Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kitchen Arts and Letters


Before I left to New York, I made a list of places I wanted to visit. I knew we wouldn't have too much time, so I limited my list to two places: Carlo's Bakery and  Kitchen Arts and Letters, the bookstore that sells cookbooks. Not a cookbook section, not a small shelf, but a whole store, floor to ceiling of cookbooks.
A heaven for any cook, from a professional chef to a kitchen rookie.



How could I miss that? From their webpage I've learned that they offer more that 13,000 titles: all about food, cooking, food history, wine. Who needs a candy store when there is a cookbook store, which actually sells books on how to make candies too?!



We came to the store during the odd hours (in a big city slang meaning before or after the rush time), so the store was all to us. A friendly sales person was helpful in navigating us through the shelves, while we were just gasping for air when we saw books we wanted to have. The same sales person assured us, that if we can't find it in the store, to ask: they most definitely have it in is another area, as there's not enough room on the floor to keep all titles.
For a bookworm as I am, I want to have such a collection of cookbooks in my office, which would be conveniently located next to my big  dream kitchen. 

We spent quite some time in the store, lingering over colorful pages and interesting facts on food anthropology. And we both found some books that we couldn't live without any longer. One of them is The Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein, book on history, traditions and food of Republic of Georgia with over one hundred recipes, some of which I am eager to share with you in the coming months. 


I can't wait to come back to the store one day soon! 

Do you have a favorite bookstore? 
What books do you prefer to buy?


Kitchen Arts and Letters accepts special orders and would conduct a search for out-of-print books without charge. 
Kitchen Arts and Letters
1435 Lexington Avenue,
New York, NY 10128

Hours:
Monday 1-6:00
Tuesday - Friday 10-6:30
Saturday 11-6:00

Phone: 212-876-5550
e-mail: letters@kitchenartsandletters.com




* I have no affiliation with Kitchen Arts and Letters, and I was not compensated in any way for this post. 
All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.


See you,
Marina

34 comments:

  1. Oh what a fabulous trip! I would love to visit these bookstores. I have been daydreaming about visiting NYC. I've never been. We only have one independent bookstore in Santa Barbara. The big ones all closed in the last few years.

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    1. I don't like to see bookstores being closed, it's a sad sign... Do people read less or they use digital devices to read? I want cookbooks to exist: there's no way I can enjoy digital copy and linger over photos, make some notes...
      On this trip to NY I've seen a different city, not the one I use to live in 12 years ago. Visiting NY is much better than living in NY, in my experience...:)
      Thanks for visiting my blog, Marina! :)

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  2. Oh what a fabulous trip! I would love to visit these bookstores. I have been daydreaming about visiting NYC. I've never been. We only have one independent bookstore in Santa Barbara. The big ones all closed in the last few years.

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  3. Oh what a fabulous trip! I would love to visit these bookstores. I have been daydreaming about visiting NYC. I've never been. We only have one independent bookstore in Santa Barbara. The big ones all closed in the last few years.

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  4. Very cool, Marina! That really is an amazing store. I had no idea that they have even more books than the ones that are on display. If you ever make it out to Seattle, you should check out Book Larder as well. A great, well-curated selection and nice demos and chef events as well.

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    1. Thanks Michael, I will. I use to go to Elliot Bay Bookstore for general books, jut love their atmosphere...:)

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  5. Or rather I should have said "make it back to Seattle"!

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    1. We are on our way: my husband already is working with recruiter in the area, so I hope to be back as soon as his residency is over (in 10 months). :)

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  6. That bookstore looks incredible! I bet it would takes days or weeks to go through it! :D

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    1. I could live there actually, as a bookstore cat for example...:)

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  7. This is not in the vein of your blog but on seeing 'Lexington', all I can think of is a Velvet Underground song.. I'm waiting for my man - 'up to Lexington 125'. Ok, back to your question... my fav bookshop is Gould's of King St, Newtown (Sydney). It used to be an amazing maze of a place in downtown Sydney that you could literally (oops that's a pun, but it's true) get lost in. It's still pretty mad but much more contained now in Newtown. I also love Gleebooks in Glebe (Sydney) but they aren't as impressive as these food focussed ones. I suspect becasue our population is so small that it doesn't allow for such specialities! Oh well...I'd love to spend a week of food and jazz-filled sleeplessness in NY!

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    1. I know another city where you can spend many weeks of food "and jazz-filled sleeplessness" - Seattle. :)
      As of vein of my blog, I am actually not leaning towards any specific topics, it's our life in general: people we meat, food we eat, places we visit...
      Thanks for your kind comment! :) If I am in the area, I would definitely visit one of those bookstores!

