On Tuesday evening, I attended the Hello! My Name Is Tasty cookbook release/launch party, which took place at the Plaza Del Toro event space in SE Portland. This space is, of course, run by John Gorham, the chef/owner of the mini Portland food empire of Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder, Mediterranean Exploration Company (MEC), and Shalom Y’all. He’s also one of the authors of Hello! My Name Is Tasty, the other author being Liz Crain.
The Book, Recipes and Crowd
The book is gorgeous, full of beautiful photography to go with the recipes that auto-trigger your salivary glands; I’m also pleased that one of my favorite Tasty dishes, Bim Bop Bacon and Eggs, is in there. From a design perspective I really like the round cutout in the cover, and I also like this current trend of producing books without a book jacket. The color of the cover also gets me, as I’m a sucker for that shade of deep sky blue.
The recipes inside bring together a mix of cuisines—Southeastern US, East Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Most of what I tasted Tuesday had Southern and Asian influences. Each item they brought out had that punch of flavor I’ve come to expect at the Tasty restaurants, from the simple potato chip, to the Bone Marrow Toast, to the bowl of Burmese Pork Stew.
I’d been to similar events in NYC and was curious to see if there was a difference between the crowds that frequent those celebrations compared to here on the west coast. Portland folks are definitely more laid back and polite, but on both coasts there is a “descending upon the food like locusts”—and understandably so because the food is so freaking delicious.
The party food was described as “passed breakfast-for-dinner dishes from the cookbook and other greatest hits from Tasty n Sons and Tasty n Alder.” Personally, a lot of the stuff didn’t seem very breakfasty to me, but that’s ok; it was a treat to be able to taste so many things.
There were plenty of meat dishes, most of which came with some kind of grain item (e.g., biscuit, rice, bread).
Left to right in each row we have Bulgogi Short Ribs; Fried Chicken and Cheddar Biscuit; Burmese Pork Stew; Korean Fried Chicken; the Tasty Ruben; Bone Marrow Toast and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. My favorite was the Korean Fried Chicken—it was crispy under a delicious savory-sweet sauce, and the pickled cucumbers helped cut the richness. Nice rice underneath it, too.
And there were some meatless options. Here we’ve got Low Country Hush Puppies with a jalepeño butter, and Fried Cauliflower.
I also quite liked the Bloody Mary shot they handed me when I walked in. And I don’t even like Bloody Marys! I loved the spiciness of it in particular; perhaps it could make me a convert.
By the time everything on the savory side was served and eaten, I was mostly full. And it had gotten quite a bit louder in there—I have a hard time in very loud spaces—so that was my cue to leave. I do wish I had been able to taste the desserts; I expect they were excellent.
So congratulations to John and Liz for the release of Hello! My Name Is Tasty and a great party! I was glad to taste so many tasty (see what I did there) things and to see so many people out to support the work of John and Liz. I hope the book sells scads of copies, leading to full, happy bellies around the country, and the world.