Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First Report From The Mill, Open Today on Divisadero

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Josey Baker's whole wheat with butter and almond butter. - MOLLY GORE
  • Molly Gore
  • Josey Baker's whole wheat with butter and almond butter.

After seven months as a tent in front of its brick-and-mortar space on Divisadero, The Mill officially opened its doors this morning. By its second hour the line was stacked deep and looking antsy. The new spot from Josey Baker and Jeremy Tooker (Four Barrel) is a combination bakery/cafe, a welcome marriage of Four Barrel's reliably delicious coffee and Baker's well-loved repertoire of baked goods.

See also: Toast of the Town: Josey Baker's Bread Is Back

Josey Baker, Itinerant Baker, and His Community-Supported Bread

Four Barrel Nixes Soy. Forever.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Bake-Off: Obama and Romney Loaves Go Head-to-Head in Alameda

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM

If you're the type who'd rather be caught dead than drinking 7-Eleven coffee, but still want to show your support for your favorite presidential candidate (the convenience store chain claims that their unofficial coffee cup poll has successfully predicted the presidency in the last three elections), you're in luck: The Laughing Squid discovered that Feel Good Bakery in Alameda is selling loaves of sourdough bread stenciled with the likenesses of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

See also:

- SF Homebrewers Guild Launches a Presidential Competition

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Toast of the Town: Josey Baker's Bread Is Back

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Josey Baker's sunflower-pumpkin-flax-sourdough toast. - ANNA ROTH
  • Anna Roth
  • Josey Baker's sunflower-pumpkin-flax-sourdough toast.

It may be hard to believe, but Josey Baker is an artisan of toast, that insert-bread-into-slot standby that even 5-year-olds can handle. Every detail is lovingly attended to, from heating up the toaster to carefully spreading almond butter on every corner of the bread, and by the time he finishes up with a theatrical flourish of salt it seems (almost) a shame to eat the masterpiece.

Baker debuted his signature toasts today at The Mill, his still-under-construction collaboration with Four Barrel on Divisadero. The bakery/coffee shop won't officially open until September, but the crew has set up a makeshift tent café in the active construction site. A saw whined in the background as Baker cut a healthy slice of this morning's sunflower-pumpkin-flax-sourdough bread and held his hand over the toaster to see if it had reached the optimal temperature.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sprouted Rye at Bar Tartine

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM

  • Camila McHugh

It was no surprise that Sunday brunch at Bar Tartine was delicious. The eggs on the Benedict perfectly poached, served under strips of crisp and smokey bacon, a dousing of caraway Hollandaise sauce and a handful of fresh greens. The undertones of fennel in the caraway had me convinced that this slightly sour, sort of Irish (soda bread) flavor should always be in a Benedict. The caraway also drew out the rye in the sprouted rye bread that lay underneath. 

Before I wax poetic about this bread (and spread the exciting news involving Tartine Bakery's bread that is accordingly of the utmost importance to any San Franciscan), I'm calling caraway as the newest craze, à la pork belly or salted caramel. So far it's just the caraway dinner rolls at Central Kitchen and caraway seeds sneaking into the bread that sandwiches all this pastrami we're eating, but just you wait! Get ready for caraway to carry you away (sorry, couldn't resist.)

This sprouted rye redefines moisture in a loaf. More than dough, cutting open this dense, golden loaf reveals an explosion of seeds - lots of sprouted rye, (maybe some caraway?) and something that looks like pumpkin seeds. These seeds are held together by a dough that is so moist that it almost seems like its been soaked in preparation for french toast. When we ask the hostess where we can buy the bread, she directs us to Tartine Bakery, but I've rushed to Tartine too many times to make it there by 5 PM for a loaf of country bread (after wondering I should branch out and get the sesame, walnut, or olive), to know that this sprouted rye is actually not available there.

Chef Nicolaus Balla came out from the kitchen when he hears someone wants to talk about the bread, which he offers to sell me (on the underground brunch black market) for $8. In a way that is at once serious, eager and refreshingly relaxed, Balla says he's glad I like the bread and tells me that it gets better with age: "It's best on its fourth day." I'll admit I was dubious until I cut myself a slice of the dwindling loaf four days later to find the same freshness and a more potent flavor in the sprouted seeds. 

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Schmendricks Returns With Sunday Pop-Up

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

They don't "make no freakin' bluberry bagels" - SUSANNYC/FLICKR
  • SusanNYC/Flickr
  • They don't "make no freakin' bluberry bagels"

What: Schmendricks bagel pop-up

Where: 780 Café, 780 Valencia St.

When: Sun., March 18, 10:30 a.m.

Cost: 50 cents off with a cafe beverage

The rundown: Schmendrick may be Yiddish for a stupid person, but the bagel masters at Schmendricks are anything but. They're hosting a sold out New York bagel education event at 18 Reasons this week and sold out of their signature hand-rolled Brooklyn bagels within an hour at their first pop-up last month.

Plain, onion, sesame, poppy and garlic bagels so good they don't need to be toasted are on the menu just in time to heal your St. Paddy's day hangover. Schmendricks has assured SFoodie that they'll have more bagels ready at this, their second pop-up at 780 Café's new location, but early arrival is suggested. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more scheduled pop-ups.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bread SRSLY's Bicycle-Based Bread Distribution System Is Almost as Cool as Its Actual Bread

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Bread SRSLY is more serious about bread than it is about vowels. - COURTESY OF SADIE SCHEFFER
  • Courtesy of Sadie Scheffer
  • Bread SRSLY is more serious about bread than it is about vowels.

