Anthony Bourdain’s New Travel Book – Buyer Beware

By Karen

Checking to see if The Best American Travel Writing 2008, edited by Anthony Bourdain, has hit store shelves yet (it has), I was surprised to find one customer review that gave it one star.

Could Tony’s taste be slipping?

Turns out the problem wasn’t with Bourdain’s choice of essays, but with the book itself. This reader claims the text of another book was on pages 45-111, and the replacement book Amazon sent had the same problem.

So I hot-footed to Barnes & Noble to see for myself. All 5 copies they had were fine. But they’ve only got 4 now; I bought one.

However, there apparently was some problem with the printing so, before you buy, flip through it and make sure what’s inside matches the table of contents.

I picked up two other interesting Tony tidbits this week…

Cats Working reader Adele kindly tipped me off to a special on the Travel Channel on October 20 at 10 p.m. ET called At the Table with Anthony Bourdain, where he’ll be talking to Maxim deputy editor Chris Wilson, Amy Sacco and Ted Allen and others over drinks and dinner in New York.

And it seems Bourdain’s got a thing for sultry, dark-haired actresses like the late Ava Gardner and silent film star Louise Brooks, who bears an eerie resemblance to Tony’s wife Ottavia. They would be guests at his ideal fantasy party, which he described to the New York Post:

“Chef Marco Pierre White and Keith Richards would be throwing something on the barbie in a back yard in Red Hook. Louise Brooks, the silent film actress, would be there, along with Ava Gardner, Orson Welles, [British spy] Kim Philby and the CIA director of counterintelligence.”

It doesn’t get much stranger than that.


15 Responses to Anthony Bourdain’s New Travel Book – Buyer Beware

  1. Bob says:


    Just sitting here watching Gordon Ramsey “F Word”
    Apparently he is raising turkeys for Christmas Dinner.

    Seems to be good to the birds he even gave them names. Jamie, Nigella, and Anthony

    Looks Like Bourdain is Turkey Fodder.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all you down in the south.

  2. catsworking says:

    Bob, that is funny! I’m sure Bourdain appreciates the thought.

    Our Thanksgiving isn’t until November 27, but we’re already dreaming of turkey with lots of gravy.

  3. Bob says:

    Our thanksgiving Weekend this year fell this weekend.

    Went over to the extended familys place, dinner for 20 and food for 100.

  4. Bob says:

    One more thought, what do you guys normally have as a spread for the big day.

    In this part of Canada we have a lot of European influences.
    So a typical meal up here would normally consist of a Turkey or a Ham sometimes both, Perogies, Cabbage Rolls, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies, Meatballs, a pickle and olive tray, Cauliflower and Cheese sauce.

    And Pumpkin Pie for Desert, Sometimes Mincemeat Pie Depending on the Cook.

  5. catsworking says:

    Well, the cats are thrilled with leftover turkey, but we do have a lot more happening on the table.

    I’m from New England, and I’m sure there are variations in the South (where I live now), but our traditional Thanksgiving feasts include turkey, sometimes ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, lots of gravy, hot rolls, and something green like broccoli or asparagus as a stab at a balanced meal.

    For dessert, pumpkin pie or pecan pie. Pecan pie may be a Southern thing, but we like it better than pumpkin.

    Basically, it’s a carb-fest.

    I also grew up believing the first Thanksgiving was in Plymouth, Massachusetts, only to learn when I moved to Virginia that THEY think the first Thanksgiving was at Jamestown. I recently read somewhere that the Virginia story is true, but it was more of a religious observation. The pigging out started in Plymouth.

  6. MorganLF says:

    Well cats & folks I have some news. I just went to see Bourdain in Atlantic City. First I saw the lecture & cooking demo. Very cool he was nervous as by his admission he had not cooked in a couple of years. He did 2 classics from his childhood (Coquilles St. Jacques & Duck L’orange) and then a half hour of Q&A that was funny and free wheeling and off the cuff. I was sitting pretty far back but it was fun. Later in the afternoon at a restaurant in the hotel he hosted 100 people for a VIP event I could not get tickets for. Food prepared by the staff was served and he demoed the dishes, chatted and signed autographs and posed for pictures…oh how I tried to get in!!

