Bravo, Bourdain!

July 26, 2013

By Karen

I’ve been engrossed in a Dexter catch-up marathon, so I was watching people getting hacked to bits in the hours leading up to Anthony Bourdain’s debut as a talk show host, subbing for Piers Morgan.

Yet I was feeling a weird, elated anticipation at seeing Tony take on a new venue.

I don’t watch Morgan, and I was surprised to see a studio audience. But Tony’s personal appearance experience served him well and he didn’t let all those eyes in such close proximity rattle him. OK, his teleprompter reading seemed a tad stiff, but that’s a skill he’s never needed much.

I think I detected some underlying nervousness, and it was gratifying to watch him power through it.

First guests were David Carr from the New York Times and David Simon, whom Tony introduced only as creator of The Wire. Then I think he mumbled Simon was his boss on Treme, and Simon added he was Tony’s boss “too briefly.”

Somebody, tell me. Has the Treme gig ended? I don’t get HBO.

As they discussed legalizing drugs, I really appreciated Bourdain’s uncanny ability to know when to shut up and just listen.

He’s the Anti-Lauer.

Next topic was the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden. Tony neatly tied it to travel by asking, “Where would you rather spend the rest of your life? Venezuela or Russia?”

Simon said he’d never been to either country, so Tony offered, “Venezuela. You’ll eat much better there.”

That segment seemed a little uptight, with Tony reading pre-written questions, but at least he got the hard part out of the way first.

Then on came Tony’s besties, chefs Mario Batali and Eric Ripert. You could almost feel the room thaw.

I thought their assessment of whether the “hostile work environment” Paula Deen allegedly created in her restaurants was any worse than Gordon Ramsay’s behavior toward his staffs on TV (complete with video clip) took an excellent slant on that story.

Tony was totally in his element now, with no cue cards needed.

They also discussed Justin Bieber’s recent peeing into a restaurant kitchen mop bucket that had Tony up in arms on Twitter. Batali said he would “kick (Bieber’s) ass,” and Ripert pronounced it “drunk and stupid.”

Then they had a negroni, a concoction of Bombay gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Sounds disgusting to me, but I think of gin as liquefied Christmas tree.

Unfortunately, Batali and Ripert weren’t invited to the great cronut tasting. Tony brought out some guy from Grub Street and the cronut’s inventor, Dominique Ansel.

The audience got to taste a cronut and a DKA.

(Just Googled DKA. It’s “Dominique’s Kouign Amann,” a version of a Breton pastry that’s sort of a caramelized croissant. And Ansel’s website text has so many embarrassing mechanical errors, it SCREAMS for my day-job proofreading services.)

But anyway, Tony, who’s on record for hating sweets, had never tasted a cronut. He LOVED it, and the DKA. The audience was split, so no clear preference was established.

I’ve been thinking writing is his only fall-back for later career, but now I can see Bourdain hosting a talk show about travel and food (in that order). But not like The Chew. More sophisticated, geared to well-traveled viewers.

He’s got a quick, dry wit, and you never know what’s coming out of his mouth next. And he can harness the profanity. I don’t think he had to be bleeped once. He’s also got the inventiveness to take a done-to-death story like Paula Deen and turn it on its ear. Not to mention he’s not exactly hard on the eyes.

Bourdain, congratulations! Cats Working gives you 12 paws up. You hit this one out of the park, and we hope more opportunities like it start rolling in.


Is Paula Deen a Racist?

June 24, 2013

By Karen

Paula Deen’s upbringing finally caught up with her. In a deposition for a $1.2 million lawsuit filed against her and her brother Bubba for creating a hostile work environment at their restaurant, Paula answered yes, “of course,” she had used the N-word in the past, as if to say, “Well, hasn’t everybody?”

Paula’s career is built on being a proud product of the South, parts of which are still butt-hurt over the Civil War. Being compelled to stop owning what they lovingly called “N-words” still rankles. And with good reason.

TODAY’s Richmond Times-Dispatch published 3 articles with “Civil War” in the headline. In fact, one of them is a DAILY feature that re-reports the Confederacy’s glory days.

But all bigots aren’t Southerners. My Italian grandmother, who spent her life in Massachusetts (and later years in Florida), always called blacks the N-word. She also hated the French and Jews, although I seriously doubt she ever knew any of them in any meaningful way.

