and Focaccia Finger Sandwiches.

Also, please check out the “Peak of the Season” menu to see how our chefs are taking the lead from the season to highlight the freshest ingredients they can find.  The Spring Menu kicks off today, and some highlights include:

Savory Tartlets with Fava Bean Puree, Lemon, Dried Olives and Pecorino

Endive Leaves with Creole Crab and Artichoke Salad

Spanish Heirloom Bean Salad with Wild Mushrooms, Cured Artisan Ham, Spring Garlic and Grilled Chicories

These platters fit perfectly whether it’s a cocktail party, dinner party, graduation party, or corporate luncheon.  You can pick up at the store, or we can deliver.  And if the event needs a bit more than just food, we can also provide full-service catering with custom menus, all your needed rentals, full bar and beverages, and charming staff who are dedicated to serving your guests with care.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or want guidance on planning any event.

Thank you for your continued support.

Michael Aldridge
Catering Manager

Spring 2011 Catering Menu Specials


All are made to serve room temperature

Savory Tartlets with Fava Bean Puree, Lemon, Olives and Pecorino $55 (30 pieces)

Jamon Serrano Rolls with Grilled Asparagus and Parmigiano-Reggiano $75 (30 pieces)

Endive Spears with Creole Crab and Artichoke Salad $70 (30 pieces)

New Potato Cups with Broccolini, Spring Garlic, Chile Flakes and Ricotta Salata $65 (30 pieces)

Sides and Salads

Made to serve at room temperature; each serves 12-15 people

Spring Fruit Salad with Strawberries, Pineapple and Mango $50

Golden Beet Salad with Radishes and Chile-Cilantro Vinaigrette $55

Hodo Soy Beanery Tofu and Black Rice Salad with Pea Sprouts, Edamame and Ginger-Rice Wine Vinaigrette $50

Orecchiette Pasta Salad with Rapini, Chile Flakes, Parsley and Garlic-Anchovy Vinaigrette $50

Spanish Heirloom Bean Salad with Wild Mushrooms, Cured Artisan Ham, Spring Garlic and Grilled Chicories $60


All cupcakes are available in Full Size ($30 per dozen) or Mini ($20 per dozen)

Chocolate Midnight Cupcakes with Fresh Mint Chip Buttercream

Yellow Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and White Chocolate Buttercream

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Crinkle Cookie Sandwiches with Vanilla Buttercream (1 dozen) $20

Parfaits with Lime Curd, White Chocolate Cream and House-made Graham Crackers (per dozen) $50

Mayors Youth and Education Program Visits Bi-Rite for Career Day

Recently, Liz, Rosie, Simon and I got to host a group of high schoolers at 18 Reasons after a tour of the Market and Creamery. The kids were part of the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program. On this day, hundreds of youth got to spend a day off from school supplementing their education gaining insight about careers that interest them. Over fifty local businesses generously opened their doors to provide a glimpse of what they do and to sit down and engage in a conversation that could hopefully inspire future career paths.

We had eight kids in our group who were interested in learning more about the food business. Some wanted to be chefs, others just loved food, all were really excited and thankful to be sitting with us. Our first stop was the Creamery where the kids got see how our ice cream was made. They were blown away, especially after they got to taste the goods right out of the machine.

We then went down to 18 Reasons so we could talk in a less chaotic setting and to taste some more goodies. We brought raw milk, avocados and cara cara oranges with us. They couldn’t believe how great raw milk tasted and got a mini lecture on pasteurization and the nutritional benefits of raw milk. The Haas avocados we brought were from California and Chile so we could do a comparative tasting. The California grown Haas was from a small family farm in San Diego and only available to us for about a month. A few of the kids said they didn’t like avos, but after seeing their peers ask for seconds, they dug in and thought the California Haas was “way better”. They couldn’t believe how creamy and luscious it was compared to the seemingly watered-down Chilean fruit. The highlight of the tasting was the cara cara oranges, a navel orange cross that is pinkish-red in color. The students marveled at how beautiful they were but were even more enamored once they tasted them.

