Had a really nice event at 18 Reasons last night. 18 Reasons is the events offshoot of Bi Rite, a store that I will always have a fondness for. Way back in the late ‘80s I lived at 18th and Dolores and that was my corner store. It wasn’t fancy like it is now – mostly stale Hostess pastries, old canned food, and booze – but they were friendly and it was the closest place. After the ’89 earthquake they forever earned my loyalty because they just gave away all their candles and batteries to the locals.
Bi Rite back then was owned by the father and uncle of Sam, the current owner. I should also mention that Anthea, their cheese buyer just represented San Francisco – and was the only woman competing! – last month at the 1st Cheesemonger Invitational in New York . If you can’t go to Rainbow, or if you need meat or good deli stuff, go there for sure.
Anyways, the event could have been weird. Originally conceived of as a panel of cheese writers, it became me reading from my book and cheese author Laura Werlin conducting a cheese class. Kind of funny that she’s written five books and she’s conducting the class whereas I talk to customers about cheese every day and I’m reading from my one book, but hey…
None of us were sure if the format – me reading a section that vaguely related to the cheese on the plate, Laura leading a tasting and talking about wine pairings – would work, but it seemed to. People generally laughed in the right places, ate all their cheese, and drank all their wine. Laura was professional and informed as always. I told little anecdotes about the cheese makers as always.
And the cheese was excellent.
(from the toothpick, going clockwise: Gioia Burrata, Sea Stack, Vermont Creamery Coupole, Pt Reyes Toma, Cobb Hill Ascutney Mountain, Parmigiano Reggiano, Taleggio, Rogue Caveman Blue)
I won’t get into all of them, just want to mention that the Ascutney Mountain from Cobb Hill is a cheese that I like more every time I try it. We’ve only carried it sporadically, but I think I’ll order some this week. If only so I can buy a big hunk myself.
Around 9 PM, when all the cheese was consumed and Laura and I had sold a few books, Laurie texted me from home with cute pictures of Schnitzel so I knew it was time for me to go. I stepped out onto the street lugging a box of books and saw Sam handtrucking a load of dirty dishes a block back to the main store.
“There’s no glory in this, is there?” I said.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way, ” Sam replied.