Book Review: Crossroads – Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisin

It doesn’t happen that often that a cookbook comes in and I have no idea who the author is. This was the case with the cookbook Crossroads. I figured out that the author of this cookbook (Tal Ronnen) is the owner of the popular restaurant Crossroads in Los Angeles. My interest was sparked. There’re a lot of vegan cookbooks out there in all kinds of categories, but rarely a cookbook is published that is actually challenging. Crossroads is a cookbook that really can teach you some good vegan cooking.

Crossroads – extraordinary recipes from the restaurant that is reinventing vegan cuisine or in other words: a modern high-level vegan cookbook

Book Review: Crossroads

Who is Tal Ronnen?

Tal Ronnen is a vegan cook and owner of the Crossroads restaurant in Los Angeles. Maybe you have heard of Tal because of the 21-Day Vegan Challenge that Oprah Winfrey once did? He cooked all meals for Oprah. He teaches master courses in vegetarian cooking for Le Cordon Bleu and it is said that he invented “cashewcream”- a versatile cream consisting of blended cashew nuts and water. You can best describe Tal’s restaurant as a mix of Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. What’s also nice to know is that  his team has a  vegan cocktail maker and a vegan (gluten intolerant) pastry chef. You can find recipes of both of them in the cookbook. You can say that Tal Ronnen is quite popular in the U.S.

Challenging vegan cooking

Yes, the book is challenging. I’ve learned quite some tricks by reading the book (recipes) from cover to cover. Tal knows how to turn even the most simple dish into a true spectacle. However, I can imagine that it’s not the most accessible way of cooking for some of us. Some dishes are time consuming or contain ingredients that may be difficult to find. Personally, I’m only happy with some challenging recipes. If you’re interested in quicker recipes though I can recommend the soup chapter.

This book is so beautifully desgined and photographed that I can imagine a non-vegan/vegetarian can dive into this cookbook and only halfway through realize it’s actually a vegan cookbook.

Book Review: Crossroads

The book contains a lot of pages and creative names such as ”Drunk Apple Sauce” or ”Roasted Romansesco with Onion Agrodolce and Grappa Soaked Raisins”. In addition, you will find recipes for snacks, dips, salads, flatbread, soups, small dishes, pasta, desserts, cocktails and basic dishes.

What I really appreciated is the explanation that comes with each recipe. No simple notes, but true help that makes it feel like Tal is standing next to you. 

Have you always wanted to learn how to make flatbread and pasta (with silken tofu)? This book will teach you how.

Book Review: Crossroads

Difficult ingredients

Tal often uses ingredients that are difficult to find in the store. With some creative thinking, I think I can come up with some alternatives. I don’t think this is a huge disadvantage of the book. Tal is sharing so many good tips that are worth getting this book.

Some tricky ingredients include black garlic, watermelon radishes (I want it!), Cipollini onions, marcona almonds (I want it!), Calabrian peppers on oil, different kinds of cress and oroblanco grapefruit.

All in all, I think Crossroads is a beautiful cookbook to use when you need to cook for certain occasions and it also makes a great gift. Since most recipes are time consuming and not all recipes are that healthy (lots of salt and oil) I wouldn’t say that this is a cookbook for every day, but definitely one that will make you a more creative vegan cook.

Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine

304 pages
price $25.27 (hardcover)
publisher Artisan (October 6, 2015)

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