jetsetgreen

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Assaulted a Countertop and Ate Food


I may have been blogstalking Communal, the new restaurant from chefs Colton Soelberg and Joseph McRae of Pizzeria 712 fame. Look, that's them!



Do you remember eating at P712 with me? Wasn't it lovely? Shouldn't we go back again soon?

My friends Noelle and Janet invited me to lunch at Communal, in the old Goldsmith's building in downtown Provo. I yanked a few pictures of what we ate from Lindsey:


Airline Chicken


Poached tuna with frisee and olive tapenade, served with heirloom tomato bread pudding


Butterscotch Pot de Creme and cookies

Yes, it was all delicious, better than it looks, which, I know, hardly seems possible. I adored the sea scallops with tomato relish, and the roasted squash with apples and thyme the very best. The service? I stepped away from the table to answer a call and when I got back, the crumpled napkin I'd left had been replaced by a clean, folded one set neatly at my plate. So unobtrusive I almost didn't notice it. I dared the girl sitting next to me to run to the bathroom and see if her napkin wasn't replaced, too. I walked away from the table just for kicks and got another fresh napkin. NEW GAME!

I completely geeked out, and after feeling up the concrete countertops polished with beeswax, I asked Soelberg and McRae how Alice Waters has influenced them. Why? Because all those long months ago, when I first stepped foot inside P712, I saw an Alice Waters quote on the wall, and I knew I'd found my local culinary mecca.

Colton and Joseph (may I call them by their first names? I forgot to ask,) understand Waters' primary directive: when you pick the freshest ingredients, as close to where they grew as possible, in the right season, and cook them with respect, it yields extraordinary food.

I decided to ask which cookbooks Colt and Joe (more familiar as this post rambles!) love in case I could suck in my breath, push up my glasses, pull a Mary Catherine Gallagher, and say "Me too, me too, me too."

The Chez Panisse books - Alice Waters (duh)
Zuni Cafe - Judy Rogers
Sunday Suppers at Luques - Suzanne Goin
The French Laundry, Bouchon, and Under Pressure - Thomas Keller
Au Pied de Cochon - Martin Picard
Il Viaggio di Vetri - Mark Vetri
Think Like a Chef and The Craft of Cooking - Tom Colicchio

You big time foodie geeks just found soulmates, didn't you? Me too, me too, me too. For the rest of you, let me translate: Communal knows what they're doing. Why "Communal"? Because it's supposed to be like Sunday dinner: sharing a table, being with cherished ones, and communing over bread made with love.


Thanks, C & J.






Want to go? I asked, and Communal would love to have you. $40 gift certificate goes to one commenter who leaves me a note on this post with their favorite cookbook before Friday, October 16th expires.

If you win, can I go too? We can make a reservation, sit in the private dining room, and I can tell you stories that are too inappropriate to blog about in public. I'll pay for myself, swear.

79 comments:

lisa said...

Darn...I could be first but I don't even use a recipe book except for Joy of Cooking and my mom's recipe box...But I do love Pizzeria 712 and am headed to Communal as soon as the paycheck permits! :)

Jenny said...

Right now my favorite cookbook is 'San Francisco Flavors' compiled by the Jr League of San Francisco. You'd love it.

PICK ME. I'll let you borrow my ice cream maker!

liz said...

100% sure I am not cool enough for that restaurant, but I am de-lurking for a chance to give it a try. Gorgeous.

Maria said...

I really want to try this place! Looks amazing! I have too many favorite cookbooks:) I like Mark Bittman's Vegetarian cookbook or the Moosewood cookbooks.

jeri said...

How fabulous, I would love to win! My most-used cookbook right now is the Williams Sonoma Essentials of Baking

La Yen said...

Mark Bittman How to cook everything,
Nigella Lawson How to Eat
Cubban Cocina (can't remember the author and not getting up.)

And even if I don't win you and I are going in a few weeks. Heads up.

ClistyB said...

The Alpine Ward cookbook where my mom submitted a recipe for 'tuna boats'. The mention of which can make my husband die of laughter. Another gal submitted recipes that all called for some sort of liquor.

