First (Belated) Look: Legacy Books

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Okay, so it opened in November. Our bad.

As of last week, we still hadn't explored Legacy Books in Plano, an independent bookstore with a unique culinary program. But when the 300th person told us we had to go (and that person just happened to be a chef), we finally relented. Yesterday we made the trip up the Tollway to see what all the fuss was about, and it was well worth the toll tag workout. Here's the lowdown:

Go: Legacy Books is located in the Shops at Legacy North--that's across the street from the original Shops at Legacy development. At 24,000 square feet, it rivals any big-box bookstore in size, but its airy, uncluttered design doesn't say "strip mall." Cookbooks are upstairs and the 300 square foot, all-Wolf demo kitchen is on the ground floor. For you family types, a big ol' book-filled playroom for the kids is in the rear.

Read: The store's food, wine and cooking section features an expansive collection, including the usual celebrity food porn as well as many niche and special-interest titles. For example, there was a good selection of vegan cookbooks. Kyle Hall, Director of Marketing and Events, explained that Owner/Managing Partner Teri Tanner is a "big [F-word deleted...and you know it wasn't the four-letter F-word]" and aimed to make this culinary focus a signature of her store.

Cook: Twice a month, Legacy Books' Cook With a Book class guides students through a popular title. Chef/Instructor Marla Mendelsohn has selected recipes from 'Wichcraft by Tom Colicchio and Home Cooking with Charlie Trotter for recent classes. Students mingle and taste the creations (along with wine pairings), and a copy of the book is included in the $65 registration fee. Not a bad idea. After all, how many times have you brought home one of those fancy cookbooks and never cracked the spine for fear of getting in over your head?

In addition to Cook With a Book, the store hosts author cooking demos on a regular basis. For its grand opening weekend, both Diana Kennedy and Grady Spears fired up the Wolf range.

Eat: Legacy Books' sleek little café is under new ownership. Veteran area restaurateur and caterer Carina Gonzalez is in the process of putting her stamp on the menu. You can get Peet's Coffee, pastries, soft drinks and the like right now, and in about a month Gonzalez will roll out new sandwiches, salads and a quesadilla bar. "I'm all about quality," explains the former owner of Americas on McKinney Avenue. "The food will be very easy and simple, but very good."

Well, what else is she gonna say?

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