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COOKSTUFF

Cookbook Watch

April 08, 1998|LAURIE OCHOA

In "Evening Food" (Ten Speed, $19.95), the reader experiences Mendocino's Cafe Beaujolais as it is today. The restaurant that Margaret Fox opened in a picket-fenced clapboard house no longer serves the daytime dishes that made it famous and provided inspiration to a thousand bed-and-breakfast cooks. Dinner is the only meal served at Cafe Beaujolais these days, and it is the evening recipes from chef Christopher Kump--who has cooked at the restaurant since 1984 and is also Fox's husband--that fill the pages of this book.

A sample: rockfish, crab and artichoke ragout; pan-roasted halibut with prosciutto and thyme; lamb stew with mellow garlic in the style of France's Simca Beck; rosemary sea scallop skewers on fried polenta with figs and shredded radicchio.

Like Fox's earlier "Cafe Beaujolais" and "Morning Food," Kump's book gives you the sense that you're in the hands of a world-class home cook. This is dinner party food that is easy to like.

On the book's last page is an unusual marketing device. Kump and Fox are offering the approximately 100 recipes that were cut from the book by the publisher for space reasons in a self-published "modest" book called "Daughter of Evening Food" (call [707] 937-0618 for information). There's also information on the restaurant's mail-order business and other products that surely keep the restaurant alive. It's clear that running a small restaurant in a remote location, even a restaurant that is nationally known, is not easy.

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