She must have picked up all that racist bullshit from her parents. Just like Paula Deen probably did.

Back in 1972 when I moved to Virginia, I worked at J.C. Penney’s. Forty years later, I still vividly recall a white-haired Paula Deen type who, upon seeing a cute young white girl come up the escalator with a black boy, turned and whispered to me, “I’d like to push her right down those stairs!”

Over the years, black men have asked me for dates a few times, but I always turned them down. It’s just safer. I don’t want anybody feeling tempted to push me down an escalator.

So now Food Network isn’t renewing Deen’s contract, and her advertisers are having second thoughts.

Where was all this outrage after we found out Paula was flat-out trying to kill people with recipes SHE, as a closet diabetic, knew could be lethal?

All these entities turning on Paula now should be ashamed of their belated shock. Anyone can take one look at Deen and her whole redneck family and see you probably don’t have to scratch deep to find some festering Southern ugliness.

But I don’t think Deen would ever choose to be a racist. She’s been conditioned by her culture.

Paula reminds us all that, in spite electing a black president TWICE, racism still thrives. Republicans out to sink Obama no matter what the consequences for the country, and Deen’s loyal fans who are screaming, “What’s the big deal? Bring Paula back!” are just further proof of it.

This country can’t be cleansed for at least a few more generations, and only then if our leaders and people who should know better stop spewing mindless poison.

A few weeks ago, a Southern friend told me how a drunk woman in a bar hit on my friend’s husband, assaulted my friend, and then got herself arrested.

My friend called the woman the N-word.

Later in the conversation, my friend was incredulous when I mentioned I’d worked on Obama’s campaign. Yet she couldn’t give me any good reason she preferred Romney (other than, I suspect, his color).

This was a side of her I’d never really seen before — in 30+ years. But it’s there.

We all have it, to some degree, I’m sad to say. I bet there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at some point avoided someone “other-looking” because that stranger made them uncomfortable.

Right now, George Zimmerman is on trial in Florida for killing a black teenager named Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s defense team has been dredging up dirt from Trayvon’s life to make the case that Trayvon needed killing for something. That way, Zimmerman’s a hero, not a gun-toting weirdo trolling for trouble.

This is how racism thrives.

BONUS: Watch Paula’s attempts to muster a sincere apology to her fans.


Trying to Keep Up with Bourdain

June 18, 2012

By Karen

After so many years of following him as relatively obscure, niche cable star, with Cats Working the worldwide destination for the scoop long before he became a fixture at Eater and Grub Street, it’s gratifying to see Anthony Bourdain finally reach critical mass. Lately, it seems, you can’t swing a cat without hitting him.

I must be recovering from my Bourdain overload, because I must confess that all his new endeavors are piquing my curiosity like a fresh catnip mouse.

Once again, Travel Channel has suspended No Reservations in mid-season, but Tony’s kept himself busy shooting The Layover (in Paris and Dublin he’s tweeted — Yes!!) and making the media rounds to talk up his new shows on CNN and ABC (both of which are still unnamed) and his upcoming graphic novel, Get Jiro!, in general release July 3.

Before I again make the mistake of letting some good links stack up and go stale, here are my latest for whatever Bourdainiac readers I have left…

Tony wrote an extremely uncharacteristic and personal guest blog for Bon Appetit about his father’s influence on him. Pierre Bourdain died of a heart attack at age 57 (Tony will be 56 on June 25). It’s illustrated by many new-to-us childhood photos, courtesy of Tony’s mother Gladys.

Bloody Elbow got a lengthy interview with Tony and Ottavia, published as part 1 and part 2. We learn that one of Ottavia’s favorite snacks is tuna packed in oil with pickled onions. Lupetto the cat probably can’t begin to compete with her tuna breath.

Tony reveals in this interview that he and I basically agree on NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to ban enormous sodas, and for the same reasons.

Tony did a personal appearance on June 9 in Brooklyn, and Food Republic captured the highlights. I learned that Paula Deen’s also a shill for Serta mattresses. Who knew, and why? Maybe they lured her in with their “soy-infused poly foam core,” which sounds like a concoction from Top Chef.

