Two New Coffee-Table Titles
Between this column, Read & Spin and Today's Top Events, I try to force as much book- and literature-related information on you all as you're willing to suffer, but sometimes books come across my desk and I can't find a pretense on which to mention them, or they come around too late for consideration in Read & Spin. Two such binder-board titles came my way this week, so I thought I'd pause to give them a brief shout-out.
Fortunately, they fit pretty snugly into MyNewOrleans.com's niche – they're books about architecture and food. So I think I'm safe.
The first is by a familiar name on the cookbook scene. Kit Wohl has recently come out with New Orleans Classic Brunches: Recipes from Famous Restaurants, in which she poaches (I couldn't resist) food and cocktail recipes from the likes of chefs Susan Spicer and Leah Chase. She borrows heavily from the Brennan empires, but also doesn't shy away from hitting up Camellia Grill for their omelet recipe. (Frankly, I don't think it tastes quite the same without the residue imbued by the veteran flat-top, but it is certainly a worthy scion of the original.)
Page by page, Wohl also pairs "Eye-Openers" with most of the food recipes for quick-and-easy menu decisions.
Without indulging too much in the "New Orleans is the greatest" sentiment that seems to be de rigueur for our blog roll – I'm determined to retain my Yankee reserve, even if it is disingenuous – I will say that, having been baptized in the stuffy observance of Northeastern brunch traditions (or rather, the avoidance thereof), D.C. and New York could take a few cues from their southern cousin. Microscopic crab cakes benedict? Fuhgettaboutit. There's a reason we're eating buttery food at 11 in the morning and cutting it with mimosas. New Orleans knows what's up (or what was up last night).
The second title is New in New Orleans Architecture by John P. Klingman. A professor at Tulane University's School of Architecture and holder of the Richard Koch Chair at the same, Klingman jumps on contemporary architecture as broken down into four categories: Office and commercial buildings; schools and university facilities; institutions; and residential buildings. The book itself dispels the notion that the only worthy architecture in New Orleans is rooted in old-world stylings – in fact, Klingman begins his introduction thus: "One of the world's best kept secrets is that New Orleans has contemporary architecture."
Klingman checkers thorough explanations with rich interior and exterior photography. Some of the vocabulary is rather beyond the uninitiated (such as myself), but by and large the book is accessible and informative.
Kit Wohl will sign and discuss Classic Brunches at the Maple Street Book Shop (7259 Maple St.) Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Prof. Klingman will visit the Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania St.) to discuss Architecture on March 29 at 5 p.m.