04 December, 2009

Omnivore Books - heaven for the cook

Tom and the girls bought me a gift voucher for this lovely bookshop this year for my birthday. Took me a few days to get my act together, work out what I probably wanted and head the block and a half down there. I'm going to have to be very very disciplined not to spend an awful lot of money in this shop.

On Cesar Chavez at the Noe Valley end on a quiet residential section of the road, is this one roomed bookshop that looks a bit like a library. White shelves wall to wall, filled with an incredible mix of new and vintage books. Cookery books generally don't turn up second-hand so the vintage books section is a joy. There's a copy of Elizabeth David's Mediterranean Food behind the desk - first edition, gorgeous. I covet it.

But that's not what I bought today. I've made a promise to myself that while I am in the US I will buy books I couldn't easily get at home. Omnivore doesn't make this easy as the imported stock is excellent, well-chosen and very tempting. Leaving aside the fact that almost all of the books I left behind and miss, are here.

Anyway, I am not buying British. So today, as I left I was clutching Judy Rodgers' The Zuni Cafe Cookbook and Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry)'s Ad Hoc at Home. How did I know what to get? Well I owe that to the owner of the bookstore, Celia Sacks, by way of a piece she did on this year's best books, and in the case of the Zuni book, on personal recommendation in the shop. Two gorgeous books from Californian chefs to have fun with, to add to Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook which I bought last time I went. Really must get on with some cooking.

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