In case you missed Tony talking to Jimmy Fallon on June 8, here’s the video. Fallon completely overlooked the latest-breaking news that day, which was Bourdain’s ABC show with Nigella Lawson, and Tony didn’t bring it up.

And last, Tony talked to the NY Times about his gigs on CNN and ABC and publication of the graphic novel all hitting at the same time.


Bourdain to Jump Ship to CNN

May 29, 2012

By Karen

I haven’t written about Anthony Bourdain lately because No Reservations is leaving me meh, but attention must be paid to today’s announcement that No Res is wrapping up after current Season 8 and he’ll be leaving Travel Channel after filming one more season of The Layover. In 2013 he’ll begin a Sunday prime-time series on CNN and become a domestic and international commentator.

Here at Cats Working, we’ve been saying for a long time that he’s too good for TC, but I’m not sure CNN is good enough for Bourdain. What do you think?

This just in (5/30): The CNN arrangement calls for Bourdain to produce 8 shows in 2 seasons each year, or a total of 16 episodes. Will an 8-week “season” be enough to  hook viewers so they’ll remember to return 6 months later for more? Hmmm…

Bizarre Food’s Andrew Zimmern, who’s been lately talking like Bourdain’s mini-me, must be giddy at the prospect of inheriting Tony’s crown as the “grand old man” of TC.

CNN’s news release describes Tony’s as-yet-unnamed program as one that “will be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals.”

I certainly hope this implies something more substantive than another opportunity for Tony to globe-trot, eat, drink, and shoot his mouth off.

Will CNN try to rein in Bourdain’s tendencies to stir up controversy? At last weekend’s Great GoogaMooga Festival in Brooklyn, Tony talked about doing unspeakable (if well-deserved) things to Dick Cheney and expressed a desire to soak an Olive Garden in gasoline so he could burn it to the ground over its pasta-cooking techniques.

Apparently, he’s forgotten the heartfelt review of the new Grand Forks Olive Garden that got him so misty-eyed, he handed a publishing deal to its 85-year-old author that’s probably doomed to produce a book to make Garrison Keillor seem like a pornographer in comparison.

Gothamist did a good job of putting Tony’s kind gesture into its proper Photoshopped perspective.

Tony’s long-awaited graphic novel, Get Jiro! is finally coming out July 3.

And someone is adapting his first novel, Bone in the Throat, into a movie.

Bourdain received an honorary Clio Award on May 15. I congratulate him, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the rationale behind it.

I’d say Bourdain’s career has hit critical mass. Like Paula Deen, whatever he touches, whether past, present or future, is destined to turn to gold.

Speaking of Paula, Tony tried to clarify that he objects to her misleading fans and profiting richly from diabetes, while Paula and her kids disingenuously spin it that Bourdain blames her for having diabetes.

BONUS…

A few other things I’ve collected that may interest you:

Tony told Eater he’s still considering the year-in-Vietnam book, but opened the possibility of relocating it to Italy. YES, YES! Eater “gets” Tony, and their interview is well worth reading. In 2 parts.

Here are the first batch of books Tony has chosen to publish under his new Ecco imprint.

Ottavia’s become a celebrity in her own special niche. Here’s are some links to video interviews on how she got into MMA.


A Bourdain Catch-Up Marathon

February 16, 2012

By Karen

I’ve got a pile of Bourdainia stacked up, so let’s sift through and see what’s worth sharing…

Travel Channel just announced No Reservations Season 8 (yes, 8 – TC apparently forgot they tried to fob S7 off on us as two distinctly separate events) begins on Ariane’s 5th birthday, April 9.

Destinations include:

  • Austin, TX
  • Baja, Mexico
  • Burgundy region of France
  • Croatian coast
  • Emilia–Romagna region of Northern Italy
  • Finland
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lisbon
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Sydney

France, Italy, and Portugal, great, but I’m most looking forward to Finland. Tony told somebody recently he’s trying to overcome his distaste for orderly countries.

The rest, meh.

In the meantime, TC has given Tony’s usual 9 p.m. Monday slot to new episodes of Bizarre Foods, which must have Andrew Zimmern feeling “King of TC” is almost within his grasp.

