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This past month has been nothing short of remarkable for me. Not only did we host 13 great author events, but I also managed to sneak in a week's vacation to New Orleans. Most people I know aver that New Orleans is near and dear to their hearts, but Paula and I had never been. I know. Scandalous. We atoned for our mistake by packing in a whirlwind of eating, drinking and sightseeing during one of the loveliest weeks one could hope for, weather-wise. We ate at all the places they say you should eat: Commander's Palace, Coquette, Willa Jean, Compère Lapin, and most of the Donald Link restaurants (Herbsaint, Cochon, and Peche). We really loved all of these, though for my money, I think I loved Peche (an entire platter of various preparations of Gulf shrimp!) and Coquette (an entire platter of fried chicken with deviled eggs, pickles and a biscuit - for brunch!) best. Best Sazerac award goes, surprisingly, to Commander's Palace, though admittedly we didn't get to hit the famed bars of New Orleans.

Some slightly more off-the-radar places and activities we experienced were a fantastic oyster bar called Seaworthy, just a few doors down from the Ace Hotel. It's a great spot to try all the Gulf Coast oysters, and it's in a historic building that just feels right. Happy Hour with half-price oysters is the time to go. We also loved the permanent collection at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which is perfect to save for a rainy day; lots of great Southern folk art, modern photographs, and rotating exhibits of contemporary Southern artists. Lastly, we took a fantastic architecture tour of the historic Garden District, with an appropriately named guide, Katrina Horning. It's a perfect way to spend a morning. And when you're over that way, make sure to visit the excellent Gracious Bakery, a little-known local gem. There are also terrific bookshops, including Kitchen Witch and Faulkner House Books.

Back at Omnivore, I hit the ground running, with visits by Jacques Pepin and Nigella Lawson in the same week. In a fit of optimism, I even offered to cook dinner for Nigella, so I made chicken pozole with green chili, for which I decided she would have little or no reference for comparison to better versions. It was a good bet; all our bowls were empty by the end of dinner. Both Jacques and Nigella took audience questions, and talked about the giant clams used for the famed fried clam platter at Howard Johnson's (him) and how the "guilty" needs to be separated from "pleasure" in "guilty pleasure" (her). Memorable too were talks on modern American food by Edward Lee (Buttermilk Graffiti), traditional Turkish cooking by Somer Sivrioglu of Efendy in Sydney (Anatolia), Southern-Puerto Rican food by Von Diaz (Coconuts and Collards), and many more. What can I say; I loved them all.

Last thing: I'm really proud of a series of articles I've embarked on for Edible San Francisco, all about the history of American regional cookbooks. My first one just came out, so you can grab a copy at my shop, or read it here. I love this subject, and am excited to be pairing up with Marla Bakery to host a Sunday Dinner on May 6 focused on historic San Francisco cuisine. The menu is now online, and I'll be on hand to talk about the books these recipes are from. There are just a few spots left, so grab them fast!

Hope to see you at some of our wonderful May events!

Sincerely,

Celia Sack, Owner
Omnivore Books on Food
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Upcoming Events at Omnivore Books

 

 

 

Sat, May 5 • Maggie Hoffman • The One-Bottle Cocktail: More than 80 Recipes with Fresh Ingredients and a Single Spirit • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

A collection of more than 80 wonderfully creative, fresh, and delicious cocktails that only require a bottle of your favorite spirit, plus fresh ingredients you can easily find at the market. Conversational and authoritative, this book puts simple, delicious, and inventive drinks into your hands wherever you are, with ingredients you can easily source and no more than one spirit.

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Sun. May 6 • Adam Weintraub • Pisco Patrimonio • 3:00-4:00 FREE

A photographic exploration of the history, process, bodegas and use of pisco in the current culture of Peru. Peruvian Pisco must be made in the country's five official D.O. (Denomination of Origin) departments—Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna (only in the valleys of Locumba Locumba, Sama and Caplina)— established in 1991 by the government. In Peru, pisco is produced only using copper pot stills, and unlike the Chilean variety, Peruvian pisco is never diluted after it is distilled and enters the bottle directly at its distillation strength. Nico Vera, of Pisco Trail, will be on hand to pour pisco samples for us!

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Thurs. May 10 • Laura McLively • The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

Celebrating the unfamiliar yet extraordinary produce from California's most iconic market, Berkeley Bowl, this cookbook offers recipes for a panoply of fruits and vegetables that have been largely overlooked or forgotten in popular cuisine. Shining a spotlight on the versatile and unique qualities of the astonishingly beautiful, plant-based bounty that's available to vegetarians and meat eaters alike, these recipes and photographs will help you embrace hundreds of exciting fruits and vegetables you may never have tasted or thought of cooking.

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Fri. May 11 • Bill Kim • Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

Kim teaches the fundamentals of the Korean grill through flavor profiles that can be tweaked according to the griller's preference, then gives an array of knockout recipes. Starting with seven master sauces (and three spice rubs), you’ll soon be able to whip up an array of recipes, including Hoisin and Yuzu Edamame, Kimchi Potato Salad, Kori-Can Pork Chops, Seoul to Buffalo Shrimp, BBQ Spiced Chicken Thighs, and Honey Soy Flank Steak. From snacks and drinks to desserts and sides, Korean BBQ has everything you need to for a fun and delicious time around the grill.

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Sat. May 12 • Justin Chapple • Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

Justin Chapple may have trained at the French Culinary Institute, but he knows how people really cook at home. He grew up with a large family, first learning kitchen tricks from his grandmother who made do with whatever they had, and she made the food delicious. Now Justin is the host of Food & Wine's award-nominated Mad Genius Tips video cooking series, and appears regularly on TODAY and other television shows as their resident kitchen hack expert. In his job as the Culinary Director of the test kitchen, he's often asked to take recipes from superstar chefs like David Chang and Thomas Keller, and simplify them for home cooks.

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Sat. May 19 • David Bransfield • Pizzapedia: An Illustrated Guide to Everyone's Favorite Food • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE, with pizza!

In lavish illustrations and hand-lettered text, Pizzapedia celebrates all there is to fixate about: the stories behind its origin (we have the ancient Greeks to thank before the Italians); the delectable ingredients, from San Marzano tomatoes to buffalo mozzarella; the failed and the famous inventions (like "the pizza saver," the piece of plastic that prevents a pizza delivery box top from drooping into the pie); the merits of Sicilian vs. New York vs. Chicago vs. new (Detroit!) styles; and much more.

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Thurs. May 24 • Linda Civitello • Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight that Revolutionized Cooking • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

First patented in 1856, baking powder sparked a classic American struggle for business supremacy. For nearly a century, brands battled to win loyal consumers for the new leavening miracle, transforming American commerce and advertising even as they touched off a chemical revolution in the world's kitchens. Linda Civitello chronicles the titanic struggle that reshaped America's diet and rewrote its recipes.

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Omnivore Books on Food • 3885a Cesar Chavez Street • San Francisco, CA 94131
415.282.4712 • Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm