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SUNSHINE STATE

 
 

After our failed trip to Hawaii, in search of sunshine obscured by a hurricane, Los Angeles seemed like a better bet. So in September, Paula and I piled in the car with our swimsuits, sunglasses, and gossip magazines, and hit the road. Seven hours later, we were sipping cocktails poolside at the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A., breathing easy (and probably smog).

While we spent plenty of time by the pool, we also had a lot to explore, as we were totally unfamiliar with DTLA (downtown L.A.), the Arts District, and all the new restaurants receiving so much praise of late. The night we got in, we headed to Freedman's, a Nouvelle-Jewish restaurant in an unassuming little strip mall on Sunset Blvd. It had just been named one of Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurants, so we were eager to check it out. The matzoh ball soup, with dumpling-size matzoh-balls and redolent of fresh dill, was my favorite dish there. Light, airy and deeply satisfying.

The next night, we met up with radio host extraordinaire Evan Kleiman, who run's KCRW's Good Food program (why can't we have that here?!). She took us to a cheery new Filipino restaurant called Ma'am Sir, in Silver Lake. The produce in Los Angeles is better than ours. There, I've said it. It's sweeter, snappier, brighter and more colorful. The charred Hawaiian papaya salad at Ma'am Sir proves it. As does the ethereal roasted Japanese eggplant with tahini, sumac and mint at Gjelina, where we brunched one morning. And the Baja fish tacos with fresh cherry tomatoes at Wes Avila's superb Guerrilla Tacos. Truthfully, even the Carolina gulf shrimp tacos we had poolside at the Ace were better than any tacos I've had in San Francisco. Yes, I'm serious. Sorry.

But I've saved the best restaurant for last. Two trustworthy Los Angelinos, Evan and also Grand Central Market founder Kevin West, recommended we run, not walk, to Bavel. Bavel is the 5-month old sister restaurant to Bestia, both located in the Arts District and each focused on a hybrid of Israeli/Middle Eastern cuisine. It is simply brilliant. The most exciting meal I've had in years, and I don't say that lightly. I could list pretty much every single dish we had, and we had a lot, but I'll just post their menu here. Don't miss this place.

Most anticipated during our trip (besides finally checking out The Broad, a terrific collection of modern and contemporary art), was to go visit my mentees at Now Serving LA. A couple years ago, a really, really nice couple came into my shop and stated that their dream was to open a cookbook store in Los Angeles. We cookbook store owners are few and far between, so I welcomed them with open arms and reams of advice (which they also got from New York's Kitchen Arts & Letters). Now, their dream is a reality, and seeing it for the first time nearly brought tears to my eyes. I'm so proud of them, and love to see people even younger than my obviously youthful self getting into the book-selling game. Make sure to visit them if you find yourself in town - there's even an excellent Filipino restaurant next to their shop called Lasa.

That doesn't leave much room to talk about our upcoming October events, of which there so MANY. Offsite talks at the JCCSF, a dinner for Nik Sharma at Camino, and more in-house free talks than I can count. Just scroll down and check them all out.

Sincerely,

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

 

Mon. Oct. 1 • Kausar Ahmed • The Karachi Kitchen: Classic and Contemporary Flavors of Pakistan • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE.

From the Arabian Sea to the peaks of the Himalayas, cuisine in Karachi is as diverse as its inhabitants and draws influences from across South, Central, and West Asia. The local food is bold in flavor, and comes in many forms including curries, soups, stews, wraps, pilafs, pies, and more. Internationally acclaimed Pakistani chef and educator Kausar Ahmed has curated and created unique, mouthwatering recipes in this gorgeous one-of-a-kind cookbook.

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Tues. Oct. 2 • Nik Sharma, in conversation with John Birdsall. Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

There are few books that offer home cooks a new way to cook and to think about flavor—and fewer that do it with the clarity and warmth of Nik Sharma's Season. Nik, beloved curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares a treasury of ingredients, techniques, and flavors that combine in a way that's both familiar and completely unexpected. These are recipes that take a journey all the way from India by way of the American South to California. It's a personal journey that opens new vistas in the kitchen, including new methods and integrated by a marvelous use of spices.

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Wed. Oct. 3 • P.K. Newby • Food & Nutrition: What Everyone Needs to Know • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

In Food & Nutrition, Harvard- and Columbia-trained nutrition scientist Dr. P.K. Newby examines 134 stand-alone questions addressing "need to know" topics, including how what we eat affects our health and environment, from farm to fork, and why, when it comes to diet, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts-and one size doesn't fit all. At the same time, Newby debunks popular myths and food folklore, encouraging readers to "learn, unlearn, and relearn" the fundamentals of nutrition at the heart of a health-giving diet.

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OFF-SITE EVENT! Thurs. Oct. 4. Nik Sharma dinner at Camino Restaurant. Join us for a multi-course family-style feast to celebrate Nik's wonderful first book, Season. 6:00 p.m. TICKETS HERE!

 

Fri. Oct. 5 • Rose Levy Beranbaum • Rose's Baking Basics: 100 Essential Recipes, with More Than 600 Step-by-Step Photos • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

In this book of no-fuss recipes everyone should know, trusted baking expert Rose Levy Beranbaum guides you through every recipe for can’t-fail results—with a streamlined, simplified approach and more than 600 mouthwatering and instructive photos. Whether you're a baking enthusiast or just want to whip up the occasional treat, you will be able to easily make perfect brownies, banana bread, holiday pies, birthday cakes, homemade bread, and more.

