Saturday, June 17, 2006

Anthony Bourdain

A couple of days ago, I went into the big city to "see" Anthony Bourdain at A Clean Well Lighted Place Bookstore. I had first heard Mr. Bourdain was going to be in town from ML last weekend. She was planning on going to see him. Then Mr. Cupcake forwarded me information about it because he saw a blip about it in a mailing list. I figured why not and dragged SK along.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Bourdain, he use to have a show on the Food Network called A Cook's Tour where he ate anything and everything. Mr. Cupcake and I were big fans of the show because his commentary is hilarious and the fact that he's a total boozer. It makes for great television. I think there's a new show on the Travel Channel since Food Network dropped his show a few years back. He's also written a handful of books including Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour. I read part of Kitchen Confidential, and even though it had huge raves, I just couldn't finish it. Oh well.

On this particular day, he was promoting his new book, The Nasty Bits. SK and I had a quick lunch at Max's Opera Cafe (no comment) that ran a little long. We ended up arriving 10 minutes late and the crowd had already wrapped around the bookstore. Keep in mind, it's a pretty small place in comparison to the monster chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble. So, I didn't actually see him, and instead only heard his God like voice that was projected all throughout the store. I eventually stood up on a stool, and still didn't see him, so I took a picture of the crowd instead. And, yes, I was standing a fairly large stool. Damn I'm short.

Anyway, I can tell you that he's just as interesting to listen to in person as he is on TV. Well, to tell you the truth, they could have been playing a tape, and I wouldn't have known any better since I never saw the guy. We only heard the Q&A, but there were a couple of things that stuck out:

  1. He said that there was good Vietnamese food in Indianapolis. I was initially surprised by this. I lived in Indianapolis for 3 months and Mr. Cupcake lived there for a year. The city is completely dominated by chains and little independent shops are few and far between. Then I thought about it more. I remember Mr. Cupcake and I helped one of his friends move, and the guy's wife showed us her stomach staple scars which was kind of weird. Afterwards, they bought us lunch and it was Vietnamese food. I remember Mr. Cupcake and I were completely blown away by how good it was. It's too bad because we moved shortly thereafter, so we never really got to experience what the Vietnamese community in Indy had to offer. Though, I gotta tell you, I'm not sad we left.
  2. He said great food is created during times of war, poverty, and hardship because things sit out forever. I thought this was interesting, but could also see how it's true. Some of the best meals I've had were comprised of simple ingredients and nothing fussy. Though, I've also had some amazing fussy meals in my life.
Anyway, he finished speaking and then people crowded around to get an autograph. SK and I chatted to ML briefly and then took off. Big crowds can annoy me and besides, my copy of Kitchen Confidential is already signed. The good thing is I didn't have to wait in line for it. The bookstore I bought it from had a surplus, so I bought the signed one versus the not. Anyway, see him if he's in town; he's a funny to listen to though you may not be able to see him unless you're a crazy groupie who comes 2+ hours in advance.

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