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My Usual Table: A Life in Restaurants (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Reading the lengthy and lovingly recorded descriptions of meals and wine services that Andrews recounts from his many trips in Europe and especially his beloved Los Angeles haunts of yesteryear (e.g. Ma Maison, Scandia). It's clear those days are gone forever--for better and worse. Hollywood brat (his father was a screenwriter), bon vivant, journalist-at-large, founding publisher (Saveur), Andrew is also the mystery  gourmand and lover whom Ruth Reichl wriote about extensively in Comfort Me With Apples.  On that subject--but little else-Andrews is a bit reticent.

— From Carla's Picks


My Usual Table is a love letter to the great restaurants that have changed the way we eat— from Trader Vic’s to Chez Panisse and Spago to elBulli—and a vivid memoir of a life lived in food, from a founding editor of Saveur and James Beard Award winning writer Colman Andrews.

For reviewer, writer, and editor Colman Andrews, restaurants have been his playground, his theater, his university, his church, his refuge. The establishments he has loved have not only influenced culinary trends at home and abroad, but represent the changing history and culture of food in America and Western Europe. From his usual table, he has watched the growth of Nouvelle Cuisine and fusion cuisine; the organic and locavore movements; nose-to-tail eating; and so-called “molecular gastronomy.”

In My Usual Table, Andrews interweaves his own story—from growing up in the sunset years of Hollywood’s golden age to traveling the world in pursuit of great food—with tales of the restaurants, chefs, and restaurateurs who are emblematic of the revolutions great and small that have forever changed the way we eat, cook, and think about food.

About the Author

Colman Andrews was a cofounder of Saveur, and its editor-in-chief from 2002 to 2006, and later became the restaurant columnist for Gourmet. A native of Los Angeles with degrees in history and philosophy from UCLA, he was a restaurant reviewer and restaurant news columnist for the Los Angeles Times. The recipient of eight James Beard Awards, Andrews is the coauthor and coeditor of three Saveur cookbooks and seven of his own books on food. Andrews is the editorial director of The Daily Meal, a food and wine mega-site ( that logs approximately ten million monthly unique visitors.

Praise For…

“A fond salute to many of his favorite culinary haunts marks this charming autobiographical omnibus by accomplished cookbook author, longtime reviewer, and cofounder of Saveur, [Colman] Andrews.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In the hands of a less adept writer, Andrews’ narratives of movie stars cavorting in their favorite restaurant haunts or dining at his parents’ house might seem mere name-dropping, but his respect and affection for these celebrities make for enjoyable storytelling.”
— Booklist

“Andrews gets [it] exactly right…. It’s this ability to appreciate food in a larger context that makes Andrews’ book so appealing - and such a welcome antidote to so much of the food discussion today.”
— Los Angeles Times

“Mr. Andrews writes delightfully about his earliest experiences dining out in Los Angeles at Chasen’s.”
— Wall Street Journal

“The book is a fun read and covers hot spots such as El Bulli, Trader Vic’s and Chasen’s that are now shuttered but not forgotten.”
— San Francisco Weekly

“Andrews is a compelling writer, and so his descriptions of restaurants past will lead readers who chronicle their own days in Instagrammed meals on an adventure in armchair time travel.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“Andrews’ eloquent food writing might as well be its own romance language.. the relationship Andrews has with restaurants and the comfort and thrill he experiences each time he sits down at the table - akin to an actor taking the stage - will make you want to join him.” -LA Weekly
— LA Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062136480
ISBN-10: 0062136488
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: January 6th, 2015
Pages: 288
Language: English