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Archive for the ‘18 Reasons’ Category


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!

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.


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:

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


Community Corner: December

Updates on our work to build community through food and service last month

Shak moving thousands of lbs of produce from Tomatero Farm to Community Partners United

Highlights:  December was all about depth with key community partners:

  • In our first 18th St. Holiday Joy Drive, we collected 172 toys in four days! This means 172 families will had a happier holiday courtesy of Arriba Juntos, our guests and amazing staff. You all rock!
  • We helped Community Partners United feed 250 families living in housing projects in the Western Addition. With Matt, Simon, and Chili’s help, we provided 250 free range turkeys, 500 bunches of cooking greens, and over 1,100 lbs. of fresh produce – cranberries, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and satsumas!
  • Through proceeds of our EAT GOOD FOOD book sales, we were able to provide Nextcourse and Community Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF) with a donation of $8,750  each.
  • The Creamery spread some holiday sweetness by donating 900 sugar and gingerbread cookies to St. Anthony’s Foundation, A Women’s Place shelter and SF General Hospital.
  • We’re becoming a shareholder in People’s Community Market, making sound investment in the nutritional, social and economic needs of the West Oakland community.
  • We continued our yearly holiday giving by supporting the organizations our staff cares about including, LYRIC, Homeless Prenatal Program, Mission Preparatory School, Compass Family Services, Mission Community Market, SF SPCA and 18Reasons!

Get Involved with Organizations We Support:

  • Love digging in the dirt? Garden for the Environment needs volunteers for their demonstration urban garden every Wednesday and Saturday. Just show up ready to work – call (415) 731-5627 for more info.
  • Project Open Hand needs over 100 volunteers every single day to help provide 2,500 nutritious meals and 400 bags of groceries to the needy. Fight the post-holiday slump and sign up for an orientation: (415) 447-2313.

Know of great volunteer opportunities? Spending some quality time at a worthy local organization that could use Bi-Rite’s support? Let Shakirah know!

Who we donated to in December (43 organizations):

18 Reasons


Alameda County Food Bank

Animal Care and Control

Arriba Juntos


Chefs Collaborative

Children’s Book Project

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Community Partners United (c/o SF Parks Alliance)

Community United Against Violence (CUAV)

Compass Family Services

Cornucopia Institute

Creativity Explored

Curry Senior Center

Garden for the Environment

Health at Home – SFDPH

Homeless Prenatal Program

KPFA Radio

Larkin Street Youth Services


Margaret Jenkins Dance Company

Mercy Housing CA

Mission Community Market (c/o SF Parks Alliance)

Mission Graduates

Mission Preparatory School

National Kidney Foundation

Next Course

Our Family Coalition

People’s Community Market

Project Open Hand

San Francisco Living Wage Coalition

San Francisco Rock Project

Sauvie Island Center

SF Parks Alliance – Urban Sprouts



Shukuru Foundation

Slow Food USA

Southeast Mission Geriatric Services

Streetside Stories

The Daphne Zepos Teaching Award\American Cheese Education Foundation

Three Squares/Cooking Matters




Live from 18th Street, it’s the Bi-Rite Christmas Spectacular!

We’re not as pretty all lined up as the Rockettes, but we still want to wish you a Merry Merry!

Our guest Phil playing Santa at the Joy Drive

This Christmas, we feel extra fortunate to be part of such a giving community: in our first ever 18th St. Holiday Joy Drive, we collected 172 toys in 4 days! This means that 172 low-income families in the Mission will have a happier holiday this year, because of our guests and staff. You were super generous, giving everything from jewelry making kits and baseballs to classic children’s books, board games, remote control cars, one awesome twisty skateboard and a Mr. Potato Head! THANK YOU.






The Circle of the Gift

Lamotte's Romanesco Broccoli

“A work of art is a gift, not a commodity. Or, to state the modern case with more precision, that works of art exist simultaneously in two ‘economies,’ a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art.”

-Lewis Hyde, “The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World”

It calls your attention from the street, but step inside and you feel its full presence. Viewed either as a collection or as dozens of individual works, Michael Lamotte’s selection of stunning photographs from his project: From the Source (on display at 18 Reasons through January), embodies Hyde’s astute claim: “a work of art is a gift.”

