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Archive for February, 2013

Matt R.

Pierre Gonon and the Wines of St. Joseph

The appellation of St. Joseph in the northern Rhone Valley has witnessed quite the evolution since King Louis XII deemed its wines his favorite in the late 15th century. When it was designated an AOC in 1956, St. Joseph was a small collection of vineyards surrounding just six villages, carefully selected for their location and vine quality. Ten years later the region had expanded with the effect of lowering the quality of production and the illustrious reputation of St. Joseph with it.

In order to restore its reputation, the French committee on appellations (then called the INAO) drastically reduced the size of the region, declassifying poor vineyards to Vins de Pays status and capping the region’s maximum size. Pierre Gonon held on to a few vineyards in Mauves, and today his sons Pierre and Jean run the domain and work to restore the reputation of this region by carefully crafting wine from extremely well-cared for vines and minimalist wine making techniques. We’re fortunate to have two of their elegant, expressive wines to share:

joseph12011 Pierre Gonon ‘Les Iles Feray’  –  $24.99

Les Iles Feray is 100% Syrah that comes from a series of parcels right alongside the western bank of the Rhone. The vines used for this wine have been carefully selected over generations from the Gonon’s own cuttings and are planted in deep sandy soils. The nose has tons of purple and blue fruit qualities along with black olives and smoke. The palate is extremely refined and has savory flavors of plums, minerals, and vanilla – great complexity for its value. We only have 8 cases so grab some while you can!


joseph22011 Pierre Gonon Chasselas  –  $29.99

Chasselas is a grape variety primarily grown in Switzerland and is believed native to the area, although some think it originated in Egypt 5000 years ago! The Gonons purchased their vineyard of 80-year-old Chasselas vines in 2005 and have been bottling this white grape on its own. If you’ve never tried Chasselas, we highly recommend you do! Bright flavors of quince, pear, and white flowers lead to flavors of minerals, white peach, and white pepper. The texture is so mouth-coatingly lush that this would easily stand up to heavier dishes like pork and hearty fishes.


joseph3Cheese of the Week: Vare

Husband and wife cheesemakers Valentin Forcelledo and Anita Gonzalez first started producing cheese in Asturias, Spain as a way to create a lasting business that they could leave to their children. They chose to go against the grain and decided to produce mostly goat’s milk cheeses in Spain’s predominantly cow-covered region. They started with just a few Murciana goats and today are up to 450 in their herd – more than the human population of the cheese’s namesake village, Vare! All of the goats eat feed grown on their own farm and their high quality milk is made into just a few of these 4-inch wheels a day. The paste is smooth and firm with a fruity, floral and slightly tangy flavor. Come ask us for a taste!


Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe: Today, 2/14, 6-10PM, Drop-in

Spring Beer Pairing with Rich Higgins: Wednesday, March 6, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Mini European Wine Blitz Tasting – 20% off cases this night only!: Tuesday, March 12, 6-8PM

The Hills are Alive: The Volcanic Wines of Hungary: Wednesday, March 20, 7-9PM, Ticketed

18 Reasons Chef Recipe: Samin Nosrat’s Kuku

samin 1Samin is the author of Ciao Samin and teaches Home Ec at 18 Reasons. She is not actually crazy, that’s just the name of the dish!

This herb- and green-laden egg dish is a delicious celebration of spring.  Serve it for Saint Patrick’s Day or on March 21 to celebrate Persian New Year.  All that green goodness is a harbinger of health for the year to come. And if you’re looking for spring cooking guidance, check out our upcoming classes on spring fermentation, Easter & Passover menus, and more!

6 eggs
olive oil
1 large spring onion or two small ones, sliced
1 lb greens (nettles or spinach or a mixture of the two work well), blanched and chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

samin 2Pre-heat oven to 350 if you do not want to flip your Kuku part way through cooking.

Heat a good amount (2 Tbsp) olive oil gently in a cast-iron pan.  Add onions over medium heat, salt well, and cook 5 minutes until tender and translucent.  Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in large bowl.  Add blanched and chopped greens and the herbs. It will seem like a ridiculous amount of greens, but that is the point.  Add the cooled onions and more salt and mix well.

Re-heat pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mixtures and let cook 7-10 minutes until almost completely set. The middle will still be damp.  Don’t let the bottom burn and adjust heat accordingly.  When kuku is almost completely set you can either slide it onto a plate and then flip it back into the pan to cook the top for 2-3 minutes or you can slide the whole pan unto the pre-heated oven and cook it for 2-3 minutes until set but not too firm.

Serves 8. Kuku is amazing the next day for lunch.

