Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.99
  • Save: $4.45 (17%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
My Usual Table: A Life in... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: No marks in text. Dust jacket, binding, excellent.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants Hardcover – March 18, 2014

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, March 18, 2014
$21.54
$2.79 $0.01

Featured Biographies & Memoirs
Hallow This Ground (Break Away Books)
Hallow This Ground (Break Away Books)
Hallow This Ground (Break Away Books)
$21.54 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants
  • +
  • From Scratch: Inside the Food Network
Total price: $42.64
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Colman Andrews
Gabrielle Hamilton
A Q&A between Colman Andrews and Gabrielle Hamilton, chef–restaurateur (Prune); author of Blood, Bones & Butter

Gabrielle Hamilton: What was the magic of a restaurant like Chasen’s, the famous Hollywood hangout of an earlier era, that generally eludes us today in the restaurant scene — both in the customer and in the establishment?

Colman Andrews: I think Maude and Dave Chasen, like most of the best restaurateurs of their era, were natural hosts, warm and in some ways humble, and they really did welcome their customers and try to make them feel at home. Diners, for their part, understood the rules. They dressed appropriately, rarely made scenes, and knew how to have a good time. There was congeniality in the air.

GH: Are you as happy to eat alone as with companions in restaurants?

CA: Dining with friends, or with people who are more than friends, is of course one of life's delights, but I don't mind sitting at the table by myself, either. A lot of what I've learned about restaurants, about how they work, about their rhythms, their foibles, their behind-the-scenes magic, I've learned as a lone diner, watching the goings-on between bites. It's also a good way to catch up on my reading.

GH: Do you think it’s possible to have a chef-driven restaurant that still makes the customer feel like they can make it their home away from home?

CA: Possible, I guess, but it doesn't happen a lot. The moment I hear "The chef wanted you to…" I know that it's his or her place, not mine. That doesn't mean I won't have a good meal there, even a great one, but I probably won't want to settle in and relax and come back again tomorrow night.

GH: You write that you have won — among many many cookbook awards and magazine-industry honors—a Grammy nomination! What further honor, in what category, would you still like your work to receive?

CA: I entered two poems, old ones but ones I'm quite fond of, in this year's Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize competition, and was disappointed, though hardly surprised, not to have won at least third place.

GH: What is the “low-fat cassoulet” catchphrase you relied on when you and Dorothy Kalins and Christopher Hirsheimer were originally getting together to create Saveur?

CA: Around the time we first started to talk about what Saveur should be, Pierre Frenay, who was a very good, classically trained French chef and a collaborator with Craig Claiborne for the New York Times, published a recipe for just that. I'm sure it was a good recipe, but to me it seemed to symbolize all that we wanted to oppose. If you give recipes for low-fat cassoulet, I said, and quick-and-easy cassoulet, and Cajun cassoulet, and Tex-Mex cassoulet, and lord knows what else, what will happen eventually to real cassoulet, this wonderful, ancient dish, expressing so much culture and tradition? Let's give our readers the closest thing we can to the genuine article, we said, and let them leave out the duck fat if they want to.

GH: What things about wine that you learned from the late Roy Brady do you continue to pass along in your own wine writing?

CA: Above all that there is virtually no dependable relationship between the price or reputation of a wine and the pleasure it will bring the drinker. Also that, contrary to generations' worth of common wisdom, most wines are better young than old.

GH: What are some of the most reliable ways to become a cherished customer in a restaurant, a customer with “a usual table”?

CA: Come back often. Tip well, assuming that the server isn't an idiot (in which case you probably don't want a usual table at the place anyway). Order intelligently. Be polite.