    Being the ballsy redhead that I am though, I snuck into the wings, sorta. The restaurant is in the lobby and surrounded by a railing. The privacy is provided by gauzy curtains. However at the far end of the space it was railing and no curtains and I saw a cooking station set up. Needless to say I planted my arse.

    I stood there for the full hour and a half (in heels-ouch!). I got rousted by security but firmly stood my ground. I was about 6 feet away from him the whole time!!. I took pics mostly of his back and profile. He was wearing jeans that were frayed at the heel, boots and his chef white jacket. He had Carlos his head chef at Les Halles helping out and I later chatted with Carlos and took a pic he invited us to Les Halles and told us jokingly Tony can’t cook anymore.

    While I was out front at the conclusion and people were filing out, Ottavia stepped in front of me. She stood about a foot away chatting. I hate to admit it…she is lovely. A doll. I was a big detractor what does he see in her? She is so young …etc. She is petite was wearing a little black baby doll dress, black hose and 5 inch black Manolo pumps. Simple if any jewelry, fabulous complexion, heart shaped face large dark eyes simple make up and really shiny black hair in her signature Louise Brooks bob with bangs. It was so cute but photographs like a bad wig. She sat at the bar during the meal smiling and chatting and he directed a few anecdotes her way she smiled a great deal and looked adorable. ( In the past I’d have labeled her as dopey).

    She went back in and then after the crowd cleared they left via a back way. BUMMER!!
    So I went to the bar in the casino to drown my sorrows. Well guys as soon as my cocktail arrived who should stroll right past me and sit down at a machine and play??? Oh yes my friends, Tony and Ottavia… alone. No entourage, he had changed into a blazer, she played at a machine and I wanted to approach but they were just SO CUTE together I could not intrude. They held hands dammit!! Then they casually strolled through the casino and I lost sight after a while. I looked for them but they must have gone to dinner.

    No he’s had no work and yes he is flat out HANDSOME and as sexy as they come. Women were crowded behind me swooning even the men were gawking. He’s tall but does not slouch and looks exactly like he does on camera. Fabulous head of hair, great cooked smile. Lean straight shoulders I nearly fainted several times. Sorry for such a long post but, well I figured you guys would like to know.

  7. catsworking says:

    Morgan, OMG!! Thanks so much for the detailed account of your brush with Bourdain. First I turned green, then I fainted. You were very resourceful in getting up close.

    It’s so nice to get some first-hand scoop on Ottavia, too. If you hadn’t seen her on Cats Working, would you have known who she was?

    So she seems nice, and she’s gorgeous. I’ve always been very envious of her hairstylist. Whenever I’ve gotten my hair cut in that style over the years, I look like Mr. Spock.

    For his sake, I’m glad to hear Ottavia is a dish. And it’s all the more reason to bring her out of the shadows on No Reservations. I still think one adventure involving the two of them would be fascinating.

    If any of your photos came out well and you’d like me to post them here, go to and e-mail me through the Contact Us page. The site won’t let you send attachments, but I’ll return my direct e-mail address so you can send them to me.

    Too bad you didn’t get to speak to our boy, but I know what you’re saying. I was once just a few feet from Anthony Quinn and Van Johnson (on different occasions) but couldn’t bring myself to approach either of them because I thought, “What can I say that they haven’t heard a million times before? I’ll just be a goof.”

  8. MorganLF says:

    I do have photos not great my camera is not that hot but they are close from the back & sides. The best I have is a video clip right smack in his face. Not sure how to send that file but I’ll work on it and send some of the others.

