Will Bloggers Free Bourdain from Chase?

February 3, 2010

By Karen

Wendy at Room 214 sent this surprising note regarding Anthony Bourdain brandishing a dummy Chase Sapphire card in Istanbul:

First, I wanted to say thank you for your post last week about the Brittany episode of No Reservations. I also wanted to let you know that I sent feedback to the sales group and production team about the credit card scene (Istanbul episode) that so many viewers are talking about. In other words, we’re listening. If I get any updates that I can share with you, I will!

Tony wasn’t packing the card in Brittany, although it would have complemented all that blue he kept talking about. But there it was in Prague, where Tony supposedly whipped it out at the Café Savoy before he’d even eaten. A plug so brief and pointless, it seemed as if Chase is experimenting with subliminal brainwashing.

Let’s hope the Travel Channel really is listening and ends this madness.

And in the WTF department…

Travel Channel granted Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site an interview with Bourdain. Matt asked his readers to pose questions and, after reading them, all I can say is, “Poor Tony.”

Tony’s latest blog post reveals he’s been filming somewhere in the Caribbean. Last week, I made a whirlwind tour of 5 islands in 5 days myself and never saw him (not that I was looking).

Cape Cod Makeover saw Bourdain in Milwaukee on January 22 (where he also filmed for an upcoming Heartland show) and says he wore WHITE cowboy boots and drank Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tony the redneck? Tell me it isn’t so!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on Bourdain’s topics that night, and I learned he’s been mugged twice at gunpoint and twice at knifepoint. The paper also published the menu of a local chef who cooked for Tony. His only restriction: no tofu.

A.V. Club was the only one to mention that Bourdain had to contend with a bad sound system and a lot of rude, drunken restaurant workers there.

According to Crain’s New York, Bourdain is teaming with Eric Ripert, David Chang, Daniel Boulud, and others beginning April 30 for the first Asian Food Festival and Restaurant Week to benefit the hunger relief organization City Harvest and the Asian American Federation, which fights poverty in Asian communities.

The Brûlée Blog got some illicit video of Bourdain in Calgary on January 12, with a shot of the podium that seems to confirm he does speak from notes, or at least topic lists.

Mission: Food met Bourdain at the book-signing after his appearance in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 23, and got a photo. Tony apparently wasn’t wowed. Notice: no teeth.

Daily Blender coined a phrase I asked myself many, many times while sitting in the San Juan airport trying to get home through a snowstorm on January 30…

WWTD: What Would Tony Do?

I thought I knew, I was willing, and I’ve done it before. But never with my parents. As soon as I heard it was snowing in Richmond, I’d have gotten myself on the next flight anywhere with any chance of getting me into Richmond before they rolled up the runways. But the folks wouldn’t consider overshooting our destination to, say, Pittsburgh or DC. So we sat for 11 ½ hours in the Twilight Zone — an airport whose arrival and departure boards listed canceled and nonexistent flights as “on time” and “airborne.” US Airways employees told us the airport routinely concocted flight schedules in the name of “consistency.” The only way to find out what was really going on was to phone the airline’s reservations number.

Bourdain provided a list of the 10 best chefs and restaurants around the world for the James Beard Foundation .

BehindTheKnife got a quick video interview with Tony inexplicably in silhouette on the beach at the Cayman Cookout, and got him talking about barbecuing on tire rims.

Epic Portions bestowed its first annual EPIE Awards with much snark toward the losers, but Bourdain and No Res distinguished themselves in several categories.


Anthony Bourdain’s Packing Plastic

January 25, 2010

By Karen

Tonight on No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain visits Brittany. I wonder if he’ll be buying anything on credit?

Under the revealing subhead, “Things We Hate,” Food Network Humor lit into the blatant, poorly-executed plug for Chase’s Sapphire card during Bourdain’s visit last week to Istanbul, even speculating that a stunt hand was used to proffer the card.

Stunt hand, hell. The CARD was a blank phony!

I give Bourdain a pass on this because he’s obviously doing the bidding of his cruel masters. But any more gratuitous Sapphire shilling shoehorned into NR risks sending Bourdain’s cred down the crapper and turning the card into a running joke.

Travel Channel, you’ve been warned.

Personally, I think Tony would be wise to start endorsing products of his choosing in other venues. He’d get my attention during those annoying network breaks that keep getting longer and more frequent.

But I do have a “fish to fry” with Tony in Istanbul for calling those who recoil from beheaded marine life “punk-ass loser Americans.”

That would describe moi.

I’d try durian or haggis, but I draw the line at sucking a fish skull. This aversion may have originated while I swam in Lake Erie as a kid and found them floating all around me.

But in the end, I must say, “Touché, Tony.” I had it coming after some unkind things I’ve said about the lovely Ottavia. But now we’re even, so watch it. (Just kidding!)