Lamotte's Saucisson Provencal

Lamotte has a gift. Talent is a gift. Lamotte is unarguably a talented photographer. And his photographs, the physical artifacts of his gift, possess the same spirit as their maker, making them a gift in and of themselves.

On opening night, I observed the gift of reciprocity as the photographs (and the artist) were given a new energy from the outpouring of supporters who came to pack our community space. In the receiving of these works and the witnessing of Lamotte’s talent, the community was also bestowed with a gift.

Perhaps what makes artists involved with, and artworks exhibited at, 18 Reasons most special is their unique stance under the umbrella of modern art. The art here never stands alone. Food, agriculture, and community always stand by its side to form a network of interconnected purpose.

Lamotte’s From the Source project is a testament to this. It is a visual survey of local food taking form as both a blog and as aesthetically gripping black and white images of foods from small, local producers. Its intention is to foster a deeper level of appreciation for the foods and those who make them. In support of Lamotte’s work, several local food vendors whose products are represented in From the Source were present on opening night, some gracious enough to donate food for the public to enjoy free of charge. This is proof that giving breeds more giving.

This enacting of the gift economy is symbolically important because all three overarching entities—18 Reasons, Bi-Rite, and Michael Lamotte’s From the Source project—share the same core value: to create and strengthen community. All three aim to show that richness is measured in giving—an important message to spread especially during a holiday season that has become colored by commodification, consumerism, and a hollow desire to accumulate.

The clincher: although it is unavoidable, as Hyde points out in the above quote, that works of art exist in both a market economy and a gift economy, Lamotte turns the commodification element of the market economy on its head by vowing to donate all proceeds from works sold in the show to benefit the SF Chapter of Slow Food. Hence, the circle of the gift continues to grow!

Gifting an Experience Instead of an Ebelskiver

Shak looking "hella cute" in our new 18 Reasons aprons (Olivia's words)

This holiday season, consider giving the cook, gardener, and eater in your life a hands-on experience at 18 Reasons, our community art and event arm, where we teach folks from all skill levels how to feel comfortable cooking at home. This seems more useful to us than an Ebelskiver Pan or whatever else they’ve acquired in holidays past! If there’s a food lover on your list, we have the perfect gift to match their appetite:

Membership:  A year’s worth of discounts to 18 Reasons classes and treats at our supporting businesses. ($35-90, details here)

Aprons: Fresh off the presses, these were hand-printed by a San Francisco artist; the apron is 100% organic cotton, and is adjustable using the trusty sliding strap. Buy yours at Bi-Rite Market or 18 Reasons; all proceeds to go to our youth community work. ($35)

18 Reasons Gift Box: A starter kit for new members to the 18 Reasons community. Available at Bi-Rite Market and 18 Reasons, includes an 18 Reasons apron, 18 Reasons membership, copy of Eat Good Food, and a coupon for 20% off your bill at one 18th Hour Cafe on Thursdays from 6-10. ($100)

Our new 18 Reasons Gift Box

Classes: Hands-on opportunities to grow, cook, and eat delicious food; check out our exciting lineup of January events below and sign your friend up today!

Polenta: The Delicious Economy of Italian Cooking: three part hands-on cooking class all about how to eat well and spend little with our favorite Viola Buitoni (January 6, 8 and 20; $250 for 18 Reasons members; $300 for the general public; tickets here)

Flavor in Spades: learn how to add depth of flavor and a certain je ne sais quois to your cooking (Mondays, January 7, 28 and February 4; $55/65 per class; $150/180 for series; tickets here)

Unsung: Cooking with the Neglected and Beautiful Vegetables of Winter (Sundays, January 13+17 and February 10+24; $110/125 per class; $400/450 for series; tickets here)

Urban Gardening School: Six month edible gardening introduction (Third Wednesday and Saturdays of the month, January-June; Sliding scale: $350-425; tickets here)

Taking Stock: The Eat Good Food Pantry:  two part class on how to create delicious flavor from pantry basics based on Bi-Rite Market’s favorite oils, vinegars, beans, grains, and more. (January 14 and February 11; $100 for 18 Reasons members; $120 for the general public (for both classes); tickets here)

Food Lit Book Club: Read, Eat and Discuss: (Third Sunday of the Month, January-March, 11AM-1PM; $30 for all three sessions; tickets here)

Feeding Your Soul: Mindful Cooking & Eating: (Wednesday, January 16, 7-9PM; $25 member price; $35 general; tickets here)


Cooking in the Outdoor Classroom…with Kaiser’s Support!

