John Lescroart on the writing-food connect

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.