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the girl & the fig cookbook: More than 100 Recipes from the Acclaimed California Wine Country Restaurant Hardcover – April 12, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255219
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You have to admire a cookbook that opens with recipes for martinis. These are fig-accented for the most part, in keeping with the theme chef-owner Sondra Bernstein has laid down for her restaurants and cookbook, all called the girl & the fig. It's about attitude, about fun, about good things in store. "Country food with a French passion" is what she calls her theme. And she paints it with the bright colors of California. Bernstein actually takes something as stale as fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients spliced to an ersatz French country cuisine overlaid with Northern California wine country easy living, and makes it work to her advantage.

Once past the pantry ingredients and the martinis, you are invited to consider the many taste treats in "A Small Bite," the likes of herb-marinated olives, apricot-cured salmon, and crispy sweetbreads. "From the Garden to the Stockpot" encourages the making of soup--cauliflower-Gruyere, perhaps, or carrot-ginger. "In the Salad Bowl" has nice touches like the grilled asparagus salad with lemon-thyme vinaigrette. "Large Plates" covers ground from wild mushroom risotto to pan-roasted halibut with spring vegetable ragout, to braised chicken with prunes, olives and capers. The braised beef short ribs are worth a second glance. Sondra Bernstein also treats us to vegetable side dishes, to a separate chapter on the cheese plate, to the sweets that end a meal, and to a consideration of the wines that round out the entire experience. In fact nearly all of the 100-plus recipes are matched with the kind of wine that would be served at the girl & the fig in California's wine country.

This is a spirited cookbook, with challenges for the new cook and happy reminders for the experienced cook. Sip that martini and turn the pages. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

This cookbook is a magnificent specimen of the Wine Country cookbook genre. It inspires with its tales of bounteous, gorgeous, diverse produce but also reminds readers in the rest of the country that the harvest fortunes of Napa and Sonoma Counties are not shared equally elsewhere. Like Annie and Margrit: Recipes and Stories from the Mondavi Kitchen, Bernstein's book attempts to translate a California wine country restaurant experience into print. The recipes aren't always smoothly convertedâ€"for example, Bernstein sometimes assumes readers have access to a half-dozen varieties of figs or radishes. And Rabbit and Hazelnut Pate with Pickled Figs and other terrines and forcemeats assume a comfort level with complicated meat preparation that most consumers lack. Still, at their best, Bernstein's recipes have a relaxed, decadent feel; and dishes like Carrot-Ginger Soup and Citrus Pearl Couscous have an elegant simplicity. Others, like Polenta Cakes (with sage-infused cream) and Grilled Salmon with Lavender Beurre Rouge demonstrate that a few gestures can renew classic flavor pairings. Bernstein's dishes should appeal to all the New American fans in the gastronomic urban hubs. And they'll also serve as a mouthwatering advertisement for the restaurant and the region, for chefs who aren't lucky enough to live in the American Eden.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

One sure thing that can be said about Sondra Bernstein is that she has no idea how to relax. Her passion for the hospitality business is her driving force and continues to inspire her to create and recreate. She opened her first restaurant in 1997 after four years at Viansa Winery and many successful years in restaurant management in both Los Angeles & Philadelphia.

Currently, Sondra is the Proprietor/CEO of the girl & the fig and ESTATE restaurants in Sonoma & the fig café & winebar in Glen Ellen. She is the author of the "the girl & the fig Cookbook" published by Simon & Schuster in April 2004. Her gourmet FIGfood product line is available nationwide under the girl & the fig label. With a passion for food and wine, the trip from Philadelphia to Sonoma County was inevitable. Having restaurants in Sonoma County is a tribute to the efforts of the farmers, ranchers, cheese makers and, of course, grape growers & vintners in this bountiful landscape. When she is not busy working on her restaurants menus, accounting or marketing, she can be found playing in one of her many projects including; the Très Bonnes Années label wine, The Farm Project, her second cookbook, development of the girl & the fig iphone application and the company's new website to name a few.

