When Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein first debuted “Portlandia,” their quirky, Portland-inspired sketch comedy show for IFC, four years ago, they had no idea their satirical take on the self-described “weird” city would grow into a proper pop culture phenomenon. But thanks to entertaining guest stars (Steve Buscemi, Kyle MacLachlan, Gus Van Sant) and imminently quotable catchphrases (“Put A Bird On It“), the show — which returned for its fourth season Thursday night — has grown a dedicated audience and yielded its own cottage industry of culinary and travel-related tie-ins.
To date, “Portlandia” has yielded mugs, t-shirts, clocks, an McSweeney’s activity book, quizzes, walking tours and even stuffed animals. The show’s most creative spin-offs, however, have been the culinary affiliations. Given the show’s tendency to skewer foodie trends, specific sketches have inspired chefs like City Grit culinary salon founder Sarah Simmons to create themed recipes like Shiva Salad (based on the show’s “Fart Patio” sketch) and Prairie Home Companion Secret Soup (a nod to the “Tailgating” sketch). Others have also pulled together official guides of all of the restaurants and bars that have been mentioned on the show over the past three seasons, like Southeast’s Oblique Coffee Roasters and Patti’s Homeplate. (Sadly, Fisherman’s Porch — and its marionberry pancakes — are pure fiction.)
The show is also starting to produce its own officially-sanctioned merchandise. This October, fans can look forward to a “Portlandia” cookbook, co-authored by Armisen, Brownstein, and co-creator/director Jonathan Krisel and published by Clarkson Potter. (The cookbook follows a satirical guide to the city, the “Portlandia: A Guide For Visitors,” which was released in 2012.) The new tome will feature 50 recipes inspired by the show’s skits and characters — meaning, of course, “meals for the artisanal chef who is allergy aware, hyper-local, eco-conscious, small-batch-minded, and handcrafted-food obsessed.”
In other words, fans should expect lots of pickling.
(Photo courtesy of IFC.com)