Editor Scott dropped by the great Bi-Rite food store on 18th in San Francisco. This is their cozy smaller shop–but full of good cheer and great food. The “building community through good food” slogan feels right. It ain’t cheap, but it ain’t a daily market. It’s inspiring for any cook.
Essential in SFO: serious bread. That means Bi-Rite carries loaves from hot new guys like Josey Baker (mills his own flour) and pioneers like Acme in Berkeley.
It’s a small, crowded shop but the care taken in display is obvious–like in a French or Italian store.
Lots of tasting notes on the products, including these vinegars. A style of food display well proven by the Fairway chain in New York.
Bi-Rite has their own line of foods cleverly called “Public Label”– but this ain’t Trader Joes. They have their own kim chi. Food editor Ann Pittman says it’s interesting–lighter, gingery.
Small producers of things like Jersey cow butter and other dairy products find a home here.
Culinary mashup time: a ketchup-sriracha sauce made in San Fran. There’s another artisanal sriracha made in New York. Sriracha is a Thai sauce but the famous “Rooster” version is actually from Rosemead, California and dates to the early ’80s.
Bi-Rite makes its own ice cream and has expanded to a have its own ice cream shops, with flavors like Brown Sugar (great) and sundaes drizzled with olive oil.
This fantastic pack of Italian spaghetti is about 18 inches long and so pretty I’d like to get it as a gift!
What you’re looking for in food shops like this is stuff you’ve never seen before–like butternut squash seed oil. Hey, pumpkin seed oil is good…
Continuing the “hunh???” theme–I didn’t even know there was something called cheddar cauliflower, let alone expect a food store to be bottling its own.
Already posted about these Mandarinquats, which have sweet skins like kumquats but a lot more juice. At Bi-Rite, the guy stocking the shelf noticed me staring at the fruit and said “you want to try one?”. He sliced one right there and we tasted it.
Civilized local laws mean Bi-Rite not only sells wine but also a lot of interesting liquids.