Daily Blender reports on the fabulous Cayman Cookout. The welcome reception alone makes you understand why Bourdain blew off the Tasty Awards, even if he did have to temporarily don chef’s whites again. Tony’s pricey Hawaiian shirt also made an appearance, and he wrote about the Cookout himself.

The second episode of Alternate Universe, “Romania Rhapsody,” has arrived, and Tony reveals sides of Zimmern and Samantha Brown they’d never let us see on TV.

Bite Club Eats caught Bourdain’s appearance in Santa Rosa, California, on January 13 and provides some highlights.

Tony did a phone interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal before his January 22 appearance.

June 8 is the release date for his new book, Medium Raw, and it will retail for $26.99.

NOTE: The cats are running the show the rest of this week but cannot respond to comments. Being a ruthless computer despot with final approval over their writings is the only shred of control I have over them.

Where Isn’t Bourdain These Days?

January 18, 2010

By Karen

No Reservations visits Istanbul, Turkey, tonight. No advance showing was offered, but Wendy at Room 214 tells us Anthony Bourdain begins his visit with a hangover after over-indulging on the plane. (Tony, no! Such a rookie mistake!).

He samples the local cuisine, including a “throbbing missile of love” — meat on a stick — and tools around town with a freakishly knowledgeable cabbie named Ishaan.

Fine, but then Room 214 jumped the shark, offering bloggers an autographed Anthony Bourdain calendar for writing about this episode and sending the link and their mailing address to Wendy.

Quantities are limited, so post now!

Gentle Cats Working readers, I’ve never made a penny off this blog, and I’m not about to start shilling for Travel Channel for freebies. I know this wasn’t Tony’s idea, but I’m just saying, in case he ever wonders if I took the bait. No, I didn’t. I reserve the right to say later that I hated the episode, if necessary.

Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie was emcee for Bourdain’s January 12 Calgary appearance and wrote, bar none, the greatest, most personal and detailed account I’ve read yet of what Tony’s really like at these things. I’ve always imagined him highly pampered, surrounded by fawning toadies, but that’s not the case.

Here’s a great photo of Julie and Tony. He must have really liked her because he’s showing teeth, which he rarely does.

Kitchen Scraps got another photo of Bourdain’s at the Calgary book signing. Yup, the crewcut was a temporary aberration. Tony’s silver mane is back.

And the Calgary Herald interviewed the chef who cooked for Bourdain in Calgary. What’s this rumor that Tony won’t eat anywhere but in his hotel room?

Tony himself blogged last week about Panama and this and that, and asked for donations for one of Mario Batali’s employees who was horribly injured in a freak accident on a New York street.

I was thrilled to read that Bourdain intends to return to PARIS! That was my favorite NR episode ever.

Tony talked to Slashfood about NR’s new season and professed admiration for Ina Garten, with Giada de Laurentis coming in second.

Rebecca Langlais writes about Tony’s appearance in Lowell, Mass., on January 9.

Men’s Journal interviewed Bourdain for the Dec09/Jan10 issue, discussing a variety of things, including Tony’s attitude toward women.

Harvey Pekar, the offbeat comics writer who was featured in NR: Cleveland has nothing but fond memories of Tony at the end of this interview.

Uncouth Gormand attended the Tasty Awards in San Francisco on January 14 and reported that Bourdain was a no-show on his Person of the Year award, but filmed an acceptance speech and asked his producers to tell lots of dick and fart jokes. I’m thinking the Bourdains were already on their way to the (Grand) Cayman Cookout for the weekend. Can’t blame them.

Bourdain’s on the Road Again

January 11, 2010

By Karen

Season 6 of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations begins tonight in Panama. I saw it online last week and exclaimed almost immediately, “WTF! He got another one??!!

I’m talking tattoo — BIG tattoo — right forearm. Then his left forearm. They kept appearing and disappearing, keeping my eyes glued to them.

Their presence was explained by the end of the episode, but they sure wreaked havoc on continuity.

Season 6’s promo theme is, “Which will it be? Nice Tony or Evil Tony?” Is that supposed to allay fears that Bourdain’s gone soft?

His Web site got a face-lift and they managed to reformat the episode schedule to make it utterly useless. (Thumbs up on the season recaps, though.)

On January 9, Tony spoke in Lowell, Mass. Cats Working reader Cindy found this pre-show phone interview. Tony’s appearing on Ariane’s favorite show, Yo Gabba Gabba.

The profane Anthony Bourdain doing children’s TV. What next? An F-bomb-spewing Vic Chanko puppet on Sesame Street?

Tony is in Calgary, Canada, on January 12. The Calgary Herald got an e-mail interview.

On the 13th, Bourdain’s speaking in Santa Rosa, California. The Press Democrat phoned him and Tony confided a “grudging respect” for — are you ready? — Guy Fieri. He also said they plan to shoot NR in Rome in black and white with subtitles, like a Fellini film.

