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Archive for January, 2013

Matt R.

Piedmont, Liguria, and Friuli: Preserving Native Grapes

Following last week’s exploration of wines from the Savoie, we’re journeying southwards this week into Northern Italy. Let’s head over the Alps and into Piedmont, Liguria, and Friuli – all very distinct regions but all with producers dedicated to preserving native grape varietals. Sometimes it seems that, with so many indigenous grape varietals all over the world that are constantly being replaced with more popular varieties, there should be an ‘Endangered Grape Varietal’ list! The following producers are working to preserve their native varietals and keep grape diversity strong!

pied12011 Punta Crena Mataòssu Vigneto Reiné –  $21.99

The Ruffino family has been tending vines in the small beachside village of Varigotti for over 500 years. Their vineyards are located on steep hand-built terraces just up the hillside from the quaint beachfront ‘downtown’. Run by four siblings, Tommaso, Paolo, Anna, and Nicola, Punta Crena is producing wine the same way their family’s been doing it for generations. They have the last remaining plantings of the native grape Mataòssu – which has been repeatedly ripped up by others in favor of more popular grapes. Traditionalists to the max, Paolo laughs at the idea of ‘organic farming’ as if it were a new high tech invention; instead saying, “We just do everything the same way our ancestors have for hundreds of years.” Mataòssu is light, crisp, and floral with light briny qualities reminiscent of the ocean and tart acidity – perfect with the seafood of the region!

Perfect Pairing: Fritto misto


pied22011 Zidarich Vitovska  –  $24.99

A visit to Benjamin Zidarich in the Eastern most region of Italy, the DOC of Carso (Friuli), is like a visit to the Shire. Benjamin’s estate is located on a series of small hillsides in the town of Prepotto, with views of the nearby Adriatic Sea. His aging cellars are a series of underground caves that open onto the middle of the hillsides with large wooden doors, somewhat like Hobbit holes! Benjamin grows varietals native to the area, specifically Vitovska, which originated in neighboring Slovenia. His vineyards wind up and down the hillsides, the soils are red with iron, and you can smell the sea air in the breeze. These unique aspects of his location transform themselves amazingly into his wine. His Vitovska is bright and floral, with aromas of stone fruit, orange, and sea foam. The opaque color of the wine tells you he doesn’t filter his wines and the texture is full and round with flavors of apricot, citrus, yeast, and minerals.

Perfect Pairing: Braised artichoke and grilled chicory salad


pied32006 Giuseppe Mascarello Freisa Toetto –  $22.99

The name Giuseppe Mascarello is synonymous with some of the highest quality Barolos being made today. And while winemakers Mauro and Giuseppe are definitely most well-known for their single vineyard Barolos, they are also producing amazing wines from less ‘noble’ grapes (at more affordable prices!). The Mascarello’s are also known for extensive aging of their wines and this bottle from the 2006 vintage is tasting amazing right now! Freisa is a grape native to the Piedmont that is actually related to Nebbiolo. It has beautiful floral and violet qualities along with scents of plums and earth. Medium bodied and elegant, flavors of juicy dark fruit, mushrooms, and minerals are long lasting!

Perfect Pairing: Guffanti 2-Milk Robiola (pictured below!)


pied4Cheese of the Week: Guffanti 2-Milk Robiola

The Guffanti family has been producing cheese in the Piedmont since 1867, aging them in a re-purposed silver mine. Their 2-Milk Robiola is a small format bloomy rind cheese made with cow and sheep’s milk. Beautifully creamy inside, the paste is savory, yet mild with notes of mushrooms and hay. Perfect alongside a glass of Mascarello Friesa – come ask us for a taste!


Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:


Superbowl Snacks for Everyone on your Couch

5Does it get any better than sharing a couch and some amazing food with friends while watching the home team battle for victory? Let us help to make this Superbowl Sunday victorious by providing some of our game time favorites!

Our catering platters (like the focaccia finger sandwiches and charcuterie platter pictured here) will score you peace of mind and lots of compliments if you’re hosting a party: we’re taking Sunday orders until 3:00 pm this Friday the 1st so check out our menu and give us a ring to place your order today (415-241-9760 x1).Charcuterie Platter (3)

magnolia growler smallOr if you’re heading to a gathering yourself, swing by the Market to pick up our Homemade 7-Layer Dip, Fried Chicken, Spicy Buffalo Wings and maybe even a Magnolia Brewery Growler!


