Home 2013 April

Archive for April, 2013

Cooking with Curds: Radishes à la Français

au3My French host-grandmother blew me away one afternoon many years ago when she appeared at the dinner table with a plate of radishes. She then introduced the simplest of pleasures when she showed me how to eat radishes “à la Français,” which is to say cut, stuffed with sweet cream butter, and then dipped in sea salt. The magical combination of these three ingredients is still something I look forward to every spring!  For a variation on the theme, I’ve made a compound butter with Fourme D’Ambert, one of my favorite blue cheeses, to add a savory zip to sweet cream butter, and create a perfect contrast to crunchy, spicy radishes!


1 stick unsalted butter, softened

4oz Fourme D’Ambert, trimmed of rind

Salt and white pepper to taste

1 bunch radishes (French breakfast are the best for their long shape)



Add softened butter and Fourme D’Ambert to mixing bowl and mash together with a fork until the butter and the blue cheese are well integrated.

Season with salt and white pepper to taste, and mix again.

Scrape butter into ramekin (or other fun shaped dish) to chill for an hour.

Meanwhile, wash and trim radishes.

With a paring knife, cut an X into the bottom of each radish and serve alongside chilled butter.

Stuff each radish with blue cheese butter in the middle of the X and enjoy!


Au revoir, French Cheese Month….bring on the Belgian and Dutch cheeses we have in store for May!

Moms Deserve More: Surprise her May 12 with an 18 Reasons Class

Done with daffodils? Brunch too boring? Massage a little “meh”?

How about a cooking or gardening class for mom (or for you, so you can cook for her)?

At 18 Reasons, we want people to cook more, so our classes train everyday joes like you and me to cook confidently at home. We want more people to think of cooking as an excuse to gather loved ones and spend some quality time together. These classes are fun, informative, and they make a great gift!

If you know a mom who loves to cook, buy her a seat in one of our classes so she can perfect her buttery tart doughs or up her vegetable prowess. And if your Mom would rather just eat, hone your whisking skills at an 18 Reasons class and give her the gift of home cooking all year long!

Here are some no-fail options for mom or you kids: either way, she’ll be happy!

Wednesday, May 1, 6:30-9PM: Japanese Farm Food

Sample salad you will learn to make with a mandolin at Equipment Essentials on May 13.

Sample salad you will learn to make with a mandolin at Equipment Essentials on May 13.

Sunday, May 12, 4-7PM: Rhubarb Bash

(May 12 is Mother’s Day proper–wouldn’t learning to cook with Mom be an excellent way to spend your evening together?)

Monday May 20, 6:30-8:30PM: Equipment Essentials for the Modern Home Cook

Sunday, June 2, 9, + 16, 4-8PM: Unsung: Neglected Spring Vegetables

Monday, June 10, 6-9PM: Buttery Tart Dough

Our full class list is at www.18reasons.org …. see you soon!


Bay Area Cherries: Sweet but Fleeting!

Our produce team always waits patiently for the first crop of local cherries to come our way each spring. Over the past ten years, we’ve spent a lot of time building relationships with amazing cherry growers throughout the greater Bay Area.   There’s nothing like a cherry that has been harvested “tree ripened” in the morning and then delivered to Bi-Rite Market that afternoon.


“The Bing is King!”–Farmer Al, Frog Hollow

Local cherry season is always unpredictable and exciting, and it goes by quick! The first cherries on our shelves always come in around the last week of April or first week of May. Most small cherry orchards grow a handful of varieties so that their harvest is spread over the course of 1 ½ to two months, depending on the weather. They’re a very challenging crop to grow, delicate and prone to rainfall damage.

