It’s a tonic, it’s a digestive aid, it’s a substitute for the morning coffee, it’s a way for emasculated office drones to reconnect with the Cro-Magnon within. Amino-acid-rich bone broth, that Paleo sensation, has become so popular that people are paying upwards of $9 for a single hot cup of it. So I went to see if the two places in San Francisco that have glommed on to the trend were merely cashing in or adding something that might convince people to swap it for their daily caffeine fix (occasionally, anyway).
The Bone Broth Craze: Two Spots to Get SomeThe Market (the new one in same building as Twitter) is selling frozen quarts of bone broth for $8, which represents a pretty solid value over what NYC cafes are selling it for — although less so if you’re comparing it with regular old stock. (The difference is that stock uses a higher proportion of bones to meat.) I defrosted it overnight and nuked a wee cup, which would probably infuriate some purists, but even in a small quantity, it reduced my hunger pangs. It’s made with beef, chicken and pork bones, plus apple cider vinegar, and with the benefit of a little seasoned salt, it really popped.
That was perfectly good, but a trip to Belcampo Meat Co. showed what a little imagination can do. Belcampo is selling quarts of bone broth for $10 and hot cups out of a coffee urn for $5 each. (You get a lid and sleeve and everything, so you can be stealth.) They’re also flavoring the broth. You can get it straight or opt for Calabrian chili and the more explicitly hangover-curing ginger-garlic-coriander variety, which is almost bracing. It smells pretty fantastic, either way. (It’s become something of an official staff beverage over there, and the counter guy revealed that he’s “experimenting with a fermented turmeric,” which sounds rather intriguing.) It's considerably saltier than the Market's version, and because I drank a larger quantity of it, I felt a noticeable surge of energy.
One drawback is that it’s exceptionally sticky, such that the stickiness actually transferred to my bike handle without diminishing on my hand. And all I did was touch the lip of the cup. Considering the minor spills people endure with their coffee, that could be a huge pain. So consider yourself warned.