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Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. Hardcover – October 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Insatiables (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938073576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938073571
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"These guys make Portland one of the most exciting restaurant cities in the world today." —Mario Batali

"Toro Bravo is so much more than a cookbook (though it does a damn fine job of being just that). It’s a passionate story of how one great chef found his way by following his heart and trusting his gut. It’s a practical guide and a culinary cri de coeur. This is the real deal. It’s the book I’m going to press into everyone's hands. I love it like mad." —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

"John Gorham is a chef with a unique personality; he is magic. In his book Toro Bravo, he puts all his passion and soul into sharing Spanish cuisine with Americans. I'm certain both professional chefs and home cooks will love it." —Ferran Adrià, head chef at ElBulli

"You're gonna love this cookbook. Toro Bravo brought something special to Portland when it opened, and still does: easy-to-love, Spanish-style food in a non-fussy atmosphere." —Stephen Malkmus

So many of my Portland friends have recommended that I eat at Toro Bravo, over the years, that I couldn't ignore their suggestion. I've loved the restaurant's many ferments, amazing food, and entire aesthetic. In the Toro Bravo cookbook, Chef John Gorham, collaborating with writer Liz Crain, has not only made the flavors of Toro Bravo accessible to home cooks with excellent, easy-to-follow recipes, but shared fascinating stories of his journey to the helm of some of Portland's best restaurants. This book is filled with culinary inspiration." —Sandor Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation

"An amazing story of a man's life and the buillding of a great restaurant. I loved it." —Gus Van Sant

"Here in Portland, Toro Bravo carves an uncommon niche—simultaneously adventurous and comforting. This cookbook, like the restaurant itself, tells the story of one restless spirit’s search for home. These are recipes you’ll want to both cherish and share." —Carrie Brownstein, creator of Portlandia

“John Gorham seemingly mind-reads what we want to eat: comfort and craft popping with salty, sweet, spicy flavors. No one better translates Portland’s raging gustatory desires and DIY spirit. This book captures the joy of Toro Bravo; all heart, no bull.” —Karen Brooks, author of The Mighty Gastropolis

“I’ve known John Gorham for over a decade, since I first got to town and he turned me down for a job. Since that fateful rainy morning, we’ve cooked together, confided in each other, commiserated (read: partied) together, and grown up significantly. Toro Bravo is the greatest expression of who John really is: nostalgic, spirited, brutally honest, fun as hell, and one of Portland’s all-around-greatest chefs. The Toro Bravo cookbook captures his vision, ferocity, determination, and hilarity.” —Jason French, chef/owner of Ned Ludd

"John Gorhams' cookbook is as outrageously delicious as his food, as lively as his restaurant (my second home in Portland), and as personable as he is. It is a shining testament to authentic cooking. Paying homage to the Spanish tradition and expressed in personal terms, John's cooking is entirely unique." —Paul Bertolli

“The Toro Bravo cookbook is unique in its storytelling: John’s personal story, the stories of the restaurant's evolution, the stories behind the recipes. Toro Bravo's magic lies in its ability to seamlessly merge the art of cooking with the commerce of dining: these are small plates, with big ideas.” —Andrew Zimmern, co-creator and host of Bizarre Foods

"Reads like a memoir on a motorcycle … with plenty of refreshment along the way. " —Culinate

About the Author

Liz Crain is the author of Food Lover's Guide to Portland. A longtime writer on Pacific Northwest food and drink, her writing has appeared in Cooking Light, Budget Travel, VIA Magazine, The Sun Magazine, The Progressive, Portland Monthly, and Culinate. She is also an editor and publicity director at Hawthorne Books, an independent literary fiction and non-fiction house in Portland.

John Gorham is a four-time James Beard nominee. He is the chef and owner of Portland’s beloved Toro Bravo and Tasty N Sons. Tasty N Sons received Willamette Week's Restaurant of the Year award in 2010. Gorham is the only chef to win this award three times for Viande, Tasty n Sons, and Toro Bravo.

David Reamer is a Portland-based food photographer whose photography has been featured in GQ, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Sunset, Portland Monthly, and Bon Appétit.