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We’re Hiring for Bi-Rite Divisadero!

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Join us!

It’s a big day here, as we’re officially hiring for Bi-Rite Market Divisadero, Bi-Rite Market 18th Street and Bi-Rite Creamery! Please take a moment to read a bit about what we’re looking for–information about how to apply is at the bottom of this posting.

Why do I want to work for Bi-Rite?

We’re opening a second Market in San Francisco at the corner of Divisadero and Hayes, and we need passionate, hardworking, detail-oriented individuals who love food and feeding others. Both of our Markets (and our Creamery) are looking to fill a variety of positions including butchers, cooks, deli servers, grocery stockers and more.

Bi-Rite is a learning community, with endless opportunity for on-the-job training and education about food and service. Our unique staff culture and generous benefits package sets us apart from other food businesses. We offer a 20% discount on purchases throughout the store, a medical and dental plan after 90 days, a meal with your shift, a 401K retirement plan after one year of employment, access to 18 Reasons classes and the opportunity for career advancement.

Just like Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street, which has been in the Mogannam family for 50 years, Bi-Rite Divisadero will serve its neighborhood and evolve over time to develop its own identity. We’re looking to hire a staff that wants to invest in building relationships in our new neighborhood. This is a great opportunity for anyone who loves a once in a lifetime challenge.

What’s Bi-Rite Market Divisadero going to be like? When is it opening?

Like Bi-Rite Market 18th Street, Bi-Rite Market Divisadero will be a one-stop-shop neighborhood market with a full selection of farm-direct produce, groceries, fresh meat & fish, prepared foods, a full-service butcher and deli counter, wine and spirits, a health and beauty section and more. It’s slightly bigger than 18th Street, allowing for the addition of an ice cream shop inside the Market as well as a full-service cheese counter.  The new market is scheduled to open in early March 2013.

What positions are available?

We are looking for cashiers, ice cream scoopers, deli servers, service butchers, cooks, produce and grocery stockers, supervisors and a visual merchandising assistant. Please visit www.biritemarket.com/contact-us/ for an up-to-date list. We will have many open positions at both market locations, as well as the Creamery, to accommodate this exciting expansion.

When will I start?

It depends on the position. Most staff will start working at Divisadero two weeks before the store opens. Divisadero is scheduled to open around the first week of March.

Will I be able to advance from one position to another?


I’m interested, how do I apply?

To apply, please visit proven.com, and search for Bi-Rite Market to find the available positions, and upload a cover letter and resume.

Details for downloading Proven’s mobile app for the iphone or android are here.


Kiko’s Food News: January 25, 2013

Have a pint and change the world: the beer-for-charity movement has beer halls across the country channeling profits towards philanthropy: (New York Times)

A modern day, all-American Jean Valjean? Dave’s Killer Bread, about to launch nationally after huge success in the Northwest, was started after its co-founder finished a 15-year prison term; his loafs contain ingredients like flax, sunflower and sesame seeds, and blue cornmeal: (Fast Company)

The international appetite for quinoa has pushed prices so high that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it; in Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken, leaving locals with imported junk food as the more affordable option: (The Guardian)

A new study of 200 families revealed links between mealtime behaviors and children’s weight, finding that children who regularly sat down for family meals were more likely to have a healthy weight compared to those whose mealtimes were cut short: (Medical Daily)

For most eaters, there’s a place and time for it all, and the Corner Stourmet is a new column that classes up Fritos, Spam and other corner store staples for those moments when a lapse from fresh is good for the soul: (The Bold Italic)


Moro Blood Orange Upside Down Cake & Other Citrus-y Delights

Our Citrus Bomb has exploded, with up to 20 different varieties of California citrus on our shelves as we speak. The uncharacteristically cold weather of the past few weeks has slowed down vegetable production statewide, but it has also resulted in some of the most juicy and flavorful citrus in the past ten years.  The flavor profiles of our citrus selection range from the tart & extra fragrant Bergamot Sour Orange to the super sweet & tiny Kishu Mandarin. We’ve got everyone’s taste buds covered.

jessica cake

Jessica’s success with Moro Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

My favorite piece of citrus so far this year is the slightly tart and berry-like flavored Moro Blood Orange. The flavor, juice and texture on these have been out of this world this year. We’re getting our Moros from Deer Creek Heights Ranch in Porterville, in the San Joaquin Valley 260 miles southeast of San Fran. Their fruit is picked only when it’s fully ripe and ready to eat, and delivered to us within days of harvest.  Instead of using artificial wax and fungicides, the fruit is simply brushed with horsehair brushes and drenched with a natural compound, using only the fruit’s own natural wax. This produces a fruit that is full of its own natural flavor, like you picked it right from the tree–the way it used to taste.