Kiko’s Food News: February 22, 2013

How has a tasting moment called the “bliss point” caused such a deterioration in public nutrition? An in-depth report on the industrial formulations and selling campaigns that get people hooked on convenient, inexpensive processed foods: (New York Times)

Supermarkets lose an estimated $15 billion each year in fruit and veggies alone; enter Food Star, a start-up that’s partnering with retailers to redirect food in-store before it’s wasted by sending flash sale emails to notify shoppers when they can buy perishables at extreme savings: (Green Biz)

A new cattle drug called Zilmax is being widely used in the industrial feedlots where most of America’s beef comes from, part of a new regime for raising cattle that emphasizes higher production and cost-cutting wherever possible: (Slate)

From grocer to travel agency? Whole Foods has kicked off a travel venture called Whole Journeys that promises authentic food and food experiences for active travelers, from a culinary tour of Idaho’s Salmon River to tea ceremonies in China: (LA Times)

Re-thinking salt’s place in our cooking: my good friend Jess Goldman Foung has written a book that shows, through brilliant recipes, how salt is just a single “spice” on the rack, and how choosing to remove it makes room for other exciting flavor combinations: (Huffington Post)

Matt R.

Germany and Austria: From the Alps to Burgenland

It’s time to dust off your lederhosen, practice your umlauts, pack up your herd of cows (stay with us . . .), and get ready for a trip to Austria and Germany! This week we’re exploring the unique wines and cheeses of this area and the unique producers dedicated to promoting the terroir of these widely unknown regions.

alp12011 Andi Knauß Trollinger  –  $16.99

Andi Knauß farms his family’s small plot of vineyards in Württemberg, the southwestern corner of Germany. His family didn’t always produce their own wine, and in fact Andi’s father used to work for BMW in nearby Stuttgart and sold grapes from their vineyards to other winemakers in the area. However, Andi studied wine making and had several internships with well-known producers in Austria, including Moric (below). This bottle is 100% Trollinger, a grape with a bit of an identity crisis as it’s known as Schiava and Vernatsch interchangeably in Italy and Austria. Light, fresh, and super easy to drink, the bright floral and strawberry aromas lead to a palate of fresh red fruit and just a hint of spice. The fun-sized 1-liter bottle and screw-cap opening make this a no-brainer for a picnic in the park!


alp22011 Moric Blaufränkisch  –  $29.99

Roland Velich has quickly become the rising star winemaker of Austria. When he first started producing wine in 2001 he had one clear mission: to prove that the Blaufränkisch grape can make elegant and ageable wines rivaling those of Burgundy. Well, mission accomplished: he’s put this obscure Austrian grape back on the map. Blaufränkisch is widely grown in Burgenland but is often made into wines that are over extracted, over oaked, or very rustic. Roland has dedicated himself to careful care in the vineyards and natural winemaking techniques that make the grape shine and truly express the unique terroir of his vineyard sites. This bottling is a blend from a few vineyards and has soft red cherry aromas, elegant and long tannins, and just a hint of rustic spice.


alp32009 Moric Blaufränkisch Reserve  –  $49.99

Moric’s 2009 Reserve bottling is also 100% Blaufränkisch aged in large used oak barrels. Roland has used the same oak since he started bottling this wine so each vintage gets smoother and smoother. Soft aromas of dark cherry and earth lead to flavors of blueberry, baking spice, and bright acidity. This truly does rival some high end Burgundies in terms of elegance and complexity!


alp4Cheese of the Week: Spicherhalde Alpkäse

Every summer, the Vögel family goes on vacation, but it’s far from your typical summer holiday. Rather than pack their roof rack with beach chairs, they herd their thirty cows through the Allgäu Alps from their home in Austria to their summer home in Bavaria. At an elevation of 4,800 feet, their cows happily graze on the green mountain hillsides and produce spectacular milk, with which they hand-make just two wheels of Spicherhalde Alpkäse a day. The cheese is aged at leased a year before being sold. Small eyes dot the buttery paste with earthy, floral, and tangy flavors. Come ask us for a taste!


Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe: Tomorrow, 2/14, 6-10PM, Drop-in (We’re pouring fresh Salted Caramel beer made by Cerveceria de MateVeza, the brewers down the block, with the help of Anne & Kris from the Creamery.)

Spring Beer Pairing with Rich Higgins: Wednesday, March 6, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Mini European Wine Blitz Tasting – 20% off cases this night only!: Tuesday, March 12, 6-8PM


In our 18 Reasons Gallery: Getting Beneath the Sheaths

SHEATHS_POSTCARDAlthough it has many meanings, a sheath is typically thought of as either a loose fitting dress, or a case for a blade. Either context offers an intimacy, a sexiness that its utterance evokes. Our current 18 Reasons art exhibition, Beneath the Sheaths, harnesses the term’s suggestive power to draw in viewers. Because let’s be honest–an offer to get “beneath the sheaths” sounds a lot more enticing than an offer to get “beneath the scabbards.”

