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Matt R.

Getting Fancy for New Year’s Eve

Now that the kiddie holiday is behind us (nothing against you, Santa!) it’s time to focus on the grown up one…bring on that New Year’s Eve party spread!

We love treating ourselves to the most special seafood on New Years and have the following available in the Market:

-Whole live oysters, perfect with a squeeze of lemon or dressed up with a simple mignonette

-Fresh Maine lobsters that come to us live, and our chefs have boiled in a court bouillon so they’re ready to serve

California White Sturgeon

-Two kinds of sustainable American caviar from California Caviar Company: Paddlefish caviar ($35/oz) and California White Sturgeon ($75/oz)

Our full New Years Menu is available for pickup in the store or pre-order with 48 hours’ notice; make it easy on yourself and serve our chefs’ Creamy Prawn Bisque with Meyer Lemon and Fresh Tarragon, Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Roasted Mushrooms, Pecan-Apricot Bread Stuffing, and more.

Nothing says “End of 2012″ like a good sparkly toast, and for that we have you well covered. Here are three of our favorite bottles of sparkly for New Year’s Eve

NV Terres Dorées Cremant de Bourgogne  –  $22.99

Jean-Paul Brun is one of our favorite Beaujolais producers who also makes a killer bottle of bubbly! This is a Blanc de Blancs, (literally ‘white of whites’) meaning it’s made entirely of Chardonnay, one of the three primary grapes in Champagne. And while this a Cremant, as in a sparkling wine made outside of the designated Champagne area of France, it certainly makes a great stand-in for true Champagne at a much more affordable price point. Jean-Paul Brun is one of those producers committed to organic farming, using only native yeasts and minimal additions of sulfur. This wine is sure to impress with aromas of lemon and biscuits, with a lush, minerally, dry finish.

NV Voirin-Jumel Grand Cru Champagne  –  $39.99

Domaine Voirin-Jumel is located in the village of Cramant (not to be confused with the term Cremant), which is one of the 17 villages in Champagne with Grand Cru status. Cramant literally means ‘mound of chalk’ and refers to the snowy looking chalk soils of this area that play an important role in both contributing minerality to the grapes as well as regulating temperature by reflecting light and heat in this generally cooler area. This Grand Cru bottling is a great value with lush aromas of apricot, white flowers, and lemon. A soft stone fruit component and long minerally finish make this the perfect wine to toast 2013 (at half the price of Veuve-Cliquot)!

NV Marie Courtin Résonance Champagne  –  $54.99

Like Cedric Bouchard, Dominique Moreau is one of those up-and-coming wine makers in the southern region of Champagne known as the Aube. She named her Domaine after her great-grandmother Marie Courtin, who often helped her work the vines. She’s a rogue producer, going against everything typical in big ‘house Champagne’ by bottling biodynamically-grown, single-vineyard, single-varietal, single-vintage Champagnes with no dosage, and use of native yeasts. And the results are remarkable: her Résonance is 100% Pinot Noir, fermented in stainless steel, and has complex aromas of peaches, quince, and almonds. A lush and full texture with a bone-dry finish make this the perfect pairing with a decadent New Year’s dinner!


Liz

Holiday Hours, Parking Info, Menus and More

Holiday Hours:

Christmas Eve*, 12/24: 9am-5pm
Christmas Day, 12/25: we are closed
New Year’s Eve: 9am-9pm
New Year’s Day, 1/1: 10am-6pm

*Monday, Christmas Eve will be very busy; if you’re looking to beat the rush, try coming Friday or Saturday to pick up hearty items, then Sunday for your last minute items.

Our Holiday Menu

Cooking Instructions: If you’re looking for guidance on cooking your holiday prime rib and other meat cuts to perfection, here are our butchers’ cooking instructions! And if you celebrate with turkey, here are our holiday turkey preparation guidelines.

Holiday Parking: We’re offering holiday parking for our guests to lighten your load! We’ll validate your receipt when you come here to shop so parking will be free.

When:

Saturday 12/22: 10-6

Sunday 12/23:  10-6

Monday 12/24: 9-5

Monday 12/31: 10-6

Where: Mission High School Parking Lot (entrance on west side of Dolores St. between 17th and 18th St.) You can feel free to leave your bags with us after you shop while you get your car–just pull up to the front of the Market and we’ll load them up.

