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Welcoming Thanksgiving: Our Guide to a Perfect Celebration

Thanksgiving is upon us! I love this time of year for the celebrations and wonderful food. From gorgeous seasonal produce, to amazing roasts and turkeys (including, of course, unforgettable heritage turkeys from BN Ranch), to ready-to-eat foods and complete dinner kits prepared in our Kitchens by our talented Chefs, we’re here to help reduce the stress of your holiday. I invite you to peruse our 2014 Thanksgiving Guide to see everything our Buyers and Chefs have created for you; you can view it online below, or pick up a printed copy at either Bi-Rite Market.

Partnering with Instacart is another way we can make your Thanksgiving more convenient. You can now pre-order your holiday meals for pickup at either Bi-Rite Market location from our special online Holiday Market. Simply choose Bi-Rite at 3639 18th Street or 550 Divisadero Street as your pick-up location, and you’re all set.

As always, we’re here to help make your Thanksgiving entertaining a success. Come in and chat with us, or call us with any questions. We look forward to seeing you. Happy Holidays to All!


New! Get Your Bi-Rite Favorites Delivered with Instacart!

Instacart-Logo-ResizeIt is my pleasure to announce that beginning today, we are making a large selection of Bi-Rite Market products available for delivery in San Francisco through our new partner, Instacart. Many of you have spoken to me personally about your requests for delivery options, and we are thrilled to provide a flexible and convenient way to access the Bi-Rite foods you love.

PreparedFoods1We partnered with Instacart because, like us, they value personal connections and are committed to great service. And rest assured, we are always here to respond to any special requests, answer questions, provide recommendations, and share recipes.

We hope you enjoy the selection we have created for you in our Instacart store. You’ll find Bi-Rite classics and favorites, including:

  • IceCream1Bi-Rite Creamery Ice Cream
  • House-made Prepared Foods
  • Organic, Local & Farm-Direct Produce
  • Cheeses
  • Sustainable Meats & Seafood
  • Wine & Spirits
  • Groceries & SnacksMeat1
  • Deli Items
  • And much more!

Click here to visit Bi-Rite on Instacart and start shopping!

Open a new account on www.Instacart.com, and get free delivery on your first order of $35 or more.

We hope you enjoy your experience with the website, service, and food. As we fine-tune this new offering, we would love to hear your feedback. Email us at info@biritemarket.com, call (415) 241-9760 extension 0 and speak to a manager, or visit us in person. We look forward to seeing you.

Many thanks,

Sam and The Bi-Rite Family


Ready for the Holidays!

ThanksgivingScapeHappy Holidays! As you gather to celebrate in coming weeks, we look forward to helping make the season memorable for you, your family, and friends.

We have had a wonderful time creating our menus for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Chili has gathered together the finest California-raised heritage, organic, and free-range turkeys from family-run BN Ranch, Mary’s, and Diestel. Our Chefs have perfected our house-made seasonal side dishes with local, farm-direct ingredients. Anthea selected incredible cheeses and Trac hand-picked wines to please every palate. Raph discovered decadent sweets and classic gifts. And Anne and Kris created Bi-Rite Creamery baked goods and desserts for the perfect finale. We welcome you to peruse the pages of our 2013 Holiday Guide and can’t wait to hear your feedback.

This year we’re also making your holiday feasting more convenient by making our complete Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas menus available for order online. Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. And as always, you can also call us or stop in to place your order.

Thank you for sharing another holiday season with us. We look forward to feeding you!

 

 

 


Bi-Rite Divis is Open!

b-man with divisadero lineThought I’d never say this….but we’re open on Divisadero Street! Please come visit us 9 am – 9 pm today and every day. Store location, hours and parking info (yes, we do have one hour parking for our guests!) is here.

Salty_Ginger

Salty Ginger Sundae, Divis contest winner!

We’ve spent about three years working towards this moment, so today is all about celebrating the long, winding path that brought us here. And what better way to do so than by treating ourselves to the newest additions to our Divis menu: the winners of our Divis Sandwich and Sundae contest!

The Giuseppe: Fra’ Mani salami and mortadella, provolone, lettuce, red onion, tomato, dijon mustard, pepperoncini, and lemon aioli on an Acme Rustic Baguette (congrats to Joseph Slattery!)

naima

Opening is so sweet!

