My Personal Bourdain Dilemma

By Karen

But first, Cats Working’s latest tidbits about our favorite bad boy chef:

Les Halles in Washington, DC, has closed and news reports were calling it the “brainchild” of Anthony Bourdain, which must amuse him. I thought he just worked in the New York branch, which remains open.

No Reservations’ producers have apparently abandoned all attempts at censorship because here’s another highly detailed account of one of Tony’s stops in the Philippines.

Speaking of censorship, I just learned that his failed special, At the Table, was quickly yanked from YouTube. Were they trying to cleanse the ‘Net of the stench of failure?

I came across a forgotten answer to this burning question: If Tony had still been with Nancy instead of Ottavia, would he have gotten that skull tattoo on his right shoulder for Miami Ink? He answers it himself at the end of Kitchen Confidential:

“My wife, blessedly, has stayed with me through all of it, the late nights, the coming home drunk, my less than charming tendency not to pay any attention at all to her…. A few months back, in a moment of admittedly misguided solidarity with my heavily decorated kitchen crew, I got a tattoo, a reasonably tasteful headhunter’s band around my upper arm. Nancy, however, was on record as finding skin art about as attractive as ringworm; she took it, not unreasonably, as a personal affront. She was mightily pissed off, and still is, for that matter…but she still wakes up next to me every morning, laughs at my jokes on occasion and helpfully points out when I’m being an asshole.”

And now, my personal Bourdain dilemma: There’s An Evening with Anthony Bourdain in Durham, North Carolina, on February 19, 2009. I’m afraid it’s as close as he’ll ever come to Richmond, Virginia. It would involve many hours of driving over possibly treacherous winter roads, taking 2 days off because I’d have to spend the night, and getting someone to feed the cats. Tickets are available. Dare I go?

P.S. For all you Bourdainiacs who can’t get enough, the Travel Channel is running a No Reservations marathon from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET) Friday, November 28.

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23 Responses to My Personal Bourdain Dilemma

  1. Deb says:

    I met him once at the DC Les Halles (Dec. 2004) before he did No Reservations. It was a Smithsonian sponsored speech and dinner deal. Except for the required speaking and book signing portion, he pretty much hung out at the bar to drink and smoke. I don’t know how much face time (if any) you would get.

  2. Nickole says:

    Just clicked over to You Tube now and can still see “At the Table.”

  3. catsworking says:

    Deb, I’m not expecting any face time. I’m just hoping I’d get to sit close enough that he wouldn’t look like a dot on the stage and I’d go to all that trouble and come away feeling as if I didn’t really see him. The venue looks pretty large.

    Thanks for checking on “At the Table,” Nickole. Seems someone has put it back out there. I and Grub Street stand corrected. Just in case, I captured it on DVD myself! Even bad Tony is better than no Tony at all.

  4. MorganLF says:

    To further confuse….In New York magazine there is a trip to Grand Cayman hosted by Eric Ripert to stay 3 days 4 nights at the Ritz in which he has his restaurant. It has a list of 12 events of which you can choose 4. One of them is a tour of the Caymans with BOURDAIN, then there are all sorts of tastings demos tons of celeb chefs etc and of course Eric, (yum!)
    When I saw the ad featuring Eric in his whites standing in the surf I almost fainted. Here’s t he rub $3200 …does not include air fare. But oh how tempting if the #*#&#*&# market didn’t tank I would so be there.

    Karen go, you will be in euphoria especially if you can get into the VIP part if you can it will be so worth it!

  5. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you witch!

    I’ve been to Grand Cayman many times for just a few hours. Beautiful place. Imagine staying there for 4 nights with the possibility of sighting Bourdain any minute. Of course, I’m sure Ottavia will be with him on that trip.

    I guess I put my dilemma out here because I want my faithful readers to talk me into doing it. I haven’t been a groupie for many years, but for Tony, I’d make an exception.

    (The one and only time I planned a trip around a celeb was to spend a week with Jonathan Frid on a cruise ship. He played Barnabas Collins on a 1960s gothic soap called “Dark Shadows” and was my idol as a teenager.)

  6. MorganLF says:

    Jonathan Frid LOL! I remember the show but was not a fan. I also had a huge Paul Newman jones and met him (even got a kiss!)Ran into lots of others celebs over the years when I worked in the Playboy Club…yes I was a Bunny and lots of stories for another time.

  7. catsworking says:

    Playboy Bunny! Morgan, you are full of surprises.