On April 10, Bourdain will be TCM’s guest programmer, watching and discussing with host Robert Osborne such classics as The Searchers and Eyes Without a Face. This link also has his Oscar picks. I think he was swinging from way out in left field to claim Midnight in Paris is elitist. I saw it twice, don’t recall Djuna Barnes being mentioned, and STILL don’t know who it is.

This goes back to the NR Christmas special, but Broward Palm Beach New Times got a nice little video of Tony griping about the Travel Channel — complete with a foul cat simile.

Speaking of cats, he did it again in the San Francisco Layover episode, in the Hotel Fairmont tiki bar: “If you have no love in your heart for this place, you are a sick, twisted, lonely fuck with too many cats.”

In case you missed that one, Eater.com posted the best one-liners.

Rachael Ray talked about Bourdain with A.V. Club. It’s in the middle of the page, including, “Everybody has a right to their opinion, and quite frankly, there probably isn’t too much Tony has said about me over the years that wasn’t true… if you were Tony.”

Paula Deen should take notes.

Speaking of dear Paula, I wonder if Tony will be appearing on Fox any time soon after they used her announcement of Type 2 diabetes (and $$$ deal to shill for a drug company), along with some misinformation from TMZ, as an excuse to take a few big dumps on Bourdain.

One was titled, “Anthony Bourdain is a Moron,” with video where Fox talking heads refuse to pronounce his name correctly and act as if Tony calling himself “Bore-dane” is some twisted affectation on the spelling.

On the other hand, those phonetically-challenged bozos do think “Boehner” spells BAY-ner.

And in a second attack they called him an “elitist” displaying “Northern snobbery.”

New York magazine elicited many one-liners from Bourdain. Cole and Max were thrilled to learn that Tony also loves his man cave.

Men’s Journal got a meaty sit-down (in a NYC bar) interview with Tony.

Tony did a Q&A with Vanity Fair about vacationing in Ottavia’s neck of the woods in Italy, where he loves to devour Italian gossip magazines and TV game shows.

Apparently, Travel Channel has jerked Andrew Zimmern’s leash up short, keeping him in the U.S. for his next season. This article at South Coast Today provides an interesting analysis of Zimmern and Bourdain’s respective schticks.

Bourdain and Eric Ripert did their Good vs. Evil thing in Austin (where Tony’s filming NR in March — has TC clipped his leash, too?). Who knew Eric harbors a grudge against John McEnroe?

The Cynical Girl saw Bourdain and Ripert in Raleigh, NC, which inspired her to write, “Anthony Bourdain is Such a Piece of Shit.” If what she says about his note-reading delivery is true, he must have really been having an off night.

Here’s a 30-minute video from Reddit that apparently was recently unlocked for general viewing. Tony answers questions directly to the camera, and it’s about as close to conversation with him as it gets.

And Ottavia hasn’t been exactly hiding in a corner all this time…

The Genuine Kitchen got Ottavia to discuss why she loves for Amaretto Di Saronno as she was leaving the Cayman Cookout in January.

She also gave an interview to FightChix about — well, guess. If you’ve ever wanted to see more of her tongue, this is your chance!


Bourdain’s Back on the Road

October 26, 2011

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain kicked his personal appearances back into high gear last week. Here’s what I’ve found on his near-upcoming schedule…

October

26 Charlotte, NC*
27 Dallas, TX
28 San Diego, CA
29 Vancouver
30 Charlottesville, VA*
31 NYC for Halloween?

November

2 Philadelphia, PA*
3 Portland, ME*
4 Cleveland, OH
5 Asheville, NC
10 Washington, DC
Food Fight

* “Good vs. Evil” with Eric Ripert

Bourdain told the San Jose Mercury News that his appearances have a new format, with lots of fresh material and video clips from his TV shoots. If you’ve seen him in person before, it sounds like he’s worth checking out again. I’m eager to start seeing bloggers weighing in on these appearances.

I didn’t know he was going to be in Charlottesville with Ripert until just the other day when Ripert tweeted something. When I checked into it, it was sold out.

In other news…

Rachael Ray told Joy Behar that she has invited Bourdain on her show in November, and said nice things about him. I haven’t seen whether he has accepted.

At the NYC Wine & Food Festival earlier this month, Bourdain’s Mini-Me, Andrew Zimmern, jumped into the fray and covered Tony’s back in his tussle with Paula Deen over what’s wrong with her cooking.

