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Favorite Food Spots of Bi-Rite's Sam Mogannam

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Sam Mogannam and Family

18th Street has turned into a gourmet outpost in no small part due to the efforts of Bi-Rite Market, Bi-Rite Creamery, and 18 Reasons' Sam Mogannam. He grew up in San Francisco and lives here with his wife Anne Walker and daughters Zoe (age 8) and Olive (age 4). Mogannam told BAB that his Eat Good Food book (pre-order for $25) is due out October 18, and "18 Reasons should be in our new space end of August/beginning of September. We've expanded our programming to include more youth-focused education and we are rolling out our first summer camp for kids. We also have a barn dance fundraiser scheduled for August 13 in Sonoma on our farm."

Mogannam shared his favorite places to eat and drink:
The Sonoma Garden Park on 7th Street is a favorite spot to buy eggs from Nix Chix and veggies grown by Rebecca and her team of students as part of the Sonoma Ecology Center. Great pastured eggs and great veggies. My girls love to chase the chickens and we love to hang out in their 'fig forest'—a magical hide-a-way of tangled figs branches that is just amazing on a hot day. Any farmers market, anywhere, any time of year.

Just visited the small farmers market in Peoria, Illinois and got talking to a farmer who taught me about the different tractor implements he uses to be more efficient. I love buying food directly from the person producing or growing it.

We love going to Vella Cheese in Sonoma for their Toma—both my daughters love it.


Sonoma Market and Whole Foods are spots we often go to when we need something while in Sonoma. Sonoma Market has Della Fattoria bread, the Meyer lemon rosemary is a favorite of ours.

Off-night food & drink spots?

  • Pizzeria Delfina is a favorite for all of us. We always get a few of the small plates and a couple of pizzas. The margherita is a favorite for the girls. Anne and I love any pie with egg on it.
  • El Toro Taqueria is another favorite, mainly because the girls love it.
  • Hotei for noodles
  • Foreign Cinema for anything
  • Delfina for calamari and a bowl of spaghetti
  • San Tung for Chinese—the wings are awesome
  • Slanted Door for their cocktails

Favorite date spots?
We love bar NOPA, Bar Agricole, Delfina, Bar Jules and order whatever looks most interesting and seasonally inspired. We are not creatures of habit and generally try to taste new things.

What is your favorite meal to have with your family?
Delfina Pizzeria is the favorite spot to go out to as a family.

At home, any meal that my mother cooks when we eat at my parent's house.

Guiltiest food pleasure?
I feel some guilt every time I eat meat now. We have greatly reduced our consumption, but have not eliminated it from our diets completely.

Where do you live?
In the West Portal neighborhood of San Francisco. Five blocks from the house I grew up in, where my parents still live part time.

How did you and Anne meet?
We met in 1990 while working at Market Hall in the Rockridge District of Oakland. I worked for the Pasta Shop, she for Grace Baking. I would trade her pasta salad for carrot cake. We were friends for 9 years before becoming a couple in 1999.

What do you your daughters love to eat?
Zoe loves cookies and cream and choc/vanilla soft serve swirl. Olive loves anything chocolate, as well as the cookies and cream. They both love seaweed, Have'a Corn Chips (soy flavored tortilla chips) and cornichons. Zoe loves fruit, whereas Olive won't touch fruit.

Any fun updates?

Divis [Divisidero] is under construction and the hope is to open in February. The neighborhood is very excited to get a market and creamery combo. 18 Reasons should be in our new space at the end of August/beginning of September. We’ve expanded our programming to include more youth focused education and are rolling out our first summer camp for kids. We also have a barn dance fundraiser scheduled for August 13 in Sonoma on our farm. Our farm has expanded to 1 1/2 acres and we have started harvesting squash, potatoes and greens already.

Disclosure: Mary Ladd has worked as a freelance cook and caterer for Bi-Rite.

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