I'm about to tell you something that reviewers don't like me to say...
When I hear about a new cookbook on the market, I often say to myself, "Not ANOTHER one...!"
I'm starting to think that אֵין חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ - there's nothing new under the sun. With the proliferation of recipes on social media and the internet WHO NEEDS COOKBOOKS?
OK, so they make really nice gifts (pssst.... Chanukah is right around the corner). But they are becoming so repetitious, don't you think?
Well, I've got to say that for once, I was intrigued when the nice folks at Artscroll offered me a reviewer's copy of Secret Restaurant Recipes. I really liked the concept. It offered something different. And who doesn't want to be in on a secret, right?
When I received the cookbook, I was immediately impressed by how many well-known restaurants participated in the making of this book. Restaurants we've all eaten in, more than 70 in all, had opened up their card files and shared a little slice of their delicious heaven with the editors of this book. Fun, right?
I immediately picked out the recipe(s) that I wanted to make first - Cauliflower Bisque from my favorite Amsterdam Burger Company in New York, and Eggplant Chicken in Garlic Sauce from Segal's Oasis Grill in Phoenix, Arizona. Both recipes were easy to follow and were WINNERS. (Warning: The eggplant chicken was hottttt! But yummy :) )
I particularly liked that the book was peppered with little tips and hints from the chefs of these renowned establishments. I felt like I was in the back kitchen with Chef Jeff Nathan and he was giving me private lessons.
Did I like this cookbook? YES! Would I purchase it as a gift? YES!
(Have I been a cranky reviewer who has refused to review substandard cookbooks in the past? Ummmm... yes...)