    Ottavia is not classically gorgeous as in Sophia Loren or Claudia Cardinale. Surprisingly she appeared flatter chested than we have seen. I was there a good 45 minutes before I realized it was her. She appears much softer in person than photos we have seen.

    He addressed remarks in her direction and I at first though who is that cute chick? She is way petite and I can tell her legs may get a bit chunky someday. But I was pleased to see that she was not hard or showy. I was sitting down in the lounge area (finagled my way past the guard) and resting my dogs and she was right next to me and I heard her comment that people were asking for her autograph which she seemed shy of, she commented that she had not done anything she also had an accent but clear English and I think Italian accents are divine. Oh he’s smitten it’s clear and so is she.

    Just the fact that they strolled through that tacky casino with no entourage speaks volumes.

    By the way the head chef I referenced, Carlos, has been on the show a few times. In fact Tony is really fond of him and did a show back in his home town in Mexico. He was young, had a great smile and a heavy accent and here we were two middle-aged tomatoes chatting him up…but he was so sweet. It seems clear Tony is a nice guy who likes nice people around him. I’d love to send that pic but my face looks fat!

    Anecdotally, as the crowd gathered behind me, two young girls, really pretty no older than 22, were swooning and some guy walks by and said, “What’s the big deal? He’s just a chef?” The blonde sighed, turned, pointed to Tony and said “That right there sir is the DEFINITION of a man”.

    Could not agree more.

  9. catsworking says:

    Like a lot of us Italians, Ottavia can look really hot in some photos, like a real dog in others.

    Sounds like she inherited my body type genes, too, although thankfully my grandmother and mother always had thin legs and ankles. The other women in the family had piano legs.

    Tony has written about Carlos. I believe I just read about him in my rereading of Kitchen Confidential. If you want to send a pic of Carlos, I can crop you out of it.

    We’d enjoy seeing anything you’ve got. I haven’t yet figured out how to get a video into WordPress, but I can try again.

  10. Bob says:

    Wow Morgan thanks for that awesome first hand account.

    I am glad that those two crazy kids are happy. Although I like Tony as snarky as the next guy he does indeed deserve to have a private life.

    Its cool that you met Carlos, if I ever get to NYC I am going to Les Halles and Hope that he is cooking and Timmy is Working the Floor.

    As for Tony Cooking all you have to do is watch N R “Into the Fire” I guess like anything if you don’t keep doing it day by day you will loose skills.

    Hell I Build Boeing 777 components for a living, I wouldn’t want to loose my skills.

    Take Care and thanks for the Update.


    PS We just had our Federal Election yesterday, 37 days start to finish.
    After a month I was sick of the Crap, I can’t imagine what you guys are going through down south. But having said that I am still watching your debate tonight.

    Must be something wrong with me eh????

  11. Adele says:

    Gee, Morgan, great TB update. I admire the fact that you stood around in heels; I didn’t go to a book signing in Chicago, last December, because it was a cold, somewhat icy day, and I couldn’t face being in Tony’s presence in inappropriate footwear. I just got my hair cut, today, and had it flat ironed; when I got home, I realized I had an Ottavia/Louise Brooks bob. It will be gone tomorrow, and no matter what, I ain’t 29 and cute.

    I’m glad Tony and Ottavia are so clearly smitten, and adorable. I think he’s had his share of demons, and it’s good to know he’s happy

  12. catsworking says:

    Morgan has sent me several photos she got of Tony and Carlos, and I’ll be posting them soon!

  13. […] You’ll find Morgan’s detailed account of her brush with Bourdain – and the lovely Ottavia – in the comments on my previous post. […]

  14. First off great webpage. Im not sure if it has been talked about, however when using Safari I can never get the whole webpage to load without refreshing several times. Maybe just my CPU. Appreciate your work

  15. catsworking says:

    Sammy, nobody has ever mentioned this problem before. I use Firefox for WordPress. My usual browser is AOL, and WordPress does wonky things in it, too.

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