hardly strictly bagels | Opportunity to eat a New York bagel in S.F. gets strangeby andy altman-ohr
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This has got to be one of the most bizarre local food stories in quite awhile.
Last month, pop-up purveyors Wes Rowe and Sonya Haines of San Francisco decided to get some bagels flown in from New York (ship-ped overnight from the famous Russ & Daughters) and sell them at a one-day operation called East-side Bagels. Their pop-up was held on a rainy Saturday morning at a bar/restaurant in SoMa, and it was promoted on food blogs and social media.
OK, fine. But now the unbelievable part: About 400 people showed up! A good 45 minutes before the 11:30 a.m. start time, 30 or 40 people were already in line. By 11 a.m., it had grown to about 100 people, at which point the organizers decided to open the doors early.
It was a frenzy. The line snaked all the way through the bar, out the front door and into the street. People wanted their New York bagels!
“We took all the orders in the first 30 minutes, and then I was like, ‘We’re sold out,’ ” Rowe recapped for me. “I went to a certain point in the line and told people if they weren’t in the door at that point, they wouldn’t be getting one. A lot of people were swearing, yelling at me.”
Even people lucky enough to get a bagel had to wait, as service was slowed by all the available options, from four kinds of homemade shmears to pastrami, lox, poached egg or crispy kale.
All in all, it was a crazy scene, and afterward, social media had a field day: “San Franciscans wait two hours in the rain for day-old New York bagels” read one blog headline. Comments online included: “So ridiculous. Embarrassing even,” “Baah! say the sheep” and “one magnificent yuppie bread line.”
Sure, “real New York bagels” are good — damn good in many cases — but it’s hard for me to imagine them generating such hysteria. Only in San Francisco, or Portlandia, I guess.
As an added twist, turns out they were not Russ & Daughters bagels, as the Lower East Side shop doesn’t make its own. The bagels were from Russ & Daughters’ supplier in Brooklyn. And as a topper, Russ & Daughters had contacted Rowe and Haines a day or two before the Feb. 8 event and told them to stop using its name in promotions.
Undaunted, Rowe, 30, and Haines, 28 (neither are Jewish, but she loooves N.Y. bagels), are going to give Eastside Bagels another go on Saturday, March 15. This time the plan is to get 180 bagels from H&H Bagels, which still does mail orders even though it closed its retail shops in New York City.
Eastside Bagels @ Dear Mom
11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 15
2700 16th St., S.F.
NEW DELI POP-UP: The Deli Board in San Francisco makes some of the best sandwiches in the Bay Area: succulent, creatively crafted and laden with really good Jewish deli meats — and their names (such as the Gold-n-Berg-n-stein and the Rivkah) always make me smile.But the Deli Board is a sandwich shop, not a real Jewish delicatessen. And that’s somewhat sad, because the owner, Cleveland native Adam Mesnick, has Jewish delicatessen pulsing through his veins. Corky & Lenny’s, Jack’s, Slyman’s … he grew up on ’em all.Now, in an ode to those Cleveland-area classics, Mesnick has started a pop-up he’s calling “1058 Rye” (or maybe “The Rye Project”… he still hasn’t made a final decision). He holds it once a week, from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, at his other sandwich shop, 1058 Hoagie in SoMa, a small place with about six tables. “This is a project that I love, and I want to keep doing it,” Mesnick said. He’s operated it for about two months now.The menu is small and nothing fancy. For example, the matzah ball soup, which Mesnick slaves over, comes in a plastic to-go container with a plastic spoon. But it’s delicious, with a big, fluffy matzah ball and packed with chicken.
And for those who think local Jewish deli sandwiches are too thin on the meat, there’s no problem here: The pastrami and corned beef sandwiches are stuffed super thick. They come on a plain rye that’s probably a bit too soft to hold it all, but for extra support, Mesnick uses two slices on the bottom of the sandwich (just like Slyman’s does). That’s it for the meat choices, and sauces and mustard are there for you to apply on your own.
There is also a basic chopped liver (no artisan ingredients), and the kind of pickle one would expect to get in a good Jewish deli (no anise or spices you’ve never heard of). A bagel with lox also is offered, and sometimes there is whitefish salad, although those seem odd choices for dinner.
“This will never turn into a full-fledged Jewish deli with matzah brie and kishka,” Mesnick said. “When I initially started Deli Board [four years ago], I leaned way more toward Jewish deli, and this goes all the way in that direction.”
The menu gets posted every Thursday afternoon on the 1058 Hoagie website. So far, crowds have been sparse, so it’ll be interesting to see if Mesnick can keep it going, let alone extend the hours like he wants to.
Thursdays 4-7 p.m.
At 1058 Hoagie, 180 Seventh St., S.F.
www.1058hoagie.com; http://www.facebook.com/1058hoagie; @1058hoagie and @deliboard on Twitter
MORE FOOD: The second annual Hazon Jewish Food Festival Bay Area is on April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.
Last year’s inaugural event at the JCC in San Francisco included classes, workshops and talks that focused on different aspects of the Jewish food movement. Which was fine. But this year, the focus is going to be more up my alley.
“We’re going for more food and less talk,” said one of the organizers, Alli Rosen, Hazon’s Food Justice Program associate. “We’re trying to grow the event, and we want it to be a place to come to eat and sample a lot of different things.”
The event will include four main food booths: sandwiches from the Grilled Cheez Guy, aka Michael Davidson of Oakland; Israeli cuisine from Palo Alto favorite Oren’s Hummus; plus knishes and dessert. There will also be a shuk (marketplace) with some 30 purveyors of local and sustainable food, art and other goods — plus a variety of interactive, DIY workshops and classes.
Tickets range from $5 for kids 8-13 to $18 general admission ($25 at the door) and go on sale April 1. For more information, visit http://www.hazon.org/calendar/hazon-food-festival-bay-area.
Save room for …
Three interesting (albeit not kosher) pastrami dishes on Bay Area menus:
Potato Waffle with Pastrami. Pastrami bits are embedded inside crisply cooked potato batter. Served with mustard and sauerkraut ($8). At Linea Caffé, 3417 18th St., S.F.
Goofy Fries. Garlic french fries topped with chopped pastrami and melted cheddar cheese sauce ($8). At the Refuge, 963 Laurel St. in San Carlos and 1143 Crane St. in Menlo Park.
Yoni’s Pastrami with Mustard. An appetizer of thinly sliced pastrami atop a swipe of mustard ($13), best ordered with a bialy ($6). At Alta CA, 1420 Market St., S.F.
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