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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've been a SE reader for years, and was delighted when I saw out they were coming out with this book. I pre-ordered as soon as it became available. On the website, it really sounded like there would be a lot more recipes than actually made the book. Instead it seems to mostly be made up of an endless series of Best Of lists. If you read SE there is absolutely no reason to buy the book, unless you simply want to support the site. If you don't visit the SE site, you will probably find the book quite entertaining for its voice, but don't think for a second you will find any cooking treasures in there, because you won't.
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Serious Eats site is a wonderful resource for venues, recipes, and just about anything else to do with food. I purchased this book based on the expectation that it would be a similar resource. After all, it is "A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Where Ever You Are." The title should have been "400 Pages of lists in SEverAL doZEN TYpEfacES and SIzeS with a few recipes thrown in." The lay-out of the book leaves much to be desired. It's a chaotic jumble, not helped by the typefaces/sizes previously mentioned.

I had hoped for thoughtful articles and a solid collection of recipes. Instead, the book mostly contains lists reprinted from the website. How relevant is this in an age where we can pull up the same information on our cell phones/iPads while traveling?

My cookbook/food collection spans several hundred volumes. I can always find room for one more if I even remotely think I will ever use it. I've never returned a book before, either to a book store or to Amazon. This one is ready for UPS pick up tomorrow.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
First of all, I'll caveat this review by stating that I've been a long time reader, commenter and occasional contributor to Serious Eats. I count the writers and editors of SE as both my professional associates and personal friends. With that said, I paid the full Amazon price for this book so I think that I am entitled my opinion just the same as other readers.

This book is a truly unique spin on food. It's a grey area between your traditional cookbook and the new wave of gastro-travel writing, in the same vein as Anthony Bourdain and AA Gill. There are honest, raw and sometimes humorous anecdotes about the travel, the progenitors of the food and the restaurants that the New York based staff sought out.

Earlier in the century, the Michelin tire company, driven by the motivation to get motorists on the road (and therefore selling more tires), started to case the great restaurants in the country of France. This tradition turned into what is now known as the Michelin guide, and is one of the most widely respected tomes of restaurant lore in the world.

I'll stop short of comparing the Serious Eats guide to the Michelin guide, but they've accomplished a similar goal - get the word out on local eats across the country and expose great restaurants to hungry citizens across the lower 48. As such, the book does a fantastic job of acknowledging locals eats, both famous and under the radar, across the country. If I ever find myself in Milwaukee, WI or Portland, OR, this book will serve as a valuable guide of where I should spend my dining budget.

Not that they've probed the country's gastronomy willy-nilly. They've smartly focused the book on the type of food that your average American eater and aspiring cook can relate to. This means slices of Americana, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, desserts, BBQ and naturally, slices of pizza. These dimensions are further divided into variations of technique whether it be regional or idiosyncratic. For example, a chapter of pizza acknowledges not only the glories of New York style pizza, but also the Chicago style, the grilled, the bar pie and others. Furthermore, each section is peppered by helpful, bullet-proof recipes to recreate said cuisine.

As for the recipes, they're traditional and easy to follow, and in some cases, truly off the beaten path. I don't recall a Rachel Ray or Jamie Oliver cook book including a recipe for halal chicken over rice, or even a Cuban sandwich for that matter (which the SE book does). There are recipes in the book for falafel or the obvious buttermilk pancakes or hamburger. But that doesn't make them any less useful, as they tend to be well thought out.

The only hole that I could poke in the book is the fact that it's a Freshman effort by a young team of food enthusiasts. It's a bunch of strangers firing off opinions about restaurants and recipes, but then again, that could be a description of any show on the Food Network. Enthusiasm is the key message in this book. The love for food doesn't just drip from their tongues - it practically explodes on the page. Does that enthusiasm make their restaurant recommendations more credible or their recipes more reliable? I can't answer that, but it sure as hell makes this book more fun to read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It really is more of a coffee table type book instead of a cookbook. As one reviewer noted, it might be better for people that travel a lot and might make it to some of the restaurants they list. I was hoping for more recipes, which are really sparse in this book. Not really a good buy for what I expected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If Walt Whitman had been a foodie and lived to be 192, he would have loved this book. It is a fun collection of "I hear American eating (and cooking)" writting by the folks who do the very successful food blog, Serious Eats. They are serious about eating, but in a spirit of fun. As they say in the introduction, this is a democratic book, reporting on tasty food in all corners of the country, giving the reader a smattering of recipes, interesting information (what's the deal on wood-fired ovens?), and lots of good tips on where to get great food from fried catfish in Oxford (Mississippi, of course) to shave ice in Hawaii. No matter where you live (almost), there are places the book will make you want to drive to. Taste is the supreme value here, not health or political correctness (though there is a nice nod to farmers and farmers markets). And you don't need a highly refined palette, just a sound tongue and an eager stomach, and an ear ready to hear that food-gasms can be had in places that think Michelin is just a brand of tire.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Serious Eats, the book, does what the website has done since its founding: it takes the food very seriously without taking itself too seriously. It's serious, not snobby, and it's trustworthy, thoughtfully compiled, beautiful and funny and knowledgeable, and as far as I can tell, it's the first book of its kind.

