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My Usual Table

A Life in Restaurants

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My Usual Table is a love letter to the great restaurants that have changed the way we eat—from Trader Vic’s to Chez Panisse and Spago to elBulli—and a vivid memoir of a life lived in food, from a founding editor of Saveur and James Beard Award-winning writer Colman Andrews.

For reviewer, writer, and editor Colman Andrews, restaurants have been his playground, his theater, his university, his church, his refuge. The establishments he has loved have not only influenced culinary trends at home and abroad, but represent the changing history and culture of food in America and Western Europe. From his usual table, he has watched the growth of Nouvelle Cuisine and fusion cuisine; the organic and locavore movements; nose-to-tail eating; and so-called “molecular gastronomy.”

In My Usual Table, Andrews interweaves his own story—from growing up in the sunset years of Hollywood’s golden age to traveling the world in pursuit of great food—with tales of the restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs who are emblematic of the revolutions great and small that have forever changed the way we eat, cook, and think about food.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 24, 2014 – A fond salute to many of his favorite culinary haunts marks this charming autobiographical omnibus by accomplished cookbook author, longtime reviewer, and cofounder of Saveur, Andrews (The Taste of America; The Country Cooking of Italy). In his lively, frank prose, Andrews unfurls a lifetime of intuitive restaurant searching, from being introduced to the West Hollywood “hobo” chic of Chasen’s by his parents when he was growing up in L.A. in the late 1940s and ’50s—where he first got the idea that a table in a restaurant could “belong” to somebody—to his New York City power “canteen” next to his Saveur office, Eleven Madison Park, to various far-flung legendary spots in Rome (Piccolo Mondo), Paris (Aux Amis du Beaujolais), even Nenagh, Ireland (Country Choice). Over the decades these establishments imparted to the evolving critic and cook a sense of the exotic occasion (the original Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s), as well introduction to the exciting new flavors of Mexican food, banned in his childhood home (El Coyote Café in L.A.), or where the then-long-haired “hippie” author first discovered he loved herring and other grown-up tastes (Scandia, in West Hollywood). At Café Swiss in Beverly Hills he learned to get serious about wines, and as a fledgling freelance critic in the 1970s and ’80s ventured overseas for rapturous epiphanies in Venice or Barcelona, among other locales. Andrews is warmly generous to former colleagues like Ruth Reichl and Saveur cofounders Dorothy Kalins and Christopher Hirsheimer, as they all began to make their culinary and journalist mark. Since many of these restaurants have vanished in the fumes of time, Andrews offers no less than a veritable historical trove.
My Usual Table
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  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 18, 2014
  • Publisher: Ecco
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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