Ed George Peach Farm in Winters (just 70 miles from San Francisco) has brought us the first cherries of the season for the past 8 years and this year has been no different. Ed uses a lot of sustainable farming practices and knows how to harvest a “tree ripe” cherry.  He sends out a small crew in the early hours to harvest before the sun warms up the fruit. His crew hand packs as they harvest, a technique that brings down the cost of the cherry because the grower is not using extra labor to bring them back to the warehouse to sort through.  This also means that each case of cherries has a little variance in size, but the flavor stays consistent. Ed’s already dropped off Burlats, a dark red, sweet variety with a medium-firm texture. The Red Garnet, also dark red and sweet flavor but a bit firmer in texture than the Burlat, will follow; on any given year these can easily be the best cherry of the season.

farmer al frog hollow

Farmer Al with his blossoming cherry trees

After two to three weeks offering Ed’s cherries we’ll celebrate the arrival of cherries from two of the best organic cherry growers in Northern California: Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood and Hidden Star Orchard in Linden are less than 100 miles from our markets and are masters of growing big, plump cherries with perfect flavor. Like Ed George, both of these farms start their season with early varieties like the Burlat and the Brooks, which were developed at UC Davis in the 80’s and have a very balanced, rich flavor.

Finally, after whetting our whistle with these early varieties the really exciting part of the season begins. The Rainer cherry, a cross between the Bing and Van, has been around since the 50’s and is the only white cherry on the market (they look more yellow/pink on our shelves).  They are the most delicate variety but are still firm with a creamy sweet flavor. The Bing cherry is California’s most commonly grown variety; Farmer Al from Frog Hollow likes to say that “the Bing is King.”  It’s usually the sweetest cherry of the season and is very firm but also extra juicy.  Both the Rainer and Bing start up around mid-May and can go through most of June.

The local cherry season usually ends with late season specialty varieties like the Stella. Farmer Al’s Stella cherry only makes a brief appearance at the market in the end of June, but its extra-dark flesh and rich flavor is worth the wait.


Rainiers come in a few weeks down the line

Northern California cherry season usually comes to an end with fruit from the foothills of the Sierras.  Our cold-wet weather of recent seasons has damaged the crops, but hopefully the nice weather this year will lead to a bumper crop. When the local cherry season finally dies down in the end of June we start sourcing organic cherries from the Northwest. Most of the growers there are larger farming operations than the Bay Area farm-direct partners I’ve mentioned above, but they sure know how to take advantage of their amazing growing climate.

Cherry season is short and sweet, so please come enjoy these wonderful flavors over the next couple months. The Creamery’s also playing around with them; stay tuned to see what ridiculous cherry desserts come out of the bakeshop!




Treat your Schools Rite in May & June: 10% Kickback to SF Primary & Secondary Schools!


Help your school raise money! During the months of May and June, if you’re a parent, alumni, friend, or staff member of a San Francisco primary or secondary school- Tell us the name of that school when you call to place a catering order for your own event and WE’LL DONATE 10% of the value of your order directly to that school to support their fundraising efforts!

To honor the work that goes into nourishing our community’s minds, let us nourish the rest. We cater every kind of event, from end of year school gatherings to class picnics to parties and graduation celebrations at school or at home.

 We think you will love these party platters on our menu:

Focaccia Flatbread with Artichoke Hearts, Marinara and Four Cheeses

Pomegranate-Marinated Free Range Chicken Skewers with Mint-Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Focaccia Finger Sandwich Platters–choose between turkey, ham, roast beef, and more

Mini Cupcakes made from Scratch by our Creamery & Bakeshop

wine-webCombine these and other delicious options from our Catering Menu with sweets from Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop. Then let our wine team pick out something special to compliment your menu and we promise all you’ll be doing is enjoying your guests’ company.

P.S. If you rent out 18 Reasons for your grad party, we’ll cater!

Kiko’s Food News: April 26, 2013

I can think of easier ways to get kicked out of a McDonald’s, but gotta love the way these Korean kids took a french fry promotion to a new level (I like to think they were making a statement about what can happen when fast food is priced too low for anyone’s good!): (Eater)

Although sending “untied” food aid (cash instead of commodity crops) strengthens farmers in malnourished areas internationally instead of undercutting them, the US is still tied to sending sacks of grain and legumes from America; now Obama’s proposing a modernization of our aid by upping our untied amount from 15% to 45% and asking US companies to provide not just commodities but also super-nutritious foods: (New York Times)

Time to revamp our health teaching force? A clinical trial found that having teens mentor younger students in nutrition and physical activity resulted in weight loss and other positive lifestyle changes, while the same curriculum taught by adults wasn’t as effective: (Ohio State University)

The Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, a network and training program for college students starting food co-ops, launched a video on financial management that brings business terms to life for future sustainable food slingers: (Civil Eats)

“Malicious but delicious” foods, a class of invasive animals, fish and plants that throw the earth out of whack, are prized menu items for environmentally-savvy chefs: (New York Times)

Mini-Golf on South Van Ness? Urban Putt will, in true nouveau-Mission style, include a 70-seat restaurant and bar with cocktails by the Bon Vivants: (Tablehopper)

Matt R.

