Cooking the Books

A new breed of corner store

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It's time to expand your definition of the corner market run; with newcomer Cookbook, it's not just milk, eggs and wilted vegetables from the tienda anymore.

Opened just weeks ago in Echo Park by residents Marta Teegen and Robert Stelzner, Cookbook combines the trappings of a gourmet food store–Creminelli salami, cans of San Marzano tomatoes, an assortment of King Arthur flours–with stacks of fresh produce and a cold case full of dishes prepared by Heirloom-LA.

Per the store's name, each week sees another cookbook's recipes dictating the prepared-foods selection. Last week featured The Zuni Café Cookbook, with dishes including roasted eggplant stuffed with tomato jam, every sweet-tart bite of which bridged the flavors of late summer and early fall. This week it's Seven Fires, by Argentine grilling master Francis Mallmann.

If the produce reminds you of a farmers' market display, that's because it more or less is: The stacked wood crates boast fruit and vegetables from market favorites such as Weiser Family Farms, Ha's Apple Farm and Mud Creek Ranch.

Teegen and Stelzner are cutting no corners with their stock. After a frustrating three-month search for a bread supplier to meet their high standards, the pair convinced Heirloom-LA to add baking to its repertoire–which, judging by the crunchy baguettes on sale, they've done very successfully.

This "quality first" approach seems to resonate with Cookbook's clientele: The store sold through eight cases of Dr. Bob's ice cream in one day.

Cookbook, 1549 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park; 213-250-1900 or cookbookla.com