 

 

 

 


In the Market Now: Our Holiday Menu!

Drop off a new and unwrapped toy, book, or piece of sports equipment at our Joy Drive before Friday so we can give them to Arriba Juntos families!

Our Christmas & New Year’s Menu is available starting today! Come by the Market to pick up our kitchen’s favorites…and to save yourself some effort, give us a call (415-241-9760) to order dishes for your holiday feast today so you can focus on family and friends next week!

Our Full Christmas and New Year’s Menu

Turkey Time: We’ve heard from some of you that you’re looking for turkeys for your holiday feast. Rest assured, we have Bill Niman’s fresh (never frozen) Heritage and Broad Breasted turkeys available for order. Our guests had delicious things to say about Bill’s turkeys last month:

“My partner’s a dark meat eater, and he was blown away by how moist the white meat was on Bill Niman’s broad breasted bird!”

“Our Bill Niman heritage turkey was delicious, such a treat….So much flavor and a nice toothsome texture, we were very happy and it made excellent turkey sandwiches and turkey salad sandwiches later in the week. “

You won’t be able to get ‘em again until next Fall, so give us a call (415-241-9760) to reserve yours today! Check out page nine of our Holiday Guide for details on both of these delicious, locally raised birds.

Want to know another way to stress less? Place your order for pick up on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, since Christmas Eve (Monday) will be busy here on 18th Street!

Holiday Hours, Parking Info, Menus and More


Live from 18th Street, it’s the Bi-Rite Christmas Spectacular!

We’re not as pretty all lined up as the Rockettes, but we still want to wish you a Merry Merry!

Our guest Phil playing Santa at the Joy Drive

This Christmas, we feel extra fortunate to be part of such a giving community: in our first ever 18th St. Holiday Joy Drive, we collected 172 toys in 4 days! This means that 172 low-income families in the Mission will have a happier holiday this year, because of our guests and staff. You were super generous, giving everything from jewelry making kits and baseballs to classic children’s books, board games, remote control cars, one awesome twisty skateboard and a Mr. Potato Head! THANK YOU.

 

 

 

 


Casey

The Circle of the Gift

Lamotte's Romanesco Broccoli

“A work of art is a gift, not a commodity. Or, to state the modern case with more precision, that works of art exist simultaneously in two ‘economies,’ a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art.”

-Lewis Hyde, “The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World”

It calls your attention from the street, but step inside and you feel its full presence. Viewed either as a collection or as dozens of individual works, Michael Lamotte’s selection of stunning photographs from his project: From the Source (on display at 18 Reasons through January), embodies Hyde’s astute claim: “a work of art is a gift.”

Lamotte's Saucisson Provencal

Lamotte has a gift. Talent is a gift. Lamotte is unarguably a talented photographer. And his photographs, the physical artifacts of his gift, possess the same spirit as their maker, making them a gift in and of themselves.

On opening night, I observed the gift of reciprocity as the photographs (and the artist) were given a new energy from the outpouring of supporters who came to pack our community space. In the receiving of these works and the witnessing of Lamotte’s talent, the community was also bestowed with a gift.

Perhaps what makes artists involved with, and artworks exhibited at, 18 Reasons most special is their unique stance under the umbrella of modern art. The art here never stands alone. Food, agriculture, and community always stand by its side to form a network of interconnected purpose.

Lamotte’s From the Source project is a testament to this. It is a visual survey of local food taking form as both a blog and as aesthetically gripping black and white images of foods from small, local producers. Its intention is to foster a deeper level of appreciation for the foods and those who make them. In support of Lamotte’s work, several local food vendors whose products are represented in From the Source were present on opening night, some gracious enough to donate food for the public to enjoy free of charge. This is proof that giving breeds more giving.

This enacting of the gift economy is symbolically important because all three overarching entities—18 Reasons, Bi-Rite, and Michael Lamotte’s From the Source project—share the same core value: to create and strengthen community. All three aim to show that richness is measured in giving—an important message to spread especially during a holiday season that has become colored by commodification, consumerism, and a hollow desire to accumulate.

