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Mélisse, now it's a cookbook too

December 6, 2011 |  7:00 am

MELISSE_JACKET_cropIt's hard to believe that more than 10 years have passed since Josiah Citrin first served dinner at Mélisse, now one of the few remaining formal French restaurants in Southern California. The years seem to have been good to him. Mélisse received two stars (almost invariably referred to as "coveted stars") from the Michelin guide in 2007. Yet Citrin can still be seen almost every Wednesday at the Santa Monica farmers market just down the street from the restaurant, chatting with colleagues and selecting the week's produce.

And now he's come out with a cookbook, "In Pursuit of Excellence," co-written by Patricia Aranka Smith with photographs by Matthew Kiefer and Charles Park. In keeping with Citrin's uncompromising spirit, he has chosen to self-publish the book, which is available at  Amazon or at the restaurant for $45.

It's not a book intended for casual cooking, or even maybe home cooking at all. The typical recipe runs dozens of ingredients and includes multiple preparations. For fans of the restaurant it will make a nice reminiscence, and those who haven't yet been can read it and dream.

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