Kaythari (one of our young visitors) drew her impressions of Bi-Rite

The four of us talked about the various paths we took before getting to Bi-Rite. It was great to hear the personal stories from Liz, Rosie and Simon. I am constantly inspired by how dedicated and passionate our staff is. I also got to share my history and the story of Bi-Rite with them–they couldn’t believe I started working when I was six years old and laughed when I told them that I wanted nothing to do the with the grocery business by the time I graduated from high school.

It was a great day and reminded me of the day that inspired me to get into the hospitality industry. My high school held a Career Day senior year where we got to spend an entire day with someone in an industry that we were interested in. My first choice was law, second choice was accounting and third choice was hotel management. I was a bit disappointed when I learned I got my third choice (Could you imagine me in a suit every day? )—but it ended up being the catalyst to get me to where I am today. I got to spend the day at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in downtown SF, getting the opportunity to see the inner workings of the hotel. I was blown away. I loved how autonomous and complicated the hotel was, how many people with different skill sets it took to make it work. It was like a city. Long story short, I pursued an education in Hotel Management and when no hotel would hire me without any experience, I got a job as a prep cook. I fell in love with food and decided to become a cook. I got to travel to Switzerland to work and returned to open my own restaurant at the age of 23. The rest is history.

I feel really lucky that I found my calling early in life and hope that sharing my passion will inspire and lead to more kids pursuing something they love.


Easter and Passover Menu

Available from April 16th through April 26th

From the Deli

Asparagus Mimosa with Sieved Soul Food Farm Egg and Tarragon Oil $10.99 / lb

Roasted Fennel, Sugar Snap Peas, and Rainbow Carrots with Meyer Lemon Herbed Butter $8.99 / lb

Organic Potato Latkes $3.99 / each

Sephardic Baby Artichoke Frittata with Feta, Fresh Mint and Dill $3.99 / slice

Slow Roasted Herbed Wild Salmon with Horseradish Beet Relish $8.99 / each

Zinfandel Braised Five Dot Ranch Brisket $16.99 / lb

Emigh’s Ranch Pomegranate and Rosemary Roasted Leg of Lamb $21.99 / lb

Glazed Niman Ranch Ham with Cloves and Molasses $ 10.99 / lb

Smoked Fish Selection

House Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon $34.99 / lb

Kosher White Fish Salad $ 13.99 / lb

Natural Meats from our Butcher

Five Dot Ranch Beef Brisket $5.99 / lb

Marin Sun Farms Beef Brisket $7.99/ lb **while supplies last

Emigh’s Ranch Leg of Lamb: Boneless $ 13.99 / lb (whole or halves available), Bone-In $ 11.99 / lb

Pomegranate Marinated Boneless Leg of Lamb   $ 13.99 / lb

Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Boneless Hams $6.99 / lb (Whole 10-12 lbs, Halves 5-7 lbs)

Niman Ranch Bone-In Applewood Smoked Hams $4.99 / lb Whole 14-18 lbs, Halves 7- 8lbs

Niman Ranch Uncured Spiral Hams   $6.99 / lb

Fra’ Mani Petite Smoked Hams (2.5 to 3.5 lbs) 11.99/ lb

Free-Range Chicken Livers $1.99/ lb

From our Self-Service Case

Matzo Ball Soup in a Rich Chicken Broth $8.99 / qt

Chopped Liver with Caramelized Onion and Egg $ 3.99 / ½ pt

Dried Fruit and Almond Haroseth with Golden Raisins   $5.00 / ½ pt

Homemade Organic Apple Sauce $3.00 / ½ pt

Homemade Free-Range Chicken Stock $6.99 / qt

Baked Goods from Bi-Rite Creamery

Flourless Cheesecake (4-inch) $11.99

Almond, Chocolate or Coconut Macaroons (all flourless!) $4.95/bag

Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Ganache & Candied Orange-Scented Whipped Cream $14.99

Lemon Meringue Pie $19.99 / $9.99

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Crumb Topping $18.99

For Easter weekend

Hot Cross Buns $6.99/4-pack

Lemon Meringue Pie $9.99/ 6-inch, $18.99/ 9-inch

Printable Menu