Mona said...

Right now I just love to stare at the pictures in The Essence of Chocolate. Haven't made a thing from it.

Yet.

Azúcar said...

Liz--Oh no! DO NOT let me give you that impression! Communal has the feel of a cozy family dinner; it's warm, clean, and inviting. I suggest reservations simply because it's smaller in scale, so you want to make sure they'll put dibs on a spot.

Plus, and this is genius, everything is ala carte. You don't get whatever comes with the steak, you get to pick your sides, your salad, your appetizer. My husband is The World's Pickiest Eater, and ala carte just takes the worry out of ordering.

La Yen--thanks for the warning. Am properly notified.

Lisa- I know. I rarely use a cookbook for everyday meals. I DO use cookbooks for baking. My favorites for baking are Paula Peck's Art of Fine Baking and LeNôtre's Desserts and Pastries.

{natalie} said...

i like the best new recipe, mainly because they explain how they tried all different ways before they picked the one they used (what worked, what didn't)

i love that long apron in the first picture.

Steph said...

I want to win...

Pamela said...

My favorite cook book is, "The Heritage of Southern Cooking", by Camille Glenn. I bought it for myself to help me cook for my husband, when we first got married. It did just the trick.

FoxyJ said...

Ooh--that looks like a fun place to eat. Right now one of my favorite cookbooks is "The Vegetarian Family Cookbook" by Nava Atlas. The recipes are all for 'normal' food that kids will actually eat and that use simple ingredients, plus she includes tons of tips on vegetarian eating and menu planning.

Hil said...

yes please, i realize i'm from out of town... but i believe this is reason enough to make a trip! look delicious. my favorite cookbook lately is The Lion House Classics... awesome breads and desserts in that book. a pregnant woman's heaven.

Kristen said...

My favorite cookbooks come from my husband's motherland of Canada. They are from the Best of Bridge Series: The Best of the Best and The Rest of the Best. Excellent cookbooks - every recipe I've tried is a winner. Their recipe for Lettuce Wraps are as good as I've ever tasted.

the emily said...

DUDE, I have some inappropriate stories to share with you as well. Pick me. We'll have a blast. Oh, and my favorite cookbook is the Albuquerque 14th Ward cookbook. It rocks.

Susan Petersen said...

seeeeeriously, i've been dying to go. and don't laugh at me, but my fav cookbook is written by my friends mother, it has all of her secret recipes in it.

Azúcar said...

I wouldn't dare, Susan, those are often the best kind.

Melanie J said...

I only wish that I lived in Provo so I could use it. And that's saying something because moving back to Provo hasn't ever been at the top of my list of things to do. But if it's anywhere near as good as P712 was when I ate there this spring, I understand why you have found a new love.

Annie said...

i'm in love with the america's test kitchen cookbook because it teaches me so much about how and why things are happening in each recipe that i can be more brave when i try things on my own. also? i love inappropriate stories!

Sarah said...

I have wanted to try it - maybe a gift certificate would help me out!

i i eee said...

All I own is a Betty Crocker Basics cookbook! CLEARLY, I need Communal's influence!!!!1!

Camille said...

Oh, I've been hearing good things about this restaurant! I'd love to win! (and you can for sure come along - would love to meet you in real life)! As for cookbooks? Let's just say I APPRECIATE good food - but can't necessarily produce it. My favorite cookbook is the ol' Ward cookbook from the 90's :) yikes, huh?

Kalli Ko said...

pretty much I should win because it's my birthday next month and my budget would not allow for such celebrations otherwise.

And that is my truth.

And yes I am playing the poor me card.

And my favorite cookbook is my family one. Because it's good, and covered in stains. And has muffin recipes.

Emily said...

I like one called Colorado Collage or something like that. And have been using Everyday Food recipes a lot lately.

Tiffany UnTwisted said...

Favorite recipe book: the take out menu from gourmamdies.

Ps. Give me 3 more weeks before I have a good story.

Heather said...

