Monday, April 19, 2010
Grazing on cookbooks at Elliot Bay Book Co.
The new home of Elliott Bay Book Co. on Capitol Hill opened its doors Wednesday, April 14. I dropped into the store Friday, April 16, to take a look around.
The new, smaller Capitol Hill store is so open, so airy, so light-filled on a clear spring day. I've spent many hours and dollars in the old Pioneer Square store. The wooden shelves, so meticulously documented in their move to 1521 10th Ave, are here. The wood floor that creaks and gives when traveling across it is here. What's not here are the rabbit warrens of stairways, narrow aisles, and dark corners. Gone is the hidden loft that ensconced the folio-sized Taschen photo books and reproductions of medieval manuscripts. That's a good thing; it's just that it took me a little while to appreciate this new incarnation.
The tables and low bookshelves in the center of the floor allow a clean line of sight to the breadth of the store, the bookseller/reference desk and the flight of stairs ascending to the constellation of non-fiction stars. The tall shelves on the sides stand as sentinels of fiction, art and local interests. The Elliott Bay Cafe, which is not yet open but will be soon, is surrounded by Cooking, Health, Philosophy, Religion, Self and Sex. Apropos of the cafe, it seems only right the eatery be surrounded by books on food for the body and the soul. The Cooking section offers a choice menu of food topics. Check here for recipes A-Z as well as Michael Pollan's admonishments and Julie Powell's adventures. (I also noticed that the Cooking overstock was stored on the high shelves just above Sex.)