The New York Times recently published a recipe for Blood Orange Upside Down Cake, and our HR guru Jessica gave it a try, with great success! In her words: “I felt like I was building a stained glass window. Every layer I sliced off of each orange revealed so many new splashes of color that I had to stop and stare at the pile of carvings, just to savor the visual splendor.  The juice from the Moro Bloods I used for the recipe was so abundant that it spread beautifully through the cornmeal batter.  The result was a tasty blend of sweet and tart throughout a deliciously moist cake.” She’s urged us all to give it a try! olsen clementines

Like most Americans, I grew up on classic pink grapefruit; my Mom would cut it in half and sprinkle sugar all over and I would take the time to cut out each little tart/sweet segment. That was in New England, but out here in California we have numerous grapefruit varieties. My favorite over the past few years has been the Cocktail Grapefruit; this flavorful cross between the Fru Mandarin and the Pomelo Grapefruit is super juicy and has a low acid, sweet and buttery rich flavor.

The success of our produce department relies heavily on all of the farm direct relationships we have built over the past 10 years, but one of the most difficult crops to get directly from the farms is citrus.  The majority of citrus growers are located from the Central Valley all the way down to Southern California, and it’s unrealistic for them to drive all the way to us just to deliver 20 cases.  However, this season we reached out to Jim Churchill, who grows amazing citrus in the hills of Ojai. Most commonly known for his extra-sweet, late-season varieties like the Pixie Tangerine, Jim also grows the easy-peeling Kishu Mandarins which are so tasty that the kids in the neighborhood can’t get enough.

We are mid-way through citrus season and there are so many varieties I didn’t mention, so come by and sample all the flavors!

Matt R.

Domaine Dupasquier: Savoie Terroir

savoie1Visiting the picturesque town of Aimavigne, France is like taking a trip to a land found only in a storybook. The sweeping hills leading up to the Alps are dotted with steep vineyards and cut by winding roads leading to pristine lakes. The town name comes from a French phrase, “Aimer le vigne,” which translates to, “Love the vine.” So it’s no surprise that Noël Dupasquier and his son David, now fifth generation winemakers in Aimevigne, are working so hard to preserve the Savoie’s native grape varietals like Monduese, Altesse, and Jacquere.

We’re always excited by the arrival of Domaine Dupasquier’s wines to our shelves! They are one of the few producers left in the area really trying to showcase what the native grapes of the Savoie can do rather than ripping up old vines and replanting more ‘fashionable’ grapes. Here’s what we currently have from them:

savoie22010 Domaine Dupasquier Jacquère  –  $15.99

Jacquère is often referred to as the Muscadet of the east (of France). Native to the Savoie, it’s a grape known for producing light, crisp, and briney whites suitable for everyday drinking. Noël and David hold all of their wines back an extra year for aging – atypical compared to the other producers in the area. So the sometimes overly racy acidity in Jacquère is a little more mellow and rounded out in their wine. It has bright lemon, lime, and grassy aromas followed by flavors of lemon, apricot,  and a crisp, tart, finish. It’s perfect alongside a variety of dishes from briney seafood to spicy curries.

Perfect Pairing: Ginger and soy stir-fried winter veggies


savoie32009 Domaine Dupasquier Gamay  –  $19.99

Noël and David really do make the most of their small plantings of Gamay. Having been aged in used foudre (extra large barrels), this Gamay is bright and expressive. It rivals some of our favorite Cru Beaujolais bottlings and at a very affordable price! Bright fruit aromas, are followed by flavors of tart cherry, minerals, and earth. Great acidity makes this a bottle suitable for drinking now or one you could lay down for a few years. Grab some while you can – all of these wines are very limited!

