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Pop-Up Shop: Improvised Eats

Grab some gourmet on the go.


Jennifer Martine

Gourmet get-togethers just keep popping up in Oakland. The latest is the Pop-Up General Store, where local chefs sell gourmet foods in Oakland’s Temescal district. Pop-Ups are announced online just a few days in advance, with a list of available items, such as boudin blanc sausage, bronze-cut rigatoncini, duck confit, and black currant panna cotta. You order online then come to the market to collect each item from the chef who created it.

“It’s a chance for people to get to know the person who’s cooking your food,” says Pop-Up Cofounder Samin Nosrat.

Nosrat and Christopher Lee started Pop-Up shortly after the closing of Lee’s Berkeley restaurant, Eccolo, where Nosrat worked as sous chef.

They began with a few packages of sausage and pasta, and former Eccolo chef Chelsea Pence brought a few stacks of cookies. Within a few months, Pop-Up garnered a cult following. Nosrat now gets e-mail after e-mail from sellers looking to introduce their new lines of English muffins, olive oil, or gyoza to Pop-Up shoppers.

Prices can be hefty: $12 for a pound of uncooked pasta, $20 for a pasture-raised chicken, $7 for a stack of six salted chocolate cookies. But if you follow the cooking instructions that come with the items, the sticker shock fades to the satisfaction of a legitimate restaurant-quality dinner at home.

Go to popupgeneralstore.blogspot.com to find out when the next Pop-Up will come to town.

The Pop-Up General Store in Oakland pops up every few weeks to sell gourmet treats from local chefs and food purveyors. Here are a few examples of what you can expect to find. In the above image, counterclockwise from top left:

1- Avez-vous du Dijon
• These popular boudin blanc sausages are prepared by Pop-Up General Store Cofounder Christopher Lee.

2- Heat and Serve
• Just warm up Jojo Goodies’ potato-chard gratin with Grana Padano cheese, and it’s good to go.

3- Tips To Go
• Little Bee Creamery’s Stacie Pierce includes some recipes to go along with her buttery tart dough

4- Sweet Treat
• Mary Jo Thoresen and Curt Clingman, former owners of JoJo restaurant in Oakland, offer two-packs of their black currant tea panna cotta. 

5- Frozen foodie
• Peko-Peko catering owner Sylvan Brackett makes his frozen heritage pork gyoza with local ginger, garlic, and cabbage in handmade wrappers.  


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