We are a food community space after all so with these sheaths I’m referencing knives, friends—not dresses. Beneath the Sheaths, on view through the end of March, is a Dux Art collaborative project produced by Eddie Lau and photographed by Meigan Canfield and Ellis Au. In line with our Bi-Rite philosophy that there is almost nothing more intimate than cooking for and feeding others, Canfield and Au’s minimalist photographs astutely document this relationship and seem a natural complement to the walls of 18 Reasons.

Beneath the Sheaths - Gabriel Mitchell

Gabriel Mitchell’s tools

Beneath the Sheaths - Bill Corbett

Bill Corbett’s tools

Tool and knife sets from eight prominent Bay Area chefs are documented, each set showing a different side of the craft of cooking, each individual object within the set representing an extension of the individual. At first glance the images could pass as purely commercial, but with each additional glance a more complex and entwined narrative appears. Knives and other chef’s tools are sexy for these reasons. They are aesthetically beautiful in their utility, sensual in their form and craftsmanship, and attractive as artifacts, as keepers of our culture. Rich stories are grooved deep in their weathering.

The collections of Melissa Perello, Richie Nakano, Robbie Lewis, Gabriel Mitchell, Ryan Farr, Ravi Kapur, Bill Corbett, Laurence Jossel and Eddie Lau are on view. Come to see another side of your favorite chef. Come to see another side of your food. Most importantly, come to see another side of yourself. Come to imagine the meals you’ve made, the labor and unconditional love that live in the divots of the spatula that has moved with you not once, but thrice. Come to celebrate kitchen tools, sharing meals, craft and all it adds to our lives.

 Come see the collection at 18th Hour any Thursday night from 6-10 pm at 18 Reasons, through the end of March!

DIY: Contest for Bi-Rite Divisadero Special Sandwich & Sundae!

sandwich sundae contest

We’re opening our doors at 550 Divisadero in mid-March, and we’d love your help with the menu. So put on your chef’s hat and ponder this:

If Bi-Rite Divis were a sandwich, what would it look like? What would it taste like?

What about if it were an ice cream sundae? Would it be gooey? Salty? Spicy?

We’re asking you, our talented and vocal creative community, to help us create a special sandwich and sundae that will only be available at Bi-Rite Divis. We’re looking for a new frontier in deli and Creamery tastiness. No idea is too crazy, far flung or niche… think big, think small, think about what makes the Western Addition neighborhood tick!

Just make sure it’s finger lickin’ good.

Email us to submit your idea (each sundae or sandwich idea must include a menu name as well as the ingredients/components) for either a sandwich or sundae (or both!) by Friday, February 22, and we promise to salivate over every last entry until we select the winners. In addition to bragging rights, the two winners will receive a free festival pass ($95 value) to our first ever San Francisco Food & Farm Film Festival at the Roxie Theater, including the opening night bash at Four Barrel coffee. And of course, the free sandwich or sundae of their creation on opening day 🙂

So what do YOU want to be eating in March??

Beer Week Events at 18 Reasons

SFBW-2013-LogoIt’s that time of year again, where San Francisco kicks up its normal love of the micro-brew and really geeks out. Count us in! Join us for one of the below events at 18 Reasons (this week and through March). Beginning to advanced beer nerds welcome:

Farmhouse Beer & Farmstead Cheese
Tuesday, February 12, 7-9PM:$60 for 18 Reasons members; $70 for the general public; tickets here.


Jesse Friedman’s Almanac Beers at the ready!

Hello Beer Week! We have missed you so. Join 18 Reasons for a night of beer pairing to celebrate one of the best weeks out of the year. In this beer-pairing workshop, Master Cicerone Nicole Erny and Kirstin Jackson, author of “It’s Not You, It’s Brie: A Guide to Unwrapping American Cheese Culture,” will collide two fascinating worlds of flavor: farmhouse beer and farmstead cheese. Participants will taste through 5 beers and 5 cheeses to learn what defines these terms and walk away with an arsenal of experiential knowledge on how to pair the two.

18th Hour Cafe: BEER WEEK Edition
Thursday February 14th, 6-10PM, Drop-In – Everyone is welcome-No reservations needed

Meet the brewers from some of our favorite breweries! Jesse Friedman from Almanac Beer Company, Andrew Ritter from Linden Street Brewery and Adam Krammer from Lucky Hand will be here to hang out, drink beer and eat the delicious pairings we have crafted up with Bi-Rite Market.

