By Liz Crain
At the center of Portland’s red-hot meals scene is Toro Bravo, a Spanish-inspired eating place whose small plates have attracted a fiercely unswerving fan base. yet to name Toro Bravo a Spanish eating place doesn’t start to inform the full tale. For chef John Gorham, every one dish displays a time, a spot, a second. For Gorham, meals is greater than mere sustenance. The Toro Bravo cookbook is a good glance backstage: from Gorham’s delivery to a teenage mom who struggled with drug habit, to time spent in his grandfather’s crab-shack dance membership, to formative visits to Spain, to turning into a father and commencing a restaurant. Toro Bravo additionally comprises ninety five of the restaurant’s recipes, from uncomplicated salads to home made chorizo, besides an array of options that may entice either the house prepare dinner and the main pro, forearm-burned chef.
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Additional resources for Toro Bravo
I could afford to buy a house in Portland in 2001, and I did. 36 I was all about charcuterie and meat fabrication by the time I got to Portland. Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place was just getting started, and by 2003 I was doing meat fabrication for Vitaly and others around town. I did a lot of whole spit-roasted animals for Vitaly—mostly pigs and lambs—as well as sausages and roasted holiday hams. I helped him out with meat and charcuterie for various events. Viande Meats & Sausage in Northwest Portland was one of a handful of places in Portland butchering and doing the sort of charcuterie I was interested in, not just Styrofoam- and plastic-wrapped steaks and chops.
Toro Bravo served its first meal on May 18th, 2007. The opening staff was just Kasey Mills, Ryan Bleibtrey, Ben Meyer, Ron Avni, and me. Toro’s menu was pretty small at first—especially compared to what it is now. We had the Coppa Steak (page 192), Scallops (page 202), Potatoes Bravas (page 136), Lamb Ragu with Eggplant (page 230), Fried Anchovies (page 130), Salt Cod Fritters (page 124), Radicchio Salad (page 116), Sherry Chicken-Liver Mousse (page 174), and the Bacon Manchego Burger (page 240).
The show itself wasn’t very good, but they flew us to farms all over the country to host farm-to-table dinners. If I went to Boston, I’d come back and do a northeastern dinner at Simpatica. If I went to Phoenix, when I returned we’d do a southwestern dinner. If I was reading a Spanish book, then you knew there was going to be a tapas dinner soon enough. We were experimenting with food— just doing whatever the hell we wanted—and our interests educated us. By then, at Simpatica, we’d release an e-mail about a dinner and several minutes later we’d have a 300-person wait list.
Toro Bravo by Liz Crain