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Matt R.

November Wine Blitz: Start Early with this Password!

 

Only a week left to make your Wine Blitz list! The first of our two Holiday Wine Blitz Sales officially kicks off next Thursday, November 8th, at which point we’ll take 20% off 12 or more bottles of wine mix-and-match with free delivery in San Francisco. 

We’re so excited about Blitz season that we’re giving wine away! That’s right, free wine. You loyal newsletter readers have a chance to get in on the Wine Blitz action a little early while snagging a bottle of vino on us. 

Here’s how it works: If you come in from Monday, November 5th through Wednesday, November 7th to shop for the Wine Blitz by buying 12 bottles or more and mention the word “Brockway” to anyone on our wine team, we’ll send you home with a free bottle of our 18th Street Zinfandel, crafted for us by Berkeley-based winemaker Chris Brockway. It’s like you’re a secret agent with a secret code for wine! 

Wine Blitz Preview Tasting is this Friday, November 2nd from 6PM – 8PM at 18 Reasons. We’ll be pouring some of our favorites, the perfect chance to taste before you shop. In the meantime, here are some Rhone Valley reds that we’re excited to offer at Blitz price:

2011 Eric Texier Lindigène Sulfureux Yelen  –  $16.99; Blitz Pricing  –  $13.59

Eric Texier has quickly become one of the most well regarded producers in the Rhone Valley. Perhaps it’s because he does not come from a long line of winemakers, like so many other well-known producers, yet makes wine like it’s in his blood. Instead, Eric left life as a nuclear engineer to pursue winemaking in a little-known area of the Rhone called Brézème. He’s credited with helping to revamp the reputation of this forgotten corner of the Rhone. He does not own any vineyards, but works exclusively with a small handful of growers in the area farming using only organic and biodynamic practices. This bottling is his ode to Syrah, one of the primary Rhone varietals. It’s made with carbonic maceration, a technique that brings out more bright fruit characters, and is completely unsulfured. Bright blackberry and currant aromas are followed by flavors of tart black fruit, black pepper, and a light smokey minerality. It’s medium bodied with an assertive acidity that’s sure to stand up to a variety of dishes.

Perfect Pairing: Winter squash and chickpea tagine

2010 Domaine du Joncier ‘Le Classique’ Lirac  –  $22.99; Blitz Pricing  –  $18.39

Unlike Eric Texier, Marine Roussel did grow up in a winemaking family, but chose to pursue an interest in graphics before feeling a pull back to her family’s domaine in 1989. She works her family’s small plot in Lirac, a small appellation in the Southern Rhone neighboring Tavel and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Actually, her terraced vineyards on the right bank of the Rhone directly mirror those of Châteauneuf on the other side. She even has the same galet roulés, or large round rocks that cover clay soils underneath. These are important both in Châteauneuf and for Marine in Lirac, since the rocks help to temper the intense daytime heat while also storing it and keeping the vines warmer during cool nights. Marine’s ‘Le Classique’ bottling is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Carignan that is a stunning comparison to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Dark black cherry and smoky aromas lead to a rich and dense palate of blackberry, cassis, and slate-like minerality. Drinkable now or in a few years!

Perfect Pairing: Duck confit with braised butter beans

2010 Domaine Faury Saint-Joseph  –  $29.99; Blitz Pricing  –  $23.99
Philippe Faury and his son Lionel have a small 11 hectare vineyard in Saint-Joseph. They’ve slowly been converting their family’s old peach and cherry orchards over to grape vines since the 1970s. Today, they’re well known for producing remarkable Syrah from this portion of the Northern Rhone. Like many other regions in the Rhone Valley, grape farming is only possible through terracing. The terracing not only makes steep slopes more manageable but it helps with even sun exposure to ensure even ripening of the grapes. The Faurys use many traditional techniques and are meticulous in their respect for the grapes. They use only used oak barrels and often age their wines in larger barriques and demi-muids (600-liters). This bottling has subtle floral and dark fruit aromas with flavors of blackberry, earthy mushrooms, and a long elegant finish.

Perfect Pairing: Grilled hanger steak with grilled wild mushrooms and onions


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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mark your calendars: Saturday, September 29th is Party on Block 18!

Every other year, we partner with the other 18th Street food businesses to thank our neighbors for supporting us, and raise money for six local nonprofits.