Speaking of the Festival, Cats Working’s own MorganLF was there, and hung out in the audience with Ottavia while Tony was on stage doing his thing.

Bourdain gave an interview about his literary side to the Los Angeles Times.

In case you missed it, here’s a 5-minute video of Ottavia talking about MMA. She says practicing the sport allows her to eat 3,000-4,000 calories a day, mostly meat and veggies.

And here’s a pretty funny video of Eric Ripert visiting Costco with Alan Richman.

On The Chew, Michael Symon responded to Bourdain’s snarky comments about the show.

The Vancouver Sun touched base with Tony on all the things he’s been doing lately. Mildly interesting.

Sandra Lee talked to Harper’s Bazaar (or in her case, Bizarre) and said about Bourdain’s snipes at her, “I think he makes it up, cause nobody can be that nasty.” The article was accompanied by several photos of Lee as a culinary sex goddess.

In case you missed Ottavia’s Twitter link, Tony’s interviewing really hit the big leagues now with one featured in Playboy.

For Bourdain’s appearance in Dallas on October 27, a blogger with D Magazine got screwed out of a pre-interview because it wouldn’t appear in print, and somehow Tony found out and contacted her to rectify the matter.

Tony also shared a list of his favorite cooking shows with Grub Street.

And on a final note…

I’ve been suffering through the non-stop padding and commercials on Dancing with the Stars (which ABC won’t let you bypass even On Demand) just to see Chaz Bono and JR Martinez dance, and can’t help thinking of what “might have been” if Bourdain had agreed to do the show. If they’d blessed him with a tall partner, women would have swooned over his waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango, and paso doble. But I can’t see him getting into the jive or Latin dances.

Anyway, Eater.com Photoshopped Bourdain into a series of DWTS “what if” pics. If you missed them, they are PRICELESS.


Catching Up with Bourdain

September 6, 2011

By Karen

No Reservations Season 7 (7 ½?) just wrapped, after a bizarre mid-season do-over of the “big Season 7 premier” to hype the Cuba episode, just as the REAL Season 7 opener Travel Channel tried to sweep under the rug months earlier, Haiti, was earning several Emmy nominations. Way to go, TC!

Bourdain ended up making a few destination tradeoffs, skipping the Congo, Yemen, and Memphis in favor of Chernobyl, Kurdistan, and New Orleans.

No complaints here. Zamir’s always a treat, and I’d rather see Tony get a clean, invisible nuking than chewed up and mauled by bat-sized bugs and crocs on some fetid river through a slimy jungle.

Speaking of New Orleans, I had to leave the room before he popped that pig full of lead. OK, call me a hypocrite because I love pork, but I’ve never eaten it right after looking into its eyes. And why does he always have to rub it in by goofing around with the severed head?

I didn’t see anybody using Pam to cook the fried chicken and other local specialties Bourdain wolfed down. This show airing on the heels of his dust-up with Paula Deen seemed particularly unfortunate.

If somehow you missed it, Tony told TV Guide that Paula Deen is the “most dangerous person to America” for her unhealthy dishes, that her food “sucks,” and several other jugular-aimed zingers.

Paula responded on Fox News that Tony should “get a life,” and Time magazine wrote that she cited “being irritated” as Bourdain’s biggest contribution to America. On the other hand, she did graciously extend him an open invitation to drop by for dinner, and I bet she could cuss him under the table stone-cold sober.

I feel certain Tony didn’t realize he picked at the longstanding chip on the South’s shoulder when he dissed Deen, but he did semi-back down in an interview with NPR’s Leonard Lopate, saying he didn’t mean to sound so personal, crass, and nasty.

Condemning vegans is one thing because Tony walks the walk, but after years of stuffing deep-fried everything, tubular mystery meats, and cream-and-mayo-slathered street junk and haute cuisine alike into his cake-hole, while coasting by on this souped-up junkie/smoker metabolism and a height (6’4”) that could carry another hundred pounds before his neck starts disappearing, criticizing grease-based Southern-style cooking seemed over the top, even for him.

Makes you wonder whom he’ll target next. Alcoholics, perhaps?