Perfect Pairing: Sharfe Maxx Extra (pictured below!)

savoie42009 Domaine Dupasquier Pinot Noir  –  $21.99

The Dupasquier Pinot is another great value, rivaling some beautiful Burgundies! Again having been aged over a year in used foudre, this cool climate Pinot has had time to mellow out. Bright cherry aromas are followed closely by earthy and herbal qualities like pepper and fennel. Like any cool climate Pinot, it has a bright and clean acidity and flavors of cranberry, earth, and stony minerals. It’s one of our all-time favorite Pinots and pairs well with a variety of dishes.

Perfect Pairing: Seared scallops with caramelized fennel


savoie5Cheese of the Week: Sharfe Maxx Extra

As we continue to celebrate great Alpine cheeses, we’re excited to welcome Sharfe Maxx Extra! Made at the Studer family dairy in Thurgau, Switzerland, this is the extra aged version of their regular Sharfe Maxx. While the original Sharfe Maxx is aged for 6 months, Maxx Extra is aged for a year before release. A wholly unique Swiss cheese, the recipe is similar to an Appenzeller, but uses whole milk and added cream for a rich, creamy texture. The wheels are washed repeatedly, resulting in a pungent and sweet aroma. The extra aging also results in those wonderful little protein crystals dotting the paste. Come ask us for a taste!


Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

Thursdays, Every week, 6-10PM, Drop-in: 18th Hour Cafe

Saturday, January 26, 7-9PM, Ticketed: Producer Dinner: Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars

Matt R.

Introducing our First Winery of the Month: Broc Cellars

If you’ve spent a few minutes in our wine section, you’ve probably noticed that we’re big fans of Chris Brockway and his wines, produced under the Broc Cellars label. Named the SF Chronicle’s Winemaker to Watch in 2012, Chris has quickly made a name for himself as a champion of low-alcohol, food-friendly Californian wines. He’s constantly sourcing grapes from unique vineyards, often seeking out less often used grapes than the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Broc Cellars is the first of our new Winery of the Month that we’ll be highlighting both in our wine aisle and with tastings and events at 18 Reasons. Be sure to sign up soon for next week’s Producer Dinner with Chris Brockway, which will consist of a four-course meal paired with a lineup of Chris’ wines and his expert knowledge of each. Here are two of his newest releases: 

1broc2011 Broc Cellars Paso Robles Cabernet Franc  –  $24.99

Cabernet Franc is most often found in blends from Bordeaux or in Loire Valley reds like Chinon. However, it’s slowly gaining in plantings and popularity here in California. Thriving well in cooler climate areas, it’s a bit unusual that Chris chose a warm area such as Paso Robles to source his Cabernet Franc. Yet, he was careful in picking early to avoid overripeness. He fermented whole cluster, meaning with the stems, which adds a bit of spicy depth to this red. Medium in weight, this red is aromatic with scents of pepper, cranberry, and plums. Great peppery and spicy depth, and ABV of only 13.2% make this a great red to pour alongside a variety of dishes!

Perfect Pairing: Cider braised pork belly


2broc2011 Broc Cellars Cuvée 13.1  –  $22.99

After the success of his Cuvée 12.5 in 2010, Chris sought to produce another modest alcohol level Syrah from this vineyard site in the Santa Lucia Highlands. A higher elevation and cool mountain breezes in this region of Monterey County lend themselves nicely to a style of Syrah that’s lighter on its feet. The ‘13.1’ refers to the alcohol percentage, which is quite modest compared to many other California reds. Bright wild berry aromas and scents of thyme and pepper lead to a berry-full, minerally, and peppery medium bodied palate with great acidity. You can certainly enjoy this wine on its own but it’s equally as friendly with food.

Perfect Pairing: Andeerer Schmuggler cheese


3brocCheese of the Week: Andeerer Schmuggler

We’re excited to feature a variety of Alpine cheeses this month and even more excited to offer this Alpine gem, Andeerer Schmuggler, for the first time! Produced by husband and wife cheesemakers Maria Meyer and Martin Bienerth of Andeer Dairy in Grisons, Switzerland, this cheese is made of raw cow’s milk sourced from five local farms. Aged for about six months, the wheels receive several washings, giving them great depth of flavor. The name of the cheese comes from a German friend of Maria and Martin’s who loved the cheese so much that he would smuggle a few wheels back over the border with him on every visit. No need to smuggle some to your home though; just come ask us for a taste!!


Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

Thursdays, Every week, 6-10PM, Drop-in: 18th Hour Cafe , Tonight Featuring Alpine Wines and Cheeses with Cory Cartwright of Selection Massale!

