Bay Area and Beyond: Restaurant Cookbooks


Miette : Recipes From San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop by Meg RayA book I had placed on hold came in recently, and I was very excited. The book is Miette, from the eponymous San Francisco bake shop. The delectable treats tempted me from the pages and made me want to whip up some culinary masterpieces. Or even maybe drive to the Ferry Building in San Francisco to buy some goodies directly from the source.

I started thinking about the many restaurants that have spawned cookbooks, and decided to create a list of some titles available in the library collection. By no means is this an exhaustive list, as I aim to include a variety from around the greater Bay Area. I will include the web site for the restaurant, as well as information on the cookbook.

So, let’s begin with San Francisco Restaurants.

Boulevard: The Cookbook Boulevard : The Cookbook by Nancy Oakesby Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola, with Lisa Weiss. I have had a couple amazing meals at this popular restaurant, open since 1993, and often touted as one of the City’s finest restaurants. The cookbook does not disappoint. Full page color photographs may cause pangs of hunger. Recipes include tantalizing starters, such as Dungeness Crab Cakes and Trio of Tuna Tartares; not to mention salads, soups, fish, poultry, meat and desserts. Includes cooking and shopping notes, as well as serving tips.

The Farallon Cookbook: The Very Best Of San Francisco Cuisine by Mark Franz
Farallon  is known for its décor as well as its cuisine, and I’m not sure which is more fanciful. Known for their seafood, the cookbook features over 60 signature recipes, with notes on how to simplify dishes, or create your own versions with easier-to-locate ingredients.

Fields of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant by Annie Somerville. Greens Restaurant, a pioneer in vegetarian cuisine, has been around since 1979, which seems like an eternity in the restaurant business. I am a diehard carnivore, but was surprised at some intriguing entries in this book, such as Ratatouille, Rasberry-Almond Bread, and a variety of pastas and pizzas.

Michael Mina : The Cookbook by Michael MinaMichael Mina: The Cookbook by Michael Mina, with JoAnn Cianciulli
The man is legendary, and has restaurants across the country, the list of which continues to grow. You can find a current listing here. This cookbook focuses on Mina’s concept of trios, where a master recipe is followed by three flavor variations. Includes first course, fish, meat, and dessert trios. The photographs of his creations are gorgeous works of art themselves.

The Rose Pistola Cookbook: 140 Italian Recipes From San Francisco's Favorite North Beach Restaurant by Reed Hearon and Peggy Knickerbocker.
When I think of North Beach, I think of Italian Food. And Rose Pistola has been delighting the taste buds since 1996. The book contains 140 recipes, from Antipasti to Desserts, and includes such gems as Seafood Fritto Misto, Gnocchi with Calamari Bolognese, and Terrorized Steak.

Tartine Bread by Chad RobertsonTartine Bread by Chad Robertson 
I have not yet visited this popular bakery, but found the mouth watering recipes in this book reason enough to jump in my car and head to the City. The bread recipes are divided into 4 chapters: Basic Country Bread, Semolina and Whole Wheat Breads, Baguettes and Enriched Breads, and Days-Old Bread. Additional recipes include soups, sandwiches, and other treats. With detailed, intricate, step by step instructions and illustrations, this book gave me a greater appreciation for the art of bread making.

The Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
Zuni Café has been around since 1979, and is famous for its Roast Chicken. That particular recipe--along with the famous Caesar Salad--is included in the book, along with essays, wine pairings, tips on shopping, and more. It’s more than a cookbook…it’s a culinary history, of sorts. In fact the subtitle of the book is, “A Compendium of Recipes & Cooking Lessons from San Francisco’s Beloved Restaurant.”

There will be a follow up to this blog post, featuring restaurants/cookbooks from the Napa Valley, and East Bay. Let me know if you have any favorites!


Author Bio:

DeAnn O. has been a librarian for over 15 years. She loves to try new restaurants and bakeries, and has a penchant for steak, soup, sashimi, and desserts, not necessarily in that order.


Great post!

There is a cookbook titled Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal, and Local Ingredients by Jesse Ziff Cool, who is the chef at Flea St. Cafe in Menlo Park. It is a great cookbook and resturant - a bit pricey, but fresh, local ingredients are used.

Yum, Yum - Delicious post!

Loved your suggestion of Miette at the Ferry Bldg. - the chocolate tarts and gingerbread cupcakes are specially recommended.  The cookbook is lovely, but many of the recipes require small 6 inch cake pans, which is a pain...
Recently ate at Michael Mina's RN74 in San Francisco, too - wonderful bistro atmosphere with great food, but tables are very close together and the wine list, although outstanding, is also quite expensive.
Our family enjoyed eating at The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma; I know they do jams but their cookbook is not due to be published until Dec. 2011.
Thanks for this scrumptious overview of cookbooks and restaurants!  Karen Y.

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