Now till Dec. 31, SFoodie is counting down the city's top alternative food and restaurant trends of 2009 ― the ones you won't be reading about in the Chron.
Not since The Waltons were burning up TV has the homespun Holly Hobbie spirit of pickling, preserving, and sauerkraut- and kombucha-making been as prominent as it was in 2009 (okay, so maybe kombucha was unique to 2009). Blame the Great Recession? Maybe. We call it a sibling of the quest for realness that saw bar and restaurant interiors sprouting raw lumber. Anya Fernald's Yes We Can summer preserving series brought new attention to some old-fashioned home arts ― even NPR took notice.
In Fernald's case, the spotlight on DIY preserving of locally harvested fruits and vegetables marked a ripening of the local Slow Food movement, an evolution from the elite, restaurant-centric days of the its infancy towards a new populist vision of Slow Food's credo of good, clean, and fair. And whether its was memories of the pickle pavilion at Slow Food Nation in 2008 or something else, restaurant chefs rolled up their sleeves and jumped in. From Danny Bowien's pickled okra at Mission Burger to Lauren Kiino's mustards at Il Cane Rosso and the sweet pickles in Boccalone's mortadella dog, 2009 was a year that glorified the scratch condiment.