Story and photos by Valentina Silva
Locally-grown, organic and quality foods are hard to find in Eastside neighborhood markets, so I was psyched when word came that Marta Teegan of Homegrown was opening a green grocer in Echo Park. When I finally stepped into Cookbook, I wasn’t disappointed. The tiny shop carries an abbreviated yet satisfying collection of fruit, veggies, cheese, and pantry staples like flour, sugar, green tea, coffee and various cooking oils. Spotted: very hard-to-find Matiz Sugared Tortas, Spanish olive oil crisps encrusted in sugar and spiked with anise.
But I wasn’t looking for sweets – my Cookbook mission was to find fixings for an effortless, and of course delicious, meal. I was directed to a tempting selection of fresh pasta and sauces catered by Heirloom LA (they also supply some pretty yummy-looking sandwiches in the deli case). After some tortured deliberation, I chose the mushroom ravioli, which had a hint of citrus flavor, and some very meaty wild boar bolognese. To round it out, I grabbed a block of Parmesan, served myself some Cerignola olives and asked for a small container of the picturesque roasted peppers and kale from the deli case.
At $34, the price tag for all this was a little steep, but it did create a meal for two that was better quality and a lot cheaper than what I’ve had in many restaurants. My only addition was some sauteed mushrooms (and a couple of glasses of red wine), so the entire preparation took about 10 minutes. Plus, I think I’ll be using that cheese for another month.
My only regret is not buying those Matiz tortas …
Valentina Silva is a regular contributor writing about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her new blog, Eastside Food Bites.