    Jonathan Frid also had a big surprise for the women who went on this cruise. For some reason (probably our youth and innocence), most of us had never noticed that women weren’t his first preference. Talk about a shock. But even so, we were still fascinated.

    He was about 63 and coping with life after fame. It didn’t seem to be sitting too well with him. I harken back to that whenever I think of Bourdain after NR.

  8. Adele says:

    Karen, I think you should try to go to Durham; one of my deep regrets is that I didn’t see Bourdain last winter, when he was in Chicago — my own city, but the weather was bad, and I didn’t feel well. Isn’t there some friend, you can lean on, to go with you? That would make the trip much more pleasant. And surely someone would be pleased to take care of the cats, famous felines that they are.

    I read about the Caymans trip, which sounds absolutely delightful. I won’t be going; not much work for retired child welfare managers these days, and my pension alone, doesn’t allow for much travel, but I sure hope a Cats Working reader goes, and allows me to live vicariously.

    DarkShadows — that really brings back memories; I wasn’t a fan, but many of my friends were, and I heard a lot about Barnabas.

    Boy, you a ballroom dancer and Morgan a Playboy bunny, and here I am a pudgy social worker. All brought together by an interest in Bourdain, but I’ve stayed to here what the cats have to say.

  9. catsworking says:

    Adele, you’re right. If he takes off to Vietnam and Italy for the next few years, I’ll be kicking myself.

    I guess right now with Christmas shopping on my mind, the thought of buying tickets, hotel room, gas, the pet sitter, and 2 lost days of work is weighing against it. But we’ll see.

    I have a friend who lives near Charlotte (haven’t checked the distances yet – don’t know how far that is from Durham), but she works 4-12 pm, so she wouldn’t be able to go. And I don’t think she’s a fan. But maybe I could stay at her place.

    Hmmm,.. I do know one other Bourdain fan here who might be game to go. I’m having lunch with her next week. I’ll ask.

    Don’t feel bad about being a “pudgy social worker.” I’m a pudgy EX-ballroom dancer. Would love to get into it, but it’s just not something you can do well without a regular partner. I burned out holding up the walls at dances, playing wallflower waiting for some guys to bestow on me the precious gift of 3 minutes of their time for a dance. The way some of them picked partners, you’d think every song came with a wedding ceremony.

  10. Nancy says:

    Oh my god, I was a huge Dark Shadows fan in junior high. I remember a couple of times that I couldn’t watch because of after school activiities, and my Dad took notes (he was a policeman on swing shift those days). His notes were HILARIOUS. “Then the bat bit Barnabas,” etc. I remember a very pretty blond woman vampire on the show, can’t remember who she was. I remember little about the show except for Barnabas and her with her big fangs, and the opening music. I bet a vampire soap opera would do well right now with that current vampire movie being so big at the box office.

    Any way, I think you should go see Bourdain. I went to see Obama and he was practically just a dot, but it was so worth it to be there in person. Bring a pair of small field glasses.

    That Cayman Islands thing sounds fantastic. This is why I don’t think Bourdain will suffer at all if NR stops. He’ll be besieged with requests for personal appearances that he can pick and choose, and if Colicchio ever tires of Top Chef I’m sure that Bravo would have no problem making him the new head judge, given his popularity. If you go there in person you could ask him that question. I think he’d be a better host than Padma also, and maybe he was snarking on her just so they’d possibly consider him for the position.

  11. catsworking says:

    Nancy, the blonde vampire was Angelique. The actress was Lara Parker, and she has written two DS novels in the past few years. I think you can get them both in paperback. The first one is the REAL story of how Barnabas and Angelique hooked up. The second one is about the Barnabas-Dr. Julia Hoffman one-sided romance. I highly recommend both of them.

    You’re probably wondering how I remember so much about it. For a long time DS was being shown on the Sci-Fi Channel and I watched the whole series through at least twice. I picked up a lot of stuff I missed when I was a kid, including that Barnabas and Angelique were HUSBAND AND WIFE through most of the series. I never knew they actually got married, but they did. On the show, not in real life, of course.

    I think there’s a vampire series on HBO right now called “True Blood.” I just found out about it, so I’m going to have to check it out. Barnabas got me interested in vampires, and it only waned after Anne Rice’s books started getting crumby.

    I think that teenage vampire in “Twilight” is this generation’s Barnabas.

    I’m still on the fence about going to Durham to see Bourdain.

  12. Bob says:

    Love the True Blood Series, big Vampire fan. Going to see Twilight tonight!!!!! If we can get in on a Friday ???

