Saturday morning, Oakland restaurant Pizzaiolo raised $12,000 selling cookies, cupcakes, and other baked goods. Hundreds of people turned out to support the restaurant’s Bakesale for Japan and eye a wide selection of sweets and treats prepared by hundreds of professional bakers and local volunteers. A long stream of customers spilled out from Pizzaiolo and flowed halfway down the Telegraph Avenue block.

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Bay leaves, peppercorns, and red chiles are three of the key ingredients in Chris Lee's turkey brining kits.

For the founders of Oakland’s Pop-Up General Store—Chris Lee and fellow chef Samin Nosrat—food is, indeed, a labor of love. Since early 2009, the former Chez Panisse and Eccolo chefs have been selling gourmet goods out of Grace Street Catering in North Oakland. Once a month, Lee, Nosrat and a team of helpers prepare homemade delicacies and, along with a host of other specialty food vendors, set up for an afternoon and sell them to an ever-expanding group of Oakland and Berkeley foodies. Patrons can order beforehand online or buy up whatever is left on the spot.

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On randomly-selected afternoons a couple hundred people gather in a big brick building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way to shop, browse and taste ready-made food from top chefs from all over the Bay Area. It’s not a farmers market, food fair or co-op—it’s the Pop-Up General Store, a place where people can buy pre-made food that can’t normally be found outside of an expensive restaurant.

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