Every city has their own cocktail party chatter. In DC, the opening salvo is something like “what do you do?” or “who do you work for?” New Yorkers, I’m convinced, love nothing more than to ask how you arrived at the party: which subway line, which expressway, the best corner to pick up at cab. Other citizenry reflect on the weather or the reigning sports team.
And San Franciscans? We love to talk about food. We debate the merits of Mission taquerias, where to find the best xiao bao, which farmer’s market has the best first-of-the-season strawberries. Have you been to Octavia or Al’s Place yet? Is $8 too much to charge for avocado toast? Miyagis or Sweetwaters? We attempt to grow tomatoes and basil in the fog; we day-trip it to wine country and have strong opinions on IPA.
And when we’re ready to cook (and talk some more), we take the J-Church over to Omnivore Books on Food, where proprietor and former rare books specialist Celia Sack stocks her sunny jewel box of a bookshop with new and antiquarian culinary titles. It’s a cookbook junkie’s dream, and Celia’s cheerful, expert guidance gently steers professional chefs, avid home cooks and kitchen newbies toward the perfect book. Free and ticketed events give customers a chance to meet their favorite authors in an intimate setting, and out-of-towners can have signed books or coveted antiquarian volumes shipped anywhere in the US. Chat up the knowledgeable staff on your next visit, because like any San Franciscan, they can talk the talk.