I love Everyday Food mag but I'm an old school Fannie Farmer gal.

Kristina said...

My only cookbook at the moment is Eating for Life since the only time I eat at home is when I decide to start being more healthy. Otherwise I love trying new places to eat.

Desiree said...

I adore your posts. So humorous. My go-to cookbook as of late is Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything".

Neils said...

The one I've been quite addicted to lately is Neil Patrick Harris' Bulgarian Dishes for Under $10 Using Ingredients Found in Household Cleaning Supplies. He became quite the fan of Bulgarian food when he did an Eastern Bloc + Bulgaria tour promoting Doogie Howser, M.D. in 1989

Azúcar said...

Heeehee.

Dude, you are NOT my nemesis.

Neils said...

Has it ever been suggested that I am your nemesis? If so, by whom? I don't think anyone has said you are my nemesis...i haz a confuzed

Azúcar said...

Someone hasn't watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

And if you're one of those people, go watch it. Really. It's free. How about now? Or after you enter this giveaway.

Likely said...

You are in luck because guess who is coming to town in a few weeks and would LOVE to have lunch with you? hmmmm...... And you can invite whoever you want. I will join YOUR party.

Apples for Jam. the cookbok. Do you know of it? I think it's one of the most brilliant cookbooks out there. It is brimming with delicious recipes and sprinkled throughout with lovely childhood anecdotes and memoirs. It is a LOVELY read and has simply gorgeous photography.

When you see the cover you will know why I love it so.

Any recommendations for a great Indian Food cookbook? I really need one of those and can't seem to find one anywhere.

PS - If you happen to pick me, maybe just maybe my mother will be in town with me and maybe just maybe she works at Williams Sonoma and maybe just maybe she gets 40% off. Maybe just maybe we can get you in on that deal while we are there.

Azúcar said...

Oh how I wish it were up to me, Likely. Random.org will pick the winner.

Likely said...

Oh, and I totally made your apple syrup and put it on swedish pancakes, which are like extra thick crepes.

oh.
my.
gosh.

Likely said...

I am tired of this random generator crap.

The only contest I ever won online was for Miggy's name my blog contest. It was also the only not random contest I have entered.

You can still come to WS with us, friend. LEt's do lunch either way. or dinner. or waffles with apple syrup.

Jennifer B. said...

I want in! I love Barefoot Contessa Family Style. Besides being full of recipes that I like, my kids will eat anything from that book!

girlsmama said...

I have really loved using Ina Garten's cook books. Fairly simple yet elegant and delicious4!

Tamsin said...

Truly, honestly, my favourite cookbook is "Den rødrutete kokeboken" - filled with lovely recipes from my lovely home of Norway. Being able to cook food that reminds me of home is like a lifeline.

Communal looks delicious, although I find myself slightly disconcerted by the name "airline chicken". Surely I'm not the only one who doesn't equate airline food with fine dining?

Liz said...

One of my fav cookbooks is "How to Cook without a Book" by Pam Anderson. Great book on methods instead of recipes - recipes too...but a lot of the "why".

Laquina said...

"Super natural Cooking" courtesy of my obsession Heidi Swanson. And to be honest, the old Betty Crocker cookbook Jenaper found me online just like the one Mom has sans cover. The chocolate pudding and crepes in that book have yet to be topped, in my opinion.

Also, if you want to see me during Christmas post more food pictures.

Janet said...

Oh, there is no way you'll choose me, but ya'll are drawing me to Provo! I've not been to Pizzeria 217 yet, and I'm dying to try Communal after watching the blog photos of them building out the place. And this food! Yum, yum.

They say no one uses more than 3 recipes in any given cookbook, and I'm probably in that boat, so it's hard to choose one. But, for me, it was Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa books that took the "gourmet cooking" I'd learned in college in the 80's which morphed into the heirloom-everything of Martha Stewart in the 90's into real world dinners for my family in the 00's. While putting emphasis on market-fresh and seasonal ingredients, Ina also puts great emphasis that the cooking is about spending time with people around the table, not about the obscurity of the ingredients or the complexity of the dishes.