One of the most pressing issues facing our children and communities today is the obesity epidemic.   In San Francisco, as in other areas throughout the country, the obesity epidemic disproportionately impacts low-income communities. Among low-income San Francisco youth ages 5-19, 43% are overweight or obese according to the San Francisco Childhood Obesity Task Force.  The city’s Latino and African American children have the highest rates of obesity, at 28.3% and 24.6% respectively. Furthermore, in San Francisco, only 25% of kids eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day, as reported by the 2009 California Health Interview Survey.

We believe that we can change these statistics, and with Kaiser’s support, we are going to put our beliefs into action.

18 Reasons is honored to be part of Education Outside’s Grounds for Healthy Kids Project, which just won a $20,000 grant from Kaiser Foundation Hospitals! Over the past year, we have developed a cooking and gardening curriculum together called Cooking the Common Core, which we can now fully implement in ten San Francisco Unified School District elementary schools , thanks to this support from KFH. We couldn’t be more excited!!

Launched in Spring 2012 in partnership with 18 Reasons, Cooking the Common Core is the first SFUSD teacher training series to promote garden-based cooking in order to inspire kids to prepare and eat healthy food.  This new garden-based cooking series, geared towards 4th and 5th grade teachers and outdoor educators, is focused on using the art and science of cooking to teach the new Common Core academic standards.  As we have discovered, cooking is a fun and creative way to bring subjects such as math to life for students and teachers in their green schoolyards, all while instilling a love for growing and preparing healthy food.

The Cooking the Common Core pilot workshops took place in Spring 2012 and were a huge hit among the 48 teacher participants, with 100% of participants reporting increased knowledge of outdoor classroom teaching techniques, ecological concepts, and confidence in implementing the Cooking the Common Core standards-based content.  One participant remarked, “This training was extraordinary!  Great content, inspiring, well-delivered, exceeded my expectations.  I will teach both lessons in the near future.”

In 2013, we look forward to offering three Cooking the Common Core workshops aligned with English language arts and math Common Core Standards, and expect to serve approximately
60 teachers in SFUSD.  We will be serving some of San Francisco’s most under-served children.  The initiative’s target population includes 4,000 students, 200 teachers, and 5,000 parents from the following San Francisco public schools: ER Taylor (Portola); Bret Harte (Bayview-Hunters Pt.); Fairmount (Bernal Heights); Buena Vista/Horace Mann K-8 (Mission); Hillcrest (Excelsior); Jefferson (Inner Sunset); Sanchez (Mission District); New Traditions (Western Addition); Alvarado (Noe Valley); and Sherman Elementary (Marina/Cow Hollow).

I’ll be leading the 2013 workshops along with Joyce Lin- Conrad and Rachel Pringle of Education Outside , who together have more than a decade of experience teaching and developing cooking-related garden programming for youth. Each stand-alone workshop will provide teachers with all of the skills, lesson plans, inspiration, and supplies needed to implement two basic cooking lessons with their students in the garden classroom. At the end of the workshops, each teacher or team of teachers will receive a cooking kit to bring back to their school. The kits will contain the majority of the equipment, tools, and non-perishable supplies needed to execute the outdoor cooking lessons with a class of 20 students. Equipment and tools include a portable stove, cutting boards, knives, vegetable peelers, graters, and mixing bowls.

Want to join in on all this fun? We could use more support for Cooking the Common Core and the rest of our youth programming including culinary career courses at the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco,  career readiness mentorship with NextCourse and cooking and gardening summer camps at the Sanchez School.  To donate please click here and thank you!


18 Reasons Gallery Opening: From the Source

We’re celebrating our next 18 Reasons gallery exhibition this Friday, December 7th from 5-8 pm:

From the Source: A Visual Survey of Local Food
new works by Michael Lamotte

Food photographer Michael Lamotte’s black and white images of products from local purveyors, artisans and farmer’s markets will grace our gallery from December 7th thru January 25th. Treating food products as formal objects, Lamotte’s exquisite large format prints will be accompanied on opening night by tastings from several vendors featured in his work. The producers behind INNA Jam, Josey Baker, Dandelion Chocolate, and more are expected to be in attendance, highlighting the mutual support felt and shared between local food photographer and local food artisan.

The Gallery at 18 Reasons
3674 18th St