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Best-selling legal-thiller novelist John Lescroart is a gourmand of note.

John Lescroart on the writing-food connect

Published: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 - 10:36 am

Quick take: We were at lunch at the new-ish Cafe Bernardo at the Pavilions shopping center, sitting in a booth on the outdoor patio.

“It’s open and inviting,” said lunch pal John Lescroart, the Davis-based author of 24 legal-thriller novels, the latest of which is “The Ophelia Cut.”

“Not just any restaurant could have come in here,” said lunch pal Tom Hedtke, a David Berkley lunchtime regular for the 13 years he managed the neighboring Borders bookstore (now a Fresh Market), until the chain closed in 2011. “This place still has a David Berkley kind of feel.” Out of respect to Berkley, the cafe bar is named after him, a smart move.

Is there a point where reading and eating merge? I asked.

“Novels are just an excuse to write about food,” said Lescroart, whose former favorite restaurant was Boulevard in San Francisco, which he mentioned in his 2011 novel “The Hunter.” His new go-to is Cafe des Amis on Union Street in San Francisco. “It’s just like being in Paris,” he said.

And Hedtke’s favorite restaurant? He considered, but before he could answer, Lescroart said, “My house is not a restaurant, Tom.” The night before, Lescroart had served New Orleans-style muffuletta sandwiches, which had gone over well with the members of the Guys Bookclub, a group that included Hedtke. Topic of discussion: “Five Days At Memorial” by Sheri Fink.

Hedtke pointed out that his former Border’s cookbook section was “one of the biggest in the country and was always in the top 10 in the chain (for sales).”

Hedtke now manages the Cost Plus World Market on Howe Avenue, prompting Lescroart to remark, “I’m disappointed in the lack of John Lescroart books in Cost Plus.”

“We carry cookbooks,” Hedtke replied, “but we haven’t seen yours yet, John.”

Then we ordered lunch.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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