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This Could be the Worst Year for Spaghetti Sauce in California

Plus where to get “The Bear”-style sandwiches in the Bay Area and more food news

A can of tomatoes.
Tomato cultivation issues are leading to higher prices for spaghetti, salsa, and more.
Getty Images
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

The ongoing California drought takes many victims, but now it comes knocking on the door of none other than the humble tomato. This year the state’s perennial water crisis is hitting tomato crops like never before, driving up prices and giving farmers a reason to doubt if the plant can thrive sustainably under such conditions. Bloomberg first reported the news, followed by the Mercury News, letting spaghetti and salsa fans know to start saving their pennies for what may become a more difficult to purchase couple of condiments.

The reasons behind the growing difficulties and subsequent price shocks are not unique: labor shortages, rising prices across the board, and terrible climate conditions. For Woolf Farming, a Fresno County-based tomato grower and processor, it costs about $4,800 an acre to grow and harvest tomatoes whereas it cost about $2,800 a decade ago. “We desperately need rain,” Mike Montna, head of the California Tomato Growers Association, told Bloomberg. “We are getting to a point where we don’t have inventory left to keep fulfilling the market demand.”

Lower Haight bar reopens in Upper Haight

The Mad Dog in the Fog, which closed conspicuously right before everything else closed in early March 2020, reopened on August 6 way up the street. Hoodline reports the business applied for a new liquor license at the former Michael Collins, HQ, and Joplin’s space at 1568 Haight Street.

This San Francisco restaurant group is doing it again in SoMa

Restaurant outfit Alexander Steakhouse is all done with its SoMa restaurant the Patio (formerly known as ALX Gastropub) and now the group is unveiling plans for a new project called Afici. The San Francisco Business Times writes the restaurant group is shy on the details so far but will open at 680 Folsom Street by the end of the summer.

Korean cultural festival returns to the Presidio

The somewhat overly professionally-named Korean Center, Inc. (KCI) invites Bay Area residents back to the 4th Annual Chuseok Festival, held September 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Presidio Main Parade Lawn. Drop by for food vendors and trucks offering traditional Korean and fusion food, as well as booths featuring local small businesses and nonprofits.

“The Bear” sandwiches going gangbusters in the Bay Area

Love for Hulu’s “The Bear” just doesn’t seem to end. Now, restaurants across the country are paying homage to Italian beef sandwiches in the show’s honor. The San Francisco Chronicle reports San Francisco and Oakland are no exception, with Phat Philly and Line51 in the respective cities dishing out the meaty sandwiches. (I wonder if any of Carmy’s cookbooks include a recipe worth trying at home.)

ALX Gastropub

680 Folsom Street, , CA 94107 (415) 266-1111 Visit Website

The Patio

521 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Mad Dog in the Fog

1568 Haight Street, , CA 94117 (415) 626-7279