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The Mighty Gastropolis: Portland: A Journey Through the Center of America's New Food Revolution Paperback – December 26, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Street food capital of the world, home of ethical eaters, dreamers in a strange food landscape, Portland is the crucible of new American cooking. If you're curious about why we're eating the way we do - and how we'll be eating tomorrow - you need to read this book. Passionate, powerful and filled with recipes that make you very, very hungry, The Mighty Gastropolis is a celebration of America's most interesting food city. " - Ruth Reichl, Editor, Modern Library Food Series

"Foie gras, grilled pigeon, and the tastiest fried egg sandwich around: It's all here in Karen Brooks's lively account of America's new great food city. Oh, and there are 50 terrific recipes, too." - James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur and author of Cradle of Flavor

"An insider's tour of a city where the only use for a Michelin star is to have it dipped in chocolate or fried in duck fat. If you want to explore the ingenius outsider cooks, the obsessive impulses, and the raging gustatory dishes behind America's newest food capitol, Karen Brooks is your guide." - Mike Thelin, commentator for Unique Eats, The Cooking Channel, and co-founder of Feast Portland

"Brooks offers a keen insight and an almost literary style that sets her apart from most food writers." - The Oregonian

"Brooks, Bosker, and Gelber don't just guide you through Portland's food revolution through their vivid descriptions. They introduce you to every player behind it . . . with personal remarks, recipes, and tips. If you find yourself salivating just as much as we are but can't afford a flight to Portland just yet, The Mighty Gastropolis is the next best thing." - ANNE DOLCE, The Daily Meal

"By the book's end, you'll have plotted a new eating itinerary, with stops for Le Pigeon's beef cheek Bourguignon, Tastebud's pizza or the Sugar Cube's brownie sundae. For out-of-towners, the book jacket doubles as a map of Portland's dining destinations." - Michael Russell, The Oregonian

"Ever wonder how Portland, Oregon, became one of America's top food cities almost overnight? Who better to tell the pork-filled, caffeine-fueled, unconventional story than the Rose City's biggest fan and insatiable eater Karen Brooks. By profiling food cart rebels, supper club renegades, and local chef heroes, Brooks paints a vivid picture of a city thriving with creativity, passion, and an anything-goes attitude for all things edible. Brooks isn't just a chronicler of her city's food revolution-she (and this book) are a part of it." - Andrew Knowlton, Bon Appétit Restaurant and Drinks Editor

"Karen Brooks, the definitive writer on Portland's food scene, makes a mighty case that our culinary neighbors have more than a food scene, they have a revolution. The Mighty Gastropolis uses chef profiles, essays and pivotal recipes to argue that Portland's wild, "casual gastronomy" provides fine food to a mass audience in a way that no other American city does." - Rebekah Denn, Seattle Times

"Scattered among the book's richly photographed pages are 50 of Portland's most obsessed-over recipes. I imagine the original version of Tastebud's Original Berry Cobbler -- made with Oregon berries and baked in a wood-fired oven-is truly divine, but even with supermarket fruit, this was awesome." - Kimberly Masibay, Fine Cooking magazine

"The definitive guide to Portland's scrappy, endlessly inventive food culture." -- Sara Dickerman, The New York Times

"The definitive guide to Portland's utterly singular, lo-fi culinary scene." - Josh Ozersky, Time Magazine food columnist

About the Author

Karen Brooks is the author of eight food and pop culture books and former "most scooptastic" Oregonian food writer. She is currently the restaurant critic and dining editor of Portland Monthly magazine.

Teri Gelber is a James Beard award-winning food writer living in Portland, Oregon.