As with our 2008 and 2010 block parties, 18th Street will be closed off between Dolores and Guerrero to make room for tasty street food (short rib tacos, kati rolls or salted caramel ice cream, anyone?) and a wine and beer garden. Music performances will happen throughout the day, along with a pie baking contest (this year, the judging will take place inside 18 Reasons)! We’re excited to be joined by newcomers to our neighborhood this year, including namu gaji, Izakaya Yuzuki, and Pot and Pantry.

As in the past, all proceeds from the event (including money raised through tickets sales, sponsorship and the pie baking contest) will go directly to a handful of neighborhood non-profits selected by the organizers. This year, the beneficiaries will be 826 Valencia, 18 Reasons, Nextcourse, Buen Dia Family School, Holy Family Day Home and The Women’s Building.

The pie baking contest is for non-professional bakers. Pies will be judged based on flavor and appearance in the following categories: fruit, chocolate, nut and other. Entrants will be chosen on a first come, first served basis, notified via email by September 15th; click here to enter the contest.

Advance food and beverage tickets will be for sale in the weeks before the block party here, at Delfina, Dolores Park Café, Fayes, and Tartine Bakery. A book of 10 costs $20. Click here to buy your tickets online.

Join our Party on Block 18 Facebook page to get updates on menu items and other announcements leading up to the big day.

If you’d like to volunteer that day, or have any questions for the organizers, please drop us a line.

We’re so grateful to the neighborhood that supports all of our businesses day in and day out, and hope that Party on Block 18 is a chance for everyone to come out and celebrate together the relationships that have been formed in our community. The first two block parties were great and we expect this one to be even better, hoping to raise even more money than ever before for the six amazing organizations in our neighborhood that will greatly benefit from
everyone’s help.

See you there!


Shakirah

Checking in on Divis

Sam dreaming of what will be

Holy cr*p!  It’s already been a year since we signed our lease on Divisadero at Hayes.  We haven’t thought that seemingly endless discussions about refrigerated cases were very newsworthy, but with construction  ramping up, we want to share some news and picture with you.  We’re almost finished with the seismic upgrade and re-framing of the building!

The Divisadero market has been a challenging endeavor, not just because of the construction complexity and breadth, but because it involves a new community. Some of the questions we’re asking ourselves include: What does it mean to become a part of an existing community?  Who lives and works in this community? What do community members want (and not want) to see in their neighborhood? We do not have the answers to all of these questions nor do we presume that we will in the days leading up to our opening.  However, we want to find out. We’re listening. We’re reading. We envision Bi-Rite on Divisadero as a true neighborhood market: a reflection of the surrounding area and of the tastes, flavor and flair that take shape along the Divisadero corridor.

The view from the storage mezzanine

We don’t seek to supplant, but to support and sustain. We’ve begun the process of learning from our new neighbors, opening our ears to a neighborhood that has clear, diverse and defined voices. As part of the learning and listening process, we’ve met with a lot of amazing people  — business groups, neighborhood associations, city leaders, churches, schools—all of whom are committed to making the Western Addition a great place to live, work and play.

We’re not done, nor will we ever be done. Clearly, the Western Addition has seen tremendous physical and cultural change over the past 15 years. We believe that there is a way to impact a neighborhood landscape that is thoughtful, respectful and yields more positive change than negative. Plainly put: it’s a process.  We’re looking forward to the dialogue that should (and will) accompany our opening in the Western Addition, and  how Bi-Rite Divis will evolve as we build more relationships and continue having conversations with our new neighbors.

And speaking of our opening, yep, we know. It’s been slow. The question still remains:

“When will Bi-Rite on Divisadero open?”  Right now, it’s looking like the early part of 2013.  We still need a conditional use permit for a rooftop mechanical room and to connect the adjacent storage space. Our conditional use hearing before the SF Planning Commission should happen in mid to late July. Once a date is scheduled, we’ll let you know so you can hopefully attend the public hearing and show your support.  We know we’ve pushed the date back a few times–just want to make sure we’ll be ready to serve the neighborhood when we open!

Thank you for your support and patience! We look forward hearing from you—shoot us an email here. And if you’re interested in updates on Divisadero in the coming months, sign up for our email list here.

 

 

 


Why Be Dull? Bernal Cutlery’s Japanese Whetstone Sharpening is Coming to Bi-Rite!

Bring us your knives this Sunday!

