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!
Problem was, Rowe and Haines had shipped in only 120 of them. Some people waited 90 minutes or more in line, only to come away bagel-less — and were more than a little upset.
“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; 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 www.hazon.org/calendar/hazon-food-festival-bay-area.
Paulie’s Pickling, a really good under-the-radar Jewish-style deli counter in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, will appear on “Check Please! Bay Area” next month. Paulie’s is not a standard “Check Please!” kind of place (no seating, not open for dinner), so it will be interesting to see how the three guest reviewers rate it. The episode will premiere at 7:30 p.m. April 29 on KQED-TV, Channel 9. Beat the crowds by visiting Paulie’s in the marketplace at 331 Cortland Ave. … New York’s craze for the “cronut” (half doughnut, half croissant) has resulted in many copycats and offshoots, including the “cragel” (half bagel, half croissant). House of Bagels at 5030 Geary Blvd. sent out a tweet a few days ago saying it is selling “hot and buttery” cragels, but you might want to call first to make sure they’re in stock. (415) 752-6000 … Wise Sons Deli co-owner Evan Bloom says the restaurant on 24th Street in San Francisco will open for dinner service by the end of March. More details coming soon … Authentic Bagel Co. has raised $35,000 via a Kickstarter campaign, so now the build-out of the space next to its successful shop on Second Street in Oakland will move to the next level (electrical, plumbing, etc.). Look for it to open in two or three months … The second installment in the kosher pop-up series spearheaded by Con-gregation Beth Israel in Berkeley (along with Epic Bites catering and Noah’s founder Noah Alper and his wife, Hope) is slated for March 30 at the temple. This one is tabbed Epic Pizza Pop-Up, and the menu will include five kinds of pizza plus other items. It’s casual, running from 1 to 8 p.m., but organizers want people to RSVP to email@example.com with the approximate time they’ll be coming by … Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland will serve up its Montreal-style bagels and a few flavors of cream cheese (along with Flying Goat coffee) at the JCC of San Francisco’s “Purim Unmasked” festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 16 … Augie’s Montreal Smoke Meat is popping up again at Beauty’s from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 31 … The JCC of San Francisco’s café, Community Table, is undergoing some final taste tests next week as it prepares to offer certified kosher catering. That will be in addition to grab-and-go kosher items (such as L’Chaim Sushi) now offered at the café … Good news for North Peninsula residents who have never tried it: the Old World Food Truck has added the new Burlingame Off the Grid (5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays at Broadway and California) to its rotation every other week. Its next stop there will be Tuesday, March 18 … More than 250 people attended a memorial on Feb. 23 at Memphis Minnie’s for the S.F. barbecue joint’s longtime owner, Bob Kantor, who died in December at 67. Some of the attendees were his childhood friends from Brooklyn, where Kantor got his start in the restaurant world by working for his dad (a kosher butcher), as a busboy in a kosher deli and as a driver for a kosher chicken operation. Memphis Minnie’s will remain open … The JCC of San Francisco is hosting two more food events: Reboot’s “Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen” on April 1 ($27-$30) and “The Downtown Seder” on April 9 ($95-$115). The former includes local big-name chefs and food sampling, and the latter is a dinner at which more than 20 artists, politicians, comedians and thinkers will tell their own versions of the Passover story. For more information, visit www.jccsf.org/arts … The glatt kosher Jerusalem Grill & Bar in Campbell is closed for lunch through the end of April to work on staff training and upgrading its kitchen efficiency. “We want to make sure we can bring the best service to our customers, and when you’re open all the time, it sometimes gets tough to do that,” said catering manager Bracha Kantorovich, adding that the menu and prices will remain the same when full hours are restored. — andy altman-ohr
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.
Hardly Strictly Bagels runs once a month.
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Send hot tips and out-of-the-way finds to Andy Altman-Ohr at firstname.lastname@example.org.