From Booklist

Eminent food writer Andrews recounts his life, detailing how he became devoted to the pleasures of the table. Growing up in Beverly Hills as the son of a screenwriter, he dined out with the Hollywood set, so genuine feeling suffuses his history of the famous Chasen’s. His college years saw him fall in love with Los Angeles’ early Mexican eateries. A stint in Paris in the sixties gave him insight into classic French food in its heyday. Returning to California, he discovered at a new Nordic restaurant the range of Scandinavian cuisine. Andrews’ magazine writing began to focus on food, and his career took off. In the hands of a less adept writer, Andrews’ narratives of movie stars cavorting in their favorite restaurant haunts or dining at his parents’ house might seem mere name-dropping, but his respect and affection for these celebrities make for enjoyable storytelling. --Mark Knoblauch
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006213647X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062136473
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Colman Andrews' first cookbook, "Catalan Cuisine", originally published in 1988, was recently named one of the "50 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by the Observer Food Monthly; his most recent one, "The Country Cooking of Ireland", was honored as Best International Cookbook by the James Beard Foundation in 2010 and beat out all other entries in all categories as foundation's Cookbook of the Year, then went on to win the 2011 Best International Cookbook prize from the International Association of Cooking Professionals. Andrews was a co-founder of Saveur, and its editor-in-chief from 2002 to 2006. After leaving the magazine, he became the restaurant columnist for Gourmet, serving in that capacity until its untimely demise. A native of Los Angeles with degrees in history and philosophy from UCLA, he was a restaurant reviewer and restaurant news columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and for three years edited "Traveling in Style", the Times travel magazine. Throughout the 1980s, he was wine and spirits columnist for Los Angeles Magazine, and published widely as a freelance writer, covering food, wine, travel, music, art, architecture, design, and the entertainment industry. The recipient of eight James Beard awards, Andrews is the co-author and co-editor of three Saveur cookbooks and six of his own books on food: "Everything on the Table"; "Flavors of the Riviera"; "Catalan Cuisine" (which introduced the now-trendy cooking of Spain's Catalonia region to America); "The Country Cooking of Ireland"; "Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food" (a biography of Catalan superchef Ferran Adrià, also available in Spanish, French, and Italian translations); and "The Country Cooking of Italy". His next book, "The Taste of America", will be published in the fall of 2013. Andrews is now editorial director of The Daily Meal, a food and wine mega-site (www.thedailymeal.com), and has recently completed writing the first-ever Spanish Culinary curriculum, in partnership with José Andrés, for New York's International Culinary Center. In 2012, Andrews was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi, the highest civil honor granted by the government of Catalonia, in recognition of his services in popularizing Catalan cuisine around the world.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I envy most is his affair with Ruth Reichl. The author and I grew up in the same town at the same time. He is four years my junior. My parents did not often go to Chasens. Their hangout was the Beverly Hills Brown Derby, and Traders when it opened in the Beverly Hilton. We new Scandia well. It was to food what Romanoff's was for people. The Bistro filled a void and Kurt Niklas ran a great restaurant, which is more than about the food. Before my first wife and I moved east we often went to Ma Maison for lunch. Our Saturday lunch, however, was generally Jean Leon's La Scala Boutique, Sunday morning hangover breakfast would be flannel cakes at Musso and Franks. My stepfather was Hernando Courtwright's banker. We followed the Monopoly game played between the sale of the Beverly Hills Hotel from Courtwright to Ben Silverstein, the sale of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to Courtwright from Kirkeby, the sale of Westwood Village to Kirkeby from the Janss Family, and the sale of Sun Valley Resort from Averell Harriman to the Janss.' Coleman Andrew's book brought back many memories of the 50"s and 60's and 70's in Los Angeles. They are good memories in a well written book about the best of times in LA. The quest, at that time, was finding the great Mexican restaurant in LA. For a short time it was in Camarillo - before Westlake Village and 1000 Oaks were developed. El Coyote, "I remember it well."
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a witty and charming, lovely memoir told through the lens of the restaurants Mr. Andrews frequented over the years. A must read.
Comment 2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At one point in this very long book about a life which certainly could have been recanted more succinctly, writer/editor Colman Andrews tells us that he dislikes having free food sent out to him by a friendly chef. Sometimes the proferred dish has absolutely nothing to do with the meal he's already ordered! The server will say something like "Chef wants you to try this" and Mr. Andrews will think to himself, piteously,"What about what I want?" He sometimes does this with foie gras. The good news for Mr. Andrews is that apparently he has had his wants delivered to him, not COD, practically since birth. Seriously, if you read this memoir looking for Andrews to have his comeuppance, or even a little attractive humility, you will have a very long day's work for nothing much. Andrews was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and Fate has been filling that spoon with rare and tasty delights ever since. Parts of the book are very interesting; I enjoyed his tales of a Hollywood childhood where almost every meal was served in a restaurant or cooked by a domestic employee, and it's interesting to hear the other side of Andrews' romance with Ruth Reichl, narrated in Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples. Eventually, however, you'll get sick of Andrews and his self-satisfaction, especially if you happen to Leonard Nimoy or a mysterious lady named Bambi.
1 Comment 8 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book both for the subject and style of writing . The book is linear in decades while taking the reader from Los Angeles , New York and Europe told through the senses of food , people and places . Being an avid reader of food , chef and travel memoirs I was felt fully engaged . Loved every minute of reading this book . Even though satisfied I was left wanting more .....
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have bought in a long time that I haven't finished. If you are really into self-aggrandizing autobiographies you might enjoy it. But if you are buying it because you like books on food and food writing you are going to be disappointed. I really tried to read it, hoping it would get better, but it didn't.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very well written book on food in general especially to one of my generation. He tells the story of how the restaurant business became better and better as to quality and skill. Book was in very good condition , even better than posted. Would buy from this vendor again.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have lived and eaten in Los Angeles this is delightful gastronomic history. If not, you will wish you had. Andrews
shares, illuminates and expertly translates the joy of food in this memoir of restaurants, women, and wine.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants
This item: My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants
Price: $21.54
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com