Thursday, February 6, 2020

The grit whisperer

(Also, nice mention of Bill Neal, founder of Crooks Corner and granddaddy of Southern Nouveau)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

We Are The Weather

We started a quarterly "Book of the Season" sale in November with Emily Wallace's Road Sides. This month we introduce We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

Image result for we are the weather

Our blurb:

Jonathan Safran Foer’s We are the Weather tackles global warming, our eating habits, and the helplessness we feel in the face of corporations and legislators that are ruining the environment for our children. Disturbing in a cathartic way, his alarmist prose activates with humor and pathos, spurring us to question our daily activities and the politicians who would deign ignore the obvious disruption to Mother Nature’s ordinary workings. Just as Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me was penned as a letter on race to his son, Foer frames his polemic through both the lens of his children and his Holocaust-surviving grandmother. For the sake of your children and grandchildren, read this book now!

We seem to be in a cultural moment where we are highly focused on recipes and cookbooks detailing  archetypal comfort food (e.g. hummus, babka, artisan pizza). I heard a podcast yesterday where David Chang went on at length to describe his "perfect" BLT. Safran Foer's book seems to beg the question: What if the massive collection of all these rediscovered homespun recipes like pie crust and biscuits and mandelbrot are some of the last that will be published before civilization-changing climate change decimates the food culture we have come to exalt and fetishize as so called "foodies"? What kind of world will it be where New York-style pizza is no longer readily available and also no recipes exist for how to make it, and even if one could make it, there is no commercial yeast, or no conventional roller-milled white flour (fyi - white flour was only available to the rich in the 1800s)? Baking and cooking recipes/processes/methods are not only technology, but knowledge that could disappear in a generation or less. Let's commit to treasuring and saving recipes for delicious handmade, homemade food.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


The average customer perception in 2020 in Durham is that there are more good restaurants and openings than ever before, but the possibility of oversaturation and market dilution due to online food purchasing, changing diets, and changing work patterns has sparked the fear nerve centers for many restaurateurs. Fine dining holds less cache than it once did, and while this is a small segment of the overall dining public, it is seen as a bellweather for the health and vitality of the industry.  Satisfaction, Tyler's Taproom, Cuban Revolution, Watts Grocery, Blu Seafood, Primal, Big Bundts, Saint & Co. The Boot, Bagel Bar, and Lilly's all closed in 2019. Some of those restaurants were decade(s)-plus mainstays of the community. Greater are the number of restaurants under financial pressure to make it in an environment with a shallow labor pool for skilled kitchen talent and the long pockets of corporate players (such as Wholefoods) and well-capitalized restaurant groups outbidding the smaller players for hiring. In addition, January and February can typically be two of the slowest months all year -- these doldrums amp up the anxiety in restaurant management. 

Outside of the industry, I sense fear, and sometimes feel overwhelmed by a host of bad things that dominate the news, both local and national. Am I the only one? Cell phone distraction, random violence and police brutality, nightly car burglaries, daily car accidents on I-40, climate change disturbances to our growing seasons, child deaths and carbon monoxide poisonings in Macdougald Terrace, a fake Trump impeachment trial, saber rattling in Iran, Kobe Bryant dying in a horrific accident, and the looming one-year anniversary of the Kaffeinate explosion (that took out a city block, was cleared to the foundation, and on top of which will be built what?) which seems largely forgotten. What happened to #durhamstrong? Where is Durham and the country going I ask?

Ninth Street Bakery is protected from some of these prevailing winds by our loyal customer base, our reach into different wholesale bread markets, and our central location in Downtown Durham. Nonetheless, we feel these feelings too and hope that everyone supports good local foods and farmers this Winter and early Spring.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

When the post-industrial revolution makes us all superfluous, bread will still exist, hopefully long-fermented, hopefully with an open crumb and tangy flavor and discernible crust.  Bread now, bread always.

Best of 2019

Bartender: Eric Tullis, Criterion 

NSB Bake Photo: Alex Ruch

Instagram Account: Chioke Nassor

Draft List: Hutchins Garage

Ambitious Entrepreneur: Mike Lee

Gym: Top Notch Performance

Dive Bar Bathroom: Accordion Club

Hip Hop/R&B Single: Easy (Remix); Drogba (Joanna)

New Opening: Larema Coffee, Rocky Mount

Empty Bakery as Zendo, Alive with Yeast:

New NSB Product: Ninth Street Bakery Roasted Coffee Beans

New Eyesore: One City Center 

NSB Photo Shoot: Will Warasila

Local Book: Road Sides, Emily Wallace

Bookseller: Land Arnold, Letters

New NSB Merch: Joe Sink Mugs

Song: Almost Free, Molly Sarle 

Candy: Kings Red and White

Up and Coming Artist: Brent Faiyaz 

Instagram Post:, Kelsey Dawson

Local Beer: Hopfly

Tacos: Taquizas Martha, Durham Green Flea Market

Traditional Culinary Techniques: Oaxaca, Mexico

Local Twitter: durham mom

Insurrectionist Satirical Twitter: Major the Bull

Style: Russell Dudley, Top Notch Performance

Show: Sylvan Esso WITH Tour, DPAC

Book I Read This Year: The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison 

Albums: Karaoke Angel, Molly Sarle; Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood

Dresser:  Siobhan Scully, Wax Poetics

Local Recommendation Compendium: nsb little black book

Foodie Bucket List Destination: Franklin's BBQ, Austin

Grocery: Li Ming Global Mart

Restaurant: Tower Indian Restaurant, Morrisville

Bakery Pandora Station: Lauryn Hill

New Art at NSB: Phil Blank's Peas

and. . . 

Worst Attack on Durham Latinx Community: ICE Raids

In Memoriam: 

Friday, December 6, 2019

little black book

Take a look at the little bi-fold guide we put together for visitors to Durham and Triangle.  Available only in-store at the cashier station.  Here is the front and back cover:

Sunday, December 1, 2019

lil farm strikes again

franklin bbq pilgrimage

early drinking in line is not only forgiven, but encouraged.  we got in line at 730am and were served at 1130am. we were about 20th from the front out of 300.

Pit tour!

bakery acrostic affirmations

will warasila

joe sink

You may have noticed we are now carrying custom mugs by Joe Sink of White Cross, NC (near Carrboro). He's super talented and shows up at the Hunt Street Farmer's Market to sell on Saturdays. He made a glazed cassarole dish for me that is my favorite purchased item of the year.  He also donated a large decorative vase to the Bakery that had a hairline crack in it that sits on the bar.  


Holiday Staff Meeting 2018, with guest Russell Dudley of Top Notch Performance

Friday, November 29, 2019

Love my bookkeeper Sarah M. In addition to keeping the house straight, she leaves a little shrine arrangement of my tsochkes before she leaves (antique salt and pepper shakers and some sea glass). What a gem.

Monday, November 25, 2019

pie inflation

I feel like the overly expensive pie might be anti-pie? This is a post from last year but their 9'' Thanksgiving pies from this year are $48.

Tartine Manufactory and Tartine Bakery

Pies available at the Manufactory: Pumpkin, apple, butterscotch cream tart ($50 each). At the bakery: Pumpkin, apple ($50 each), banana cream tart ($54).