Rave: Bi-Rite Market

birite.jpg All neighborhoods should have a Bi-Rite. Bi-Rite is a small grocery store full of the most carefully chosen items from the freezer case to the wine section. It’s as if someone who really loved you had stocked the store just for you – at least that’s how I feel.

It’s clear that the store shares my value in food so I may be a little biased. (Case in point: their website links to an excerpt to Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma.) They support local farmers and local artisans. In the produce section, you’ll see what farm grew the produce and where the farm is located; I can buy the same eggs at Bi-Rite that I can buy at the farmers market; and most of the meat they carry is grass fed and/or a heritage breed.

They recently had blueberries from the Bi-Rite family. The checker said these blubes were grown on the Bi-Rite family property in Placerville, picked and packed by the matriarch of the Bi-Rite family herself. When was the last time a checker at any other nameless-parking-lot-surrounded-grocery-store could tell you anything about the store owners?

Bi-Rite uses their pristine ingredients to make delicious pre-made foods. If we don’t feel like cooking or going out, we may come home with their huge Sicilian meatballs for meatball sandwiches, or, this past Wednesday, I bought their Niman Ranch carnitas and it was better than what I’ve had in most taquerias in The City.

Their pesto is the best pesto we’ve ever had so it always ends up in our basket. We eat it on pasta, of course, but also on a slice of bread, or on crackers, or as this morning, slathered on an Arizmendi English muffin with a fried egg (Marin Sun, natch) and a slice of Fatted Calf bacon. A true breakfast of champions.

One downside: it’s a small space and it can get crowded. There are often bottlenecks so expect to scream out your deli order across the heads of people waiting to check out, and expect to get beat in the head by someone’s basket or to beat someone else in the head with your basket.

Bi-Rite isn’t even really in our neighborhood. We have other options where we live: a health food store a block away and a hideous grocery store two blocks away, but needless to say, we almost always walk the extra 6 blocks to BiRite.

(Bi-Rite also has a Creamery, which will have to be another post. As you might expect: it’s magically delicious).

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