This coming weekend, he’ll be barefoot on the sands of Seven Mile Beach at the Cayman Cookout, but apparently not before accepting his Person of the Year honor in San Francisco January 14 at the Tasty Awards, hob-nobbing with Meryl Streep, who won an Outstanding Performance award for her amazing portrayal of Julia Child.

The Daily Fork gave Tony only honorable mention on its annual list of sexiest culinary celebs, while the burger-blowing Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef made #5. Must be a guy thing.

Tony discussed his evolving fan base before his appearance in Lakeland, Florida, on January 8. I like to think he oh-so-obliquely acknowledged the existence of the Cats Working ladies.

Blog of New Orleans scored an advance interview before Bourdain’s January 7 appearance there and somehow managed to make it dull.

Tony was in Portland, Maine, January 2 – in a snowstorm – eating seafood for a NR episode set to air April 12.

Bangor Daily News reported Bourdain enjoying hot dogs and beans in Milo, hometown of crew member Zach. They said Tony’s next stop is Cuba.

I’ve got to quit now. His January travel schedule has my head spinning, and he’s still got a few more stops to make.

TasteTV Names Anthony Bourdain “Person of the Year”

December 7, 2009

By Karen

TasteTV is rolling out the red carpet for Anthony Bourdain. He’ll receive a special achievement award as “Person of the Year” at the 2010 Tasty Awards on January 14, 2010.

No Reservations was nominated for Best TV Food Program – competing with 30 Minute Meals, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Man v. Food, Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, and Top Chef. You can cast a Viewer’s Choice vote in that category.

No Res is also in the running for Best TV Food Travel Series, and Bourdain as Best Male Host in a Series.

No telling if Tony will be at the ceremony because the Cayman Cookout on Grand Cayman begins the same day.

When Bourdain was in Denver on November 18, he ate elk, wild boar, and reindeer hotdogs at Biker Jim’s sausage cart, proclaiming them the “pinnacle of American food.” He then bought and wore the T-shirt to his appearance and proceeded to diss New York City street food.

Commenters at Midtown Lunch responded to Bourdain’s blasphemy.

Tony also talked more trash about Guy Fieri, particularly his hair. Not sure if it’s the spikes or the color that inspire his ire.

And just to prove that Bourdain’s whining about there being nothing but chicken wings and fried mozzarella in Denver was unjustified, a special order of bacon-cashew brittle was delivered to his hotel.

Asian Foodie saw Tony with David Chang at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York on November 23. She found Chang dull, his constant cursing notwithstanding, and Tony tame (maybe in a mellow mood for Thanksgiving?). But he bad-mouthed New York City food AGAIN.

Joseph Bayot did a very thorough write-up on this appearance, well illustrated with shots of Bourdain’s spikeless new ‘do.

For every fan who goes sour on Bourdain, it seems there’s always a new one waiting in the wings. Things I Learned Watching TV has decided that Tony isn’t a douche after all and is now a NR devotée.

And Hey, Coach J admits she has a crush on Bourdain, even though she thinks he’s got terrible taste in clothes.

Bourdain, Ray & Lee – Together Again

November 9, 2009

By Karen

Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of Anthony Bourdain’s first cruel TV master, the Food Network, bought a 65% controlling interest in the Travel Channel for $181 million, bringing Tony back into the fold. I hope all the FN butts of his jokes are kind to him.

Scripps also plans to launch a Cooking Channel, which Bourdain mocked in “Robo Chef,” the first episode of his Alternate Universe Web series.

Last week, Winnipeg Bob withheld one New York City photo from us. He snapped Tony on the wall of Katz’s Deli. Unfortunately, this was as close as they got.


(Photo - Winnipeg Bob)

On November 18, Bourdain is appearing in Denver, and Tony’s Market there is running a 50-word essay contest. The winner gets to make dinner for Bourdain and meet him face-to-face.

Confirming the opinion of Cats Working’s Finnish reader, Fanfromfaraway, here’s a bit about how Bourdain wows ‘em in Helsinki.

Domestica saw Tony in Des Moines on November 5, and her husband thinks Bourdain’s a misogynist. Could it be all those Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, and Alice Waters digs? Domestica also has something interesting to say about Andrew Zimmern.

The Michigan Daily caught up with Tony before his appearance in Ann Arbor on November 7 and had him suggest a resolution to the Pakistan/Afghanistan problem (it involves Chicken McNuggets) and name his favorite album (The Stooges’ Fun House).

Tubefilter considers Bourdain’s writing in Kitchen Confidential and Alternate Universeoverseasoned.” If it is, I like whatever spice Tony’s using.

January 14-18, 2010, marks the 3rd annual (Grand) Cayman Cookout. Tony will be there, hosting a beachside BBQ at Calico Jacks, which Eric Ripert calls, “the best dive bar in the world.” Seems fitting.

And of course, Cats Working readers Morgan and Cindy and yours truly are having our own brush with Bourdain on November 11 when he co-hosts the Capital Food Fight in Washington, DC. Stay tuned…

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