A Rosh Hashana spread featuring a round challah, trays of shmaltz roasted potatoes, chicory salad, apricot braised chicken, a honey cake, and two bottles of wine.
Wise Sons Deli will be offering Rosh Hashanah fare — complete meals and a la carte offerings — for pickup at its new East Bay outpost, Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Temescal. Photo: Wise Sons Deli

There is some cognitive dissonance involved in celebrating anything just now, let alone a “new” year. And yet, the calendar moves inexorably forward, and neither fires nor pandemics can stop the High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah begins this Friday evening, whether we are ready to celebrate its “sweetness” or not.

A plethora of restaurants, caterers and bakeries are pulling out all the stops to tempt us to try a new dish, get out of our food comfort zone and — last but not least — support their struggling businesses.

So here is a short list of mouth-watering options that might help us forget, if only for a short while, the harsh realities that surround us. At the same time, may we be tempted to imagine a better future in the new year. After all, the Jewish people have specialized in surviving one disaster after another for thousands of years. May we live to survive this one as well.

Wise Sons Deli at Beauty’s Bagel Shop

Now that Wise Sons has acquired Beauty’s Bagel Shop, the San Francisco Jewish deli has a place in the East Bay to offer its eats. For the High Holidays, Wise Sons is offering a large selection of complete meals or a la carte fare, with options such as schmaltz roasted potatoes ($24), apricot braised chicken ($35), and roasted brisket ($70). There are also break-the-fast options (available Sept. 27-28 only) such as a smoked salmon platter ($80-$160) and a bagel and shmear box ($29). Order 24 hours in advance for pickup at Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Temescal. Delivery also available. Beauty’s Bagel Shop, 3838 Telegraph Ave. (between 38th and 40th streets, Oakland

Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen

Saul’s turban challah. Photo: Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen

Saul’s in Berkeley offers extensive Rosh Hashanah and break-the-fast menus, in addition to turban challahs ($6.75). Choices include such favorites as Pacific gefilte fish ($8), vegan or chicken chopped liver spread ($5.25), apple raisin noodle kugel ($15), red wine and prune brisket ($28), and chicken and fig with dukkah ($32). All pre-orders must be placed by midnight on Wednesday for pickup Friday and Saturday and Sept. 28. Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, 1475 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley


Chef Mark Liberman puts his seasonal, California cuisine spin on Mago’s Rosh Hashanah meal kit. The prix fixe menu, available for pickup only, includes challah, Swiss chard and dill fritters, Black cod gefilte fish with celery and beef tartare, braised brisket with coffee and onions, BBQ carrots with pomegranates, ricotta and noodle kugel, and apple, walnut and date strudel. Minimum of two orders, at $40 per person, for pickup this Friday or Saturday. Email mark@magorestaurant.com to reserve a kit; last day to order is Wednesday. Mago, 3762 Piedmont Ave. (near MacArthur Blvd) Oakland

Market Hall

Chicken with honey, saffron and almonds is available for Rosh Hashanah at both Market Hall locations. Photo: Market Hall Foods

Along with an assortment of round challahs, sides and salads, Market Hall offers two different entrees for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Chicken with honey, saffron and almonds ($18 for two servings; $36 for three to five servings) and grilled salmon with lemon yogurt sauce ($14.95 a serving) are available for pickup or delivery Thursday through Sunday, while chicken Marbella with prunes, green olives, and capers ($18 for two servings; $36 for three to five servings) or grilled salmon with sauce verte ($14.95 a serving) are available Sept. 25-28. Desserts, on offer for both holidays, include rugelach ($15.95 for 12 — choose from apricot, chocolate or an assortment of both), honey apple bundt cake with walnuts ($19.95) and brown butter almond torte ($28). Menu items will be available for purchase in-store during the above dates, or for parking lot pickup or home delivery with a pre-order at least two days in advance. Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave. (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland; Market Hall on Fourth Street, 1786 Fourth St.  (at Delaware Street), Berkeley

Bishulim SF

A diverse variety of appetizers and main dishes are available from kosher Israeli chef Aliza Grayevsky Somekh’s Bishulim SF. Options include fish patties in Tunisian red sauce ($12), baby carrot tzimmes ($8-$15), braised lamb shank ($25) and stuffed Cornish chicken ($22). There is also a unique “Rosh Hashanah plate” ($8), reminiscent of the Seder plate, but with symbolic foods for the new year. Food is cooked at Temple Beth Abraham’s kosher kitchen; items will be cold, to be reheated at home. Orders will be available for pickup in Oakland on Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Delivery is also available throughout the Bay Area for $20, or $10 for orders over $130. Pickup in Oakland at Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd. (between Adams Street and Van Buren Avenue), Oakland


The Moroccan beets salad, seasoned with a garlic-cumin-cilantro dressing, is available on Olive’s Rosh Hashanah menu. Photo: Olive

Arkadi Kluger and Elinor Nahmani’s East Bay-based catering company Olive delivers Ashkenazi and Sephardic fare for the High Holidays. The Rosh Hashanah spread includes Moroccan beets salad ($16), fire-roasted eggplant and pomegranate ($23), Moroccan salmon chraime ($50) and dried fruits lamb tagine ($50). All dishes are to be served family-style, to feed four to five people. Call 510-974-3086 or order online before 6 p.m., Tuesday, for delivery. Minimum order is $100, plus a $10 delivery fee (free delivery for orders over $150).

Mariposa Baking Co.

The gluten-free bakery Mariposa Baking Co. in North Oakland brings back its High Holiday menu, available for pickup through Sunday. The holiday collection features gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free challahs (plain, $14; raisin, $14.75) shaped in a traditional spiral; honey bundt cake ($15.50) topped with toasted almonds and coconut pecan macaroons ($9.50 for six). Braided challahs, in plain or sesame, are also available on Mariposa’s everyday bread menu. Call 510-595-0955, option 3, to place an order for same-day or one day in advance of pickup. Mariposa Baking Co., 5427 Telegraph Ave. (near 55th Street), Oakland

And even more spots to get challah

Beautiful challahs and holiday cakes are also available at Boichik Bagels (3170 College Ave., Berkeley), Fournee Bakery (2912 Domingo Ave., Berkeley) and Grand Bakery (3033 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland).

Freelancer Daphne White began her reporting career in Atlanta and then worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, for more than a decade. She covered Congress, education and teachers’ unions, and then...