Last night, I finally cracked open Julia Child's "My Life in France". It is wonderful, just sayin'.

Anne-Marie said...

I have been dying to eat at P712...heard so many delicious things about it. What am I waiting for?

OK-So...I love anything by the Barefoot Contessa, but I probably use the cookbook Miss Sarah Bryson gifted me at my Bridal shower a zillion years ago. Except she is one of 11 children, so I have to third all the recipes. Most are really great though. And made with love.
And lots of butter.

Stephanie said...

i am entering on behalf of the spouse, because my favorite cookbook is "the instuctions on the back of costco's chicken dino nuggets."


BUT his is the joy of cooking. and also his beloved copies of gourmet magazine. (r.i.p.)

maybe going to this restaurant will inspire me?

Emily said...

Since we're in a fall baking mood at our home, I'd say James McNair's Pie especially because dh does all of the pie-making. It has the best cranberry orange pie that we crave all year and it's almost cranberry time!

Mrs JP Chaos said...

Well, since I don't get to Provo much (living in CA, does that to a person) I'm just going to comment that it sounds absolutely divine. And therefore, I am jealous.

JMadd said...

I'm not a cookbook user really, but if I'm in a jam and I want to make something I've never made before I go to the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I'm a little embarassed to admit that.

Azúcar said...

Jmadd, please, let me disabuse you of the notion that I am a cookbook snob--I am NOT! The BH&G cookbook is a great every day reference. I would steal my parent's well-worn copy if I could.

I don't think I've ever come across a cookbook that didn't have at least one really useful recipe.

martha corinna said...

Do I have to pick just one? Because I have a thing for cook books.

I love:

The River Cottage Cookbook
Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home
Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine
and
Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures

Thanks for asking.

Emily said...

My two favorite cookbooks are the Better Homes and Gardens and a family cookbook that my Mom and Aunts compiled with family recipes. I do love watching Ina Garten on the food network and usually look up her recipes online. Her cheesecake is to die for.

Miranda said...

Can my favorite cookbook be my recipes from my mother? Ok -- Betty Crocker cookbook with the hot fudge recipe... Would love to try this place when I'm next in Utah.

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

Oh I want to win...

Fave cookbook right now is the Centerville 3rd Ward's compilation of recipes. Nothing quite seems as down home as making my old primary teacher's chocolate chip cookies.

Oh, and I will be in Provo for Thanksgiving, as that is the designated location by my in-laws, and well, I will need some post-family deliciousness

Capree said...

I don't actually use a cookbook, but instead rely on the wisdom and experience of thousands of cooks on www.allrecipes.com. I've been using that site for almost 8 years.

Thanks for this tasty giveaway!

saintless said...

My favorite one lately is a vegetarian cookbook from B&N. But, I tend to get my recipes from Alton Brown - I really need to buy his book "I'm Just Here For the Food".

Adria said...

Mine is probably Nourishing Traditions.

Lisa said...

I really want to win this giveaway. . . what with the economy. . . I haven't been able to eat out as much. . . sigh. . . and I'm embarrassed to admit that my favorite cookbook right now is called "Peacocks on my Porch" and it's a collection of the tried and true recipes from my sister Gina's husband's cycling group wives. I know. It's in its third printing. It's awesome. Go cycling wives!

tarable said...

Martha Stewart, baby! I have never had a recipe dissapoint and there are so many great recipes. I would love to try Communal.

amelia said...

OOOH...that tuna picture. I really want to win.

My fav. cookbook would probably be my own, with random index cars with my grandma's recipes, MIL's Mexican food, gems off cooking sites and clips from Sunset magazine. The other is Mrs. Wilkes - the famous Savannah, Georgia southern hometown restaurant (DO NOT get confused with the other Savannah cook Paula Deen - Mrs. Wilkes is AMAZING!)

jennie w. said...

I swore I entered this, but I don't see my entry. Hmmm. Anyway. I'm not in Utah, but I'll be back in June and I swear I'll use this. In the few short days I was in Utah this last summer I did make it to P712, if that makes a diff.

