Cats at Ease

March 4, 2021

By Karen

My previous installment, which I was rather pleased with, turned out to be one of those, “If a tree falls in the woods” endeavors, in that:

If you post a blog entry and no one likes or comments on it, was it really worth your time to write it?

So I’ll keep it brief today. (I’m also slammed with paying work and just taking a quick break to maintain my blogging schedule.)

Last night, in an unexpected display of camaraderie, Roc snuggled down beside Max on the couch, and Max let him…

Max was only there because Tony was hogging Max’s usual bed. But with Roc at his back, Max couldn’t let himself snooze with both eyes closed and dashed back up to the Man Cave shortly after I snapped the photo.

And Tony always manages to pose in totally disproportionate ways, like here…

His tail and leg look far longer than his head size would dictate, not to mention those “Obama ears,” wouldn’t you agree?

Wait, never mind. Silly me, asking questions.

BONUS: The rights to Anthony Bourdain’s second novel, Gone Bamboo, have been sold to be developed into a scripted TV series set in the Caribbean (St. Martin, if they keep it accurate). The pilot has not yet been written and no network has offered to buy it, but fingers crossed the deal goes through. I loved Bourdain’s fiction.

In this paragraph from page one describing the protagonist, “Henry,” are you getting any familiar vibes? (Shit, there I go again. Forget I asked.)…

The other man at the table was tall, around six foot four, thin, and deeply tanned. He looked in his mid- to late forties, with long, dark brown hair, sun-bleached in spots and going to gray, tied back in a ponytail. He was dressed in faded blue jeans with holes in the knees and a loose-fitting long-sleeve T-shirt. He was wearing no socks or shoes, and even his feet were tan. In the dimly lit motel room, the darkness of his skin made his eyes and teeth and the gold hoop earring in his left ear flash unnaturally bright.

Bones to Pick with Bourdain

August 9, 2010

By Karen

In another new episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain shows us around Dubai for almost 5 minutes before plunging his fingers into mush that looks like vomit. Except for one scene in a deserted Gordon Ramsay restaurant where he wields a knife and fork, it’s finger food everywhere else, even if it has the consistency of sour cream.

My highlight is Bourdain on skis on a snowy slope manufactured from desalinated water in the Mall of the Emirates. His well-honed sense of the absurd also gets a good workout.

But I still can’t wait for him to get to Rome and Paris, where people don’t eat every meal like toddlers.

Must confess I finally abandoned The Best American Travel Writing of 2008, which Tony edited, due to its everywhere-but-Europe emphasis. I understood why he was drawn to the essays he picked, but enough’s enough.

I call “Bullshit!” on “Where it All Began” when Bourdain asserted he hardly considers writing a “craft” and has learned nothing about it because he just writes the way he talks.

Yeah, and all his first drafts are publishable.

Tony originally aspired to be a novelist with Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo. He had to know something about plotting, pacing, character development, dialogue, description, point of view. There’s much more to crime fiction than “writing the way you talk.”

Granted, he finally hit one out of the park with Kitchen Confidential, which he just called his first “real” book on his blog. Of the 7 books he’s produced since, 6 have been nonfiction (The Bobby Gold Stories is the exception).

But his next book will probably be a novel, since he’s got personal appearances here through at least February 2011 and the Vietnam book still seems iffy.

And now for my coup de grâce…

The other night I caught about 20 minutes of Samantha Brown in — guess where? — Vietnam. I hadn’t seen her in while, and she seems to be over her “Golly, gee, I’m just a dumb American, but ain’t everything lovely!” phase. She met people and tried things most tourists would probably never do. She ate bun cha, but didn’t dwell on it. Vietnam through her eyes seemed more appealing than Tony makes it.

There, I said it.

Tony and family have been enjoying some much-needed R&R in Italy, but there’s a little news…

Jonathan Sorof at The Improper Bostonian did an interview some time in June with Tony where I learned that Brussels sprouts are part of his Thanksgiving dinners. Yeecchhh!

Here’s the article and photos of the Bourdains in the July 5 People, in case you missed it. collected Bourdain’s best one-liners from “Where it All Began.”

Blogger Scott D. Parker did write a review of the Medium Raw audio book, which he devoured. Scott, just for the record, No Reservations’ 100th episode isn’t until September 6, and it will be in Paris, returning where Tony filmed the first episode. Travel Channel is advertising for tributes.