May Wine Blitz Picks: Everyday Reds

18th St. wine blitz 2013Blitz! Blitz! Blitz! We hope you’ve marked your calendar for our Spring Wine Blitz! From Monday, May 13th through Sunday, May 19th, we’re offering 20% off purchases of 12 or more bottles of wine, with free delivery with San Francisco! This year’s Blitz will happen only at our 18th St. location, but we’re happy to take orders by phone or email if you can’t make it to 18th St. in person.

There are so many events that happen during the summer: Memorial Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, graduations, weddings, family reunions – this is the perfect time to stock up on some vino for all those special occasions!

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll feature wines we’re really excited about for the upcoming Wine Blitz. This week we’re all about everyday drinking reds. These are wines that are sure to find a comfortable home on any weeknight dinner table without breaking the bank.

2011 Weingut Strehn Zweigelt  –  $14.99; Blitz Price  –  $11.99Weingut Strehn Zweigelt

Patrick and Pia Pfneisl are the brother and sister team behind their fourth generation family winery, Weingut Strehn. They are located in Deutschkreutz, Austria and dedicated to cultivating grape varietals native to Austria. Zweigelt, a cross between two native Austrian grapes, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, can produce either heavy, rustic reds or more easy drinking styles like this Zweigelt by Weingut Strehn. Aromas of cherry and currants, are followed by a medium bodied palate, with flavors of tart berries, cinnamon, and wild herbs. Great with game or spicy meat dishes!

Weingut Strehn Blaufränkisch

2011 Weingut Strehn Blaufränkisch  –  $14.99; Blitz Price  –  $11.99

Deutschkreutz, in Mittelburgenland, lies about an hour south of Vienna and borders Hungary. The region is affectionately called “Blaufränkischland” by many of the local wine producers. You’ll even see signs when driving into Mittelburgenland that say, “Willkommen im Blaufränkischland!” The native grape, once a favorite of Charlemagne, does extremely well there and produces the signature wine of the area. The nose has ripe red fruit aromas followed by a mid-weight palate, with flavors of violets, baking spice, and black currants. Try this with roasted spring lamb!

2011 La Grange de Piaugier Côtes du Rhône  –  $12.99; Blitz Price  –  $10.59La Grange de Piaugier Côtes du Rhône

Domaine de Piaugier is located in the picturesque village of Sablet, known for its dramatic landscape. The jagged Dentelles de Montmirail (giant granite cliffs) of the the Rhone sit just behind the vineyards of the Domaine. Jean-Marc Autran, a fourth generation vigneron, runs the estate and cellars first established by his great-grandfather in 1947. The estate’s old vines and varied soils produce an amazing Côtes du Rhône for the value. Rich dark fruit flavors, rustic herbal notes, gripping tannins, and great acidity make this a versatile weeknight red!

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe: Thursday, April 25th, 6-10PM: This Week – Rosé Night! We’ll be serving 5 refreshing rosés for your tasting pleasure!

Spring Wine Blitz Preview Tasting: Friday, May 10th, 6-8PM, Drop-In (Mark your calendar for our May Wine Blitz! 18th Street Store Only: 5/13 through 5/19!)


PUBLIC Label Recipe: Sam’s Kimchi Fried Rice

kimchi shotCome taste our new PUBLIC Label Kimchi this Thursday April 25th at Bi-Rite Divis from 5-7pm!

