Bi-Rite Market is a legend in San Francisco. It helped start a gastronomical revolution and neighborhood renaissance in the Mission District. Bi-Rite was on the cutting edge of the local food movement in the United States, sourcing the majority of its ingredients from local vendors. Unsatisfied with having an amazing grocery, Bi-Rite expanded and started a famed ice creamery shop. It’s salted caramel ice cream is legendary. I find myself driving across the city to get it more than I should.
The Bi-Rite Market is a luscious cookbook – it looks so good and is so informative that it could be a coffee table book. In addition to providing recipes, the book discusses the history of the Bi-Rite Market, the renaissance in the neighborhood, the shop’s purveyors and explanation of meats, cheeses and produce. I particularly enjoyed the spotlight on the shop’s purveyors, which discussed the products made and the passion the purveyor’s exhibited for their product.
I must also extol the virtues of the recipes. They are simple to make – keeping the number of ingredients and cooking techniques to a minimum – while preserving the essence of the dish. To accompany the recipes, there are also explanations of the ingredients used. I found these explanations particularly helpful. For example, in one of the explanations, they showed pictures of the major citrus fruits and provided an explanation for each of the citruses.
I found that many of the recipes would make great partners for pairing with cocktails, wine and beer. And to make it easy, the authors even include a chapter at the end of the book that focuses on wine and beer and the occasional cocktail recipe that pops up throughout the book. Here are some of my recommended pairings:
- Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Bing Cherries – try with a German Riesling or a light Sangria.
- Spicy String Beans with Black Sesame Seeds – try with a Vouvray vinified with residual sugar (to cut the spiciness)
- Grilled Pimenton Leg of Lamb with Cucumber Raita – try with an Australian Shiraz or a Bourbon Manhattan (or go crazy and try both)