If freshly baked breads is your idea of heaven, Palo Alto and Mountain View might just become your new happy places in coming weeks with the opening of Berkeley's famed Boychik Bagels and the return of Rōzmary Kitchen's sandwich pop-ups at the Midwife and The Baker.
'This is just the beginning' for Boichik Bagels
After a glowing writeup in the New York Times and the announcement of plans for a bagel factory and second retail location in 2021, Boichik Bagels owner Emily Winston is starting 2022 off with more big news: She's opening a new outpost of her Berkeley-based shop at Palo Alto's Town & Country Village this summer.
Housed in between CVS and Wildseed, the planned second location for the vegan eatery, Boichik joins Manresa Bread as another new addition to the shopping center this year.
"My operations guy is awesome and chomping at the bit to have more operations to run," Winston said. "It's definitely going to be a challenge and we're going to learn a lot of stuff, but it's theoretically very doable."
The Palo Alto location will have the same chocolate malted iced coffee, bagel and sandwich offerings as the original Berkeley eatery, with tables and chairs outside for dining. The dough will be made at the Berkeley store and delivered to the Peninsula, where the bagels will be boiled and baked.
Once the West Berkeley bagel plant is up and running this fall, all of Boichik's dough will be made there, supplying Winston's stores, as well as supermarkets, Winston said.
"This is just the beginning," she said. "We've got big plans, that's why we're building a big plant."
Winston grew up in suburban New Jersey with fond memories of eating H&H bagels as a treat when her father's business would take him to New York City's Upper West Side. In 2011, H&H was shut down for tax fraud, news that hit Winston "like the death of a loved one I just hadn't been in contact with in a long time," she says on her website.
"And so I embarked on what became my five-year quest, through trial and error, to create a bagel I longed to eat," she said.
Winston said a big population of native New Yorkers, along with an existing fan base built up through delivery orders and hour-long drives to Berkeley, is part of what drew her to signing a lease in Palo Alto.
"People want a good bagel down here, that's for sure, and they prefer not to drive an hour."
Rōzmary Kitchen's weekly sandwich pop-ups return
After a three-month hiatus following the birth of their first child, Rōzmary Kitchen operators Nick Rappoport and his wife, Melissa Johnson, are bringing back the sandwich pop-up that they launched a year ago in collaboration with The Midwife and the Baker in Mountain View.
Rōzmary Kitchen will be back at The Midwife and the Baker every Friday, starting Feb. 4, serving up seasonal sandwiches made on the bakery's bread. The sesame Dutch Crunch, hoagie-style rolls that the bakery began making especially for the pop-up will return, along with sandwiches made on sesame rolls and ciabatta. They're also offering a salad option again, with the current Big Ol' Market Salad ($10) featuring pickled veggies, lettuces, cucumbers, citrus, chickpeas, crispy shallots and seeds and creamy red wine tahini vinaigrette.
"Every sandwich is unique," Rappoport said. "Most of our product is housemade: the pickles, all the sauces, aiolis — just keeping it fresh and simple."
Rappoport, a chef who's cooked at Bay Area restaurants, including The French Laundry and Outerlands, was working as Pinterest's chef de cuisine at the start of the pandemic when he was furloughed and then laid off. He began baking rolls and creating sandwich recipes, and when Johnson, a catering manager at Stanford University, brought home bread from The Midwife and the Baker, it inspired an idea for collaboration. Rappoport already knew bakery owner Mac McConnell, and the two formed a partnership to develop the hoagie-style Dutch crunch roll.
The Fanucchi sandwich ($16), served on a sesame roll with pistachio mortadella, soppressata, capicola, sharp provolone, cherry pepper relish, onion and aioli, is back and will be a menu mainstay, while other sandwiches will switch out roughly every three months. It's partly seasonal, partly strategic, according to Rappoport.
"Down the road, we plan to open a brick-and-mortar," he said. "We're not sure where or when, but this gives us a chance to test out the sandwiches and see which ones people gravitate toward so we can get a collection of big-hitters for a menu when the time comes to open up."
Johnson said she and Rappoport learned a lot during the first year of their pop-up, between operating in farmers markets and running online ordering, and are eager to return to Mountain View.
"It was really sweet: When people found out we were having a baby, people were congratulating us, giving us gifts, checking in with us as we've been on leave," she said. "We're really appreciative of all of our customers and are really excited to see what's going to happen this next year."
Rōzmary Kitchen pop-up at The Midwife and the Baker, 846 Independence Ave., Mountain View. Every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., preorders only. Preorders start at 10 a.m. every Wednesday, Instagram: @Rōzmary_kitchen. The Midwife and the Baker, 650-336-7697. Instagram: @themidwifeandthebaker. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Julia Brown writes for TheSixFifty.com, a sister publication of Palo Alto Online, covering what to eat, see and do in Silicon Valley.