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EAT A BOOK

If you're a serious food lover, chances are you have a small stockpile of food-related reading materials collected already. Well, it's time to add some more to the pile because the Tucson Festival of Books is happening next weekend and is presenting a full schedule of food-centric events on March 14 and 15.

While you can view the full list of planned speakers on the festival's website, know that the topics will range from French cooking to desserts to cooking with birds and playing with knives (note: you should not actually play with knives). The speaking events take place both days from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the UA campus, primarily at the Culinary Stage.

At the festival itself, Pastiche, Tucson Tamale Co., Renee's Organic Oven, Cafe Santa Rosa and more will be serving food for hungry bookworms. Then on Sunday, March 15, chef Ryan Clark will be inviting Norman Van Aken into his kitchen for a special one-night-only east meets west menu.  The dinner kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at Agustin Kitchen and is limited to just 30 diners. You can reserve your spot for the $85 (plus tax and gratuity) special chef's meal through the dinner's Eventbrite page.

MISSING A MAKER

Maker House served up pizza, coffee, beer and more, but shortly hiring pastry chef Garst Bavier full-time to craft his fantastic French delights solely for the spot in the historic Bates Mansion, the restaurant, bar, venue, café and more announced that it would be shutting its doors on April 11.

GIVE IT A NOOK

Nook opened last week at 1 E. Congress St. with breakfast and brunch menus, an espresso bar with EXO Roast coffee, freshly baked pastries, grab and go options and more. The lunch menu alone has an eclectic mix of dishes that draw inspiration from all over, including a soba noodle salad, Korean street tacos, green corn tamales, a classic croque madame and more.

On the sandwich side, there's a "fancy" grilled cheese, a classic Cuban and The Tucson, which combines chili dusted chicken, caramelized green chilis and onions, tomato, lettuce, "burnt" cheese and a chipotle mayo. Sandwiches are around $8 a pop.

For breakfast and Saturday brunch, you can expect dishes like the Benedict flight, giant bacon cheddar biscuits with maple butter and griddlecakes topped with a berry compote and sweet zabaglione cream. The downtown spot is now open on the corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday from brunch from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

To hear what our first taste of Nook was like and to get more food and beverage news around Tucson, visit www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archives/chow/.

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More by Heather Hoch

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