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Archive for June, 2013

Matt R.

Bow and Arrow Wines: A Taste of the Loire in Oregon

BowArrowWinemakersHusband and wife team Scott and Dana Frank have been on all sides of the wine industry. From working in restaurants, to retail, to wholesale, they’ve gained plenty of knowledge and experience over the years. They recently embarked on a new project producing wines under their own label Bow and Arrow and are taking Oregon wines to new heights!

You often hear about Oregon Pinot Noirs being compared to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy. And for good reasons, they share a similar cool climate in which Pinot Grapes thrive and produce wines of higher acidity and lower alcohol. The Willamette Valley, formed long ago by repeated glacial flooding, is abundant with fertile and rocky vineyard sites. It is also situated along the 45th parallel, which coincidentally runs through Burgundy and the Loire Valley. And despite Oregon’s constant comparisons to Burgundy, it’s the Loire Valley, that inspires Scott and Dana’s wines.

They only started bottling in 2010 but have quickly earned a reputation for bringing a bit of the Loire to the Pacific Northwest. They source fruit from vineyards planted by some of Oregon’s earliest ‘wine pioneers’ that were planted with grapes like old vine Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Melon de Bourgogne – all typical Loire Valley grapes. These carefully sourced grapes are treated with the greatest care and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. Their resulting wines are a breath of fresh (French) air from Oregon, lighter in style, lower in alcohol, and extremely food-friendly.

2011 Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir*  –  $34.99
BowArrow1The Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir is sourced from 35-year old vines planted high in the Chehalem Mountains – all own-rooted clones of Pommard vines. It has tart red cherry and pine forest herbal aromas followed by racy acidity with a light and bright finish. Pair this with a grilled salmon salad for a light yet fulfilling summer dinner!


2011 Bow and Arrow Gamay Noir*  –  $22.99
Bow and Arrow’s Gamay Noir is a dead ringer for a light style Gamay from Touraine. In fact, iconic Loire producer Clos Roche Blanche’s winemaker Didier Barrouillet served as a casual ‘over-the-phone consultant’ for Frank and Dana’s Gamay Noir. Soft red fruit flavors and an earthy and granite-based minerality are all well-integrated into a medium bodied and tart finish.

2011 Bow and Arrow Rhinestones  –  $28.99
BowArrow3If we absolutely had to choose a favorite of the three Bow and Arrow wines we carry, it would probably be the Rhinestones. A blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, this red is inspired by Cheverny, a typical Loire valley red of the same blend. Ripe, juicy black cherry aromas lead to a mid-weight palate full of flavors of tart blackberries, earthy moss, and snappy acidity. It’s great on it’s own but is a perfect food-friendly red for any occasion.

*Available at 18th St. location only.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New California – Tuesday, July 23, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Jessie Rogers

Celebrating Pride and Marriage Equality


It’s Pride Weekend in San Francisco! The sun is shining, and rainbow flags are fluttering in the breeze on every corner. We’re excited about Dyke March in the Mission tomorrow. Come say hello to our Market staff on 18th Street on your way to Dolores Park; we’ll have cold beverages available outside to keep you hydrated throughout the day’s festivities, and we’ll be serving up a special sandwich from our deli: The LGBLT!

This year in particular, Pride revelers have a lot to celebrate. In two landmark decisions this week, the Supreme Court struck down the law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and allowed gay marriage to resume in California. Let the weddings begin! Whether a simple backyard celebration, a grand event at a local San Francisco venue, or a low-key dinner at our 18 Reasons event space, we would love the opportunity to help make your wedding day exceptional. Take a peek at our menu offerings and let our Catering team, as well as our Florist, work with you to create the perfect menu and floral arrangements for your special day.

Wishing you all a safe and joyous Pride celebration!

