A new boiled-and-baked operation pops up in San Francisco: Shegetz Bagel

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San Francisco has a new bagel operation.

Shegetz Bagel broke onto the scene with a Sept. 27 pop-up at which roughly 240 boiled-and-baked New York-style bagels sold out in about three hours. Most of the business occurred in the first hour, as there was a line of about 100 people when the doors swung open — thanks to social media and some food-blog coverage.

A collaboration among three friends, Shegetz Bagel is out to prove, as it claims on its website, that it doesn’t “take a New York zip code (or water supply) to make a killer bagel.”

The operators refuse to toast any of their bagels, and here’s why: They are served hot and fresh, “from the oven to the customer in less than 30 minutes,” said Ben Kaminsky, one of the partners. “If these were bagels to be toasted, or meant to last a couple of days, we would pull them from the oven a little earlier. But we take them right to the edge of being overdone, and it creates a really nice crunch.”

I wasn’t able to make it to the first pop-up, but I did see this cool video (www.instagram.com/p/7qaV2_t4Sb) that attests to the bagels’ crunchiness and chewiness. When I retweeted it, Michelle Polzine, who makes darned good bagels at 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco, replied that Shegetz bagels “should be [good]. I taught him!” — referring to one of the partners, Alex Rogers, who learned to make bagels under her tutelage.

The Shegetz choices were plain, sesame, poppy seed and everything, and they started at $5 with cream cheese, and went up to $12 depending on toppings. Don’t go there looking for a bagel with nothing on it, or looking to buy a dozen, at least not yet. And keeping the line moving is a priority, which is why the operation is staffed with six or seven people. “I don’t want to serve anyone a room-temperature bagel,” Kaminsky said.

Shegetz bagels: On the boil and fresh from the oven

The site of the pop-up was PizzaHacker in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights area, and another is scheduled there for 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, with three more in the works — and then perhaps a retail location or a shared space in an established location (though all of that thinking is premature right now).

As for the partners: Kaminsky is a expert consultant in the coffee industry who was a key player at San Francisco’s Ritual Roasters when it was rising to prominence. Rogers is a cook at PizzaHacker who used to bake bread for Local’s Corner, and Oliver Steele is a cook at Pizzetta 211.

Shegetz, by the way, is a disparaging Yiddish term for a non-Jewish boy or youth, or a Jewish boy who doesn’t observe Jewish precepts. “It’s kind of a jab at ourselves,” Kaminsky said. Calling himself a certifiable non-practicing Jew, he said Steele isn’t much better and Rogers isn’t Jewish. “I think it’s kind of funny,” Kaminsky said of the name.

Shegetz Bagel pop-up

At PizzaHacker, 3299 Mission St., S.F.

10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11

www.shegetzbagel.com, @shegetzbagel on Twitter,

ShegetzBagel on Instagram

HAZON FOOD FESTIVAL: Google’s first executive chef, Charlie Ayers, is the subject of an advance article on Hazon’s Farm to Table Food Festival, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 18 at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.  <Read it by clicking here>

Ayers, who left Google in 2005 with $26 million in stock options, helped take Google from a place with 55 employees to a much-ballyhooed eating wonderland. By the time he left, he had helped start 10 cafes.  But he was also known around the Mountain View campus as someone who cooked amazing food for Hanukkah and Passover. In fact, he launched the first Google Seder in 2001.

Read all about Ayers’ Jewish backstory (even though he isn’t Jewish) – plus all of the food and free samples that will be at the food festival – by <clicking here>.

L’CHAIM POP-UP: Been wanting to try L’chaim Sushi’s kosher offerings but haven’t had the opportunity? Tickets are on sale now for the L’chaim Sushi New Menu Showcase, set for 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at Spark Arts, a gallery and dance studio at 4229 18th St. in San Francisco’s Castro District.

L’chaim founder and CEO Rabbi Alex Shandrovksy expects all 35 tickets to sell out, although if that happens, an additional seating might be added, he said.

Shandrovsky describes the event as a “showcase test kitchen” for the launch of a new menu designed by consultant Alex Kim, chef at Saru Sushi Bar in San Francisco. “We asked him to hack our whole menu and bring it up to a high level of Japanese authenticity,” Shandrovsky said. New items have been added, and all of them — from sauces to pickled vegetables to new rolls and main courses — have been “recreated through a kosher lens.”

Attendees will get to sample a dozen or so items and fill out ratings cards. “People can try these new items and enjoy a beautiful evening in a great space, and we can get some feedback,” Shandrovsky said.