Village Voice reports that a panel of editors will select the finalists from which Bourdain will choose a winner in the Medium Raw essay contest, which is now up to 1,300 entries. He was checking the site and commented on a few in the beginning, but the chances of him reading your essay now seem pretty slim.

The New York Post, still referring to Les Halles as “Bourdain’s flagship brasserie,” reported that the restaurant received a B grade on a recent Health Department inspection for “evidence of mice, problems with plumbing and food left out unprotected from contamination.”

Bourdain Returns to “Where it All Began”

August 2, 2010

By Karen

Tonight’s new episode of No Reservations takes us back to 2000, when Anthony Bourdain was still working as a chef when he scored unexpected success with his book, Kitchen Confidential.

For the record, KC wasn’t his first book, but his third. Tony’s literary career began with two crime novels published in the 1990s: Bone in the Throat (1995) and Gone Bamboo (1997). I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Travel Channel posted a deleted scene from this episode where Tony talked about writing Typhoid Mary, and it includes his visit to the cemetery to leave her a “gift.” The Web wankers at TC incorrectly identify the book as a novel. It’s a biography, much more interesting than you might expect, and out of print, so it’s a collector’s item.

Eater published some of Tony’s best one-liners from last week’s episode in Kerala, India.

On September 6, Travel Channel will air No Res‘s 100th episode (in Paris), and they’re trolling for your congratulations and tributes on YouTube and Twitter.

The Medium Raw essay contest is still going strong, surpassing 1,200 entries.

CNN’s Eatocracy interviewed Tony. He talked about revisiting Beirut recently and revealed that 3-year-old Ariane is already a sophisticated restaurant patron, well-behaved and an adventurous eater. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s kids who scream and run amok in restaurants and the parents who let it happen.

Nose to Tail at Home describes meeting Bourdain at a book-signing in Austin, Texas, and his reasons for wanting Tony to autograph Fergus Henderson’s cookbook. (I didn’t read the whole blog, but gather he’s doing a male Julie & Julia thing.)

Tony participated in KCRW’s Guest DJ Project in Santa Monica. Here’s what he played and a transcript that shows he’s as eloquent talking about music as he is about food.

BONUS: My father found this undated photo of Tony in a Canadian magazine called Maclean’s with a write-up of Medium Raw, although the book wasn’t on Maclean’s bestseller list.

It's not easy to catch Bourdain over a barrel. (Photo - Maclean's)

What’s Wolfgang Puck’s Beef With Bourdain?

May 6, 2009

By Karen

Wolfgang Puck got a bit testy when Nancy Luna at Fast Food Maven brought up Bourdain’s humorous persona during a recent interview. She likened his reaction to mentioning Steve Jobs to Bill Gates. Puck retorted…

“But, does he have a successful restaurant?”

Luna had met Tony in Los Angeles in March and he told her his favorite fast food is an Animal-style burger from In-N-Out.

(Photo - NY Post)

(Photo - NY Post)

On May 4, Bourdain was scheduled to attend the “Oscars of the Food World,” the 2009 James Beard Awards, although I can’t find a photo. His bud Eric Ripert’s restaurant, Le Bernadin, won Best Wine Service. Tony wasn’t in the running this year, but in 2008, he was named to the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.”

A TV show and all those personal appearances must be reviving interest in Tony’s fiction-writing efforts. His 1997 second novel, Gone Bamboo, is being reissued on June 4. I highly recommend it.

Which reminds me… the other day Typhoid Mary disappeared from my Bourdain collection. After ransacking the house, I deduced it must have fallen behind the bookshelf. Whew! The only book I lack is the Les Halles Cookbook. I’m nurturing a fantasy of finding it cheap — yet in pristine condition — at some used bookstore.

Can anyone verify an upcoming No Reservations in Wales? Wales Online said Bourdain praised the cuisine after a “recent visit” there…

“Teeming with great raw ingredients, great chefs and terrific cheeses, Wales is well on its way to becoming a major food destination for gastro-tourists.”

In an undated post, Busted Flush Press describes yet another of those weird, brief encounters with Bourdain in Greenwich at the Nevermore Awards during Edgar Award week.

Curious about Tony’s daughter Ariane’s love for Yo Gabba Gabba!, I found the “Robot” episode On Demand last night, but could only get about halfway through it. Fatherhood has really turned Tony to mush if he’s built up a tolerance for that unintelligible crap. Children deserve better, much better.

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