“Stacie jokes that I make the savory things and she makes the “unsavory” things. We have the perfect symbiotic relationship.”
Jes Taber, owner of Eye of the Avocado, has found a new home at Little Bee Bakery. Her savory specialty, already well known in the Bernal hood is the ROYBGIV Sandi. After months of temporary pop-ups in locations like Avedano’s Meats and 833 Cortland, Jes found a new home on Cortland Ave. These Bernal Businesses, Stacie Pierce, of Little Bee, and Jes seem to go together like sweet and savory. Together they provide more tasty options to their customers. It’s a story of neighbors working together and supporting each other, while adding to the allure of Bernal Heights.
Tell me how you got started in the food business?
In 2008 I worked at the Village Market in the Inner Richmond with Kate Baron. It’s an organic neighborhood market with a relaxed vibe. I started as a cashier and Blue Bottle Barista. Kate had a small kitchen to serve basic breakfasts and lunches a couple of days a week. Whenever she needed help I’d lend a hand with simple stuff like egg sandwiches, a daily toast, steel cut oats and frittatas. She kept telling me, “You’re good at the this, you ought to do this.” I’d always shrug her off because I hadn’t worked in food. I love food and always had front of house jobs at places like Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Market. I had been around it a lot so I had a good amount of knowledge about key terms. By cooking a few days a week at the Village Market for about three years, I started to focus on food in a new way.
Where did that experience lead to?
In 2013 I moved to Nevada City and worked as a personal chef. When I got there I tried a variety of things. One of my main experiences was helping open a popular restaurant called Three Forks Bakery and Brewery. I managed the soup, salad, and small plates program which is still running strong there. At the time I had a special 7 minute egg – it actually got written up in LA Weekly as “The Chef’s 7 Minute Egg is worth the 444 Mile Drive.”
I moved back to San Francisco in 2016 and about a year ago moved near Cortland Ave. I noticed there was space for a warm, organic nourishing breakfast thing. I like savory food in the morning and besides going to a restaurant to sit down there wasn’t anything like that in Bernal Heights. So I approached Erin at Avedano’s. She invited me to guest chef for a couple private parties there and those went well. Last October, they invited me to do a pop-up for a month and then I did another pop-up of just my egg sandwich at 833 (old Pinkies) for all of December and January. Now Stacie and I are really enjoying this pop-up so we’re going to keep it going for a while.
What has the neighborhood response been to your pop-up idea?
Erin at Avedano’s helped me connect with everyone. Each temporary space I’ve heard about has been through this close knit Bernal network. It’s a pretty generous community. Bernal is like a village. I equate it to the Hobbits. The Hobbits go down to where the humans live but the humans don’t go to where to the hobbits live.
I’ve got some regular customers now that I’ve been doing this awhile. I’ve gotten to hang out and get to know them a little. It’s a really special community here.
Having native San Franciscans and artists living here creates a different dynamic. It’s definitely one of the most sought after places in the city. It’s nice to get to know your community. I love living and working in Bernal.
Tell me about the ROYGBIV Sandi?
I came up with the name before I understood what I was going to put in it. I wanted to call something the ROYGBIV. It’s the acronym for the rainbow, which nobody understands. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Most people think the sandwich is called the Eye of the Avocado, but that’s the name of my business.
The sandwich is a 7-minute egg (medium boiled) sharp cheddar, herb butter, pickled onions and roasted carrots on a brioche bun. I think people appreciate surprises like the roasted carrots. It’s also on a great brioche bun from a bakery on Bayshore. It’s a real meal that’s healthy, fresh, organic and comforting.
It looks like you’re expanding from the egg sandwich into bread pudding and other savory treats.
I’m making organic vegetarian soups that are available in the freezer. Some weeks I make fingerling potato leak. Once a week I make a savory bread pudding with the leftover challah. I use egg custard, fold it into challah bread with braised onion, garlic, herb butter and some dairy. I’ll make a hotel pan on Fridays that’s available until it sells out.
What do you like most about being at Little Bee’s?
Stacie jokes that I make the savory things and she makes the “unsavory” things. I think we’re the perfect symbiotic relationship. She wants to concentrate on her bakery program and I want to focus on savory. I love everything single things she bakes and I can’t say that about many bakeries. Her pastries aren’t overly sweet or too rich. She’s more refined and has a sophisticated palate so she understands playing with savory things and making them into sweets. I love what she does with frangipani and rhubarb. I feel like we work well together.
How can people find you if they want to come by?
We have a sign outside and my Instagram feed. The #1 thing right now is word of mouth. We were in the Bernalwood blog in March and that was really helpful. I love being here so I’m talking to everyone about it. It would be great if people who love the sandwich would help spread the word.
Where to find Jes on Social Media:
Bernalwood: Eye of the Avocado Re-Pops Inside Little Bee Baking
Little Bee Bakery: 521 Cortland Ave, San Francisco
LA Weekly : The Chef’s 7 Minute Egg is worth the 444 Mile Drive.
Jen Baxter is a writer, photographer and San Francisco native. She tells stories encouraging people to be more independent, aware and creative. You can find other interesting articles at JenBaxter.com or follow her on Instagram @JenBaxterSF