COOKBOOK OF THE YEAR: Chef John Sundstrom is one of the Pacific Northwest’s culinary icons, winner of the James Beard Award for best Northwest chef in 2007 and a semifinalist for outstanding chef in 2014. His latest cookbook, Lark: Cooking Wild in the Northwest (Sasquatch, $30), published in August, is an updated version of 2013’s self-published Lark: Cooking Against the Grain. But, in addition to the rustic Northwest takes on French-themed classics that put the consistently great First Hill restaurant on the map—bacon-wrapped quail, mustard-roasted chicken, silky Meyer lemon parfaits—the new paperback version includes a chapter on Sundstrom’s favorite everyday staples: recipes for pasta, ricotta, vinaigrettes, breads, syrups and pickles. To some, the cover, with its haunting image, looks more like the cover of a book by Bainbridge Island author David Guterson than that of a cookbook. But the contents? One word: essential.
SOUTHERN COMFORT: Fancy yourself a baker? Big Food Big Love: Down-Home Southern Cooking Full of Heart from Seattle’s Wandering Goose (Sasquatch, $25) will send you running for your mixer. The new cookbook by North Carolina native and Capitol Hill restaurateur Heather Earnhardt features 130 recipes, including ones offering up the secrets to her towering layer cakes, like the top-selling Brownstone Front Cake; brunch favorites worthy of those long weekend lines, including the famed corned beef brisket bubble and squeak; and comforting dinner favorites, such as Loaded Chicken Pot Pie and Smoky Meat Collards. Did we mention Earnhardt shares all 10 of her biscuit recipes? Now that’s Southern hospitality.
THE ULTIMATE COCKTAIL GUIDE: In The Canon Cocktail Book: Recipes from the Award-Winning Bar (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28), owner-bartender Jamie Boudreau spills the beans on what has made First Hill’s Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium one of the world’s 50 best bars, according to Drinks International magazine (it consistently makes Esquire’s lists as well). Instead of clamoring for one of the bar’s coveted 32 seats, tuck into Boudreau’s 352-page book which features all of Canon’s signature cocktails, from the stenciled Banksy Sour (with Peychaud’s bitters) to the smoky Khaleesi cocktail. Boudreau reveals his “golden ratio” cocktail philosophy and promises you won’t need his $1 million whiskey collection or a trace of liquid nitrogen to wow your friends.