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Thursday, February 17, 2011

No. 64: Horseradish-Leek Sauerkraut from Farmhouse Culture

Posted By on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek kraut, $7. Includes one juice shot. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek kraut, $7. Includes one juice shot.

SFoodie's countdown of the 92 best things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.


Kathryn Lukas, who owned a restaurant in Stuttgart for a spell before moving to Santa Cruz, began selling sauerkraut at a few farmers' markets and through a buyer's club in late 2007. In March 2008, she was accepted as a seller at Slow Food Nation, and it propelled her into pickling full time. Now Farmhouse has stands at nine farmers markets, sells packaged kraut to groceries around Northern California, and Lukas and her staff shred and salt 3000 pounds of cabbage a week. (She currently sells three varieties: caraway, smoked jalapeno, and horseradish leek.)

Most of the cabbage comes from Route 1 Farms, and the other ingredients ― carrots, apples, daikon, fennel ― come from nearby farms. Lukas brings in coarse sea salt from a supplier on the Sonoma Coast, and since she doesn't know anyone else who sells it, she's begun offering it at her farmers market stands, too.

Her horseradish-leek kraut, a sort of Western kimchi, begins with the same gut-punch ― that fermented cabbage funk, which roils out of the container the moment you crack the lid ― and hits the tongue with an electric acidity that flashes all the way to the back of your throat but doesn't burn. Instead of kimchi's red-chile glow, each bite ends in a flare of horseradish; remarkably, the flavor that lingers isn't the cabbage, or the horseradish, but the whiskery vegetal flavor of the leek. The kraut works as a relish, as an accompaniment to meats, and as the kind of snack that you eat straight from the tub, refrigerator door open, while you contemplate what you're going to make for dinner. Oh, and that kraut juice shot? It's supposed to have Viagra-like effects.

Farmhouse Culture. Locations: Thursday Ferry Plaza market, Sunday Jack London Square market, as well as Rainbow Grocery and a number of San Francisco Whole Foods branches.

Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño
91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu
90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha
89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar
88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline
87: Outerlands' levain bread
86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt
85: Gyro King's spinach pie
84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi
83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu
82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tart
81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée
80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle
79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña
78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe
77: Cheesecake from Zanze's
76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel
75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra
74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch
73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup
72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk
71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille
70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery
69: Plow's crispy potatoes
68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye
67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe
66: Nakaochi at Ippuku
65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Follow me at @JonKauffman.
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