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looking for best selection of food books?

I am in a position where I need to do lots of research on different foods, dishes, cultures, etc. (lucky me!) Of course, between reading and eating, I'll choose eating. But, there are many times when I need to do some research without a fork in hand. Does anyone have a favorite store and/or library for food books? Recipe and "how-to" books are great, but also food culture, history, and theory type books are great, too. Or, is there a chain bookstore with a particularly good food section? I look online a lot, of course, but there's nothing like flipping through an actual book...

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  1. The Cook's Library on 3rd street.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Adsvino

      I'll second and third the Cook's Library. Nothing but cookbooks and the like. Great place.

    2. Also try Dutton's Brentwood, on San Vicente Blvd.

      1. A few years ago, I went to a fabulous used cookbook store in Pasadena. I actually liked it more than The Cook's Library on 3rd Street. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name or exact location (other than it was not in the Old Town area, nor was it on Lake Ave.). I'll do some digging, and will let you know if I get more info.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brandygirl

          That would be Janet Jarvits, on Washington at Hill in Pasadena. She has an enormous selection of cookbooks, at probably the highest prices in the country. I find it a joyless, antiserendipitous place to shop, but the comprehensiveness is not to be denied.

          1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

            LE SANCTUAIRE no longer has a store in SM, only retail store is in SF, sadly.
            http://www.le-sanctuaire.com/

          2. In addition to checking out the Cook's Library on Third Street (which is a bookstore rather than a library), I suggest you get a card with the Los Angeles Public Library. You can order books online to be delivered to your local branch, and I've yet to find a cookbook/food book they didn't have.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DanaB

              The cookbook 'section' at the main branch downtown is pretty darn good. And you can have lunch at cafe pinot while you're there.