In a nutshell: Portland’s restaurant scene is one of the best in the nation, with much of our food evolution rooted in the connections that chefs have with local farmers, ranchers and fisheries. The essence of those ties is celebrated in this gorgeous new cookbook from the husband-and-wife team of Bruce and Laurie Wolf. Laurie’s writing tells the stories of distinctive kitchens like Bar Mingo, Cafe Nell, Cocotte and Pine State Biscuits, along with institutions like Higgins, Fat City Cafe and Paley’s Place. Bruce’s photos capture the vibe of each dining room as well as the personalities of chefs such as Ben Dyer (Ate-Oh-Ate), Aaron Woo (Natural Selection) and Lisa Schroeder (Mother’s Bistro). The combination showcases the charms of our dining scene, while the recipes show why we’re so well-fed.
Take a taste: Park Kitchen‘s Flank Steak Salad With Blue Cheese; Evoe‘s Deviled Eggs; Dove Vivi‘s Kale Salad; Cafe Nell’s Vegan Tomato Soup; Country Cat‘s Pecan Spoon Bread; Sunshine Tavern‘s Monte Cristo; St. Jack‘s Mussels With Shallots; Lovejoy Bakers‘ Chocolate Sandwich Cookie.
What’s hot: The chapter on brunch gets to the heart of this Portland obsession; the recipes are well-written and designed for home cooks — often a challenge, since many chefs don’t use recipes or aren’t used to making dishes in smaller portions.
What’s not: With so many great restaurants to choose from, the book could have been twice the size. Here’s hoping a second volume is on the way.