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Secret Suppers: Rogue Chefs and Underground Restaurants in Warehouses, Townhouses, Open Fields, and Everywhere in Between [Paperback]

Jenn Garbee
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct 2008
It’s happening in attics, garages, living rooms, parking lots and wine cellars across the nation – underground restaurant chefs are taking the food scene by storm, one dinner at a time. They’re throwing fabulous dinner parties at the drop of a hat for a hodge-podge of guests in offbeat, roving locations. They’re evading the cops, enticing the food-obsessed, and making headlines ("Restaurants on the Fringe, and Thriving"!). In short, they’re reinventing the dining experience. No wonder foodies are falling hard for the underground eating experience. And in Secret Suppers, LA Times journalist Jenn Garbee takes readers into this underground gourmet world as it’s taking place in Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Manhattan, Des Moines, Austin, and Sonoma County. Whether it’s steaks prepared in the parlor fireplace of a townhouse, or bacon-wrapped-bacon served on the deck of a charming little house in a sunny Seattle neighborhood, or a white-tablecloth affair set in an open field in Santa Barbara—chefs and food lovers are circumventing the restaurant altogether to cook what they want, to reinvent the serving ambiance whenever the whim strikes, and to attract the most adventurous diners. Sort of akin to speakeasies from an earlier era, some underground restaurants are the best-known secrets in town.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books (Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570615462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570615467
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 750,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to go to one of these suppers! 27 May 2009
I don't often wish that I still lived in America after living in Europe for nearly 20 years, but this book is just about enough to make me go back. It is about people who hold "unofficial" dinners in various locations, open to those who are lucky or clever enough to have heard about them. Many of the dinners are truly gourmet affairs in the most unlikely locations. Others emphasize cooking with the food and ingredients that are sourced immediately and locally. The author writes with full zest, enthusiasm and joie de vivre, and I wished in each chapter that I'd been there with her. I recommend this book to all foodies, perhaps with an eye to starting something similar in Europe (though for all I know, there might well be already -- just not here in Latvia yet).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't keep this a secret... 1 Dec 2008
By Norm's Dad - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a fun read....Jenn Garbee takes us to places I never knew existed until this book. Maybe I've lead a sheltered life but I had no idea, until now. Each chapter takes you to a new and different underground restaurant, each with its own cast of characters. The descriptions of the locations and the food make you want to go find one and get in on the mystery and intrigue unfolding with each new setting. Certainly, there are a few recipes with each new secret supper, but don't buy this to be a new cookbook. Buy the book for a glimpse of culinary life you may never have seen and maybe never will. But be careful...this book just might inspire you to create your own "Secret Supper".
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Adventure!! 1 Oct 2008
By Amber - Published on
Jenn Garbee will take you on the food adventure of a lifetime. She will open your eyes to so many hidden food treasures. I can't wait to travel around and check out many of these hidden gems that Jenn Garbee describes! This is a must read for anyone looking for something out of the ordinary and incredibly fun!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step into this fascinating world. 5 Oct 2008
By Tiffany Yeager - Published on
This book completely changed how I saw restaurants and the people who put their time, hearts and souls into food- in a way that no other book has done before. There are so few opportunities to peek behind the curtain of the glamorous restaurant industry and meet the power players who are behind it, and Jenn Garbee takes us on a ride that makes you feel like an insider. Travel and learn (and taste) along with the author on this gem of a book!

P.s.- This book is a can't miss, and it's a wonderful gift; i bought it for my mom, who in turn plans to buy it for her friends for the holidays.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Backstage pass to an exciting foodie movement! 11 Oct 2008
By Sara - Published on
When I started this book, the whole idea was a little daunting. I love eating out as well as having friends over for an occasional dinner party but the idea of an "underground restaurant" just seemed exclusive and mysterious. I should have had no worries. Jenn Garbee takes us to 10 underground restaurants across the US showing so much wit and personality, it's hard to not be intrigued by this whole movement. With stories of the chefs, hosts, as well as other guests, I felt like I was right there with her.

She also includes several recipes (with pointers!) from each place she visits and they all sound delicious. Several recipes for infused alcohol as well as some others - bacon wrapped bacon, grilled stuffed figs - are at the top of my list to try. The book is a great mix of gourmet cookbook and fun storytelling.

Each underground restaurant is very different and it's up to you to experience them and find out what they are exactly. That's what Ms. Garbee does for the reader - makes her experience accessible to us.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Underground. 1 Oct 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
The basic idea is great: food and travel writer Jenn Garbee goes on a tour of clandestine restaurants all over America, and you get to tag along. Well-written and fun to read, this book exceeded my expectations in every way. It is simply terrific, and marks Garbee as a rising star among food writers.

For foodie readers who are familiar with Garbee's work in the L.A. Times (where I first read her), this book is even more a delight--long enough to showcase Garbee's unique voice and sharp observations, loaded with great stories, and there are recipes to boot!

Be careful who you lend it to--it's so good they will never give it back! I bought two copies already (and already have a number of people in mind who will be getting this as a gift in December!).
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