A perfect meal can be determined as much by the quality of the company as the quality of the food. Pages, the beloved independent bookstore in downtown Manhattan Beach recognizes this, and has been hosting author luncheons where locals can eat great food and talk great books.

This Friday, April 12, is Pages first author lunch with a food specific theme, when their guest is four-time James Beard award winner Ruth Reichl.

Reichl was the restaurant editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1984 to 1993, back in the day when food critics had the power to make or break a restaurant.

The esteemed food critic was an early advocate for the South Bay's first true foodie locale, St Estephe's in Manhattan Beach, that icon of the 80s where elevated plates of southwest via French cooking arrived elaborately painted with squirt bottle sauces.

Reichl later became the editor of Gourmet magazine; she has written several cookbooks, memoirs and a novel.

Her most recent book, which she will discuss at the luncheon, is "Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir," about her days at that late great epicurean magazine.

Pages co-owner Linda McLoughlin Figel said "... for Ruth we’ve upped our game a bit and have planned a very special menu at Shade Hotel. We have 75 ticketed RSVPs to date with just a few spots remaining."

The menu at Shade specially prepared by chef Graham Norton for Ruth Reichl includes the following:

The starter is oven-roasted tomato soup, goat cheese crostini, basil oil. The entree is Mizuna baby greens salad, radish, baby heirloom tomatoes, Asiago cheese, roasted pepitas, la posada aged sherry vinaigrette with a choice of grilled chicken breast or grilled salmon fillet. Dessert is flourless chocolate cake with cajetta caramel and cinnamon whip.

Since opening its doors in 2009, Pages has hosted such literary luminaries as: Lisa See (Shanghai Girls), Paula McLain (The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin), Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) Peter Heller (The Dog Stars and Celine), and Christina Alger (The Bankers Wife) in conversation with Janelle Brown (Watch Me Disappear). The luncheons are sometimes held in-store, but more often at various South Bay restaurants including Tin Roof Bistro, Shade Hotel and Paul Martin’s.

Pages follows up Reichl with another popular author on Monday, April 15, by hosting novelist Whitney Scharer, whose debut,  “The Age of Light” reimagines the life of model and muse, Lee Miller, at Paul Martin’s American Grill. 

At this writing, a few tickets remained for each of the luncheons, available for purchase at pagesabookstore.com

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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