Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feast on Books

On a little street on the edge of Noe Valley, there is a store that celebrates books on food. Cookbooks, new and old. Food essays. Single-topic food books. Memoirs by chefs. Anything you might imagine, with the connecting theme of food and drink.

Welcome to Omnivore, an entire store dedicated to just books on food. Now before you feel like you might be overwhelmed, this isn’t Barnes and Noble. It’s a cozy, tiny store the size of a studio apartment. I’d guess maybe 300 square feet.

Still, any food lover will get lost as he or she explores the many books in the store. What’s interesting about the selection is that there are many antique books, so you can find the latest cookbook with one of the many classics you may have flipped through in your mother’s kitchen.

As a rare food-only bookstore, Omnivore attracts some of the big names in food writing for various readings and signings. I was at Omnivore this past Sunday for a book signing by Thomas Keller, who just released his latest book “Ad Hoc at Home” based on his casual, family-style restaurant in Napa Valley.

But the small size of the store really works against these types of events, especially with a draw like Chef Keller. The tiny store was overflowing with people, and it was difficult to discern a line for the signing.

So Omnivore isn’t a place I would rush to for an event, but more a place I’d like to explore on a quiet afternoon when it’s just me and the books on the shelves.

The end.

Omnivore Books on Food, 3885a Cesar Chavez St., San Francisco. PH: 415.282.4712.


Hungry Dog said...

Ha! I like "The End." You're funny, Single Guy.

Somehow, I STILL haven't made it to Omnivore. But, Danny and I are headed over to Noe Valley this weekend, so we'll work in a stop.

Mrs. L said...

I could spend an entire day in that store. But my husband would probably barricade me from the place since I practically have my own bookstores worth of cookbooks.

Anonymous said...

did u get a book & have him sign it?

Single Guy Ben said...

Yeah, I actually got two books signed by him. One for me and one as a gift.

agent713 said...

A gift for me? Aww you shouldn't have!


Sounds like a cool spot.

Velva said...

I would never be able to leave a store like this one! Love it! Thanks for sharing this gem.

foodhoe said...

wow, how long did you have to wait in line to get it signed? I picked up the at home cookbook as one of my last purchases at WSI, but then noticed I could get it at Amazon for about the same price... but not signed! I definitely can't go into that store for the same reason as Mrs. L. I could be the next 1001 cookbooks (that's not a typo btw)

Single Guy Ben said...

Foodhoe, I was standing and waiting for about an hour. He was 30 minutes late because of the rain, and then it took another 30 minutes once he started signing. Yeah, I realized it was cheaper later on Amazon too, but at least mines is personalized and signed! :) I also love flipping through it. Still trying to decide which recipe to make first. Have you made anything yet from the book?

Stephanie Stiavetti said...

I love this place!! Seriously, it's one of my favorite places in SF. Also, Sam, the girl behind the counter, has a food blog as well: