Long before I started shouting out, "Tall half-caf, lowfat latte for here," at Starbuck's, I was ordering full-caf, full-fat cafe au laits at Julienne in San Marino.
A friend, who was once the restaurant manager for the popular eatery, introduced four other Gymboree moms and me to the joys of cafe au laits and Julienne nearly 20 years ago. It was like a modern day circling of the wagons when we six moms took over the cafe's patio with our six oversized strollers filled with our bouncing bistro babies.
Since then, Julienne has continued to be a special place to meet friends for breakfast or lunch or to purchase a package of their buttery, cheesy parmesan toasts for a party. (As a matter of fact, just last month I met two of those same Gymboree moms for breakfast.)
So when I found out that Julienne owner Susan Campoy was publishing a cookbook, Celebrating with Julienne, I knew that I had to have it.
I have a wide range of reasons for adding a cookbook to my collection. Sometimes I want a curl-up-by-the-fire read filled with luscious photos and food memories. Other times I'm focused on a a specific cuisine or a favorite chef. And then, more often than not, it's about trying to duplicate the restaurant experience.
Celebrating with Julienne hits all those buttons. Part of the joy of dining at Julienne is the attention to detail in the food and every aspect of the decor. I love how the book mirrors the warmth and surprising details of the restaurant. I immediately curled up with the book and savored every delicious page.
But, of course, looks aren't everything. I love how the recipes, many of my favorites, are easy to follow and organized just like Julienne with a Brasserie section (breakfast and lunch), Gourmet Market section (with favorite recipes from Julienne To Go) and Celebrations with ideas and recipes for a chocolate festival, family Easter, Hollywood Bowl picnic, an evening in Morocco, a harvest feast and a winter celebration.
I started off easy with something I've been eating for years: the Candied Applewood Bacon. You have to love a recipe with just two ingredients - bacon and brown sugar.
Julienne Candied Applewood bacon served for breakfast with left-over oven-roasted red potatotes and sauteed spinach.
I'm looking forward to cooking and baking and celebrating my way through Celebrating with Julienne.
(Celebrating with Julienne is available in the Pasadena area at Julienne, Vroman's, Joan's on Third, Marz, Nicole's Gourmet Foods, San Marino Stationers, Hollyhock, Savor the Flavor and Little Flower Candy Co. You can also order a copy here or on Amazon.com.)