Let East Bay chefs take you on a culinary tour that begins in Oakland and travels to the Far East—with a stop in the heart of America. Start by strolling the packed aisles of Berkeley Bowl for eclectic veggies and dreamy spices, then get ready to make burgers, Thai, chai, and more, as our local master chefs offer up fresh creations to invigorate your springtime feasts.
The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook
By Laura McLively
Foodie and dietitian Laura McLively, who blogs at My Berkeley Bowl, wondered how to cook all those frilly green veggies and oddly shaped fruits overflowing the bins at the 41-year-old, family-run market. You could say she wrote the book on the place: McLively starts with "leaves" like epazote (served with corn tortillas) and mizuna (prepared with gooey, delicious goat Brie grilled cheese), then turns the aisle to "flowers, seeds, and pods," like fragrant cranberry bean succotash dashed with crispy sage. Make a stop at "spores and succulents" to find a recipe for fiddlehead tempura, and "stems" for Moroccan cardoon stew. Top off your veggie fest with a dragon fruit and lime curd tart. You’ll be cooking inventively in no time.
The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul
By Preeti Mistry and Sarah Henry
Revisit the creations of chef Preeti Mistry’s hip and (sadly) recently closed Temescal-based Juhu Beach Club in this feast-filled cookbook. The former Top Chef contender and culinary rock star reinvents Indian-inspired street eats from her childhood. (Must-trys include ginger chile Dungeness crab and sev puri—crispy, deep-fried dough with veggies—both of which are sure to get your party started.) Drool-worthy photos and a fun, chatty tone will keep you mesmerized between turns at the oven. And don’t worry: Mistry’s Navi Kitchen in Emeryville remains open for date night.
Hawker Fare: Stories and Recipes from a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai and Lao Roots
By James Syhabout with John Birdsall
Two-Michelin-starred Commis chef James Syhabout’s long-awaited, striking volume presents tales of his days spent cooking and traveling, along with carefully guided (and stunningly photographed) recipes for home-style Thai and Lao dishes. Gather up your friends, then set out some sakoo yut sai—
tapioca dumplings stuffed with caramel-cooked pork, salted turnip, and peanuts (a gluten-free conversation starter). Follow up with luscious Isan barbecue chicken and sultry Lao pork-rib stew. Then, for dessert, enchant your guests with a lotus blossom sundae. Syhabout helps you fill your pantry with the right spicy ingredients—to tide you over ’til your next visit to Commis.
A Burger to Believe In: Recipes and Fundamentals
By Chris Kronner and Paolo Lucchesi
Get ready to wrap your mind (and your mouth) around juicy American hamburgers and their ideal accompaniments with the May release of Chris Kronner’s burger bible. The chef of Oakland’s KronnerBurger hands you the spatula to craft perfectly simple, totally delectable burgers. In the tome, Kronner meditates on the Zen of buns, along with the proper proportions for Calabrian chile and tofu mayo. Master the art of perfect onion rings and vegan chili-cheese fries (at home)—and up your fish-fillet game with a fried crab burger. Thanks to Kronner, it’s French fry pavé for everyone!