The Salty Ginger: Ginger ice cream, ginger snaps, sea salt, chocolate fudge, and whipped cream (congrats to Zoe Byl!)

Now that the construction is complete, it’s time to start the important work of building relationships with our guests. Our 60 Divis staff members are eager to meet and feed you. Plus, a bunch of our passionate food makers are joining us to give out tastes of their cheese, jams and more: check out the Divis events on our calendar here.

See you soon! And now more than ever, please let us know how we can better serve you.

P.S. You’ve gotta check out this video of neighborhood pup Trotter on his first visit to the store!

 

 

 


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


Announcing the Good Food Awards Finalists…Our PUBLIC Label Kohlrabi Kraut included!

Aren’t we fortunate? The Good Food Awards team announced this year’s finalists and not only does the list includes our own PUBLIC Label Kohlrabi Kraut, but we’re proud to stock about 15 of the other finalists on our shelves! Hmmm, now I’m thinking how cool it would be to gift a bag of all of these for the holidays….here’s the full list of finalists you can find on our shelves:

Pickles

Bi-Rite Market PUBLIC Label Kohlrabi Kraut

Emmy’s Pickles and Jams Bread n’ Butter

Charcuterie

La Quercia Borsellino Dry Sausage

Chocolate

Askinosie Chocolate Dark Milk Chocolate Bar + Fleur de Sel

Dandelion Chocolate Dominican Republic 70% & Madagascar 70% & Venezuela 70%

Lillie Belle Farms Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER

Rogue Chocolatier Hispaniola & Sambirano

Coffee

Sightglass Coffee Ethiopia – Yukro Gera

Preserves

INNA Jam Pretty Spicy Fresno Chili Jam

Sosu Srirachup

Cheese

Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Petit Frere

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., Bay Blue

Uplands Cheese Company, Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Beer

Bear Republic Brewery, Racer 5 IPA

View the full list of 2013 Good Food Awards Finalists here. 

Finalists are those entrants that rise to the top in the Blind Tasting and are also able to clearly articulate how they fit the Good Food Awards industry-specific criteria of environmental and social responsibility. Finalists attested to responsible production by detailing their efforts to eliminate or reduce pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, source ingredients locally where possible, implement water and energy conservation, ensure traceability to the farm level, practice good animal husbandry and exercise fair and transparent treatment of workers and suppliers.

This year’s 182 Finalists were chosen from among 1,366 entries from 31 states in nine industries. In geographic trends this year, Washington, D.C. is emerging as a hub of Good Food, with 14 Finalists hailing from its food shed of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Colorado (10), Washington state (10), Wisconsin (9) and Texas (9) all had strong showings. California had the largest number of finalists (43), followed by Oregon (22) and New York (16).

The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced. For a long time, certifications for responsible food production and awards for superior taste have remained distinct—one honors social and environmental responsibility, while the other celebrates flavor. The Good Food Awards recognize that truly good food—the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities—contains all of these ingredients.

The 100 winners will be announced in a 400-person ceremony at the Ferry Building on January 18, 2013, followed by a 15,000-person Good Food Awards Marketplace on January 19. Winners will sample and sell their winning products at the public Marketplace, which takes place alongside the renowned CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Tickets and details will be available at www.goodfoodawards.org in mid-December. See you there!


Tricks of the Thanksgiving Trade

One week from now, we’ll be sitting down to a meal that is, for many of us, our favorite of the year. Here are some tricks I’ve learned as a chef, dad (and grocer!) to make the days leading up to Thanksgiving less stressful.

Shopping: Plan Ahead!

It would be great if we could shop for Thanksgiving ahead of time, but we also want to be sure the food is fresh. For the best of both worlds, think about what types of items you can buy ahead vs. what should really wait until the day before. I’m a big fan of doing all the shopping for the big day with a minimum of two trips, ideally three:

