Food: The Hautest State

By Heather Wagner

People’s Grocery
3236 Market St, Oakland
Food justice! Co-founded in 2002 by Executive Director Brahm Ahmadi, the People’s Grocery runs a two-acre farm, urban gardens, and youth education programs in nutrient-deprived West Oakland. At monthly Grub Parties, guest chefs serve nutritious versions of community favorites (like sweet potato pie) to the beat of local DJs, with swag bags of fresh produce at the door. A retail location is in the works for 2009.

Miette Pâtisserie, 1 Ferry Building Marketplace
Miette Confiserie, 449 Octavia Blvd

Meg Ryan unveiled Miette at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market in 2001. Now her ethereal blend of European patisserie techniques and organic Nor Cal ingredients are available at SF’s bustling Ferry Building—think princess cakes, fresh lemon tarts, and Scharffen Berger gingerbread cupcakes. The new Miette Confiserie in Hayes Valley sells nostalgic sweets like salt water taffy, Dutch licorice, and even organic cotton candy.

Mixt Greens
475 Sansome St, San Francisco

Chef Andrew Swallow and partners Leslie and David Silverglide reinvent fast food at Mixt Greens, where organic salads replace nugget-based fare and diners rest on recycled-fiber benches. Carnivore-friendly offerings (try the Kobe-style meatloaf on a roll) round out the veggie-heavy menu, and to-go items are packed in compostable, corn-based containers. A new lunch location will open this summer at 560 Mission Street.

231 Center St, Healdsburg

In 2005, Jil Hales transformed her family’s barn in Sonoma County into Barndiva, a friendly culinary mecca with a strictly seasonal approach. Much of the restaurant’s rustic-chic decor is selected from Hale’s Artists & Farmers shop, located in the renovated opera house next door, where she sells unique items from craftspeople around the world.

Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza
Pizzeria Mozza, 641 N. Highland Ave, Los Angeles
Osteria Mozza, 6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles

The gastronomic triple threat of Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joseph Bastianich opened Pizzeria Mozza in early 2007. Food-lovers and fashion types flocked to Silverton’s Cal-Ital “haute pizza,” with its locally grown and hand-cured toppings like speck, rucola, and squash blossoms. Now there’s Osteria, the pizzeria’s younger, hipper sister—complete with a free-standing mozzarella bar—located right next door.

Ritual Tavern
4095 30th St, San Diego (619) 283-1720

While its candle-lit decor seems out of place in sun-drenched North Park, Ritual Tavern has been a neighborhood staple since its May 2007 opening. Chef Mike Flores relies on organic and local ingredients to elevate traditional gastro-pub dishes (think shepherds pie with Niman Ranch lamb and garlic-soaked mussels from nearby Carlsbad Aquafarms). But the real draw is the locally-brewed beer and ale.

Hawks Restaurant
5530 Douglas Blvd, suite 110, Granite Bay (916) 791-6200

Chefs Mike Fagnoni and Molly Hawks have brought Sacramento out of the Bay Area’s culinary shadow. They travel from farm to farm to source their locavore menu—but don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s down-to-earth sensibility: Everything about Hawks is cosmopolitan and well traveled, from the polished dining room to the expertly executed standouts like green bean beignets and white root-vegetable risotto.

Issue 25

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