a white woman with short hair stands in a commercial kitchen next to large bins of bagels
Emily Winston, proprietor of Boichik Bagels, in her natural habitat. (Photo/Lydia Daniller)

Attention carb fans: Local bagel, bread and doughnut news

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

I often include bagel updates in my columns, but this time everything’s coming up bagels. Brace yourselves for a carbo-load of food news.

To start: Berkeley’s Boichik Bagels recently surpassed its fundraising goal of $1 million to help build its huge plant in North Berkeley and a new store in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village. Owner Emily Winston is hoping the Palo Alto store will open in October.

Nicolas Abrams of Ethel's Bagels
Nicolas Abrams of Ethel’s Bagels

It was recently reported elsewhere that Poppy Bagels would open in Oakland and Ethel’s Bagels in Petaluma by the fall. We checked with owners Reesa Kashuk and Nicolas Abrams, respectively, and learned that those projections were a bit optimistic. Construction has just begun on Poppy’s space on Telegraph Avenue in the Temescal neighborhood. “We still have a lot ahead of us,” Kashuk told J. in an email. “I am hopeful that we will be able to open our doors before the end of the year, but we’ll just be sliding in if we do. We’re looking at wrapping up construction right before Thanksgiving and then we’ll need a couple of weeks of training the team in the new space.” Abrams of Ethel’s said that due to permitting, upgrading in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc., “we hope to open by the end of November.” (Ethel’s will open on Clegg Court.) Although, the way things are progressing, it could be in the new calendar year.

Ariella Wolkowicz of Napa-based Toasted
Ariella Wolkowicz of Napa-based Toasted

Meanwhile, Napa’s Toasted, which launched in 2016, has started construction on its own bagel-baking space. While owner Ariella Wolkowicz has no plans to open a retail shop — mainly due to cost — she has expanded quite a bit since we wrote about her last year. In addition to selling at the San Rafael Farmers Market, her bagels are now available at numerous farmers markets around Napa and Marin counties and at other retail outlets. The Bubbala’s pop-up, which we recently wrote about, also carries her bagels. In addition, Wolkowicz is providing about 800 bagels a week to the Napa Valley school district, which is offering students more locally sourced food options, and she’s in discussion with another school district to do the same.

“I can’t expand any more in my current space,” Wolkowicz told J. With eight other tenants sharing the space, she said, “the ovens are constantly broken, so that’s the biggest constraint for me, as it takes a lot more time to bake out of one oven. It will be nice to have my own space.”

Although Wolkowicz is originally from Upstate New York, she says her bagels are more Montreal in style, if smaller and a bit fluffier, and slightly sweet from being boiled in water sweetened with honey. She is hoping for an early 2023 opening for her new space, which will allow her to expand into markets farther afield.

More carbs

In additional carb news, Johnny Doughnuts, which we wrote about in 2020, has partnered with Sonoma’s Anaba Wines to pair three pours from Anaba’s most sustainable line of wines with three varieties of doughnuts. The wine-and-doughnut pairing experience, which costs $45, is available through October.

Novato’s Fire Swamp Provisions, a bakery mostly serving Marin that we first reported on in 2021, is now fully solar powered. Owner Alex Tishman built the bakery in his Novato home during Covid, and the addition of a second set of solar panels provides enough power to entirely offset the energy needed to run the bakery. “All of our equipment is already electric, but this is a huge step to getting us where we want to be,” Tishman wrote on Facebook.

Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, a San Francisco chain that since 2007 has expanded throughout the state and into five others, including Arizona, Texas and Colorado, introduced the #526, or Howie Eat It, named for Jewish comedian Howie Mandel. Developed by Mandel himself and chain owner Ike Shehadeh in the sandwich shop’s Woodland Hills location, it features tuna and pepper Jack cheese and is available at all Ike’s Love and Sandwiches.

And in non-carb news…

The trade publication Ballpark Digest reports that the San Francisco Giants have hired Evan Goldstein as Oracle Park master sommelier to consult on the ballpark’s wine program. In addition to being known in his own right in the wine world, Goldstein is the son of Bay Area culinary icon Joyce Goldstein. We’ve reached out to him for an interview about this intriguing pairing of wine and baseball and hope to feature him in an upcoming issue.

Don’t miss Rachel Levin’s essay for Bon Appétit about her recent experience hunting for her own food in New Mexico. Levin is the San Francisco writer who co-authored the Wise Sons cookbook “Eat Something.” While the essay begins “This night is different from other nights,” it is way more about her experience hunting than about her Jewish identity, though the wry Levin can’t help throwing in Jewish references here and there. No spoilers here, but let’s just say Levin’s zinger about what Jewish-related thing she does after she shoots and helps dismember an elk is one of the funniest lines I’ve read in a long time.

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."