  • First trip, a week or two out: buy all the staples, including butter, stock, gravy mix, stuffing mix, fried onions, nuts, spices, kosher salt, canned pumpkin, condensed milk, sugar, flour, cornmeal. Also get your hands on any tools or cooking utensils you might need: trussing kit, cheesecloth, meat thermometer, baster, parchment paper, and a baking pan for the turkey. I suggest buying the wine and any spirits you need during the first trip as well.
  • Second trip, ideally the Saturday or Sunday before Thanksgiving: buy dairy items such as cream, eggs, any cheeses you want to serve for appetizers, and produce staples including potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, celery, garlic, apples, chestnuts, hard squash, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, cranberries, oranges, and herbs. If you’re serving a ham, you can get it now as well.
  • Final trip, either Tuesday or Wednesday: pick up the most perishable items, including your turkey, fresh bread, salad greens, prepared food, any seafood you might serve (Dungeness crabs are an important part of many Bay Area Thanksgivings), pies, sausage for stuffing and any other last minute items you forgot on the last two rounds.
  • Don’t forget to grab something for lunch Thanksgiving day–most people do!

If you’re shopping at Bi-Rite next week,  you may be surprised to hear that being the first in right when we open at 9 am might not the quickest time to do your shopping, as there’s generally a line forming outside before we open. The best time is at 10 am, about an hour after we open, but any time before 4 pm is usually a good bet. Regardless of when you’re coming, we’ll have plenty of staff around to help find what you’re looking for or help with recipes. We can always help carry your bags to your car, and this year we’ll be offering free parking for our guests in the Mission High parking lot (west side of Dolores St. between 17th and 18th)  during peak hours on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday before Turkey day–stay tuned for more details!

More Plan Ahead Tips

The more advanced planning and organization, the easier the entire day will be.

  • Make your pie dough a week or two in advance and freeze until you are ready to use.
  • Pre-bake your pie crust to ensure a crisp bottom crust.
  • Do a dry salt rub on your turkey two days before Thanksgiving. Use kosher salt and black pepper– simple so as not to mask the flavor of your turkey.
  • Write out your menu and do an ingredient and cookware list for each item.  Be sure to balance out items that need to go in the oven, as the turkey will likely monopolize space for a few hours.
  • If there’s a new recipe you want to try out, I suggest trying it the week before to make sure it tastes good and you are able to execute successfully.

If You Buy Prepared Foods…

I suggest doctoring them up a bit:

  • Add sauteed mushrooms and turkey drippings to pre-made gravy.
  • Reduce orange juice with fresh ginger to add to pre-made cranberry sauce.
  • Add sauteed celery and onions to stuffing mix; mushrooms are a great addition as well.

Food & Wine shared these tips and a few more in this article.

Stretch Your Thanksgiving Dollar

To save money while putting together a killer feast, I recommend:

  • Buying in bulk and buying on sale.
  • Making items from scratch (as opposed to buying prepared foods).
  • Buying what’s in season. I’ve always been perplexed by our obsession with green beans for Thanksgiving. They are never as good as summer beans and are usually twice as expensive. I love using root vegetables– rutabagas, turnips and carrots- for purees or for roasted veggies as a side.
  • Don’t go crazy making too much food! As a society, we generally waste about 15% of the food we purchase. My guess would be that we waste way more around Thanksgiving, possibly twice that. People eat too much and often get sick of leftovers and toss the extra food. Reducing the amount of food you make by 20% will reduce your bill by that much. I feel wasting food defeats the whole point of the meal– our nations founders celebrated in order to give thanks for a successful harvest that helped them survive another winter–there’s no way they wasted any food back then.  We need to value food the same way, much more than we currently do, and wasting it is not going to help us appreciate what we have been given.

There is generally no need to buy extravagant items. The whole point of this meal is to bring family and friends together, to share and to give thanks!

Want to know what Thanksgiving planning looks like on our end?

Our butchers place the turkey orders in July or August, as our ranchers grow them specifically for us. We start preparing our staff for Thanksgiving in October with an all staff meeting to talk about the holidays, and smaller meetings where we go over ordering logistics, our menus, our turkey offerings and pick up procedures. We work with each department to ensure they are prepared, have ordered enough food and are staffed well enough to serve all our guests. We constantly remind our staff that we play a huge role in ensuring that our guests have a successful holiday meal. It can be a very stressful time for many people with friends and family visiting, along with the sheer volume of food they have to cook; our job is to help make it easier.

The most important thing about Turkey day? To not take it too seriously. You’re gonna laugh, but I generally grab leftovers from our prepared foods section, things like gravy and cranberry sauce, so I have less items to make (they’re as good as what I would make anyway)!  I also inevitably make a trip down to the store Thanksgiving morning to pick up things I forgot–I’m usually so tired Wednesday night that I forget something!


