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.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants Hardcover – March 18, 2014
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Publisher
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.
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
“A fond salute to many of his favorite culinary haunts marks this charming autobiographical omnibus by accomplished cookbook author, longtime reviewer, and cofounder of Saveur, [Colman] Andrews.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“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.” (Booklist)
“Andrews gets [it] exactly right…. It’s this ability to appreciate food in a larger context that makes Andrews’ book so appealing - and such a welcome antidote to so much of the food discussion today.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Mr. Andrews writes delightfully about his earliest experiences dining out in Los Angeles at Chasen’s.” (Wall Street Journal)
“The book is a fun read and covers hot spots such as El Bulli, Trader Vic’s and Chasen’s that are now shuttered but not forgotten.” (San Francisco Weekly)
“Andrews is a compelling writer, and so his descriptions of restaurants past will lead readers who chronicle their own days in Instagrammed meals on an adventure in armchair time travel.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Andrews’ eloquent food writing might as well be its own romance language.. the relationship Andrews has with restaurants and the comfort and thrill he experiences each time he sits down at the table - akin to an actor taking the stage - will make you want to join him.” -LA Weekly (LA Weekly)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?