Kiko’s Food News, 6.28.13

How much are the calorie counts that some cities require on menus helping us eat healthier? Perhaps ignorance wasn’t as big of an obstacle to healthy choices as appetite, compulsion and ingrained habit still are: (New York Times)

As farming becomes ever trendier, the discrepancy between the reality and the aesthetics of agriculture grows; this photographer and farmer points out how the truly gritty side of farming is often under-represented: (Modern Farmer)

Multi-year droughts across states that produce most of the country’s beef cattle has led to a dearth in available feed, pushed the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest point since the 1950s and driven up beef costs to historic highs this summer: (NPR)

Meanwhile, the USDA is trying to keep our beef safe with a newly proposed system that would require all cattle to have electronic ear tags, which help track and control tuberculosis, foot-and-mouth, and mad cow disease: (NPR)
The European Union came close to exerting a little control over the quality of olive oil in restaurants by requiring that it be served in original, tamper-proof bottles that state the oil’s credentials on the label; that transparency was apparently too much for some to swallow: (Huffington Post)

Matt R.

Elian da Ros: Reinventing the Marmande

Marmande1The Côtes du Marmandais is one of those little known regions in France that rarely makes a splash in the world of wine. In fact, until recently, Marmande was more famous for tomatoes than its typically mediocre wines. But thanks to vigneron Elian da Ros, the reputation of this corner of Southwest France is turning around!

In 1998, Elian da Ros returned to his hometown to takeover his father’s vineyards and start producing wine under his own label. Since the Côtes du Marmandais is just east of Bordeaux, he grows many similar varietals to this neighboring region like Cabernet Franc and Merlot, alongside varietals native to Marmande like Abouriou. Elian is still relatively new to the wine scene, but is already making himself known for extremely well-crafted natural wines.

His focus is on producing wines that are, “twice as good at half the price,” compared to the wines coming out of neighboring Bordeaux – quite a bold mission! We think it’s safe to say he’s accomplished his goal. His dedication to biodynamic farming, independent vinification of all his parcels, and refusal to manipulate the fermentation in any way have produced wines of character that truly express the unique terroir of this corner of France.

2010 Elian da Ros Coucou Blanc  –  $31.99
Elian first started his training in winemaking by leaving his hometown of Marmande and working for Domaine Zind Humbrecht in the Alsace. It’s easy to see Elian’s Alsatian training and inspiration in this white wine. It’s a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillon and Sauvignon Gris, the last a grape rarely seen outside of Bordeaux. The wine has bright floral aromas of apricot, lemon zest, and white flowers. The texture is extremely elegant and mouth-coatingly delicious with flavors of Asian pear, stone fruit, tart acidity, and a long minerally finish. It’s great with anything from seared prawns to saffron risotto!

2011 Elian da Ros ‘Ce vin est une fête’  –  $16.99
Elian’s motto is that in Marmande, “Le Vin est une fête!” (Wine is a party!”). So it’s no surprise that he’s called this wine “Ce vin est une fête!” (“This wine is a party!”) It’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Abouriou that is fermented in concrete and aged in neutral oak for 12 months. As the name suggests, it’s light, fresh, fruity and bright; full of tart red fruit flavors as well as a solid backbone of herbal minerality and tannins. This red is tasty and versatile with a variety of dishes, even some summer grilling.

2011 Elian da Ros Abouriou  –  $19.99
Abouriou is a grape native to the Marmande and this is the first bottling we’ve seen where it’s the star grape. It’s generally used in blends and gives wines a bit a of a spicy and herbal grip. Blended with just 10% Merlot, this Abouriou is fermented with semi-carbonic-maceration – a technique that brings out more of the bright fruit qualities of the grapes while preserving the unique characteristics of the terroir and soils. The resulting wine is both bright with tart blackberry aromas, and full of herbal flavors. If you like Cahors Malbec or a dark earthy Cab Franc this wine will be right up your alley!


Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

Sour Beer Class with Master Cicerone Rich Higgins – Tuesday, June 25th, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Kiko’s Food News: June 21, 2013

Proud of my home state CT for being the first to pass a bill requiring food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients (with some stipulations): (New York Times)

Yet another reason not to waste food: a new report showed how inside the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year worldwide is 45 trillion gallons of water–that’s wasting 24% of all water used for agriculture! (NPR)

Guess what we can Google now: nutrition info for any food in existence! Type your favorite food in the search bar–the return page has it all: (Tech Crunch)

Processed food companies like McDonald’s and Kraft have realized eaters interpret perfect-looking food as artificial, so now they’re mass-manufacturing food to look slightly flawed or asymmetrical to read as homemade: (ABC News)

In San Fran’s footsteps, Bloomberg is rolling out an ambitious plan to begin collecting food scraps; New York City has historically diverted only about 15% of its residential waste away from landfills, but recent pilot programs have shown an unexpectedly high level of participation: (New York Times)
And all you fellow Tamale Lady fans should know that she’s no longer allowed to peddle her steamy wares at Zeitgeist due to city codes; she’s not sure what direction to take her business in next, so we’ll hungrily stand by: (SFist)



Fresh-off-the-vine Tomatoes, Summer Corn, Stone Fruit and more: New Summer Catering Menu

DoughnutsThe aromas of rich stone fruits and fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes fill our markets. Relaxation is in the air. The days are long and the warm weather lures us to gather together. Ah yes friends, Summer is here! Check out our new Summer Peak of Season menu and let Bi-Rite Catering make your upcoming events easy like Sunday morning. We’re highlighting summer produce stars such as peaches on our Focaccia Flatbread with Peaches, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Thyme. (Did you know California is the largest harvester of stone fruits in the U.S.?)

CornAnd although some production methods try to prove otherwise, corn does indeed have a season and nothing quite screams Summer like sweet corn. Taste the seasonal difference in our Savory Tartlets with Summer Corn, Goat Cheese, Piquillo Peppers and Fresh Marjoram  or our Summer Corn and Tomato Salad with English Cucumbers, Peppers, Red Onions, Cilantro and Parsley.

Stay cool with our take on the caprese salad. The Mozzarella Bocconcini and Cherry Tomato Skewers with Basil Dip keep things simple and delicious—no fork required!

Turn up the music, kick off your shoes, and give a cheers to the fact that just outside city limits, our farm fields are feeling the heat affording us the chance to savor sweet summer flavors while wrapped in sweaters under fog-soaked skies.

“What is THAT?” A Cheesy Comment Contest!


Nestled into our cheese counter, the sight of Abrigo, one of our favorite Spanish cheeses, will literally stop some of our guests in their tracks. Abrigo stands out among buttery yellow and straw-colored wheels and the occasional square, not just for it’s lively color but also for its unique shape. We’ve heard so many fun ideas about what Abrigo must be (my personal favorite is a Celtic spaceship!) that we decided to have a contest!

Let us know what YOU think Abrigo looks like, and you could win a custom Tapas Kit for Two!

prize tag (2)How to Enter:

Abrigo’s unique shape, like that of its sister cheese Tronchon, comes from the traditional volcano-shaped Maestrazgo mold used in cheesemaking. Its name, which means “coat” in Spanish, refers to the range of colorful white-to-gray-to black mold covering the rind. We give them a good scrub down before bringing them to the counter to cut.

Let us not focus solely on the aesthetic merits of this cheese, though, however spectacular they may be. The nose of this cheese is a bit mushroomy but gives way to a flaky well-balanced paste that dances between sweet and tangy with an earthy finish.

Matt R.

June Cocktail of the Month: The Harvey Milk by Caitlin Laman of Trick Dog

caitlinAt Bi-Rite we’re celebrating Pride Month by raising a glass to the legendary activist and lawmaker Harvey Milk. It’s dairy-free, but the combination of creamy Crème de Cacao, bright briny sherry, and bitter Gran Classico create a delicious antidote to summer heat. Caitlin Laman from Trick Dog is our featured master mixologist. On top of being an expert there, she is in the process of designing cocktail programs at several new Napa hot-spots. Her cocktails are well thought out, each flavor profile fitting into the others like pieces of a puzzle. Come see us at either Market to pick up everything you’ll need to mix up Caitlin’s tribute to Harvey Milk.


