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Right-Leaning Media Goes After Bi-Rite Market Bouquet

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Also: Munchery has risen from the grave, and more news to know today

Cashiers at Bi-Rite stand behind plexiglass sneeze guards
Inside Bi-Rite Market, a grocery store that’s attracted ire for selling a bouquet of leaves
Patricia Chang

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your midday roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news from publications near and far. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • A Vice piece expressing outrage over an offering at San Francisco’s Bi-Rite grocery stores has since been picked up by some right-leaning media outlets as a source of mirth. Earlier this month, Vice writer Jelisa Castrodale questioned why Bi-Rite Market charges $14.95 for a bouquet of fall leaves as they are “widely available in nature” (not unlike, say, many other flowers, fruits, and vegetables, one might note). A Bi-Rite spokesperson explains that “our prices are a reflection of the quality of the food, ingredients, and flowers we sell, which come from farmers and ranchers who use methods that protect the land and the people who work it,” a comment that didn’t make it into Fox News’s pickup of the item this week. The New York Post (like Fox News, an outlet owned by conservative billionaire Rupert Murdoch) also took a mocking tone in its coverage this week, calling the bouquet “bougie,” an arguably appropriated term that USA Today describes as “an equal-opportunity jab at anyone from hipsters and the coastal elite to the suburban or basic.” None of the reports appear to acknowledge that purchase of the leaves is an optional affair, much like any other non-necessity sold at grocery stores across the country.
  • A judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by FiDi-based sandwich business Boxed Foods Co. against its insurance company, saying that the restaurant’s business interruption policy with California Capital Insurance Co. has a virus exclusion policy that applies to the coronavirus crisis. According to Law 360, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer “rebuffed restaurant companies’ arguments that because California Capital’s virus exclusion did not include the word ‘pandemic,’ the exclusion only applied to ‘stand-alone viruses’ instead of ‘viruses that escalate into a pandemic.’” The ruling could be bad news for the multitudes of other business interruption lawsuits winding their way through the courts, including those from Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, and the Cliff House.
  • The Bay Area’s Dungeness crab season is scheduled to begin on November 15, but concerns over threats to sea turtles and whales might push it past Thanksgiving, the SF Chronicle warns. It all depends on how many of the endangered creatures the California Department of Fish and Wildlife believes are lingering near the coastline, so the agency is performing aerial checks to see how many are swimming in the fishing zone. A final decision on any delays is expected next week.
  • Munchery, the meal delivery startup that dramatically flamed out, leaving hundreds laid off and a slew of unpaid bills, is back, the SF Business Times reports. Then-CEO James Beriker, who paid himself hundreds of thousands as a “success fee” when he sold the company’s HQ, “purchased the failed meal delivery startup’s name and brand for $60,000” and has relaunched it as a recipe website.
  • Trestle, that Beck-beloved, fixed-price Cal-Italian spot from the folks behind Corridor and other local faves, is popping up inside the Vault next week with a $39, 3-course menu served Wednesdays-Sundays. Reservations are available here.
  • Arsicault Bakery founder Armando Lacayo is on the Make It And Sell It podcast this week for a super-inside-bakery-baseball chat about his “journey from corporate finance to small business ownership,” including how he forced his young nephew to get up at 3 a.m. to help him build up the bakery. You can listen here.
  • Indoor dining expands in San Mateo, Contra Costa, and Marin counties, as all three have moved from the red to orange reopening tier, the SF Business Times reports. All three are expected to expand indoor dining to 50 percent capacity, with a limit of 200 patrons.
  • Bar Lucia and Kara’s Cupcakes are hosting a virtual baking and wine tasting party on November 14, a benefit for SF’s girl-and-woman-focused non-profit Project Glimmer. Participants will learn the secrets of Kara’s Autumn Apple Cake and hear from three of Napa’s female winemakers. Tickets are available here.
  • There’s not going to be a California Michelin Guide this year, but the organization still honored a couple of local chefs for their sustainability efforts Tuesday, including Dominique Crenn, Alice Waters, and Single Thread’s Kyle and Katina Connaughton. You can watch a video of the event here.

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