Friday, January 18, 6-8:30PM, Ticketed: Stichelton and Hafod: Modern/Traditional British Cheese

Saturday, January 26, 7-9PM, Ticketed: Producer Dinner: Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars

Good Food Education: Visit our 18 Reasons Table at the Good Food Awards Marketplace!

18ReasonsLogoWe are thrilled to be spearheading the first ever Good Food Education component of the Good Food Awards. In planning their event for this weekend, the organizers of the Awards asked us to bring our experience in food education to the Good Food Marketplace at the Ferry Building!

Come find our table on Saturday, January 19th to test your knowledge of all things artisanal. We’ll challenge you to trivia about what it means for makers of chocolate, coffee, charcuterie, beer and other foods to produce in a socially and environmentally responsible way (while aiming for maximum tastiness).

1gfaWe will be giving away great prizes like a copy of Bi-Rite’s Eat Good Food, Good Food Awards t-shirts and 18 Reason’s memberships to whoever can answer trivia stumpers about how Good Food is produced. Find us near the Beer & Spirits Garden!

Here are some teasers to get you warmed up for the kind of questions we’ll be asking:

Q. Fill in the blank: All chocolate entries for a Good Food Award must be made from _____ to bar or _____to bar.

A. Bean, Liquor

Q. What type of resource conservation must Good Food Award Finalist breweries practice?

A. Water

Kiko’s Food News, 1.18.13

Coca-Cola Co. released a new TV commercial (check it out) that highlights its efforts in fighting obesity; it mentions how they sell about 180 low- and no-calorie drinks, and reminds viewers that “all calories count no matter where they come from”: (Reuters)

But Marion Nestle calls their bluff, saying that if they really want to reverse their impact on obesity, they need to stop targeting their marketing towards kids and low income minorities: (Food Politics)

London’s leading department store launched an out-of-the-box campaign with a “no noise” theme, and is now offering logo-free products, headspace pods and a Silence Room where the walls are soundproofed, electronic devices are forbidden, and meditation is encouraged! (Fast Company)

Grocery shoppers are less likely to complain to company management than shoppers for other goods and services, as a study found that 46% of grocery shoppers do not report bad experiences to their grocers, vs. 24% of banking customers and 21% of media customers: (Supermarket News)

Traditionally a reliable source of profit, cigarette sales are waning at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores, and food, with higher margins, is rising to take its place: (Bloomberg)
For the first time, an American whiskey (a single-malt from Waco, TX) won Best in Glass, beating nine others, including Scottish classics, in a blind panel of spirits experts: (New York Times)

Winter 2013 Catering Menu

The holiday season is behind us (phew!) so now let the fun begin! The sun is shining, the pressure is off, snow is falling in the mountains, and it’s darn close to bbq weather in the city—party on, party people. Gather your friends and start the New Year off on the right foot. Let us take care of the food and drink so you can truly activate the much anticipated winter wind down.

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Savory Tartlets with Porcini Mushrooms, Mascarpone, Grilled Chicories and Chile Flakes

The citrus bomb has exploded at Bi-Rite, with local farmers bringing juicy oranges, mandarins, grapefruits and more to our shelves; winter greens are at their hearty best, perfect for salads or sautés. We’re putting all of these into the dishes on our new Winter Peak of the Season Menu, which kicks off today and includes these favorites:

Mole-Marinated and Toasted Sesame-Crusted Filet Mignon Skewers with Mexican Crema Dipping Sauce

Savory Tartlets with Porcini Mushrooms, Mascarpone, Grilled Chicories and Chile Flakes 

Soba Noodle Salad with Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts, Chiles, Scallions and Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette  


Potato Cups with Crab, Celery, Chives & Meyer Lemon Aioli

White Bean and Butternut Squash Salad with Ham, Dried Cranberries and Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette 

Splurge on the:

Banana Cupcakes with Pecan Toffee Buttercream

Trust us, they’re worth it.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want guidance planning any event—our catering team is always happy to help!

Has the at-home party lost its appeal? Has the office board room lost its luster? Looking for another venue to host your events? Consider our community space, 18 Reasons. Located next door to the Creamery on 18th Street, 18 Reasons is available to rent out and is the perfect spot for an intimate dinner, birthday party, family brunch, or rehearsal dinner. We’ll cater the food and drink—all you have to do is show up. Full rental information and inquiry form is available here.