The clincher: although it is unavoidable, as Hyde points out in the above quote, that works of art exist in both a market economy and a gift economy, Lamotte turns the commodification element of the market economy on its head by vowing to donate all proceeds from works sold in the show to benefit the SF Chapter of Slow Food. Hence, the circle of the gift continues to grow!


Anne and Kris

Baking in a Winter Wonderland

Forest of Buches!

Debbie decorating buches

Smells of gingerbread, peppermint and chocolate have been wafting out of the Creamery bakeshop this week–maybe that’s why we’ve noticed staff from the Market coming up with reasons to come visit us more often than usual! All of these sweets will be available through the Christmas and New Years holiday:

Buche de Noel: Chocolate cake filled with candy cane buttercream, finished with chocolate glaze and festive holiday garnish (serves 10-12, $34.99; orders must be placed by tomorrow (12/21) for Christmas Eve pickup, or 12/28 for New Years Eve pickup). Give us a call at 415-626-5600 to place your order today for easy pickup before Christmas!

Stollen: Our take on the traditional German Christmas loaf, made with candied orange, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, toasted almonds and dark rum (serves 8, $16.99; orders must be placed by tomorrow (12/21) for Christmas Eve pickup, or 12/28 for New Years Eve pickup). Give us a call at 415-626-5600 to place your order today for easy pickup before Christmas!

Christmas Cookies:  Boxes of gingerbread men, Christmas trees, snowflakes and other glimmery green and red delights

Ice Cream: Eggnog with Brandy, Candy Cane, Pumpkin and all the staples!

Homemade Peppermint Bark, English Toffee and Chocolate Covered Macaroons: The perfect bring-along when celebrating at someone else’s house

Pumpkin, Apple & Pecan Pies: 6″ serves 3-4, $11.99; 9″ serves 8-10, $19.99

 

 

 

 


Ian

Register Recipe: Ramos Gin Fizz

The Botanivore Gin, made with 19 different botanicals including cilantro, coriander, Seville orange, bergamot, and star anise, is part of St. George Spirit's oh-so-giftable three-pack

This one is for my uncle Dale. For the past several years, I have worked on Christmas Eve, then celebrated with good friends and good Champagne. The following morning, I have dragged myself from the comfort of bed into the early cold and driven to my Aunt Sue’s house in Sacramento on Christmas morning. There, I’m greeted not only with hugs and smiles, but also a tall, frothy Ramos Gin Fizz made by Dale. The delightful combination of tart citrus and rich cream get my taste buds primed for breakfast, and the gin eases me into the happy chaos of Christmas with the family. It’s probably not the most traditional of traditions, but neither is our family gathering, and that’s partly what I love about it. Now, when the light gets low and the days are short, I find myself craving not a Hot Toddy but a Gin Fizz…

The Ramos Gin Fizz is one of the most famous cocktails to come out of New Orleans. The use of egg white in the cocktail creates a luscious, creamy texture when shaken, while the orange blossom water adds a beautiful bouquet. It’s traditionally considered a brunch cocktail, although served at a dinner party in a coupe and with a garnish it makes quite an impression. I typically garnish the cocktail with grated nutmeg, which makes it even more seasonally celebratory, although it’s not traditional. Some recipes will also call for vanilla extract, which I don’t use, but adds another tasty layer.

Regardless of recipes and ratios, there are a few things that you must consider when making a Ramos Gin Fizz. First, whenever you make a cocktail with egg white, it is important to dry shake all of the ingredients without ice first, before shaking with the ice. Dry shaking helps to emulsify the egg white with the gin and citrus, and will result in a more creamy and frothy beverage. And second, orange blossom water is very potent; try making the first one with 3 drops and, if you like the flavor, add another drop or two to the next round. As always, play around with the recipe and make it yours.

So here’s to the season, our families and our traditions, whatever they may be. Cheers.

Ramos Gin Fizz

2 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
.75 oz Heavy Cream
.75 oz Simple Syrup
.5 oz. Lime Juice
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
3-5 drops Orange Blossom Water
1 Egg White

Dry-Shake, then shake with ice, and strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with 1 oz. club soda. Garnish with grated nutmeg.


Matt R.

