Review: Face in a Book

All my life, I have lived near bookstores.  Or it has seemed like it, because I come from a family of avid readers, frequenting bookstores since I was a child in India.  I have an almost atavistic response to books: I use nearly all of my senses in experiencing them (except for taste.  I’ve yet to lick a book.  Give me time.)  The feel of the cover, the rustle of the pages as they are turned, the snap of flipping a page for the first time, the roughness of the edges if they are the torn style, the smooth edges if they are gold-tipped, the smell when you stick your nose right up into the binding, the beauty of the cover and binding… it’s almost spiritual.

When Borders closed up shop a few years ago, I was devastated.  That was my local refuge from the home, from the demanding needs of my then infants, my escape into new worlds and experiences.  Yes, there were books at Target, but that didn’t really count.  There was no sense of the almost-holy when you walked through the aisles.

So when I heard that Face in a Book was opening up in Town Center (El Dorado Hills), a couple miles from my home, I was thrilled.  And I’ve been a frequent visitor ever since.  My children and I go there almost every weekend, and relish the calm, almost sanctuary-like feel of the space.  It is tiny, very tiny, but it still imparts that hallowed feel you get when you are in the presence of so much knowledge just waiting to be ingested.

The owner has done a fantastic job of incorporating herself into the community, hosting local authors for book signings and readings, book clubs, and kid-friendly events.  She also has a frequent buyer program (which I just cashed in) where you get ten dollars off after your tenth book purchase.

Prices are not discounted, so if you know what you want, and are willing to wait for it, I’m sure you will Amazon your purchases.  And I do that, definitely.  I also buy books for my Kindle on Amazon.

But I also buy books for my kids here, since I want them to experience what I did, growing up.  The tangible pleasure of walking into a bookstore, seeing the visual beauty of all the possibilities in front of you, selecting, touching, feeling the weight of a book in your hands, then the joy that comes from purchasing and walking away with something that will give you hours of escape into your imagination.

Amazon can’t do that.

Face in a Book
4359 Town Center Blvd
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(916) 941-9401

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Review: 36 Handles

New name, new owner for the old Kinee O’Reilly pub in the Montano plaza in El Dorado Hills.  Richard Righton, who also owns Relish Burger (in the same plaza) and Bidwell Street Bistro (another favorite of mine), will hopefully bring some of his magic to this restaurant!  

Opening day could not have been more British…gray gloomy day, non-stop drizzle, cold, perfect pub-going weather.  The pub is beautiful…­perfectly decorated by the former owners, careful and authentic details from Ireland, split up into several areas, just like back home.  Only jarring feature: the lights were too bright…I like pub lighting to be a little subdued, helps the sozzled patrons from hurting their eyes 😉  

The usual opening day/night awkwardness from the servers, but nothing that won’t get worked out, I’m sure.  Justin, the manager, seems very competent, and personable.  I particularly liked how the servers had on british sports jerseys, a nice touch.  (Side note: why are most wait staff so damn attractive? Oh, right.  So that we go back…)

My friend had a salad and I had the fish and chips.  Biggest damn pieces of fish I’ve ever seen served in a fish/chip order.  Tasty, but the chips were a bit limp, which actually makes it authentic for me 😉  Tried the cider, not a fan.  Will have to stick to Newcastle ale…  Would like to see more authentic pub fare (chicken tikka masala, Richard!) instead of the California-like food.  If I want BJs or Bennigans, I’ll go to BJs or Bennigans.  Also hope they open for breakfast soon…and become my local Fox and Goose!!

After dinner, we went over to the darts area (surprisingly empty) and played for a while.  Was a little surprised that no one else wandered over to watch or join us…very un-pub like.  May be the suburban angst?  Hopefully, that will loosen up..

The place was full the entire time we were there, but not crowded, and the atmosphere was quiet, but the weather may have had something to do with it.  The guests had that awkward, first-time-at-a-­restaurant look about them, but that should dissipate soon.

36 Handles
1010 White Rock Rd
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
(916) 941-3606