L’chaim Sushi operates mainly as a kosher catering operation, but it also offers a once-a-week kosher delivery service of foods beyond Japanese fare. Both L’chaim Sushi and L’chaim@Home are under the kosher supervision of Rabbi Joel Landau of Congregation Adath Israel.

Though the 2½-year-old enterprise doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location, Shandrovsky said the pop-up could turn into something “consistent.” The Nov. 12 event costs $30 plus a service fee. For information, visit www.tinyurl.com/showcase-lchaim or www.lchaimfoods.com, or call (415) 680-8020.

Leftovers …

CUESA, the nonprofit that runs the farmers markets at the San Francisco Ferry Building, has launched a monthly pop-up farmers market at the Yard at Mission Rock. There are 15-20 vendors plus a half-dozen restaurants — including Jewish deli Shorty Goldstein’s. Chef Michael Siegel was there for the Sept. 27 debut with breakfast bagels, sandwiches, latkes and even pastrami and corned beef by the half-pound, and he’ll be back with similar fare for the remaining markets on Oct. 25, Nov. 22 and Dec. 20, each from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a parking lot near McCovey Cove, across from AT&T Park. CUESA stands for Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. More details at www.cuesa.org … Bird & the Bottle, a new restaurant that opened last week in Santa Rosa, is described as “a mash-up of Jewish comfort food, Korean influences and Southern home cooking” by the North Bay food blog BiteClubEats. The menu includes matzah ball ramen soup, kimchee latkes as a sidedish and cheesy grits topped with spicy shmaltz, cured egg and grilled mushrooms. There’s also a menu section titled “Shmears,” with six options, each served on “grilled pumpernickel rye” but only one with a Jewish bent: the chicken liver mousse (sort of a chopped liver). The eatery is at 1055 Fourth St. in Santa Rosa … The Great Bagel Taste Test is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11 at Temple Sinai in Oakland. In a double-blind taste test, attendees will get to sample bagels from six commercial bagel entities in the East Bay, either plain or topped with options such as cream cheese, chopped liver, lox shmear, or tuna or egg salad. With a celebrity judging panel that includes yours truly, and other features, the event is a benefit for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, with suggested donations of $10 for adults and $5 for kids. For more information, visit www.tinyurl.com/bagel-taste-test … Owner Jonathan Wornick had no comment about the sale of his Oakland kosher restaurant, Amba, which shut down at the end of August. One potential buyer, a group affiliated with the Modern Orthodox Congregation Beth Israel community in Berkeley, has pulled out … Ron Silberstein, who 19 years ago was the founding brewmaster of ThirstyBear Organic Brewery in San Francisco, recently traveled to Hops-Meister Farm (near the fire area in Clear Lake) to buy freshly harvested organic hops for a new beer that will benefit victims of the Butte and Valley fires. From each pint of Wet Hop Harvest Ale sold this month, 50 cents will be donated to the Lake County Local Assistance Center. Thirsty Bear is at 661 Howard St. in San Francisco … “Deli Man,” a 91-minute documentary about the obsessed owner of a Jewish deli in Houston, is showing in the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at the AMC Saratoga 14. The tale is augmented by the stories of other Jewish delicatessens across the country, including Wise Sons in San Francisco. For more information and to see a trailer, visit www.svjff.org/films/deli_man.shtml … Speaking of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, the deli’s new bakery in the Fillmore District still wasn’t open as of midweek. “It could be a week, or it could be three weeks,” co-owner Evan Bloom said on Oct. 2. “It’s a race to get in and get our production back to normal. We just want to be making rye bread in our own kitchen again.” After the bakery does open, it’ll still be a few weeks before Wise Sons Bagel kicks into gear, and even a few weeks beyond that until 1520 Fillmore will be open to the public for purchases and on-site dining. Wise Sons was ousted from its off-site bakery-kitchen by a fire earlier this year … The third vintage of Cuveé Chabad, both kosher as well as kosher for Passover, is now available. It’s a 2013 Zinfandel produced by Covenant Wines of Berkeley, with proceeds going to support Chabad of Napa programming. Described as “equally fruit-forward and lush-textured,” it goes for $216 for a six-bottle case (plus tax and shipping) at www.covenantwines.com/cuvee-chabad.

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Send hot tips and out-of-the-way finds to Andy Altman-Ohr at [email protected].

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr was J.’s managing editor and Hardly Strictly Bagels columnist until he retired in 2016 to travel and live abroad. He and his wife have a home base in Mexico, where he continues his dalliance with Jewish journalism.