The vast Condé Nast recipe database Epicurious.com is a phenomenal resource for both home and professional cooks, kind of like The Beatles catalog for food people. With the closing down of Gourmet Magazine (this month is the last issue), Epicurious became even more valuable, as it now functions as a digital permanent collection for Gourmet's archives, as well as for Bon Appétit. In fact, the site collects over 140,000 recipes from sources including Bon Appétit, Gourmet, PARADE, Self–and Epicurious readers themselves. And as of a week and a half ago, Epicurious now includes a selection of recipes from Random House cookbooks, including some from books written by Joël Robuchon, James Peterson, Deborah Madison and L.A.'s own Suzanne Goin.

The James Beard Award-winning site, which is now 15 years old (to put this into web context, Epicurious was started about the same time as Internet Explorer and Yahoo!) gets around 4.5 million unique visitors in a typical month. This goes up to around 7 million unique visitors in November and December, peak holiday recipe season. And in the new world order of journalism and food blogging, when many of the recipes that you find online are not necessarily reliable (How many newspapers still have test kitchens? Try about 5, including the Los Angeles Times), Epicurious is as close to a sure thing as you're going to get.

Double chocolate layer cake; Credit: Epicurious.com

Double chocolate layer cake; Credit: Epicurious.com

Epicurious includes more than just recipes. The site has articles, guides, menus, slideshows, videos and their blog, Epi-blog, along with recipes from current issues of the various publications and over 11,000 recipes from Gourmet, the oldest one being this one for Lobster Thermidor, from 1941. Yes, they have an iPhone App.

But the coolest thing on the site may well be this recipe for Double Chocolate Layer Cake, from a 1999 Gourmet issue. What's so great about it? Well, to date it's gotten 1,329 reader reviews (all Epicurious recipes get 'fork' ratings, comments and reviews), the vast majority of which have been positive. At least you know your recipe's been tested.

LA Weekly