Groceries as Communities for Change

It’s been a year since Occupy Oakland. Despite the momentum some might have felt at that time, our communities’ social and economic problems remain. But the movement did illuminate a very important sentiment: People want to have a meaningful role in creating greater social equality and economic resiliency in their communities.

I partnered with Brahm Ahmadi of People’s Grocery last week to submit a piece about how grocers can be a locus for change to the San Francisco Chronicle’s op-ed desk.

Brahm is the founder and CEO of the People’s Community Market, a start-up grocery business in the lower-income neighborhood of West Oakland that faces many of the same challenges seen here in the Mission 20 years ago. Although it has yet to open its doors to the public, People’s Community Market is using a local solution for citizen action – a grassroots community investment campaign. The campaign enables people of all economic backgrounds – including the 99 percent – to actively participate in their local economies by becoming shareholders in this business. This is not a donation. This is real investment, creating community ownership, in a business whose primary purpose is to make a positive impact on the well-being of the community, and bring its shareholders a modest return.

The project is an outgrowth of 10 years of community work by the People’s Grocery. Their campaign, enabling people of all economic backgrounds–including the 99 percent–to actively participate in their local economies by becoming shareholders in this business, needs our help!

Click here to become an investor in People’s Community Market--the sooner they raise the needed capital, the sooner their doors will open and offer healthy food to a neighborhood that now does not have access.


Holiday Guide & Menus 2012

Click here to view and print our Holiday Guide! We’re taking pre-orders now, give us a call at 415-241-9760 x 3.

We’re so excited to bring you our first ever Holiday Guide, your one stop shop for a tasty holiday, Bi-Rite style. Inside you’ll find:

-Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah menus

-Turkey options: pre-order yours today!

-Holiday Wine Blitz details

-Sweet Weeks details

-Catering ideas–platters or full service

-Cheese platter tips and our favorites for the holiday

-Pies, holiday ice cream and other sweets from Bi-Rite Creamery

-Gift ideas: 18 Reasons classes, gift boxes, chocolates, special occasion booze, and more…

-Ordering info and deadlines for holiday pre-orders

 

 


Non-GMO Month at Bi-Rite: Two Opportunities for Conversation

We recommend voting YES on Prop 37 November 6th. But this isn’t about politics (yes genetically modified organisms are bad vs. no they’re not). It’s about transparency.

Transparency has been the foundation of Bi-Rite since the beginning, and it hinges on our ability to answer questions from our guests. It’s why we source direct, and work independently with hundreds of producers—so that we know the people who make the food, and there’s no middle man that’s a barrier between us and the information. So if we don’t have an answer, we know who to go to to get it. We want our guests to feel confident and comfortable and trust that what they’re buying at Bi-Rite is what they want.

We’ve been doing all we can to spread awareness around the big vote on November 6th–we want Californians to know that this is our opportunity to make a change at a state level that could go on to affect national policy as other California initiatives have. So we’ve organized two events that will happen in these last three weeks before the vote, and want to make sure you join us if you want to learn more about the complicated issue of GMO’s (or if you just think a scoop of non-GMO Caramel Apple Ice Cream sounds tasty!).

GMO Primer Discussion

This Sunday, October 21 from 1-3PM, 18 Reasons is hosting Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now! and Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety, for a conversation about GMOs and their affects on our health, environment, culture, and crop-diversity.  Oliveto Restaurant, 5655 College Avenue, Oakland (Right next to Rockridge Bart stop!); Register here: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/281022

Scoops for the Right to Know

We’ve partnered with Straus Family Creamery, true leaders in responsible dairy practices and champions of the campaign to require labeling of GMO foods, to spread the word about the vote on November 6th. Anne and Kris at the Creamery have come up with a special non-GMO ice cream flavor–Caramel Apple, so fall right now–which we’re scooping all the way through November 6th. The clincher is that the weekend before the vote, Saturday November 3rd and Sunday November 4th, we’re offering scoops of this flavor for just 37 cents!

The best thing about the upcoming vote is that it’s sparking conversation about what’s in our food, and our staff, guests and producers are all learning about the ins and outs of GMO’s together. Please share your thoughts in a comment!