Customer Reviews

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See all 9 customer reviews
It represents the best of the Girl and the Fig's cuisine.
Jeannie Lella
Most recipes follow a recent quote I heard from Wolfgang Puck who said that the trick was to start with great ingredients and try not to mess them up.
B. Marold
I purchased this for a Christmas present and she loved it!
Jami M. Dugan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on May 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book by restaurant owner Sondra Bernstein, with recipes by executive chef John Toulze represents the cuisine served at a chain of Sonoma County based restaurants after which the book is titled. Based on the passions of Ms. Bernstein and her staff, the book and the restaurants focus on figs; dishes based on figs; the produce of Sonoma County; the cuisine of Provence, France; and the similarity of the terroir of Sonoma with Provence.
One object of the book is to publicize the chain of restaurants and the line of products based on the owner's love of figs. This is not too unusual, as I am certain this is one of the motives behind every celebrity chef / restaurant owner's cookbook. Some, like Tom Colicchio are less obvious about this interest. Others, like Emeril Lagasse, are pretty out front about this objective. All restaurant based cookbooks aim at providing the reader with some twist to their cuisine or it's presentation which adds sugar to the bait to create an interest in the restaurant(s).
One special feature of this book is borrowed from Ms. Bernstein's distinguished California culinary neighbor, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. This is the addition of sidebars on some of the restaurants' more important, or, at least, more interesting suppliers. This includes fig, mushroom, and cheese vendors, past and present. This highlights one weakness to the book, in that it is so thoroughly based on what is available from the gardens and vineyards of Sonoma County. Not everyone in the United States is blessed with access to wild mushrooms and the talented foragers who supply them, or to cheeses from artisinal cheese makers. Happily, the chef / recipe writer has supplied generally available products to substitute for his Sonoma pantry.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chicago Book Addict TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I own and have cooked from countless cookbooks so my expectations are very high and this book delivered on them in spades. It includes more than 100 recipes from The Girl & the Fig restaurant and all strike a perfect balance of being refined and elegant with being appropriate for preparing in the home. You also don't have to visit The Girl & the Fig to appreciate it. I've never been and I still love these recipes.

What makes this book a five star cookbook for me is that all of the recipes are very unique. I didn't feel like I was reading a collection of recipes I've seen elsewhere. Best of all, they turn out flawlessly. Of everything I have made so far my favorites are The Chicken Liver Mousse and Biscones. The latter has become my go-to recipe whenever I want to serve something like a berry shortcake. It was also the first recipe for a scone/biscuit recipe I've made that called for chopped hardboiled egg. I was also impressed with the mousse because although it was time consuming it wasn't challenging to make. It didn't really require any specialized skills.

I think this book would be most appreciated by someone who likes refined flavors, isn't afraid to try more unusual or less mainstream ingredients (i.e. chicken livers), and who doesn't mind spending a little time in the kitchen. Most of the recipes have taken me well over 30 minutes and often have long ingredient lists. However, if neither of these things bother you the results are worth it. All the dishes are restaurant quality so you feel like you're getting a classy meal in the comfort of your home.

Highly recommended.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Lella on September 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My first experience with Girl and the Fig was it's first home in Glenn Ellen, CA. which is still there. The restaurant quickly became a favorite. The newer restaurant in the town of Sonoma, also excellent, has a wonderful bar. Great place to join friends for a glass of wine from their excellent wine list or enjoy one of the best martinis. They have also opened a restaurant in Petaluma, CA.

I am delighted that they have finally come out with this wonderful cook book. It represents the best of the Girl and the Fig's cuisine. I love to cook and I am thrilled to have this cook book in my collection.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not pleased - In 'Sweets' section. Poor editing. Missed value for my purchase. Only 3 of about 15 recipies are in this book. I am hoping I can have a new and complete download of a corrected book for my purchase.
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By Joseph M. Dolan on January 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughters visited this location during a recent trip to CA and just loved it. We got the book for them and now benefit from all the great recipes they make for us
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