We’re so excited to bring a new service to our guests: knife sharpening right outside the door of the grocery store! We’re partnering with Kelly and Josh of Bernal Cutlery, a passionate duo with an artisan approach to the craft of sharpening knives. There’s no denying the golden rule of cooking well: having sharp knives will not only improve the texture of food in your recipes but also lessen the chances of cutting yourself (a dull blade is dangerous since it requires too much pressure to slice!).  As Josh says, “knives reflect the evolution of our creative relationship with food and cooking,and through that, our relationship with the world that sustains us.” With the highest quality Japanese whetstone sharpening available on your way to or from the Market, there’s no excuse not to take advantage!

Here’s how it’s going down:

  • Bernal Cutlery will set up shop on the third Sunday of every month from 2-6 pm in front of the Market. We’re kicking off this Sunday February 19th.
  • Bring as many knives as you’d like to be sharpened
  • Knives will be sharpened on a first come, first served basis from 2-6 pm. Any knives not sharpened during that time will be taken back to their shop at 331 Cortland St in Bernal Heights, and you’ll be notified when your knives are ready for pickup at the shop. If you’d rather not venture to Bernal, and can do without your knives for a couple of weeks, they’ll bring them back to Bi-Rite the following month to hand them off to you.
  • Pricing and contact info is here.

Josh, Taka and Tag, Bernal Cutlery’s three craftsmen sharpeners, use Japanese Whetstone grinding techniques which result in edges that are sharper and longer lasting, and remove far less metal for less wear on the knife. Japanese whetstones not only are the preferred sharpening medium for fine Japanese knives but are superior for all types of cutlery. The three of them have tens of thousands of hours of experience in sharpening Japanese, French, and Western knives. More info is available on their website.

Even if you don’t have dull knives, we highly recommend stopping by to see the sharpeners at work; the rhythmic sound of knife on whetstone is therapeutic, as you can see in this video!


A Grocer’s Role in Feeding Us is Complicated: Let’s Discuss!

Join Us for a Discussion About a Grocer’s Role in Feeding a Community

The Commonwealth Club of California Presents

STOCKING UP: HOW THE GROCER AND CONSUMER CAN TAKE BACK FOOD CHOICE

On Wednesday November 2, the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco will host a discussion examining the grocer’s role in feeding our society. Behind the displays on supermarket shelves is a web of politics, economics and strategic marketing that influences product placement and, ultimately, consumer purchasing decisions. Caught in the middle are American eaters.

Bi-Rite owner Sam Mogannam has assembled a diverse group of experts to examine key questions about the complexities of food distribution and the empowerment available to the consumer. As he did in recently published Bi-Rite Market’s: Eat Good Food, Sam will share his insights about the American food system from the point of view of a neighborhood grocer committed to creating and feeding a community.

Joining the discussion will be Rex Stewart, CEO of New Leaf Market, along with Michael May from Harvest Hills Market. Food Policy consultant Naomi Starkman will moderate the conversation.

Panelists will discuss the path that food takes to get to our table and the role that grocers play in feeding us. They will also explore alternative models and ways to inspire change in supermarkets; what they sell, where it comes from, how it arrives to them and how they choose to merchandise it. Can grocers say “no” to business as usual and “yes” to responsible farmers, ranchers, and small producers?

Secure your seat today for the panel on November 2; reception begins at 5:30 and program begins at 6:00. More information is available on The Commonwealth Club’s web site.



Eat Good Food is here!

Eat Good Food is officially on our shelves and in stores across the country–I can’t believe the big day is here! The work we’ve done would not be possible without all the input of everyone in our community– the dedication of our staff, the passion of our producers and the commitment of our guests who support us.

The authors having a good read!

I’m encouraged that many venues are excited to have me come speak and share our tips for better shopping and eating. My book tour won’t take me to every audience I’d like to speak with (I could spend a year doing that full time!), but to a few places that are dear to my heart.

First, a couple of panel discussions that I hope will help consumers realize how much influence they have over the food choices available to them at supermarkets. In New York, I will be at the Brooklyn Kitchen moderating a panel of local retailers, farmers and distributors discussing the challenges of getting food from farms to our shopping baskets.  Here in SF, I will participate in a discussion at the Commonwealth Club on the same topic, moderated by Naomi Starkman.  Whether you live on the East Cost or in the Bay Area, please consider joining me at one of these events.

I will also be heading up to Portland to cook a dinner with Cory Schreiber, an old friend who put Northwest cooking on the map, at the Portland Culinary Institute. The event is a fundraiser for the Sauvie Island Center, a non-profit that educates youth about food, farming and the land (similar to some of our work at 18 Reasons). While in Portland I will also do a signing at my favorite grocery chain in the country, New Seasons Market. If you have not gone there, you need to check them out—they are amazing supporters of their community and promote the hell out of good food in a manner that is accessible to all. From Portland, I will be heading to Seattle to do a dinner conversation at the Pantry at Delancey—a venue that was inspired by Bi-Rite as a model for positive community involvement.

