(SFBA) How's everyone doing?

In times of social distancing, we are all sheltered at home, and not going out and talking to others much. I just want to say a quick hello to everyone and wish everyone to stay safe and healthy!

For me, we are at home with the small kids, trying to work and struggling a bit to balance between our day jobs and our second role as teachers. I know we are already very fortunate that we still have work, and that there are millions out there who are struggling, health-wise, or financially. Restaurant owners and workers are no doubt in a great deal of hurt right now. I don’t even know if the industry will ever recover.

How’s everyone doing? Please let us know if you need help, whether its critical food items, toilet paper, or just you want someone to speak to.

Stay safe and healthy!


I thought not having to commute would make life easier, but I was quite wrong. Now, instead eating at work, I have to cook three times a day. I am relying on grocery delivery, but I still need to go to physical stores from time to time. The chore of sanitizing everything (including myself) after going out and getting deliveries is exhausting. However, I am looking forward to cooking dishes and baking stuff that I never had time for.

Hope everybody is safe and well!


We have our meals prepped every two days. Its not the best tasting by the end of the two days, but it does save a lot of time. Since we both work from home, its faster to feed ourselves and the kids that way. I think we are going to be quite overwhelmed if we have to cook every meal…!

I have become cheap and found the Panda Express 20 dollar meal a bargain. Look what Covid has done…

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Trying our darnedest not to go out at all but local chain markets here (South OC) have both delivery and pick up wait times of 5-7 days. Will have to brave a visit despite being in a vulnerable category. It’s been rather amazing to me reading how many people here are making what seems like almost daily restaurant pickups. Hopefully many are curbside.

Definitely rough times are ahead. Reports of permanent closures have begun and the pace seems to be slowly accelerating. Latest news is that Bistro 29/Santa Rosa has shut down for good. Used to be a fav of ours on our Sonoma Cnty trips.

We’re retired so the only real change is that our usual routine of driving trips on a route through Northern/Central CA has been interrupted. I am extremely glad we sneaked out at end of January/early February for an extra-long Napa and Sonoma counties trip.

We hadn’t been traveling much during 2019 anyway due to a combo of long-distance social obligations and a long list of small but pesky home remodeling/maintenance projects. We’re still only halfway through the list, in fact.

So getting out on that Wine Country trip felt like getting out of jail, LOL. And of course, now everybody’s stuck at home except first responders and essential services staff. It’s rough on the latter; you can see them getting tired of the hassle with masks and gloves and repeatedly wiping equipment down.

I enjoy cooking so am just doing even more of it. Using the senior hours at Safeway and Piedmont Grocery/Oakland really helps. PG not only limits quantities but also restricts how many people are in the store at any one time.

Interestingly, PG has expanded its “limit: one” mandate. Before it was eggs and TP. Now the TP is in individually wrapped rolls, no more pkgs - but still a limit of one! Also, bags of pasta and cans of beans were added to the “one only per trip” rule.

We were fortunate to be pretty well supplied with cooking and cleaning items before the lockdown. On-line has become so much more difficult (I had been ordering on-line groceries from Safeway almost every week for the last year), I’ve just about given it up.

Sometimes I can get items on-line from Amazon if I’m willing to wait a week or so, so that helps. I’m more flexible now about what I buy - Peet’s was consistently out of stock on the blend we like, so I switched to Philz this time. Just rec’d the order of two different dark roast coffees so we’ll see how we like them. If not I’ll go back to ordering Illy or Mr. Espresso (assuming they can be found, LOL).

Staying home means you may run out of things you don’t normally even think about. DW tablets. Bleach (mine expired ages ago, it turns out!). Plastic wrap. Band-aids and toothpicks.

We did take-out a couple of times but had to stop when I developed a slight sore throat. Never turned into anything but it was a little scratchy and dry for a couple of weeks - longer than it should have been if it was just a cold. I figured it was best to stay home just in case.

We have N95 masks we bought and used during the 2018 wildfires, so dug them out to make one foray to Safeway for fresh produce. But the rest of the time we have stayed home.

Although supplies are good at the grocery stores, the overall news is not good. The pandemic is unfortunately starting to affect food processors. The situation has the potential to become very serious, very fast. There are only seven countries in the world who grow enough food to feed their own population and also export, and the USA is by far the largest of those seven countries.

Nobody else even comes close to us in food exports. Damage our supply chain and a lot of people around the globe will be affected.

