(Illustration/Nosher-Aly Miller)
(Illustration/Nosher-Aly Miller)

A guide to Jewish food in the Bay; two big food milestones

Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

The Nosher (part of the 70 Faces Media group that also owns JTA and MyJewishLearning) has a new project putting out Jewish Food City Guides from around the country. Most recently, it was the Bay Area’s turn. The guides are written in collaboration with Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, the Brooklyn-based duo behind the artisanal gefilte fish company Gefilteria and “The Gefilte Manifesto” cookbook. On the list are bagel shops, bakeries, delis, kosher wineries and urban farms.

I was a “local expert” whom they consulted, along with a few others, and the group I founded, the Illuminoshi, is mentioned in the guide as well, so I don’t feel I can fairly critique the guide. I will say that certainly not all establishments that do Jewish food here are mentioned. Still, it will no doubt direct out-of-towners as well as some locals to spots they probably haven’t yet tried.

There were two milestone anniversaries celebrated last month in the Bay Area culinary community, and both businesses have Jewish owners. Omnivore Books on Food, a Noe Valley cookbook store featuring hard-to-find treasures as well as cookbooks by best-selling current authors, is owned by S.F. native Celia Sack. It just marked its 10th anniversary.

“I think the success of my shop is due to the community surrounding it; the deeper we get into lives lived around technology, the more we ache for analog experiences like browsing a bookstore, talking to other passionate cooks and cooking in our homes. Omnivore provides the confluence of all these desires,” said Sack, when asked about her successful 10-years-and-counting run.

When asked for a current favorite Jewish cookbook, Sack recommended Michael Solomonov’s new “Israeli Soul.” “It’s a fantastic book exploring the mix of cultures in Israeli cuisine and what ‘Israeli food’ even means,” she said.

Also, it’s been 20 years since the original Delfina restaurant opened on 18th Street in the Mission District. It has gone on to spawn four Delfina Pizzerias — with other locations in Burlingame and Palo Alto — as well as Locanda Osteria & Bar. For many, Delfina has become a benchmark Italian restaurant in the Bay, and in a nod to owner Craig Stoll’s Jewish roots, Delfina is also known for its Passover and High Holiday menus. Stoll is originally from New York and owns the business with his wife, Annie.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” Stoll said. “We’re lucky to have had years of amazing staff and incredible guests that have combined to create a really beautiful community that we get to spend our time in. And we’re incredibly grateful for the food/restaurant community that welcomed us from the beginning and that we’ve been part of all of these years. I moved here to the Promised Land and my dreams came true.”

Mazel tov to both Sack and Stoll.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."