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly…with Drinkable Gifts!

What better way to spread a little holiday joy than with some fantastic drinkable gifts?! Because baby, it’s cold outside and the best way to stay warm is to cozy up to a glass of one of these unique bottles of cheer. Below is a sampling of some of the boozy gifts we have available – stop by and ask us about other drinkable gift ideas, like Domaine d’Ognoas Armagnac (we’re the only store in the US selling it!), Hooker’s Bourbon from Sonoma, Scrappy’s Bitters Gift Packs, and more . . .

 

Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon  –  $24.99

There’s nothing better on a cold and rainy San Francisco winter day than sipping a warming glass of exceptional bourbon. The Elijah Craig 12 Year is a small batch bourbon whiskey named after Rev. Elijah Craig, who is is credited with being the first to age his whiskey in oak barrels that had been charred in a fire, thus giving the bourbon its distinctive color and taste. It has rich and strong wood and spice notes followed by flavors of caramel, butterscotch, maple, and vanilla. It’s best served neat, but I’m sure it would make a killer Manhattan!

 

St. George Gin 3-Pack Sampler  –  $29.99 

We are always excited to try new things from St. George distillery; if you haven’t had the chance to try their lineup of gins, this sample gift pack is your chance! Based in Alameda, St. George has made a name for itself in the Bay Area and beyond as a master distillery. They use a custom-made Carter head still for their gins, which helps to bring out an elegant expression of the juniper. This 3-pack comes with a small bottle of each of their gins, the Botanivore, Terroir, and Dry Rye.

Terroir is inspired by the woodsy aromas of Mt. Tam and features douglas fir, sage, and California bay laurel to create a real woodsy gin. A glass of this will make you feel like you’re hiking Mt. Tam without all the work.

Botanivore includes over 19 different botanicals such as cilantro, coriander, Seville orange, bergamot, and star anise. It’s intensely herbaceous and bright – perfect on its own or with an orange twist.

The Dry Rye is a base of 100% pot-distilled rye with twice the amount of juniper as the others. It’s well structured, warm, and spice-full, with notes of pepper and caraway. It’s sure to spice up your martini!

 

2011 Frantz Saumon Mineral+ Magnum  –  $49.99

Who’s to say bigger isn’t better? We’re excited to be featuring a number of Magnum-sized (1.5 liter) bottles in our wine aisle just in time for the holidays. Frantz Saumon, our favorite Loire Valley negociant, has bottled this stunning Chenin Blanc sourced from vineyards around Montlouis planted on limestone, flint, and clay soils. Enticing stone fruit and citrus aromas are followed by a mouthwatering texture, and a touch of sweetness that is well balanced with crisp acidity and stony minerality, as the name of the wine suggests. There couldn’t be a better wine to pair with a decadent holiday meal like crab or caviar. Be sure to check out our selection of other bubbly and red wine magnums as well!


Kiko’s Food News 12.21.12

(Phewy, if you’re reading this I guess we’re all still here!)

Kiko’s favorite gift ideas (no shopping required):

  • Hands-on learning and cooking: 18 Reasons membership grants a year’s worth of discounts to 18 Reasons classes and treats at our supporting businesses: ($35-90, details here)

Can food, so often portrayed as the glue that binds a family together, also be the wedge that drives us apart? I loved this ode to the generational eating divide: (New York Times)

Deceptive restaurant menus got even fishier last week when an international organization dedicated to ocean conservation released a report that found tilapia and tilefish posing as red snapper, farmed salmon sold as wild, and escolar disguised as albacore tuna on New York menus: (New York Times)

The summer’s drought is now showing up in food prices, as the price for food on the producer price index jumped 1.3%, the largest gain since February 2011, and wholesale food prices have risen for six consecutive months: (Wall Street Journal)

Darjeeling growers have followed the example of Scottish whiskey distillers and French wineries, winning legal protection for the Darjeeling label under laws that limit the use of certain geographic names to products that come from those places: (New York Times)


Gifting an Experience Instead of an Ebelskiver

Shak looking "hella cute" in our new 18 Reasons aprons (Olivia's words)