My fave cookbooks are:
Chinaberry cookbook from the Chinaberry book catalog

The Best Recipe by Cooks Ilustrated

And Rosie's All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book. (I'm an avid baker and this can't be beat.)

Plus let's give a shout-out to allrecipes.com. I owe several "trademark dishes" to them.

~j. said...

My favorite cookbooks:

Post on My Blog: Hey, What Do You Cook?

La Yen

You

the red/white gingham one

375-5133

Marie said...

An Invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey. I only own three cookbooks because I don't like clutter in my small kitchen, but that one's worth three times the shelf space it occupies. It is because of that cookbook that I keep both cumin and cumin seeds always on hand.

Maya said...

My most used cookbook is the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. However, I've got a collection that I pull from. Is it weird that I enjoy reading cookbooks for fun???

edith said...

Here is my comment: That looks so yummy.

edith said...

Oops, didn't read the instructions carefully.
I don't own the cookbook for Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Ut., but it is my favorite.

M said...

Does it count if it's just a Mormon cookbook, not a true foodie book? I am a fan of "recipes for the I don't cook syndrome," because everything I've made from it turns out well, and it's usually good enough to bring to potlucks.

But I'd love to try out some cuisine sometime too. --Emily M.

Emily Hill said...

You can SO totally go with me. Can't wait to share inappropriate stories. I think those are all I have...

My favorite cookbook? Does online count? I'm always on AllRecipes.com--it's where I've found some of my favorite recipes. My second favorite is the good ol' Betty Crocker cookbook. I'm lame, I know.

kiki said...

"Cotton Country" from the Junior League of Monroe, LA. I have seen it in Sam's here in Utah once-upon-a-time.

Brenda said...

The cookbooks I love and use the most are the free Costco cook books they hand out the day after Thanksgiving. There are pictures with every recipe (a must in my opinion) and everything I've tried has been AMAZING. Plus, being free is an extra bonus! :-)

MissMel said...

I love the Accidental Gourmet because it gives the recipes silly names and makes everything so FANCY.....
I can't wait to go there and try that butterscotch! Pick me, Carina!

Veeda said...

I just have current favorites. On rotation right now is Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

My baking desires go up during the Fall. And so do my pants size.

Geo said...

My real favorite cookbook? It's the one I'm putting together right now of our own best family recipes, including a few secret combination recipes handed down by my mom and grandma. The Midnight (Train) Cake is a shoo-in.

Aside from that, it's impossible to choose a favorite, so I'll say that the one I currently use most is American Wholefoods Cuisine, and the the one I just checked out from the library is The Healthy Hedonist.

So, am I entered?

Mrs. Ordinary said...

It's a toss-up between The Flavor Bible and Super Natural Cooking. But I think The Flavor Bible is winning out.

Rachel said...

anything ina. but use half the butter. simple ingredients, divine flavors.

Becca said...

Did Susannah Furr end up at least partially responsible for the interior design. I heard back in the day that she was working on it. I can't wait to try this out. Thanks for the great review. Oh yeah, and pick me?

Zannah said...

I have this one cookbook entitled simply "Breads." It's index-card-sized and stands up all convenient-like, AND has an incredible recipe for pita bread, among other breads. It's pretty much the perfectest cookbook ever, even if I can't remember the author.

limelightfoodphotography said...

Carina, my love, will you please pick me so I can invite you to come with me?!!! I LOVE your inappropriate stories. You always make me laugh so hard that I nearly pee my pants & I love you for that!

Favorite cookbook: kraftfoods.com How lame am I?!! I need to use cookbooks and find a favorite. Will work on that. ;)

krystyna your face said...

I love The Modern Vegetarian, by Maria Elia. No fake meats or processed junk in the book, just real, fresh delicious foods! Much like how Communal does it :) I've been dying to go, so maybe this will give me the kick in the pants I need! Please pick me!

Jenka said...

My favorite cookbook is our family cookbook. White view binder with page protectors and lots of printed-off tried and true recipes.