Let's Get it Started!

The Goal for our Artist Residency is to partner up with a local musician and collaborate with them in sharing what the South Bay has to offer. The musical talent in San Jose alone is diverse and eclectic.  Working with local artists we want to bring them up in their journey in pursuing a musical career through having them create their weekly shows along and having them use our stage as a platform for what they can bring to a broader audience.

With Socorra's Folk and Soul sound along with her thrive to build a musician community it was an obvious choice to have her kick off the residency. This past Thursday she rocked the stage along with Jesse Bryant, Mardi Morillo, and The Jake Whicham Band. The diverse sounds filling the Forager Stage showed the diversity that San Jose has to offer. Stay updated by subscribing to our blog or check out our Spring calendar.

Sofa Street Fair

There's nothing like being a part of the neighborhood when you can help throw a party. As part of the SoFA Street Fair we partnered with Content Magazine in hosting their curation of musicians for this beautiful Sunday. Check out the the video recap below.

Interview with Forager Chef: Lee Hernandez

Forager Tasting Room + Eatery aspires to be able to highlight chefs who are passionate about their food as much as we are about beer and coffee, by offering chefs an 18 month trial to present their food to the diverse audience of San Jose. While we are in Phase 1, we brought on our own Chef to bring some Forager inspired creations to create that dining experience we hope to have here in the future. 

I asked some questions to 'Chef' (as we all call him here at Forager) and thought you all might like to meet the man behind all of our tasty small plates. 

Hey Chef! Thanks for answering some questions for us! People call you Chef around here, what is your actual name? Where did the nickname originate, or is it just Forager folks who call you Chef?
My name is Lee Hernandez. It all started in culinary school with my mentor, we would always call him chef until this one day he called me chef and it carried over to now, people close to me call me Chef.

Okay Chef, so I’m first interested in knowing where you grew up! Were you born and raised in the Bay Area or somewhere else?
I grew up living between Illinois, Mexico and Texas in my early years. It was fun and interesting but nothing as eye-opening as the Bay Area, with it's cosmopolitan mix of foods.  That is what has influenced me and I have grown to love.

Do you feel like the Mid-West still inspired you for the food you created for Forager?
Yeah, I think a lot of my inspiration is mostly nostalgic feelings from food of the places that I've been. I think for Forager, that influenced me a lot,  but also how I projected that the customers would be here.  I think the major key competence is: passion for food.

I agree 100%, passion drives excellence. Bringing it back to those Mid-west days, What is your most memorable eating experience growing up?
My grandma's cooking. You can see in her food the years of experience, love and care in what she fed us.  [I think] that's what everybody would like to achieve at one point in their lives.

Was that the moment that made you decide “ah ha! I want to become a chef!" ?
No, That moment would be when I was a junior in high school and in a home economics class. Me and the team got assigned to cook something and our food was the best in the class.  It dawned on me that we can cook something, make people happy AND we get to eat! That's a good deal! That was the moment that started me thinking that being a chef or being in the culinary business would be something that I would love to do.

That is so cool, I took cooking in school and did not have that magical of an experience. Sounds like it was destiny for you! How do you feel your experience will help someone who hasn't gone to culinary school or who is just really passionate about what they make, grow into someone capable of owning their own restaurant? 
It is exciting to be able to share the knowledge that I've accumulated through all my different ventures--restaurants, institutional catering banquets and food trucks. I think by having all this knowledge and having young people or young chefs be able to ask somebody that has the knowledge would be so helpful for them to grow. To be able to really grow into his or her own brand identity, into what they want to do and accomplish.

Why do you feel like a restaurant incubator is a good idea? And sets it apart from any other public food market that are popular these days?
Having an incubator is a good idea I think. Giving people some space to be able to reflect and acknowledge what they're passionate about makes a difference on others passions and their own. 

I look forward to the day that some talented chefs get to work with you and share their flavors inside Forager. That will be so so awesome. In the meantime for Phase 1, you’ve created a series of seasonal small plates for dining that pair with our beers and drinks. Are you excited about how those are going?
I'm super excited how these things are coming along, especially with the small plates menu. I feel that we are emphasizing a lot on flavor, seasonally, and with the beer pairings. 

Did the name Forager have any inspiration on the ingredients you’ve chosen?
Well the excitement of being able to work with the local farms and people in the area have really influenced and are (evident in the) outcome of some of our final dishes.

Do you have any ingredients you just always go back to that you love?
I love using peppers and in their different forms and infused oils add a nice level of sophistication to any dish.

What is your favorite dish that you’ve created so far on this menu?
I think the Tuna Tartare has been one of my favorite dishes.  It has the complexity of the local flair of the Asian influence plus (prepared) in the classical French style. It makes a wonderful dish and so tasty! 

I know at Devout Coffee in Fremont, we have these moments where someone comes in who has never tasted specialty coffee before. We ask them to take a sip of their plain black pour-over before they add any sugar and their response is always ”this is SO good, I never knew coffee could have all this natural sweetness!” Those moments are a sweet reminder of 'why we do what we do'... 

Do you have moments like that here at Forager yet? 
Yes, we had a couple of those moments with my beet salad. We have had customers that don't usually like to eat beets but they tried it and have been really really happy and so excited about it, so much so they wrote a review where they put that down as one of their favorite dishes!


That's so cool!  I think I need to try it then! Maybe your salad can make a beet lover out of me too, and I’m sure there will be many more moments like that  to come! Thanks so much for sharing. You are going to teach us how to make an item off the menu at home right?
Yes, it's going to be Ceviche, with white shrimp from Mexico. Nice and meaty, perfect texture. A combination of cooking it in, lemon,  with a little salt, pepper, garlic , and a little lemon oil. Let it cure overnight. delicious!

