“You know tomatoes are ready when they easily pop right off at the stem,” announces Marybeth Lybrand, the Master Gardener at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center’s Gan Tzedek, or Justice Garden. “If you have to really tug to on the tomato, leave it on the vine because it needs more time to grow”, she says to a group of young children and their parents on a Sunday afternoon Garden Service Day.
Having never before seen a purple tomato and uttering “It’s so purple!” more than once, I was urged to try one. I pulled lightly at the stem of one with dark purple, almost black skin. Deep in color all the way through, it had an intensely sweet, smoky flavor.
The owner of San Francisco’s only kosher market says she is closing her doors.
Israel’s Strictly Kosher Market, which opened its doors 65 years ago, will close in March, owner Faina Avrutina told the J weekly. Avrutina has been running the shop for the last 10 years. The store has belonged to her family for the last two generations, according to the newspaper.
The store’s lease came up for renewal this month, and Avrutina decided not to renew it, telling the J weekly that the store is too expensive to run and that business has been slow for some time.
Kosher consumers in San Francisco can purchase kosher products and kosher meat at local stores including Costco and Trader Joes, according to the article. There has also been a rise in kosher meat-buying clubs in the Bay Area.
Avrutina, who is known for giving out free food to children and to families in need, told J weekly she will continue to cater for lifecycle events.
“Oh no! Please don’t go!” exclaimed one of The Kitchen Table’s 1,700 friends as he read the restaurant’s announcement on Facebook that it is closing on June 3. Open since the spring of 2009, the upscale kosher fleishig dining establishment in Mountain View, California will shut its doors for good after its dinner service on Sunday.
As The Kitchen Table clients logged onto their computers following the Shavuot holiday, they saw the following message:
The Kitchen Table, the premier Bay Area fine dining Kosher restaurant, will be turning the page after it serves dinner on Sunday, June 3rd. We want to thank our wonderful fans and customers for the support they have given us over these past three years. We will be open with regular business hours on Tuesday, May 29th through close of business on Sunday, June 3rd. We hope to see you at our Kitchen Table one last time.
It appears that the restaurant’s attempts to cater to kashrut-observant Jews, and also local Silicon Valley executives and engineers, with a seasonally fresh California-Jewish fusion menu ultimately failed.
A chance encounter last summer in the produce section of the vegetarian co-op Rainbow Grocery proved to be the catalyst for a rich culinary mentorship blossoming at 12 Tribes, a Bay Area kosher catering operation headed up by the legendary ‘Rabbi Chef’ Becky Joseph.
Jordon Daugherty, a transplant from the great Midwest, and at 24, the newest addition to the 12 Tribes team, remembers the meeting fondly: “She helped me understand a good green bean,” recalls Jordon. Standing amongst bins of deliciously greens, swollen figs, and tomatoes, Becky invited him to visit the 12 Tribes kitchen at the JCCSF, and soon thereafter, offered him a one of a kind apprenticeship.
Britain’s next food TV star may just be a kosher housewife. [The Jewish Chronicle]
With the Jewish farm movement growing, Leah Koenig takes a look at the history of Jewish farming in America. [Tablet]
The tale of a family’s babka recipe. [Gilt Taste]
Last butcher standing: “Yuval Atias is the last of the Bay Area’s independent kosher butchers.” [The Wall Street Journal]
Visitors to San Francisco today would find it hard to believe that there were once three kosher restaurants, four Jewish bakeries, five kosher meat markets, and three Jewish delicatessens in the city. In fact, they were all within a two square-block area known as the Fillmore, once referred to as the Lower East Side of San Francisco.
However, the post-WWII exodus of Jews to the suburbs North, East and South of the city eventually left the area without an identifiably Jewish neighborhood or serious demand for kosher food. The Bay Area’s Jewish population is now the third largest in the United States (behind those of New York and Los Angeles), but its extremely low rate of community affiliation has dashed the hopes of anyone who had anticipated a new incarnation of the Fillmore.