I think the restaurant industry overall, and definitely the formerly red-hot SFBA food segment, is going to crash big-time. It has always been dependent on cheap labor + volume, and both of those will be adversely affected going forward.


Even if the stay-at-home order is lifted, it will take a long time before diner confidence comes back. With the restaurant margin already low with a full house, its hard to fathom how any restaurants, other than chain ones, can survive unless all the operating costs drastically go down.

I heard Mexican markets are better stocked these days. I have not been.

Individual roll toilet paper is just about useless. I’d just get a bidet if it comes to that.

Re: pasta, not that I need it, but if i really want pasta, I bet some restaurants are willing to sell their pasta supplies to customers. Food service pasta should be very abundant these days.

Re ethnic markets: yes, my niece in El Cerrito clued me in on the smaller Asian, Indian, and Mexican markets being fairly well stocked. Also, she said El Cerrito Natural Foods grocery on San Pablo was fully stocked in all depts and easier to deal with than Berkeley Bowl.

We’re in Oakland so actually not far from the big Cardenas grocery on High St. & Foothill Blvd. Haven’t been there yet, however.

I agree with you there will be a lack of confidence in dining out, going forward. Even worse, the # of people with disposable income will shrink.

From the NY Times CA edition:
"… The [economic] report, by the nonprofit Economic Roundtable, based in Los Angeles, found that 43 percent of Californians are at high risk of unemployment:

Unemployment risk in CA


I feel very sorry for those in the restaurant and grocery businesses. They must be hit hard. Let’s buy some take-outs and gift certificates to keep the good ones afloat.


We’ve settled into a new rhythm, with probably 2 nights per week of take-out, focusing on our favorite restaurants. Cooking maybe 3 nights a week, leftovers for lunch and other dinners.

It’s interesting how much “roll your own” is in people’s responses to the medical situation. At our house, we don’t believe in sterilizing every supply and food item, nor do we use gloves, but I do believe heavily in masks. I also don’t believe in leaving the house except for essential business, and for me that doesn’t include driving to a nature preserve 20 miles away. OTOH, I could argue that my use of take-out is also non-essential, because I can cook perfectly fine, thank you.

I did get out of the house this weekend because a friend scored a 50lb bag of bread flour, and I did the work of divvying up 10# lots among thankful friends. That does feel essentially, reducing strain on the retail groceries.

Cooking, I’ve been fooling around with Tagines. It seems that with a standard dutch oven, there are “nubbins” on the inside of the lid, dripping the water back into the pot, no different technically from a tagine. However, I’ve eaten through all my preserved lemon supply, which was the impetus, so I guess I’ll just do tagines without, and wait until I can get to a specialty grocery, or it’s lemon season again.

Thus we are all making our own rules.

At some point I throw up my hands - if people want to some how equate personal liberty with a public health emergency, I’m just flabbergasted. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, that’s what the anti-vax thing was about too. And apparently the San Francisco Anti-Mask League of the Spanish Flue Epidemic. Fine, I guess I’ll just stay home for a long time.

In the groceries around me, there are still lines most of the time, and most staff are not using masks and not really able to socially distance. In checking on some groceries this weekend, every line had people without masks, so we were unwilling to wait in those. We’re now pretty well stocked and truly down to one visit a week. And yes, we’re doing “ethnic” groceries, which is to say, our small neighborhood mexican and deli. It’s harder to stay away from people, but the stock levels are good. We were low on salt but the mexican market had these bags of salt unlike the format I’ve ever bought in a safeway, but it’s the kind of salt I was looking for.

I was hoping the take out cocktail thing would be more fun. I did it with Rooh in Palo Alto, and it was just a cocktail that happened to come with my to-go food. I probably am drinking a bit more - wine every night with dinner, when it used to be really just saturday and sunday - because I"m at home and not driving. I have gone for a couple of growlers to-go, I wish I could talk myself into a drive to Laughing Monk, I understand it’s still open and I really want it to survive.

I notice how much Hong Kong has come back to life, specifically around restaurants and the food scene, according to a friend who resides there. It’s not that they’re hiding numbers, he has an uncle who is a doctor and sees the real day-to-day. I guess America is not suited to collective action, and we’ll pay for it.


The restaurants are open, although there are still a lot of restaurants with barely any customers. Friend of mine went to a well-known restaurant in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, and his was the only table there while he was eating.

The lines of people without masks will change for many of us soon, as SF, Marin, and the East Bay are requiring the wearing of masks/bandanas/old gym shorts in public places as of Wednesday morning (except for walking/running/cycling).