    One of my favorite vampire programs was shot in Canada, Forever Knight.
    It was a series in the states bout a Vampire Cop in Toronto.
    Good Program He was Ethical, Never killed…. Well Not that often. :0)

    Go To Durham, Not like his skinny white ass is going to show up in your kitchen anytime soon… LOL

    Bob

  13. Nancy says:

    Angelique! Of course. My dad used to sing her name to that Singing Nuns song “Dominique” whenever she came on tv. I think I remember that they were married on the show.

    Anyway, I hadn’t thought about this show in years, it was fun to remember something funny about my late dad that I’d forgotten.

  14. catsworking says:

    Bob, I found “True Blood” On Demand with Comcast and watched the first 3 episodes last night. I think there are 13 out there right now, and I intend to see them all.

    There was also a 30-minute special about “The Vampire Legend” and I couldn’t BELIEVE they didn’t mention Barnabas Collins once. I think HE was the first vampire who scored a regular gig on TV and became a superstar in his day, setting the stage for all these other vampires.

    I’m one step closer to Durham. My friend in North Carolina just told me I can crash at her place that night, so that eliminate the hotel expense. And you’re so right. The only way he’s going to show up in my kitchen is if I move the TV in there. 😉

  15. Adele says:

    Interesting how we’ve gone from Bourdain to vampires. I found True Blood on Comcast on Demand, and I’ve watched 5 or 6 episodes. I don’t know why I didn’t catch it at its regular broadcast time — I love southern Gothic and Louisiana in particular. I’m not completely enraptured by it, but hooked enough that I intend to watch all 13 episodes. Vampires offer that sex=death equation that has been fascinating throughout history. Since my father was Romanian, I did a fair amount of reading on the historical Dracula. Good call on True Blood.

    Glad you’re Durham trip seems more feasible; it may be just the thing to relieve the February doldrums.

  16. catsworking says:

    I’ve watched 9 episodes of True Blood so far, and I’m pretty turned off by all the gore, but it’s got me hooked. The cats were VERY upset about Sookie’s cat, but I won’t let the cat out of the bag by saying what they saw, since you’re not there yet.

    Unfortunately, my free HBO will probably expire before the next season starts, so I’ll be screwed.

    There have been developments on the Durham trip, so stay tuned…

  17. MorganLF says:

    Just a note, I saw in Entertainment weekly that Johhny Depp was pursuing the part of Jonathan Frid in a movie remake but the project has been shelved.

  18. Adele says:

    At about midnight, last night, I found out what happened to Sookie’s cat. Alice was quite distressed. Has Adele noticed that Sookie’s late Gran, was named Adele. What with the English singer, Adele, who’s only 20, I’ve noticed that our shared name is around more than it used to be.

  19. catsworking says:

    Morgan, tell me it isn’t true! Johnny Depp said he’d always wanted to play Barnabas. He’d be nothing like the original, but he showed in “Don Juan de Marco” that he’d be capable of being the smooth, suave charmer Barnabas was, when he wasn’t fluffing his lines. I wonder what happened to kill the remake? I’m going to have to do some digging on that.

    Adele, we didn’t realize that Sookie’s grandmother was named Adele. We don’t read the credits. My Adele was named after Adele Astaire, Fred’s little sister. When I brought home another pure white cat who looked like a miniature Fred, she practically named herself. And as they usually do, she grew into the name and now I can’t imagine calling her anything else. Well, she DOES answer to “Princess Baby Love.”

  20. st says:

    Didn’t know where to post this, but the Bravo Top Chef website has a poll: The hottest Top Chef guest judge of all the seasons is …

    Bourdain appears to be winning by a landslide.

  21. catsworking says:

    Hi, ST. Thanks for that tidbit about the Top Chef poll. I’m not surprised that Bourdain is the favorite. He’s by far the the wittiest judge. Unless Padma throws a hissy fit because of things Bourdain has said about her lately, I bet they’ll be begging him to come back as a judge in season 6.

  22. MorganLF says:

    From the website:

    The hottest Top Chef guest judge of all the seasons is …

    Anthony Bourdain – 71% (7664 votes)
    Rocco DiSpirito – 13% (1417 votes)
    Johnny Iuzzini – 2% (169 votes)
    Forget the guest judges — it’s all about Tom! – 15% (1619 votes)

    Guess were not the only Bourdain fans out there!

  23. catsworking says:

    Morgan, no surprise there. I’ve fallen a few episodes behind in this season of Top Chef. Without the possibility of seeing Bourdain, the recipe is missing a certain crucial spice.

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