We're not all geniuses in the kitchen—some of us even have a hard time making a grilled cheese or pastrami sandwich—but there have been times when we wish we could make the spaghetti from Scarpetta. Or Roy Choi's chicken satay. Or a knockout entrée from one of the best vegan restaurants in town. Well guys, you can. Some of our favorite restaurants and chefs in LA have shared their coveted recipes in beautiful, glossy cookbooks, detailing dishes that have stood the test of time. If you're looking for the perfect foodie gift, here are 13 LA cookbooks, both new and old, that almost—almost—make us want to cook at home every night.
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LA cookbooks to give as gifts
For as many people who love Gjelina, there are those who don't love waiting in Gjelina's lines. Solution: get the cookbook. Featuring 125 recipes from chef Lett's arsenal, the book is a catalog of the pizzas, pastas, vegetable dishes and desserts that have drawn crowds to the Venice eatery since it opened in 2008.
You'd be hard pressed to find a neighborhood in LA without a Lemonade—the healthy, fast casual spot has won the city over with its broccoli salad and truffle mac and cheese. Recipes in this cookbook may be a little time consuming, but the flavor bombs that emerge are well worth the effort.
Bite into a petit four from Valerie's Confections and you'll immediately understand the obsession with this pastry shop and bakery. Its owner, Valerie Gordon, wrote Sweet to share not only her recipes but also her approach to baking and techniques, with the goal that it might help us all become better bakers. Thanks, Valerie!
Bouchon opened next to one of the world's most famous restaurants, French Laundry, as a way to celebrate chef Thomas Keller's love of the perfect quiche or roasted chicken—French bistro food at its finest. At Bouchon Beverly Hills, you'll find incredible onion soup and croque madames, dishes that you can replicate with the help of Keller's cookbook. Bon appétit!
Suzanne Goin's first cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, won the talented chef a James Beard award, and her sophomore project is just as compelling: bacon-wrapped dates, duck sausage with candied kumquats, crème fraîche cake and more beloved dishes from A.O.C. are now at your disposal. There's a glossary of cheeses at the back of the book, and Caroline Styne, Goin's business partner and wine director, also chimes in with wine pairings for each dish.
It's been a number of years since chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio competed head to head on season six of Top Chef, but the brothers are still at the forefront of American cooking. Their joint cookbook is not for the amateur home chef—recipes include intricate components like pine nut foam, and some even call for a blowtorch or food dehydrator—but the photos are beautiful and the brothers' stories are worth a thorough read.
There are 125 of Scarpetta's signature dishes in this cookbook, but you'll want to skip right to page 121, which holds the recipe for chef Scott Conant's famous spaghetti. After that, have at it: breads, soups, salads, pizza and more will keep you plenty busy. Bonus: for most recipes, there's a suggested wine pairing.
LA is no stranger to vegan restaurants, but Crossroads has long been considered one of the best vegan options in the city since opening in 2013. Foregoing bland seitan and unispired tofu, chef Tal Ronnen uses straightforward recipes to transform vegetables and legumes into hearty dishes that even a meat lover would dream about.
Okay, so LA-based Thug Kitchen doesn't have a restaurant in our fair city (yet). But these vegan recipe bloggers, who use the word "fuck" as often as they do a measuring cup, are back with their second cookbook for partygoing folk. Thug Kitchen Party Grub includes categories like "Oodles of Motherfucking Noodles" and "Badass Breakfast in Bed," all aimed to help you create healthy, easy and fun-as-fuck dishes.