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  8. Thanks for sharing this one too, I'll be sure to visit when I'm in NY this fall!

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    1. Chris, they have some interesting events in October. Check them out, you'll have fun! :)

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  9. Si alguien sabe si hay una tienda así en España, por favor que me lo diga.

    JUEGO DE SABORES

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    1. Thank you Ana for your kind comment! :)

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  10. That's a great bookstore. I've been there but not since the 1990s. And they mean it when they say they have everything - they do (at least in the English language). Although the internet has been the death of independent bookstores because of Amazon, it's also been great for the used book people - everyone now puts their inventory online. So no matter where you live, you can probably find what you're looking for. Browsing is a bit tough, though . . . ;-)

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    1. Hi John, Isn't it sad? I don't like to see bookstores going, I love to go in, and read, or just look through the titles. Bookstores have different atmosphere... I do want bookstores to be around... :)

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  11. I would hide somewhere in this bookstore right before closing, just so I could have it all to myself. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  12. What a great bookstore. Here in Poland noone had ever any idea about creating such a place. What a pity. But then on the other hand if we had such bookstore, I would spend all my money there, so maybe it's better to read only about such magical places ;-)

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    1. You know, Joanna, you think you would spend all money in there but not. I love just browse through the books, rest with a few books in the chair. Bookstores have a very relaxing atmosphere, and I really enjoy going there. :)

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    2. Maybe you're right. Anyway those days, in the era of Internet and my beloved tastespotting and foodgawker and friends' blogs and search option adjusted to ones need, I rarely use cookbooks. Maybe as you write, while rest in the chair. But then on the other hand I do not have many moments like that. Always busy, doing so many things so there not so much free time left for such luxury as book browsing. But I guess that while seeing all those books and all those beautiful photos in those books I would go mad at least for some time ;-)

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    3. Joanna, in several comments, that you left here, you mentioned "doing so many things so there's not so much free time left..." dear friend, you sounded like me several years ago until I got to the point that I was burned out... We need balance in our life, and thanks to my boss, who told me that I HAVE to make time to rest otherwise I would be useless for my family, for work, etc. I am so grateful he opened my eyes, or shell I say turned my face to see the reality. We can't do everything, we need to prioritize, delegate, and skip things from time to time. I am grateful to him for opening my eyes and helping me to find that balance in my life. I also learned how to say "no" (it was the hardest one).
      I wanted to share it with you... :)

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  13. I could get lost for hours in a bookstore like this. I love just spending hours looking over cook books. In hong kong I just get excited if we see some in English that are not sealed up with plastic.

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    1. I hear you! I can get lost for hours in any bookstore, forget the cookbook store. Good thing I was with my friend and we had another place to stop, otherwise I would be glued to the little stool until the closing... :)

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  14. This sounds Like a wonderful bookstore, Marina, and it is easy to see why you or anyone could spend hours there. Amazon may offer current titles but that is based more on popularity than quality or content. So long as this bookstore has a good web store, it will be around for a very long time and I'll be happy to buy my cookbooks from them just to make sure of that. Thanks for pointing me in their direction.

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    1. Hi John, they will celebrate their 29th anniversary being in business this October, so I guess they have their audience of loyal readers. I think their uniqueness and good customer service makes them the only...

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  15. Exactly! How could I miss that??!!! Next time I go to NYC we'll visit that store, my husband is gonna hate me! But oh well... :-D

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    1. It is easy to miss as it is not a tourist destination, at least I've never seen it on any New York tour books or TV travel show. And don't take your husband to the store, let him do his own shopping at this time! :)

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  16. Marina, sadly...we don't have hardly any more bookstores other than Barnes and Noble, and that's about to go out of business in our area! The smaller ones don't even survive. I order most of my books on Amazon, or get some great books at Goodwill, but they are also selling their books now on Amazon!
    Love your photos, and the cute shops, and the books of course...too bad we don't have the cute book stores like 10 20 years ago...must be the 'economy'!

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    1. I know, I hate seeing bookstores being closed. If they close all bookstores, where the author's nights and the book signing would be? In the grocery stores?!

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  17. Thank you for the information, Marina, I will visit the store next time I am in NY. I buy my books from Thrift Shop in my neighborhood. I like old cooks books and I have a few good ones now. Something about how people cooked in the past, every recipe has a story. I have some old recipe from the past on my blog, many you like them.

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    1. I love those books too, I am quite interested in food anthropology and history.

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Your warm comments put a smile on my heart.