This holiday season, consider giving the cook, gardener, and eater in your life a hands-on experience at 18 Reasons, our community art and event arm, where we teach folks from all skill levels how to feel comfortable cooking at home. This seems more useful to us than an Ebelskiver Pan or whatever else they’ve acquired in holidays past! If there’s a food lover on your list, we have the perfect gift to match their appetite:

Membership:  A year’s worth of discounts to 18 Reasons classes and treats at our supporting businesses. ($35-90, details here)

Aprons: Fresh off the presses, these were hand-printed by a San Francisco artist; the apron is 100% organic cotton, and is adjustable using the trusty sliding strap. Buy yours at Bi-Rite Market or 18 Reasons; all proceeds to go to our youth community work. ($35)

18 Reasons Gift Box: A starter kit for new members to the 18 Reasons community. Available at Bi-Rite Market and 18 Reasons, includes an 18 Reasons apron, 18 Reasons membership, copy of Eat Good Food, and a coupon for 20% off your bill at one 18th Hour Cafe on Thursdays from 6-10. ($100)

Our new 18 Reasons Gift Box

Classes: Hands-on opportunities to grow, cook, and eat delicious food; check out our exciting lineup of January events below and sign your friend up today!

Polenta: The Delicious Economy of Italian Cooking: three part hands-on cooking class all about how to eat well and spend little with our favorite Viola Buitoni (January 6, 8 and 20; $250 for 18 Reasons members; $300 for the general public; tickets here)

Flavor in Spades: learn how to add depth of flavor and a certain je ne sais quois to your cooking (Mondays, January 7, 28 and February 4; $55/65 per class; $150/180 for series; tickets here)

Unsung: Cooking with the Neglected and Beautiful Vegetables of Winter (Sundays, January 13+17 and February 10+24; $110/125 per class; $400/450 for series; tickets here)

Urban Gardening School: Six month edible gardening introduction (Third Wednesday and Saturdays of the month, January-June; Sliding scale: $350-425; tickets here)

Taking Stock: The Eat Good Food Pantry:  two part class on how to create delicious flavor from pantry basics based on Bi-Rite Market’s favorite oils, vinegars, beans, grains, and more. (January 14 and February 11; $100 for 18 Reasons members; $120 for the general public (for both classes); tickets here)

Food Lit Book Club: Read, Eat and Discuss: (Third Sunday of the Month, January-March, 11AM-1PM; $30 for all three sessions; tickets here)

Feeding Your Soul: Mindful Cooking & Eating: (Wednesday, January 16, 7-9PM; $25 member price; $35 general; tickets here)

 


Simon

Si’s December Produce Update

The winter weather has hit the Bay Area and after the recent cold weather and rain, local crops like strawberries and raspberries are official done for the season.  However, with every crop that disappears with the weather, something new like the Olsen Organic Clementines  comes along to make our taste buds happy.

Fruit

As we head deeper into the winter months, citrus is the main fruit crop throughout California; we love to celebrate all of the sensational varieties in our produce department. Varieties like Satsuma and Clementine mandarins usually kick off our local citrus season.  Satsumas are the first mandarin variety  harvested in Northern California, and have a short season from November to early January.  These seedless, easy-peeling pieces of fruit offer the perfect balance between sweet and tart. We just started getting Satsumas from Terra Firma Farm in Winters and will have them through the New Year.

Cara Caras, aka red navels, have become one of the most popular pieces of citrus the past few years.  The combination of the sweet, low-acid and firm, juicy texture makes the Cara Cara super enjoyable.  Beck Navels have also just started up and they’re so juicy and sweet.  Both of these navels will only get more flavorful as we get closer to the end of the month.

The Mandarinquat from Deer Creek Ranch in Porterville is a small tear-drop piece of fruit that’s a little bigger than a kumquat.  The tart flesh and sweet, edible skin make for a delightful combination of flavor.  They’re the perfect holiday garnish, and throwing them into the freezer makes an awesome ice cube for your cocktails.  Deer Creek Ranch also grows beautiful yellow Sweet Limes which are super juicy and have a low acidity compared to regular limes.