Linie Aquavit  –  $29.99
LinieAquavitAquavit is a traditional potato-based distilled liquor steeped with caraway seeds and other exotic spices. Linie is one of the best brands out there. They age their Aquavit in large, used Oloroso Sherry casks which travel around the world on the bottom of ships. Something about the heat and the gentle rocking motion of the open sea softens edges and perfectly integrates the heady spices with the rich nutty sherry tones. On top of being an integral ingredient in the Harvey Milk it is a delicious substitute for Vodka in a Bloody Mary or served slightly chilled as a digestif.

Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao –  $36.99
Tempus_Fugit_CremedeCacaoTempus Fugit Spirits
is the result of two famed cocktail historians who aimed to recreate forgotten cocktail ingredients from golden era of cocktails Pre-Prohibition. Creating the Crème de Cacao from a hand-scrawled 19th century recipe was two-parts meticulous sourcing of ingredients and one-part tweaking the method to get the luscious texture just right, and the outcome is the most delicious example we’ve tasted. The base is intensely sweet pure cane sugar, with the added complexity of bitter cocoa notes and creamy vanilla bean. It’s delicious chilled on its own, or the perfect nightcap with your ice cream sundae!

Tempus Fugit Gran Classico  –  $36.99
Gran_ClassicoBased on the original lost “Italian Bitter of Turin” recipe from the 1860s, Tempus Fugit Spirits painstakingly recreated the bitter liqueur based on 25 different herbs and roots including rhubarb, gentian, orange peel and hyssop – some say this was the original Campari. The result is a versatile mixer that is perfectly sippable on the rocks or substituted in any cocktail calling for Campari. Gran Classico is an important ingredient in any serious cocktail enthusiast’s collection!

Bodegas La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sherry  –  $12.99
Bodegas La Cigarrera
has been around since 1758, making delicious, bright, briny fortified Sherry in the coastal idyll of Sanlucar de Barrameda. The wine is made from the local grape Palomino Fino grown in chalk-white soils called “albariza”. The resulting wine is lightly fortified and then aged under a natural veil of yeast called a “flor”. This allows the wine to mature while protecting it from the elements. Manzanilla describes this light-colored, light-bodied style of sherry; its brightness and refreshing splash is reminiscent of biting into a green apple. Manzanilla is best consumed 2-3 days after opening. Enjoy it with cured meats, aged cheese, marcona almonds, or seafood, especially crunchy fried smelt!

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

18th Hour Cafe will host this month’s featured winemaker, Kenny Likitprakong of Hobo Wine Co., on Thursday, June 20th. Come by to meet Kenny and taste his wonderful wines!

Wine Appreciation: Palate Development School with Oliver McCrum – Mondays, June 17th and 24th, 6:30-9PM, Ticketed

Sour Beer Class with Master Cicerone Rich Higgins – Tuesday, June 25th, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Spanish and Portuguese Cheeses: Beyond Manchego

Abrigo2This is always the time of year when I start to crave heat: the calendar says June, and I’m itching for sunshine, warm nights, and spaghetti straps. Living in the reality of summer in San Francisco, I’m vicariously enjoying the heat as we celebrate Spanish and Portuguese cheeses this month at the Market.  Many of you know (and love!) Manchego, but the Iberian Peninsula’s cheese offerings are so richly diverse, why stop there?  Come taste a few of our featured cheeses this month.

Valdeon is a mixed milk blue cheese, made with cow and goat milk, and oh-so-Spanish!  It’s beautifully wrapped, and begging for either a savory tomato salad or a drizzle of something sweet like honey or fig jam. I admit, mixed milk cheeses pull on my heart strings, and the Tres Leches is a fantastic blend of goat, sheep, and cow milk that’s interesting and easy to enjoy before dinner.

Roncal2For those who prefer a pure sheep milk cheese, check out Roncal, Spain’s first DOP cheese, and one I think of as Manchego’s more austere and reserved cousin.

campodevareVare is an equally lovely first cheese made of goat’s milk and balanced between sweet and tangy notes. Gardunha is classic Portuguese – rather than traditional animal rennet, a thistle flower is used as a coagulant. This imparts a distinct vegetal quality to this goat cheese; a fun contrast to its unctuous texture.