I invite you to join me at any of these events; even if you can’t make it, I hope the book will stand on its own and become a frequently-referenced part of your kitchen library.


Kids Rule: Youth Programming at 18 Reasons

18 Reasons ran our first ever youth camp this July, and it was one of the real highlights of the summer for us.  Over the course of one week, our eleven campers took care of sheep and chickens in the mornings and in the afternoons learned to make pizza from scratch. From milling their own flour that they later kneaded into dough, to pulling mozzarella and making tomato sauce, the kids made everything we needed to throw the best pizza party ever on Friday afternoon.

Teaching kids proved phenomenally rewarding for us; it allowed us to fulfill our mission in whole new, rich, and powerful ways.  “Deepening our relationship to food and each other” is our calling, and watching these 9-11 year-olds master new cooking skills, care for animals, and get excited about food allowed us to help them do just what our mission prescribes.  It was rad! So much so, that we are doing a lot of youth programming, starting this fall with Peanut Butter and the Pen, a creative food writing after school program on Wednesdays.  Students will tackle letter writing, autobiography, fiction, and basic grammar skills all while writing about (and tasting) food.  We’re also developing some camp ideas for school vacation weeks; we’ll keep you posted!

As part of our efforts to expand our youth programming, 18 Reasons is also reaching out to the garden coordinators, teachers, nutrition counselors, and parents who teach our children.  We’ve worked with the Green Schoolyard Alliance and the Nutrition Education Project to identify needs in the education community that 18 Reasons is equipped to address.  As a result, we’ve planned two new programs: First, we’ll be holding furlough day workshops on how to cook and teach in edible school gardens; these classes will help facilitate teacher comfort using outdoor classrooms to teach all sorts of skills and subjects.  Second, 18 Reasons is hosting quarterly support and community building sessions for garden coordinators working in San Francisco schools.  We’ve got the space to bring people together, and we cannot think of a better group of people to get in the same room and share skills than those who are teaching the City’s kids.

As always, thank you for your support of 18 Reasons as our programming evolves. Your ticket sales and membership dues support all of this exciting new work, and we honestly couldn’t do it without you.


SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner

On the second Sunday of each month* at 5 PM, the quiet that descends on 18 Reasons is sudden, slightly electric, and yet calmly happy.  During the proceeding half hour, moms, dads, couples, friends, and eager cooks have happily clambered into 18 Reasons, arms full of soup, braises, curries, breads, salads, and the occasional dessert.  They have each set their offering (a continuum from vegan to meat loving dinners) out on our table, said hi to familiar faces and introduced themselves to new ones, announced what they’ve made, and then, quick as anything, swapped out their meals for those of four others.  Arms now loaded with a completely new bounty, each person has trotted back out the door, gone again for another month.  All that is left is that air, charged with the vibrancy of the 12-15 cooks.

Our monthly “SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner” is, hands down, one of my favorite events at 18 Reasons.  Though only a quick 30 minutes, SWAP manages to engender each of the core principles of our organization.  It brings people together to share food and meet each other. It requires that people cook meals from scratch but holds no expectations for fancy ingredients or laborious cooking preparations.  But it also doesn’t penalize if someone wants to get a little creative with their kitchen acrobatics.  It asks that people think about others, since it will be other bellies that are nourished by the meal they are making. It helps people put good, honest, homemade food on the table even when schedules are furiously hectic.  It suggests that if we plan ahead and work together as a community, we can eat well all of the time.  

Here are some photos from our most recent SWAP, which is co-hosted by A Little Yumminess, a blog written about kid friendly foodventures in the Bay Area.  Anyone is welcome, and our definition of family is broad, so come join us next month! More information is available on our website.

* May only SWAP: Homemade Family Dinner will be on the third Sunday of the month at 3:30PM. In June we will return to our normal second Sundays at 4:30.


Peanut Butter and the Pen

Last Saturday we at 18 Reasons paired up with Take My Word For It to offer a creative writing workshop with 3rd-5th graders. Since Valentine’s Day was around the corner, the children wrote love letters to their favorite foods.   I thought I would share some photos since they show the awesomeness of the morning much better that I could describe it!

Dear Lovely Pesto

All in a Hard Day's Work

A Room Full of Children, Food, and Creativity!