Great news, fermentation fans! Inspired by an over-abundance of ‘couve tronchuda’ (Portuguese cabbage) at Mariquita Farm, we’ve created our favorite Korean condiment: Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label Kimchi! Farmer Andy at Mariquita is known for growing interesting and elusive European produce varietals; his enthusiasm piqued our interest in this rare and special cabbage. Couve tronchuda has tall, bright green leaves with thick, fleshy white ribs; it’s generally considered sweeter and more tender than your average cabbage. Although traditionally used in the Portuguese soup caldo verde, we decided to go the raw and fermented route.

Our recipe features organic daikon and carrots from Lakeside Farms, giving the kimchi a bit more heft and crunch. The Bi-Rite spin on this banchan classic is crisp and refreshing, with a tangy pop of fresh ginger and a hint of spice. For an easy weeknight meal, dollop atop hotdogs, fold into a spring frittata, or stir into your favorite hot noodle soup.

And for a super adaptable, comforting dish, try your hand at Sam’s Kimchi Fried Rice—makes a great meal by mixing in whatever meats or vegetables are sitting around the fridge!

Cabbage Portuguese

Portuguese Cabbage, one of Andy at Mariquita Farm’s unusual varietals

Sam’s PUBLIC Label Kimchi Fried Rice
Serves 2


2 cups white rice, cooked and cooled

1 cup broccoli florets, roughly chopped and steamed

1/2 cup PUBLIC Label Kimchi, coarsely chopped

2 eggs, beaten with 1 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP pure olive oil or other neutral oil

1 tsp sesame oil


  • Heat sesame oil and olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add rice and fry until hot.
  • Add kimchi and broccoli, sauté until heated through.
  • Add soy sauce-egg mixture, sauté until eggs set, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately!

Kiko’s Food News: April 19, 2013

Fairway, the 12-store grocery chain that started on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, went public and has ambitions of opening 300 stores across the country: (Dealbook)

With the success of companies like Whole Foods, Annie’s and Kashi, there’s now a market for fast-food chains that are not only healthful, vegetarian-friendly and humane, but cheap; Mark Bittman surveyed our country’s “nouveau junk food” scene: (New York Times)

One example is wraps: whether it’s because of the slender shape, lettuce peeking out, or expert marketing by McDonald’s, they’re perceived as a healthier choice than burgers and other carb-sandwiched entrees, but they’re just as caloric: (Bloomberg)

New findings suggest that just the smell of olive oil in our food can make us feel fuller–we don’t even need to eat it! (New York Times)

Grocery delivery may be appealing for a certain demographic, but this article explores the reasons it’s so challenging to both the shopper and the business that offers it: (Silicon Valley Mercury News)

Apparently the agency that sets national policy around GM foods isn’t above politics itself, as revealed by its removal of a member dietitian who pointed out that two other members had ties to Monsanto: (New York Times)

States are trying to restrict undercover operations by animal rights activists that ag industry groups say have led to unfair scrutiny; a proposed bill would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups: (New York Times)

Matt R.

Rosé City: Looking Through Rose-Colored Wine Glasses

Spring is in the air, on your dinner plate, and . . . in your wine glass! This time every year, we’re excited to feast on the spring bounty of local asparagus, wild morels, green garlic, and fresh goat cheese. And what pairs better with these seasonal goodies than freshly bottled rosé wine?rose city set up

The start of rosé season could not be better matched with the seasonal food available right now. We’re so stoked about it, that we’ve set up an entire display dedicated to pink wine – Rosé City!

We’ll be featuring new and hard-to-find rosés here on a rotating basis. An upside to rosé season? There are so many wonderful rosés to try. On the other hand, many of these great wines are limited releases – so try hard to not get too attached. Visit Rosé City soon, and start your spring off right by looking through rose-colored wine glasses!

Domaine Fenouillet2012 Fenouillet Rosé  – $14.99

Domaine Fenouillet has a long history of producing great wines. Brothers Patrick and Vincent Soard own the Domaine but their great-grandfather, Casimir, won medals for his wines back in 1902. Located in the Southern Rhone, in the village of Beaumes de Venise, their vineyards are picturesque – sitting on rocky slopes with the dramatic backdrop of the Dentelles de Montmirail (giant granite cliffs). Their rosé is consistently delicious every year – made mostly of Cinsault with a bit of Grenache and Syrah. The Cinsault lends an herbal and rustic nose to a wine that is light, crisp, dry, and minerally. With mouthwatering acidity, this rosé pairs perfectly with grilled asparagus and goat cheese!