I'm so excited to watch the process! Last year I traveled to Tulum, Mexico and their ceviche was incredible! When I first tasted yours Chef, it brought me back to those crystal clear beaches. I love how food does that!  We look forward to many memorable food moments to come, thanks Chef!

Watch the video below to learn how to make Ceviche right at home. If you can't get it just right, not to worry! Chef has some here at Forager waiting for you!

Dine + Design

“In ancient times... the first ‘Social Media’ gathered around food.”  - Natalie Engels from Gensler of San Jose explained. Behind her on the presentation screen a picture depicted ancient Egyptian encryptions of people, with food in hand, gathered around tables. The place where we gather and share a meal has been a core element to society since early civilization. Today in modern culture it is still a strong force. Even with the ability to eat on the road or in front of a screen, there is still something that pulls us to the dining experience. To consider what goes into this experience is what Gensler presented to a group at Forager at our Dine + Design event hosted by Content Magazine.

Many came to the presentation --some with no background in interior design, design majors from San Francisco, museum curators, as well as professionals. The presentation provoked questions that wouldn’t initially come to mind when thinking about  design. What defines a space? What is it that makes you want to come back, take photos in it, be with people you love, meet new friends…?

I’ve considered these questions when helping create the space in Devout Coffee in Fremont, as well as here at Forager. However, decision-making has been an instinctual feeling. This exercise put questions to my feelings and helped in the professional process of getting inside someone else’s desire for a space.

We asked these questions amongst ourselves while being able to experience this together. We were all divided into groups to replicate a different ‘restaurant’ vibe. While working together in the hustle, we selected fabrics and swatches. We made mood boards and crafted a feel for our room with fabric walls and table settings.

After the spaces were prepared, we nomadically traveled from ‘restaurant' experience to 'restaurant' experience where we tasted: sushi from Michi with a kick to be remembered, tacos paired with the local beers of Forager’s curation, freshly pressed juice from Origin’s Juicery (neighbors just down the street from Forager), and inventive ideas from Raw Daddy--vegan goodness you eat from a cone with a flavor explosion to match. Forager provided items off of our seasonal menu such as deviled eggs, brussel sprouts, and a small flat bread.  

Having chefs, designers, and creative people to feast together naturally equals an inspiring experience. This is the type of event I feel is the heartbeat of Forager. We are cultivating a place for more of these opportunities to emerge. A place where the expression of music, arts, culture, food, beer, and coffee brings us back to the roots of social gathering.

Even in phase one, you can taste something new, drink local beverages, and take in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Each experience is like a voice calling us to take community deeper - to let new ideas emerge.

Comment if you’d like to see more of this type of event and what you would like to
Dine + ________  with?  

 

On Set With Love District

When Chris Pounders asks if his band can shoot a music video at your new spot, there’s really only one acceptable answer: Rock on! Here’s a sneak peek of some behind the scenes footage we grabbed while Love District shot their latest video Will You Find Me right here at Forager.

The crew rolled out all the bells and whistles for this shoot and it was really nothing short of an actual show… well, aside from all the lip-syncing, and the fact that they played the same song over and over again. Even after five or six takes though I wasn’t hearing any complaints- these guys rock, and their fans do too! I listened to the same song at least eight more times after I went home that night.

Rigging the projector up to illuminate the brickwork was a genius move; it really enhanced the slow motion effect on the people in the crowd. Can’t wait until they release the final cut; this video is going to be awesome.

In true rockstar form the band even had an impromptu jam session in between takes proving that these guys literally will not stop rocking out even at the behest of the director, lol.

If you aren’t following Love District yet it’s not too late if you start right now. Check them out and you’ll see what all the hype’s about: http://www.lovedistrictmusic.com  Rock on San Jose!

Forager Unplugged Recap

The musical talent has been decorating time where the art continues to fill and decorate our space. Forager is honored to have everyone be apart of our pop-up series, Forager Unplugged.

As the music was playing people were not only able to enjoy the live entertainment but also were able to shop for unique items from our local vendors.

First First Friday!

Our first First Friday in SoFA was a big hit! We had a variety of amazing local artists, musicians, makers, and vendors take over our space and create a uniquely awesome environment for our guests. We witnessed the potential for what Forager will soon become- an inviting and creative space where culture thrives and guests enjoy food, the arts, and community. Shout out to all you awesome creative peoples for joining with us in this journey- we wouldn't be here without you.

Kicked Off Our Pop-Up

Opening up the space for artists and musicians made for an enjoyable weekend. Here are some photos this past Friday. This was a great way to see what's in store when we open up next year.

Setting Up

Here at Forager, progress has been steady and we cannot express how excited we are to launch. Each day we get closer to turning an idea into reality.

In the meantime, we plan to utilize the space by reaching out to local artists and musicians, to participate in our “pop-up” series. Our vision of the upcoming series is to contribute to the culture of art and music of San Jose. This weekend, we will hosting our first pop up show and we hope to see you there!

 

Friday, August 26 from 6-9pm

Local artists: Julie Barret, Kimy Martinez, Al Preciado, and Kevin Yea

Local musicians: These Words, Cortnee Langlie, and Chris Reed.

Clothing by Revival Apparel and The Thrift Mission

 

Saturday, August 27 from 6-9

Local artists: Julie Barret, Kimy Martinez, Al Preciado, and Kevin Yea

Local musicians: Mardi Morillo, Dion Jones, and Better Promises.

Clothing by Revival Apparel and The Thrift Mission



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Renderings ARE here.

Schematic Design phase is complete. Next up: Design Development and Construction Documentation; then we submit plans to the city. After getting city approval, we can officially begin construction. The space feels rustic yet sophisticated, minimalist; a well appointed Scandinavian farmhouse. The exposed brick and arched timber ceilings in the space are so beautiful we kind of just wanted to get out of the way,