Gideon Bosker is a writer and photographer who lives in many places, including Portland, Oregon. With Karen Brooks, he is the co-author of the cult classics Patio Daddy-O, Atomic Cocktails and Dude Food.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (December 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452105960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452105963
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Werner on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book features excellent food writing about the emergence of Portland as a culinary mecca. It features many of the chefs and food styles that have made Portland a great food city. While I do not live in Portland, I have visited many, many times, and frequent restaurants of all price levels when I visit. This book does a great job of capturing the eclectic and interesting food vibe that is Portland and includes some excellent recipes by some of Portland's most well known chefs.
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The Mighty Gastropolis: Portland: A Journey through the Center of America's New Food Revolution.
This is a bubbly, fun, well written romp through Portland's food scene and why it is in the unlikely forefront of new ideas about how to cook, how to serve and how to eat food of every kind.
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This book is unique in the fact that you can tell Karen Brook's actually knows and cares about every business in it. The pictures are personal and beautiful, the stories are informational and interesting. I've even tried some of the recipes and they're amazing! Da Sterling Bombs by Two Tarts Bakery (pg. 171) were a personal favorite. One other really great feature is the cover. The back side is map of Portland with all the places in the book highlighted. Truly a wonderful purchase and I recommend anyone involved with anything Portland to buy it!
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Karen's experience in Portland's culinary community shines bright in this amazing story of how Portland got the reputation it enjoys today. I've long wondered the reasons why Portland rose to fame, beyond the obvious great produce, great wines & beers, etc. I knew there was more to it. Karen sums it all up nicely in this book that you just can't put down. I read it from cover to cover non-stop. Portlanders will be proud of this book. Non-Portlanders will marvel at it and wonder how they implement these lessons of success in their cities. And everyone will enjoy it: there's something for everyone in The Mighty Gastropolis.
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This book is an insider view of Portland's throbbing punk rock food scene. Karen Brooks is the Tom Wolfe of food writing. Her vivid stories of Portland's top underground chefs and their uncompromising creativity are an inspiring read whether or not you live in Portland. The signature recipes that she somehow extracted from these chefs are alone worth the price.
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It's almost impossible to grasp the non-stop carnival of food in Portland, but Karen Brooks does a marvelous job of capturing the spirit that comes from the personalities behind one of the most exciting--if not THE most exciting--food cities in the USA.

This is absolute required reading for anyone into Portland's food scene, and a must-read for anyone living in Portland. If anyone is not aware of what's going on here while they go about their daily lives, this will be an eye-opener. For anyone outside of Portland who has an interest in food, or spends any time watching Bourdain or any of the chef-based Food Network shows, this should cause a flurry of activity on Expedia. (The local travel bureaus should be very thankful for this book.)

I have interviewed a few of the subjects profiled in The Mighty Gastropolis. Karen digs deep into the chefs' and the artisans' backgrounds, giving us a new appreciation for the restaurants and shops we visit. These are obsessed talented folks who do what they do incredibly well. And their obsessions are our gain (experiential AND on the scale!) Thanks to Karen for giving us cause to appreciate the bounty -- and the talent -- we have here in Oregon.

I'm not a voracious book reader by any means. But this one I consumed in two sittings the day it was released. I will be going back to read it again, and will someday foray into the recipes. As someone who has a small business built around showcasing the people who make up the Portland food scene, many of whom are in this delicious book, I can't recommend The Mighty Gastropolis more emphatically than to say put down your fork and pick up your reader.

Don't worry, it'll all still be there when you're done.
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My wife and I honeymooned in Portland and Seattle a few years back pretty much because of our love of food. This book takes me right back there from the nose to tail restaurants, the bakeries, to the food carts. Usually food books about a city come up short on depth but this one does a great job of bringing these chefs passion for what they do to the forefront. Love it.
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In short, this book is a must read!

Not only does Karen Brooks write pregnant phrases like "pork is the new salmon" in the Northwest--not a slim insight for a writer who cut her eye teeth as a writer on one of the earliest vegetarian cook books--she does so with an incisive analysis of a scene that not only represents a sea change in Portland, it symbolizes a revolution in eating in America. It is about "democracy in America" where the "prophets" of cuisine are dressed down (like all the prophets were) uttering new truths about not only what to eat and how to cook, but how to eat. This is a revolutionary response to "fast food living" that incorporates the American struggle for finding home, nourishment and joy at prices attainable for the common man (and woman). In fact, Ms. Brooks is the prophet spirit herself, who perceived the revolution as it was happening on the ground, and in highlighting it, brought it momentum. Kudos to the achievement! This book is way, way beyond a travelogue in import, but anyone wanting to know how to live in Portland, wanting to visit, wanting to bring some of Portland's revolution to where they live, should be nourished by this book.
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