Title: Boulevard The Cookbook
Publisher: Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Hardcover; First Printing
Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition
Fine in a fine DJ; Signed by both authors with gold marker, on the half title page. ; 8vo; 256 p.; Signed by All Authors. Bookseller Inventory # 35053
Every once in a while a restaurant changes a city's dining scene forever. In San Francisco, that restaurant is Boulevard.
In 1993 Nancy Oakes first breathed life into a glorious but forgotten beaux arts building ?a survivor of the 1906 earthquake ?with her gutsy and ebullient cooking. Just a decade later, the Audiffred Building overlooks a bustling Ferry Plaza, and it's impossible to imagine a San Francisco without its Boulevard. Bathed in the glow of the restaurant's hand-blown lights, with stunning views of the waterfront, dining at Boulevard always feels special. Oakes and long-time collaborator and chef de cuisine, Pamela Mazzola, have seduced locals and visitors alike with their artful yet accessible French-influenced regional American cooking.
In BOULEVARD, Oakes and Mazzola present 75 recipes, each anchored by a favorite main and accessorized with an exuberant collection of irresistible sides, all eminently cookable at home. Consider, for example, Pan-Roasted Wild King Salmon in Cider Sauce with Potato-Bacon-Watercress Cake and Shaved Apple and Fennel Salad; Buttermilk-Brined Fried Little Chickens with Cream Biscuits; and Veal Chops with Porcini and Asiago Cheese Stuffing with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Tomatoes, Pancetta, and Arugula. With every recipe prefaced by the chefs' wise and unapologetically opinionated cooking notes, BOULEVARD answers the long-running demand for a dialogue with the creative team behind the restaurant's enduring popularity.
Review: Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola opened the doors of Boulevard in San Francisco in 1993, and fans have been waiting ever since for just this cookbook. A bigger and better payoff for all that patience is hard to imagine. Boulevard glows on a table top like burnished gold, and suggestions of epic meals seep out from beneath its covers. "We cook because we love to feed people and also because we love the process of cooking," the authors explain in their opening statement. "We don't think for a minute we've invented a new cuisine or discovered a new approach to cooking--only a never-ending quest for what's delicious."
The structure of the book is as classic as many of the underlying cooking techniques--Salads, Soups, and Starters give way to chapters on Fish, Poultry and Game, Meat, and Desserts. A central dish surrounded by its sides or segments renders several recipes per page, making this a book of careful perusal. Mediterranean Mussels with Panzanella and Arugula, for example, gives us recipes for panzanella, the Italian bread salad, for the mussels' poaching medium, a fennel confit, saffron sauce, and arugula salad. Among the soups you'll find White Corn, Roasted Ratatouille, Braised Chestnut, Provencal Fish, and Artichoke Soup as well as the dozen side recipes that help elevate each dish. Ingredients are carefully delineated, followed by chefs' notes, kitchen and shopping notes (how to buy the best scallops, for example), then the cooking method for each piece of the flavor puzzle. Some cooking experience is necessary. There are some challenging dishes between these pages. But new cooks should not shy away. Boulevards establishes a level of culinary rigor to which the best cooks can aspire.
If you can find the main ingredient, Glazed Veal Sweetbreads in Potato Crust with chanterelles and a red wine sauce is a standout appetizer. Pan Roasted Halibut Fillets and Cheeks takes full advantage of morel mushrooms and crisp spring vegetables. Don't miss the Buttermilk-brined Fried Little Chickens with cream biscuits, a trip South for Cornish game hens. Beef shortribs are elevated to new heights with "Steamship" Short Ribs Bourguignon. You might want to finish with Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with caramel corn ice cream and caramel sauce. In each and every case the main theme is flavor, the attack is simple, the effect totally satisfying and elegant.
Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola have distilled between the covers of Boulevard their years of combined efforts in the commercial kitchen, translating for the home kitchen. Their friendship, good humor, and fierce determination to achieve the best flavors imaginable tumble out of these pages. --Schuyler Ingle
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