18th Hour Cafe: Salted Caramel Beer Edition
Thursday February 21st, 6-10PM, Drop-In – Everyone is welcome-No reservations needed

We’re pouring fresh Salted Caramel beer made by Cervecería de MateVeza, the brewers down the block, with the help of Anne & Kris from the Creamery. Here’s what Jim from MateVeza had to say about brew day:

matevesa 1

Anne adding salt to the salted caramel beer

matevesa 2

Kris waiting for the salted caramel to reach perfect color before adding it to the beer

“To achieve a deep caramel flavor, we used an assortment of caramel malts and caramelized our own sugar by combining malt extract with organic demerara sugar; turns out this process is very similar to the way that Kris and Anne caramelize their sugar for Salted Caramel Ice Cream! We stirred the mixture in our boil kettle on low heat for almost an hour, Kris and I watching the color closely, until we achieved a deep mahogany. We then transferred the wort (unfermented beer) from the mash tun into the boil kettle and added Saaz (subtle spiciness) and Fuggle (earthy aroma) hops for aroma and bitterness. At the end of the boil, Anne added a few ounces of kosher salt (the same used in the ice cream) for the signature salt character. Fermentation started quickly and finished in about 7 days. We added a touch of lactose (for a subtle milky sweetness), filled and carbonated our keg and voilà! The beer is lovely, with plenty of rich caramel notes and a subtle touch of salt, but balanced by a dry finish and crisp hop character.”

Homebrew 101
Wednesday, February 27, 7-9PM; $40 for 18 Reasons members; $50 for the general public. Tickets here.

Spring Beer Pairing with Rich Higgins
Wednesday, March 6, 7-9PM, Ticketed; $60 for 18 Reasons members; $70 for the general public. Tickets here.



Valentine’s is for Feeders: Our Romantic Menu

valentine chocolate 2013

One of the most LOVELY chocolate assortments we’ve ever seen!

As Valentine’s week kicks off, we invite you to put your focus on the important stuff (showing that special someone your inner cupid) and let us take care of your meal. Our chefs have created a special menu available tomorrow (Tuesday) through Friday, February 15th, available to pick up here at the Market.

Back by popular demand are our Petrale Sole pinwheels, laced with fresh herbs and ready to poach and serve. Chili’s offering some beautiful “Lover’s Chops” from the butcher case: these frenched double-cut heritage pork chops will be juicy and flavorful enough to make your Valentine swoon. And our wine experts have suggested three bottles that pair great with dinner, or even a box of chocolates!

Speaking of chocolate, don’t miss the amazing assortment of truffles, caramels, and bars that our team has sourced from local chocolate makers like Dandelion Chocolate, Michael Recchiuti, and Poco Dolce. And don’t forget to grab a bouquet of flowers on your way out–we’ll have them ready to go right on the street!


Tickets are On Sale for our San Francisco Food & Farm Film Festival


We’re only 48 days away from the launch of San Francisco’s first Food & Farm Film Fest! We’re showing some incredible films (like this one), have lined up our favorite restaurants (Delfina, are you ready for your closeup?) to provide food pairings, and have found inspiring food and agriculture nonprofits to partner with, like the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT).

We reached our Kickstarter goal this week, raising $3,000 to help launch the fest. Thank you to all our supporters! Now we’re moving on to selling tickets, which will get you access to the full festival program or individual movie screenings. We’re showing documentaries, narrative films, and even our favorite animated food movie.

The festival pass is just $95, and includes the Friday, March 29th opening screening and after party at Four Barrel coffee with bites from Jardiniere, Wise Sons, Pica Pica and more.  Or choose to buy a ticket for an individual screening: $15 gets you a movie paired with a tasty bite from a local chef (our Creamery team will be scooping maple ice cream for all ticket holders at Betting the Farm on Sunday 3/31)!

Please help us spread the word, and make sure to get your tickets early. And if you want to be more involved with the fun, we’d also love to have you as a volunteer. Thanks!

Kiko’s Food News, 2.8.13

There are so many ways to cut the grocery bill but still buy healthy foods wherever we shop; here are ten, and at Bi-Rite we also recommend making a shopping list to avoid impulse buys: (Huffington Post)

Residents of low-income neighborhoods across the country are rallying to get healthy food into their communities, thus proving that it’s not elitist: (Civil Eats)

L.A. public school students faced off in healthful cooking as their district entered the Cooking up Change contest for the first time this year as part of an effort to give students a larger voice in its healthful school food initiative: (Los Angeles Times)

Reuse–and re-wash–your shopping bags! A study concluded that a spike in emergency room visits and 46% increase in deaths due to food-borne illnesses following S.F.’s plastic bag ban was due to harmful bacteria in reusable grocery bags: (Fox News)

As a pronunciation snob myself, I was amused by this list of 10 commonly mis-pronounced foods (I think I’ve been botching “gnocchi”!): (Huffington Post)

Food fraud (addition or replacement of a stated, safe ingredient with something unknown) happens all over the grocery world; here are 10 common pantry staples that have been at the center of food fraud reports in recent decades: (The Daily Meal)