Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cooperating on Bread and Pizza

Awhile back during a pot luck at work, someone brought in these great loaves of bread and I asked where they were from. She said Arizmendi Bakery. I never heard of Arizmendi, but was told later that there was one at Oakland's Lakeshore area and another in San Francisco's Inner Sunset. Last weekend I spent the day at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and afterwards I visited the Arizmendi Bakery on 9th Avenue. (There is a total of three Arizmendi Bakeries, but they're all independently owned cooperatives so they may not always sell the same things. The third is in Emeryville on San Pablo Avenue.) I found that Arizmendi is pretty popular, especially when the weather is nice and people grab the outdoor seating.
You can see at the very top of this sign that Arizmendi is a "worker-owned cooperative." In fact, it was inspired by the success of the Cheeseboard cooperative in Berkeley. (Some of the workers at the Cheeseboard helped launch Arizmendi, first in Oakland in 1997 and then this San Francisco co-op in 2000.) But I bet you were more focused on the triple mushroom pizza, right? Arizmendi specializes in thin, sourdough pizzas. I went in for a quick snack, so didn't get the pizza. But I saw some other people enjoying them. They looked great and I will definitely go back for the pizza another time.
Here a worker brings out fresh foccacias and other baked goods.
Their sourdough baguettes. Hmmm, looks so good. But I ended up instead getting their popular chocolate bread. Initially I thought this was a bread that's all chocolate flavored. But instead, it's a small little bread with chocolate chips. The bread is denser, almost like a pastry. It wasn't super sweet, just touches of chocolate here and there. It was great.
This sign above the kitchen is so appropriate for the Golden Gate Park area, which was home of the whole free love movement. Message is so appropriate right now.
OK, remember how I sometimes say I have a bad memory. (If you forgot I mentioned that, then your memory is worst than mines.) Anyway, I took this picture and thought I'd remember what these items were so I didn't write it down because I was busy juggling my camera equipment and my chocolate bread. So now I don't know what they are. I think they were coffee cakes?
Here are their foccacias and individual mini pizzas. I wanted to get the artichoke on the left, but ended up getting the gooey, cheese tomato foccacia in the middle. It was yummy and I scarfed it down in just a few minutes after leaving. The only complaint I have is that it had a bit too much olive oil, but I think you can't get away from olive oil with foccacia.
This is not an advertisement for a backpack; it's just a photo of the line at Arizmendi. The San Francisco location is pretty tiny and there were maybe four or five small tables. When I was there, the line was out the door but went by pretty fast. Arizmendi looks like a great place for a quick lunch or taking some warm bread home.

Arizmendi Bakery, San Francisco. 1331 9th Ave. at Irving. Open Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday.

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