 2011 Calabretta Vino Rosato  –  $19.99Calabretta Vino Rosato

Don’t be fooled by the dark ruby hue of this rosato from Sicily – it’s still technically a rosé wine. The Calabretta family has made wine on the northern slopes of Mt. Etna for four generations, and their rosato is truly one of the most unusual and deliciously intriguing rosés we’ve tried. Made from 100% Nerello Mascalese (a native Sicilian grape) grown entirely on black volcanic soils, this rosé has notes of smoke, blood orange, and fennel. Dark in color and mid-weight in texture, this rosé is a great option for heavier dishes like grilled pork or whole grilled fish.


Forlorn Hope Kumo to Ame2012 Forlorn Hope Kumo to Ame Rosé  –  $19.99

We love discovering the new wines Matthew Rorick crafts under his label Forlorn Hope. He’s constantly searching for unusual and lesser-known grape varietals that thrive in the varied terroir of California. This rosé is sourced from the same vineyards in Amador County as his ‘Mil Amores’ red blend and is a field blend of the Portuguese grapes, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, and Tinta Amarella. The wine was pressed whole-cluster, lending a slight spicy grip. The nose is fresh and lively with aromas of orange blossom, vanilla bean, and lavender. Beautiful mineral flavors and a crisp, dry finish make this a versatile rosé on the dinner table.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe: Thursday, April 18th, 6-10PM

Spring Wine Blitz Preview Tasting: Friday, May 10th, 6-8PM, Drop-In (Mark your calendar for our May Wine Blitz! 18th Street Store Only: 5/13 through 5/19!)


Community Corner: Spring!

SFFFF at the Roxie

Opening Night of the SF Food and Farm Film Festival

Updates on our work to build community through food and service.

: February and March saw a serious uptick in our giving and community outreach (makes sense—we’re now serving two neighborhoods!):

  • We opened on Divis , saying thank you to our new neighborhood and supporters with a pre-opening party before we opened our doors.
  • We co-founded the first –ever San Francisco Food and Farm Film Fest in March, bringing delicious food pairings and sold-out shows to the Roxie Theater, plus a rockin’ opening night party at Four Barrel Coffee!
  • For the 3rd year in a row, we hosted youth from SF Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) program interested in retail and culinary careers.
  • Our budding chefs from the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco demonstrated excellent teamwork in planning, cooking, and serving their first “Soup for Supper” event at 18Reasons. Please support them on April 24th at 6pm!
  • We supported the Women’s Building for Women’s History Month, providing necessary funds for their immigrant food pantry, community resource room and job-readiness classes.
  • Our NextCourse/Mission High youth are putting their professional and life readiness skills to the test with internships at CUESA, Dandelion Chocolate and Bi-Rite 
  • We provided healthy snacks to the 2nd Annual Slow Food San Francisco Childhood Obesity Conference, bringing together public health advocates around this pressing issue.
  • We supported the annual fundraising spring auctions of over 75 local schools.

    soul food junkies 2

    Discussing the film “Soul Food Junkies” at 18Reasons.

We provided a free screening of “Soul Food Junkies”, tasty vegan bites, and a thoughtful discussion with chef and food justice activist, Bryant Terry.

We set up a weekly food donation pick-up with Free the Need at our 18th Street store to reduce food waste.

  • We supported the WIGG Party’s efforts to raise funds for the St. Cyprian’s Community Kitchen.
  • We supported DISH SF’s greening project at Mission and 18th. Volunteers planted new trees for the Star Hotel, which houses over 50 formerly homeless, disabled adults.
Greening the Star!

New trees greet residents of the Star Hotel at 18th & Mission

Get Involved with Organizations We Support:

Are you of the literary mind and want to tutor some amazing, young writers? 826 Valencia needs you! Volunteer here.

We’ve donated to 100 different organizations in the past two months! Know of great volunteer opportunities? Spending some quality time at a worthy local organization that could use Bi-Rite’s support? Let Shakirah know!