Home Run

A new cookbook lets you bring Town Hall home

Ferran Adrià was in town last week, and 1,400 people queued up to see photographs of and learn about food they'll never taste. That event represents one (great) side of the culinary world.

Mitch Rosenthal's new book, Cooking My Way Back Home ($25), a collection of recipes from his three San Francisco restaurants–Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House–represents another.

The book shares with the restaurants a kind of rollicking, good-time feel. Nothing is too fussy nor too complicated.

Instead, it's rich, as in Town Hall's signature jalapeño-cheese toast, topped with a poached egg (click here for the recipe). The recipes are also straightforward, as in biscuits with country ham and pepper jelly, and irresistible, as in Town Hall's famed chocolate-and-butterscotch pôt de crème.

Every dish in this book would make dinner guests happy, and unlike some other cookbooks, these recipes are meant for home cooks.

As Rosenthal writes in a side note about deep-frying, a technique required to replicate the Angels on Horseback (bacon-wrapped oysters with rémoulade): "I swear I'm not trying to raise your cholesterol. All I am trying to do is offer you some very tasty food."

With this book, as at his restaurants, he succeeds.