And though cow’s milk cheeses make up a minority of Spanish cheeses, Mahon Reserva is a treat with a little bit of bite!

Matt R.

June Winery of the Month: Hobo Wine Co. and Kenny Likitprakong

KennyBoardingKenny Likitprakong’s winemaking career has been one of constantly moving exploration. “From skateboard to vineyard,” as one local paper wrote, from conventional to natural winemaking, and from traditional CA varietals (Zinfandel and the like), to thoroughly modern styles like skin-fermented Chenin Blanc. He started his career studying at UC Davis’ wine program and spent two years managing their organic vineyard. As Kenny moved into the world and began making his own wines, he took for granted the potions and tricks that most winemakers used to doctor their wines. A six-month stint in France opened his eyes to the possibilities of natural winemaking.

Fast-forward ten years, and Kenny uses only organically-grown fruit and native yeasts, and he assiduously sources vineyards far and wide in order to find the best fruit available. Chenin blanc from Mendocino? Gewurtztraminer from Monterey County? This stuff is no Napa Chard, but each wine has a sense of place. By letting the wine make itself, by intervening as little as possible into the wine “making” process, Kenny is able to offer a lineup of wines whose common thread is like a neighborhood of old Victorians – each with a different façade and paint, distinct and beautiful on their own.


2012 Banyan Gewurtztraminer  –  $11.99
Banyan is Kenny’s homage to his Southeast Asian heritage. When he discovered an old Gewurztraminer vineyard in Monterey County, he decided to produce a wine that would pair well with the foods he loved to eat, both in flavor and in price! This Gewurztraminer is a killer value and is full of exotic tropical fruit aromas including pineapple, lychee, and lemongrass. The palate is dry and crisp, with great white pepper and honeysuckle flavors. A surefire match with any spicy Asian dish!


2012 Folk Machine Jeanne d’Arc  –  $16.99
Folk Machine is Kenny’s line of Central Coast, cool climate wines. This savory, skin-fermented white might fall into the “curiosity” category if it weren’t for the fact that it is so darn delicious. It’s 100% Chenin Blanc that’s had 20 days of skin contact giving it an enticingly hazy orange hue. Notes of apples, pears, and cinnamon combine with a cider-like intensity of texture for a food-friendly experience. Try with a hunk of Camembert cheese and just let it wash over you.


2012 Folk Machine Pinot Noir  –  $19.99
Kenny’s Folk Machine Pinot Noir is made from grapes sourced mostly from vineyards in the Central Coast with a splast of Mendocino fruit. The focus here is cool climate, early-picked Pinot. Juicy red fruits, bright acid, and a beautiful light translucence. Serve this lightly chilled with a summer lunch of little gem lettuce salad and Taleggio grilled cheese with caramelized onions.


2010 Ghostwriter Santa Cruz Pinot Noir – $24.99
It’s no wonder that this wine made the list in Jon Bonne’s Top 100 in last year’s SF Chronicle lineup. Ghostwriter Wines are Kenny’s wines from the cool-climate Santa Cruz Mountains. His Pinot Noir has a density of fruit that will please lovers of CA Pinot, but enough earth and forest floor herbal aromas to woo those Burgundy-philes too. It has a light, bright finish, and is a steal for delicious CA Pinot Noir. Get it while it’s still around!

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe will host this month’s featured winemaker, Kenny Likitprakong on Thursday June 20th from 6-10pm. Come by to meet Kenny and taste his wonderful wines.

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

Producer Dinner: Forlorn Hope Winery – Friday, June 7th, 7-10PM, Ticketed

Wine Appreciation: Palate Development School with Oliver McCrum – Mondays, June 17th and 24th, 6:30-9PM, Ticketed

Sour Beer Class with Master Cicerone Rich Higgins – Tuesday, June 25th, 7-9PM, Ticketed