When food carts began to spread across San Francisco like some kind of tasty parasite, one local blogger joked that the next step would be for culinarians to start simply throwing food at people. They weren't far off, if Bread SRSLY's Sadie Scheffer is any indication.

Each week, Scheffer bakes up dozens of loaves of gluten- , dairy- and egg-free bread - in flavors from sourdough to fig-and-fennel - and hops on her bicycle to deliver them in San Francisco and the East Bay.

She also recently launched a line of only-in-San Francisco sandwiches, such as "The Flying Machine," with pork belly, arugula, and apple butter on savory slices of gingerbread, or "The Candyman," with pickled apples, black-bean cake, beet salsa, and yogurt on cornbread.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Schmendricks Pursues the Brooklyn Bagel

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Brooklyn bagels: Schmendricks' holy grail. - SUSANNYC/FLICKR
  • SusanNYC/Flickr
  • Brooklyn bagels: Schmendricks' holy grail.

"As a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, I've always done the NY bagel snob where I complained and complained and complained," says David Kover, one of the cofounders of Schmendricks Bagels, "Until another friend told me to shut up." 

Kover, a psychologist and food writer, took the advice to heart. Working with his neighbors, Deepa Subramanian and her husband, Kover and his wife began baking batches of bagels in his Mission apartment two years ago, chasing after the taste of the bagels his family would pick up every weekend. He didn't have much luck until he tracked down an old high-school classmate on Facebook who had worked in the bagel shop as a kid; his friend offered Kover a couple of baking tips that made all the difference. "We eventually had something really good," he says.

That was when the four neighbors decided to go into the bagel-baking business. Bakers from the two households have been shuttling back and forth, testing batches, for months, and the two couples took an exploratory trip back to Brooklyn, hitting 13 bagel shops in one morning. A few months ago, they signed a lease on a commercial kitchen. Subramanian quit her job as a corporate lawyer to serve as Schmendricks' head baker. Now they're trying to scale up their recipes to work with the larger ovens.

So what are the characteristics of a perfect bagel, according to Kover?

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stock Your Altar With Pan de Muerto From 24th Street

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Pan de muerto from Panaderia La Mexicana, left, and La Reyna Bakery. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Pan de muerto from Panaderia La Mexicana, left, and La Reyna Bakery.

Today and tomorrow, panaderias up and down the Mission's 24th Street strip are selling bones for the eating -- pan de muerto, a lightly sweet bread formed in to the shape of skeletons, skulls, or simply rounds decorated in doughy tibia. They're for placing on altars along with photos, ofrendas, and marigolds or for eating at the grave sites of loved ones.

This weekend, SFoodie picked up golden pan de muerto ($1.60) coated in sesame seeds at Panaderia La Mexicana (2804 24th St.). We peered through the display glass at the giant holiday breads at La Reyna Bakery (3114 24th St.), which are covered in multicolored sugar sprinkles ($20 for a skeleton, $15 for a round), before walking out with a smaller round ($2) coated in a fine layer of frosting and caster sugar so that it takes on a glittering, ghostly cast.

La Victoria (2937 24th St.) also confirmed on the phone that it sells pan de muerto today and tomorrow, as does Royal Bakery (4773 Mission, at Russia) in the Excelsior. And on the west side of town, Arizmendi Inner Sunset makes denser, larger skeleton loaves ($5.50) flavored with aniseed and candied orange rind to sell today and tomorrow. (The Valencia street location will only offer pan de muerto on Nov. 2.)

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rose's Café Takes Pastries, Charm to a New Level

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 10:50 AM


Just as we begin to tire of kitschy boulangeries and lackluster Italian coffee shops, a place like Rose's Café reminds us how cozy a true European-style cafe can be. Absent are the colorblocked Perrier posters and premade paninis, with simple bistro chairs, velvet booths and house-made pastries filling the space instead. 

Primely situated on the corner of Union and Steiner streets, it's no surprise Rose's has become a favorite brunch spot for Marina residents -- but it's worth traveling across the city to experience the charm yourself. Huge windows with gold letters calling out "Wine Bar" and "Trattoria" invite customers inside, and though there's always a wait during brunch hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday), the sunny sidewalk and cheerful vibe make it easier to swallow. 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Acme Bread's Edible Schoolyard Loaf

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Acme Bread's new Edible Schoolyard bread - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Acme Bread's new Edible Schoolyard bread
Chez Panisse's 40th anniversary celebrations crested last weekend with educational activities, dinners, and celebrations, but the party favor that really caught our eye was the new Edible Schoolyard Levain ($3.55) at Acme Bread.

The bread is named after Alice Waters' program as a means to increase awareness by creating a loaf that embodies the spirit of eating locally produced foods. Steven Sullivan told SFoodie that he had been working with whole grains after some discussions with Alice Waters about creating whole wheat bread for Chez Panisse.

"She really forces you to re-examine things and brings a strong vision and responses," said Sullivan.

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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.