SE has been my favorite food blog for a long time. There are a few reasons for this, and they're all reasons to also love their first book, Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are. The book is 2/3 national food guide, 1/3 cookbook, and 1/3 information, opinion, and history of the nation's favorite foods. Wait, that's too many thirds. No matter: this book is just that great.

For any fan of the site, or just someone who loves great food (buying it, making it, eating it, reading about it), this one's a must.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A long list of great places to eat here, there, and everywhere. A very, very short list of recipes. If you travel a lot, the book may be worth it. Otherwise, you're stuck at home with your tongue hanging out. Again, anything but a cookbook.
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on November 30, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am a fan of Seriouseats.com, but I was dubious about buying this book because I read reviews that said it had too few recipes. Instead, this is one of the most useful food books I've ever read. Ed divides his food world into general categories, and plumbs them in depth. It's true that there aren't hundreds of recipes, but I've tried lots of them, and every dish I've made from his book is exceptional. My pulled pork would knock your socks off, thanks to Ed. My Halal chicken (with the perfect sauce) is to die for.
Since I bought this book, I've been making barbecue twice a week. It's not often that a book is so informed that it changes how you cook, but... after I read the chapter on hamburgers, I've never made meat patties the same.
Serious Eats explains exactly how to make fabulous food at home. If you ever wanted to make killer barbecue, now you can. If you want to make a better burger, he'll tell you how. This book is a gem.
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on May 23, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am a huge fan of the seriouseats.com website, and so eagerly pre-ordered this book when I heard about it. There's a lot of neat stuff in here, but it turns out to not be as focused on the aspects of Serious Eats that I enjoy the most. For example, there is quite a bit of focus on the best places to eat in various cities, and on classic American fare like burgers, fried chicken, etc. Whereas a lot of my enjoyment of the website comes from ethnic recipes and learning how to incorporate new ingredients into my repertoire. That said, I hate to let that color my review, since if I'd paid more attention to the product description I would have known exactly what I was getting. I will ding them one star because the one recipe I tried (Smokra) had some sort of typo because the proportion between the okra and the brining liquid was WAY off.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Seriouseats.com is a popular website that labels itself "A Food Blog and Community." You can find out where to get the best burger, the best sandwich, the best anything in most major cities.

Now they have published a book, Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are, and it is a fascinating book, especially if you are the kind of person who likes lists. (Me! Me!)

Some of the chapters include:

Fried Chicken: 12 of Our Favorite Spots
5 Gelato Spots We Love
11 Pies We Love From Coast to Coast
10 Favorite Farmers Markets
I love that they include street food, which is so hot right now. They have
5 Taco Trucks We Love
20 Favorite Street-Food Stops
Within each chapter, they share the best places across the country to get the specified food, but they also include recipes from each category for those who prefer to cook and don't travel much.

But if you do travel, this book is invaluable. I have been to many of the cities they visited, and have tried some of the food they recommend, but I wish I had it before I traveled. From now on, this book will be the first place I turn to when I visit other cities.

The end of the book has some unique stuff in it, including a chapter titled "College Town Eats". They share their daily agenda, which is so interesting. For example, they took a day trip to New Orleans, where they left New York at 4:45am, and returned at 9:30pm, making 12 stops at restaurants in between; that is just crazy! In Chicago they made 12 food stops between 10am and 6pm.

The section on New York City, where I live, gave me an entire list of places to try, including City Bakery for a pretzel croissant and a breakfast pastry at Locenda Verde. I sometimes get red velvet cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens, but now I must try their cheesecake.

The directory at the end of the end of the book lists the states and each place mentioned in the book, along with their web addresses.

This book is so much fun, it's the perfect gift for your favorite foodie, and if you live in one of the many cities they have covered, it is essential.
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