Customer Reviews

We love Toro Bravo the restaurant.
Sarah Childers
I have not tackled the homemade pate or bacon yet but I did try some of the easier recipes and scanned the book overall.
TonksPNW
If you follow the directions, the food is amazing.
Dee Reddy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Rodgers on October 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I live in Portland, and Toro Bravo is one of my favorite restaurants here. When they came out with a cookbook I was so thrilled. It starts out as kind of a bio with some little tips sprinkled in, then gets into their recipes. It introduced me to cooking with some new ingredients (ex nettles and nyora peppers), which I loved because it helped spruce up some of my tried and true recipes that have gotten a little boring. Another great thing about the book, the author tells you what recipes he uses together...ex this aioli with this potato dish, this sandwich, this meat dish etc. The author gives very detailed instructions for more complicated recipes so you are sure to end up with with a successful dish. Great cookbook that I am sure to purchase extra copies of for gifts!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Alexander VINE VOICE on November 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've never been to Toro Bravo in Portland, but I have been to Spain many times. I've also been to numerous State-side restaurants that aim to serve their version of Spanish cuisine. With respect the number of Spanish recipes in this book, I would give it an 8 out of 10; reading the Table of Contents parallels reading a menu in a restaurant in Spain, albeit in the mid- to southern region mostly.

Almost all of the recipes in this book have an accompanying photo. In some cases, this is a picture of the prepared dish. In other instances, it's just a picture of the key ingredient (Padron Peppers, for example). In addition, all or most of the recipes have an entry paragraph or two, which I always appreciate in a cookbook. In some instances, the author shares his first experience of having the dish. In other instances, some background/history on the recipe or food items is provided. For the most part, the ingredients listed are generally available, though advanced ordering will be needed for more complex items, like if you're going to make authentic Chorizo.

When I received the cookbook, I started off reading the Foreword by Liz Crain. I'm not a prude, but I was a bit taken aback to read "... To put it plainly, John wasn't a dick" in the first paragraph. At the end of the Foreword, she makes reference to licking the backside of a goat (albeit in more colorful language).

The Introduction to the cookbook is a lengthy--though somewhat interesting---biography by the author, primarily talking about his childhood and his progression into becoming a chef. Much of the content is perhaps better suited to a personal journal than a cookbook, but hey, it's his history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dee Reddy on November 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One of our favorite restaurants in town and now my favorite cookbook! I'm not much of a reviewer, but after reading the other ones, wanted to put my 2 cents in. This is a fun, but honest and irreverent cookbook. Their food is awesome, but also a lot of freaking work goes into it and I really appreciate his honesty in what it takes to really make some of these dishes: better than a lot of restaurant cookbooks where you end up disappointed that your stuff doesn't turn out as well. If you follow the directions, the food is amazing. But there are a lot of hard to find ingredients, intense prep and patience required.

All in all, makes me appreciate the restaurant all the more and love being able to recreate a dish or two at home once in a while.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this cookbook because of the reputation of Toro Bravo and it uses flavors/techniques to challenge me (an entire chapter on charcuterie). I have not tackled the homemade pate or bacon yet but I did try some of the easier recipes and scanned the book overall. If you buy the book, know that most recipes are made for 6 - 8 people at least. Yes you can do math and scale down but watch for those portion sizes from the start. Second, the details are missing from the recipes I tried. The recipe called for one 28oz can of tomatoes but didn't say what kind (whole, diced, crushed, etc) and one onion but should it be large, medium, yellow, etc. I scanned the start of the book but I didn't find where his directions for these would be universal like in the Scarpetta cookbook by Conant.

However, I still have faith in the cookbook as I haven't tackled the homemade bacon or pate yet and, like I said, it uses techniques that will challenge me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trent Finlay on January 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful, great storytelling, and some of the best recipes from Toro Bravo. The best cookbook I own. For super reals.
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Format: Hardcover
In the vein of other cookbooks from Brooklyn's Franny's and Roberta's, this tells a story while teaching some very complex recipes from Portland's Toro Bravo.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a very real story about the founders, staff, and life at Toro Bravo, along with delicious recipes and photos of what they prepare and serve every day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gave this too my dad for his birthday, beautiful book, gorgeous pictures cannot wait for him to cook something from it. We love Toro Bravo the restaurant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Liz Crain is a food and fiction writer as well as editor and publicity director based in Portland, Oregon. Her second book Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. came out from McSweeney's in fall 2013. Her first book -- Food Lover's Guide to Portland -- published in summer 2010 with a second edition due from Hawthorne Books September 2014. Her writing has appeared in publications such as the Portland Zagat, The Guardian, Cooking Light, Budget Travel, The Progressive and The Sun magazine. In addition to cooking, eating and writing about Pacific Northwest food and drink, Crain tends a large edible garden at her North Portland home with an extensive culinary herb garden, fruit trees, kiwi, berry bushes, artichokes, cardoons and more. Crain is also co-organizer of the annual Portland Fermentation Festival.

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