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Sat. Oct. 6 • Naz Deravian • Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories • In conversation with Cheryl Sternman Rule. 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

"Like Madhur Jaffrey and Marcella Hazan before her, Naz Deravian will introduce the pleasures and secrets of her mother culture's cooking to a broad audience that has no idea what it's been missing. America will not only fall in love with Persian cooking, it'll fall in love with Naz.” - Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: The Four Elements of Good Cooking

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Tues. Oct. 9 • Lisa Q. Fetterman • Sous Vide Made Simple: 60 Everyday Recipes for Perfectly Cooked Meals • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

Sous Vide Made Simple couples the home sous vide machine with a do-ahead approach to help you streamline your cooking. The book centers around foolproof master recipes for flawless meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables that can be made quickly and easily (and in advance!) with your home immersion circulator, and then 50 spin-off recipes for turning these into crowd-pleasing full meals. Nearly all of the recipes can be prepped in advance, and then finished using a conventional cooking method.

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Fri. Oct. 12 • Andrea Sloenecker + Dana Frank • Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

In Wine Food, natural wine bar and winery owner Dana Frank partners with author and stylist Andrea Slonecker to deliver 75 recipes for brunches, salads, vegetable dishes, picnics, weeknight dinners, and feasts with friends, all inspired by delicious, affordable wines that go with them beautifully. Each recipe opens with a succinct overview of the wine style that inspired it, describing the grapes and naming the countries the wine comes from, followed by a brief explanation of how it complements the flavors and textures in the recipe.

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OFF-SITE EVENT! Tues. Oct. 16 • René Redzepi & David Zilber • The Noma Guide to Fermentation. At the JCCSF. 7:00 p.m.

Join René Redzepi, world-renowned chef and co-owner of noma in Copenhagen, and David Zilber, director of the noma fermentation lab, to celebrate the release of their new book, The Noma Guide to Fermentation. Widely recognized as one of the world's most influential chefs, Redzepi creates inventive Nordic cuisine with a distinctive emphasis on regional specialties. Gain unprecedented insight into the inner workings of noma as Redzepi and Zilber share intimate moments, their creative process and behind-the-scenes stories. SOLD OUT!

BUT YOU CAN STILL PRE-ORDER A SIGNED BOOK AND WE'LL SEND IT TO YOU!

Wed. Oct. 17 • François-Régis Gaudry • Let's Eat France! • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

There’s never been a book about food like Let’s Eat France! A book that feels larger than life, it is a feast for food lovers and Francophiles, combining the completist virtues of an encyclopedia and the obsessive visual pleasures of infographics with an enthusiast’s unbridled joy. Adding to the overall delight of the book is the random arrangement of its content (a tutorial on mayonnaise is next to a list of places where Balzac ate), making each page a found treasure. It’s a book you’ll open anywhere—and never want to close.

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Sat. Oct. 20 • Julia Turshen • Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

By the author of the wildly popular Small Victories, Now & Again features more than 125 delicious and doable recipes and 20 creative menu ideas help cooks of any skill level to gather friends and family around the table to share a meal (or many!) together. This cookbook comes to life with Julia's funny and encouraging voice and is brimming with good stuff.

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Sun. Oct. 21 • Kristin Miglore • Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

Drawing from her James Beard Award-nominated Genius Recipes column and powered by the cooking wisdom and generosity of the Food52 community, creative director Kristen Miglore set out to unearth the most game-changing dessert recipes from beloved cookbook authors, chefs, and bakers - and collect them all in one indispensable guide.

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Tues. Oct. 23 • Wendy MacNaughton, Caroline Paul and Sebastian Beckwith • A Little Tea Book: All the Essentials from Leaf to Cup • 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

From tea guru Sebastian Beckwith and New York Times bestsellers Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton comes the essential guide to exploring and enjoying the vast world of tea. From orange pekoe to pu-erh, tea expert Sebastian Beckwith provides surprising tips, fun facts, and flavorful recipes to launch dabblers and connoisseurs alike on a journey of taste and appreciation. Along with writer and fellow tea-enthusiast Caroline Paul, Beckwith walks us through the cultural and political history of the elixir that has touched every corner of the world.

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Sat. Oct. 27 • Samin Nosrat • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

Join us for an encore talk with best-selling author Samin Nosrat! Echoing Nosrat's own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Now a major Netflix show!

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Sun. Oct. 28 • Anissa Helou • Feast: Food of the Islamic World • 3:00-4:00 p.m. FREE

Helou has lived and traveled widely in this region, from Egypt to Syria, Iran to Indonesia, gathering some of its finest and most flavorful recipes for bread, rice, meats, fish, spices, and sweets. With sweeping knowledge and vision, Helou delves into the enormous variety of dishes associated with Arab, Persian, Mughal (or South Asian), and North African cooking, collecting favorites like biryani or Turkish kebabs along with lesser known specialties such as Zanzibari grilled fish in coconut sauce or Tunisian chickpea soup.

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OFF-SITE EVENT! Mon. Oct. 29 • Yotam Ottolenghi in conversation with Samin Nosrat • At the JCCSF. 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $85 and include a signed copy of the book

Beloved chef and powerhouse cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi returns to the JCCSF to celebrate his newest book Ottolenghi Simple. Each dish can be made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for brilliantly delicious simple meals. Get Tickets Here!

Tues. Oct. 30 • Cathy Barrow • Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies. 6:30-7:30 p.m. FREE

Washington Post food columnist Cathy Barrow has written a delicious book that includes seventy-five foolproof recipes, along with inventive decoration tips that will appeal to baking nerds and occasional bakers alike. And this fresh, uncomplicated take on pie will surely pique the interest of those who have previously been reluctant to take out their rolling pin.

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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