There are a few restaurants in my neighborhood that I like to call my local. Places I rarely go a week without visiting at least one of them. There is the greasy spoon that serves a cheap, quick and delicious breakfast, the corner diner that makes a mile high club sandwich and the Irish watering hole, an short 5 minutes walk door to door that frequently reinvents their gastro pub style menu and has all my favorites on tap.
I love this idea of a location where regulars are easily spotted and newcomers are clambering at the door to try. Because inevitably word of mouth brings everyone in. And this place you call your own stays open, stays popular yet stays exactly the way it is that drew you in in the first place.
Brown Sugar Kitchen (Chronicle Books) is a collection of recipes and stories from an establishment such as this. Located in West Oakland, California Chef Tanya Holland has turned a nondescript brown boxy building nestled in the front of a scrap metal yard into a bustling, soul food producing restaurants that is favored by the locals and draws in the food enthusiasts. And at the heart of it all is a menu full of down home, fuss free yet full of flavor dishes that can now be recreated in your own home thanks to this beautiful book. If the rich and satisfying dishes don’t draw you in, the heart warming stories and narratives from the people who help create the character of Brown Sugar Kitchen will make you want to live in the neighborhood.
The very first recipe in the book, Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider syrup sets the tone of a collection of soul warming dishes like Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Jerk Ribs and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Chef Tanya believes in using the freshest ingredients from local growers and recipes like the Spinach Salad with Roasted Apple Dressing, Toasted Pecans and Goat Cheese will inspire you to head to your local farmer’s market to pick up the best products you can find.
As you flip through the pages reading peoples stories about the foods they love from Brown Sugar and their passion for their hometown you get the feeling that you are reading through Chef Tanya own personal scrapbook which she so graciously has allowed you read.
And for a limited time you can have a chance to win your own copy of this amazing book. Enter below and make sure to leave me a comment about your favorite local.
Contest Rules:Open to legal Canadian (excluding Quebec) and US residents. No purchase necessary to enter. Canadian Winner is required to answer a skill testing question. Winner will be notified by email on January 28, 2014 and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected. Contest runs from January 12, 2015 to January 27, 2015.
*I have generously received Brown Sugar Kitchen free of charge however all opinions are entirely my own.