Bay Area Cookbooks

kokkari.jpgKokkariis hand's down the number one Greek restaurant in San Francisco. Of course, we are not a city known for Greek food. What makes the restaurant so successful is a classically trained chef who takes family recipes and elevates them to something even more special.

The Kokkari cookbook is a compendium of Chef Erik Cosselmon's refined takes on Greek food and family recipes from the owners of the restaurant, the Frangadakis and Marcus (Moutsanas) families. Recipes you must try include the best Zucchini Cakes (fritters) I have ever had, Spiced Meatballs with Green Olive & Tomato Sauce, Orsa's Flaky Cheese Pastries, Braised Lamb Shanks and Moussaka.

birite.jpgEvery food writer I have spoken to lately is excited about Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food.Bi-Rite is one of the most incredible grocery stores you will ever visit. It is tiny and yet every single item that is there is there for a reason. It is the most curated store you can imagine. If you want to eat like we eat in the Bay Area, this is your book. It's not just recipes, it tells you just what you need to know about the ingredients you use. You'll learn how to store persimmons, how to use fresh fennel, how to buy heritage turkeys and where to best store cheese in your fridge. It also highlights many of the most beloved (mostly Northern California) producers and purveyors like McEvoy Ranch, Cowgirl Creamery and Mariquita Farms.

The book is like one of my other favorite cooking reference books, Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating, only on steroids because it includes so much more information, specifically about fresh meat, seafood, dairy, wines and a plethora of fresh produce. Read it and become an expert on choosing, storing and using the best ingredients possible. Recipes are really secondary, but some to whet your appetite include Cocoa-Cumin Beef Roast, Lemony Kale Caesar Salad, Spanish Deviled Eggs (to die for!) and Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts with Caper Lemon Butter.


Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy.