CSAR: Recipes from a Tapas Bar

Olivier Said, Author, James Mellgren, Author, Maggie Pond, With with Maggie Pond, foreword by Jackson Browne. Ten Speed $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-58008-483-3

In general, tapas presents the diner with dozens of choices in dozens of flavors, and it does so with an emphasis on drinks. In 1998, the authors, all formerly associated with Alice Waters's Chez Panisse restaurant, capitalized on the appeal of tapas and opened César. This cookbook, humorously self-conscious and immediately accessible, includes 100 tapas and drink recipes and allow the home cook to replicate the restaurant's creations. Heavily influenced by Waters's seminal philosophy about food (always fresh, always local, organically grown whenever possible), the dishes are bright with flavor and designed with an emphasis on freshness. Most are easy to make, and the ingredient combinations are stellar. Smoked Trout and Persimmon Salad; Bread Pudding with Orange Caramel Sauce; and Chicken Escabeche Salad are good examples. Half of the book is devoted to beverages, many of them familiar cocktails. But the information about wine and sherry is informative and sophisticated, and the Latin American mixed drink recipes are varied and inspiring. The book's design sometimes runs counter to the cook's endeavors—recipe steps are not numbered, and tend to ramble; introductions to recipes often bury the otherwise helpful tips—but overall the book is fun, inspiring and reliable. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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