Although the first Blood Oranges have been spotted at the SF produce market, most of the organic growers are still waiting for their crops to ripen up. Like most fruit, it’s very important to let the citrus develop their sugars on the tree and not harvest them too early.  Unfortunately, due to supply and demand, a lot of the large growers harvest early just to beat the rest of the growers to the marketplace.  We always taste the new citrus when it hits the scene to make sure the flavor is there before we bring it on to our shelves.  Stay tuned for Bour annual “Citrus Bomb” which will explode with over 20 varieties later this winter!

Apples and pears are at this point coming out of storage as most of the California crops are finished, but we’re very lucky to still have sources of local apples and pears for the holidays. Farmer Al from Frog Hollow has been bringing his Bosc and Warren Pears, which eat great out of hand and bake up nicely.  Johan form Hidden Star Orchard just started bringing us his late season Nagafu Fuji, and the Pink Lady Apples have been eating so well.  With the end of California apples and pears in sight, we’ll set our sights on amazing fruit from the Northwest like Jazz and Pacific Rose Apples.

With the winter local fruit selection less bountiful, we keep our eyes open for unique fruits.  Over the past couple years, more and more growers are harvesting flavorful crops like Passion Fruit and Pineapple Guava aka Feijoas, which add a nice tropical touch to fruit platters and cocktails.   A Bi-Rite staff favorite, the Black Sphinx Dates from Arizona just arrived; these rich and creamy dates are such a special treat and will make any cheese platter come alive.

Veggies

Porcinis & Matsutakes!

We’ve been working really hard to source specialty varieties of California avocados.  This year the Sir Prize avocado, grown by the 5th generation Tenalu Orchard in Porterville, makes its Bi-Rite debut.  The Sir Prize is a large avo with a small seed, which means a lot of yummy high-oil, creamy flesh.  The skin turns dark black when the fruit is ripe and ready to eat.

Rain earlier this month finally got the wild mushroom season going.  We’ve been fortunate to have a steady supply of local Porcini Mushrooms from an old-school forager who knows how to find the nice and firm, bug- free mushrooms. The Matsutake Mushrooms have also been very abundant this year and the price has been very reasonable.  A few Matsutake mushrooms thinly sliced can go a long way in a gratin or risotto; they’re extremely aromatic with hints of pepper and nasturtium.

Greens, greens and more greens! This is the time of year for healthy, extra-flavorful greens; they’re one of the only crops that get better with the cold weather.  The Lacinato, Green and Red Russian Kale from Tomatero Farm in Watsonville have been beautiful and the nice big bunches go a long way.

Winter at Bi-Rite has become an Escarole party the past few years.  It seems to be the best green for salads when local farmers are having a hard time growing baby lettuce in the cold rain.  Escarole is a broader leaved, less bitter member of the endive family and makes a great substitute for romaine in a Caesar salad.  Escarole is an awesome green to braise and add to soups.  We will have escarole from the Bi-Rite Farm in Sonoma through January.

Local organic Brussels Sprouts can be hard to come by, but our favorite growers are about to be swimming in brussels.  We are currently getting brussel sprouts from Rodoni in Santa Cruz and later this month both Bluehouse Farm in Pescadero and Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport will be harvesting.  There is nothing like a fresh picked brussels sprout that is harvested small to medium in size, before they lose their tenderness. When shopping for brussels most people look for sprouts with a solid green color, but the ones that are a lighter shade of green/white have been blanched by the outer leaves of the plant, which usually signals more flavor and tenderness.


Hooray for the Hoopla!

The holidays always make me thirsty for festive cocktails. The sound of a cocktail shaker clanging signals the start of a great party and brings the guests together.

So in preparing for the holidays this year, we asked our friend Jonny Raglin, co-owner of Comstock Saloon in North Beach, to come up with an amazing cocktail made with our exclusive Charles Neal Domaine d’Ognoas Armagnac (we’re the only store Charles has sent this to, and we’re offering it for $39.99–a crazy deal on a vintage Armagnac!)

Jonny came up with a twist on an old classic from the Savoy cocktail book called the Hoopla, substituting Armagnac for Cognac. The Hoopla is very similar to a Sidecar but with an addition of Lillet Blanc, a fortified wine, which adds a subtle floral dryness that softens the strong flavors of the Armagnac and lemon juice and really lightens the drink.

Here’s the recipe if you want to make it at home!