The backlash against Bourdain was immediate and, sadly, caused his basic, valid point about obesity to be lost. I read many of the take-downs (including Frank Bruni’s op-ed piece in the New York Times), but I thought the most thoughtful one came from Jessica Levine at AnnArbor.com.

You’ve probably heard that Travel Channel gave Bourdain a second show — 10 hour-long episodes called The Layover. It’s supposed to debut Monday, November 21, at 9 p.m., so mark your calendar. Tony and his crew returned to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Rome, Montreal, and Amsterdam to film it.

Let’s hope TC lets Layover gain some traction before yanking it after a few episodes until everyone forgets about it, then resurrecting the remnants in mid-2012 like they’re something brand-new.

In this new endeavor, TVbythenumbers described Tony as a “contemporary cultural anthropologist,” which makes him sound a lot classier than his usual tag: “former chef and bad boy.”

On other fronts …

Anthony Bourdain will be a guest character on The Simpsons’ next season. Check out his cartoon persona here. For some reason, it’s circa 1995.

Sophia Chang has designed Bourdain destination posters. You can see a few of them here and here.

Tony’s wrote a sweet letter to Josh Homme’s daughter, Camille, after the U.S. Desert NR to explain why he smashed Daddy’s guitar against a tree. You can just imagine what his conversations with Ariane must be like. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

And here’s a picture of Tony with Cole’s celebrity friend, Lupetto Bourdain, that received 6 paws up at Cats Working, even though Lupetto complained the photographer’s angle made him look chunky.

(Photo - Ottavia Bourdain, with permission)

Cole and Max asked me to include this message to Paula Deen and her fans:

“Any man who loves black cats can’t be all bad.”


America’s Real “Most Dangerous Person”

August 23, 2011

By Adele

Anthony Bourdain’s in the soup for calling Paula Deen “the worst, most dangerous person to America,” but he overlooks an even more insidious influence. This bitch is so arrogant, so demeaning and demonic, she fluffs my tail and make me hiss whenever I see her.

I just caught the demon on Finding Sarah, that bizarre OWN reality series Sarah Ferguson’s financial desperation drove her to do.

I’m not talking about Fergie. She’s a hot mess, but lovable, even if she raised children with no fashion sense.

I’m talking about Suze Orman.

Apparently, Sarah, who was teetering on bankruptcy, was forced to spend 2 days with the she-devil because Sarah’s projects and endorsements went Poof! after News of the World scammed her into selling access to Prince Andrew to make news.

Orman began by berating Sarah for letting Andrew be her “cushion.” He lets her stay at his place occasionally.

Orman asked, “What’s it feel like to be dependent?” “Do you really want to be successful?”

Then the bitch proceeded to spew impractical platitudes…

“Finding Sarah means taking your power and not doing something just to fulfill a contract or a commitment.”

Suze, you idiot. That’s called “having a job,” which Sarah could use.

“Your key is not to rush.”

Suze, impending bankruptcy comes with a sense of urgency.

Tell yourself, “I’m going to only have people in my life… that help me find me.”

“When you owe somebody money, it’s is my distinct belief that it’s not about the money. It’s about what is the lesson you have to learn about yourself that the problem with money is showing you.”

Suze, do you read the paper? Do you think millions of flat-broke unemployed people, with no healthcare, facing foreclosure, and eating only by the grace of food banks are interested in “learning lessons about themselves?”

Poor Sarah sat there and took it, probably feeling an inch tall. Then Orman went for the kill, proclaiming, “I have a crush on myself!”

If I could have leaped through that screen and shredded her for Sarah, I’d have done it.

There isn’t a more egomaniacal woman on TV, including Palin and Bachmann. Suze Orman learned about finance working for such beloved institutions as Merrill Lynch and Prudential Bache. She’s been parting suckers from their money with her worthless money advice ever since, and every dollar she rakes in feeds her bloated sense of self-importance.

I’d like to see Paula Deen become Suze Orman’s nutritionist.


“No Reservations” Season 7: Bourdain is Back

February 28, 2011

By Karen

The long drought is over. Anthony Bourdain travels to Haiti, where he meets Sean Penn trying to help the people recover from the earthquake. Travel Channel’s Room214 is MIA, so I didn’t get a sneak peak, but here’s the promo…

BONUS: Tony will be tweeting live @NoReservations during the episode. And remember, the new time slot is 9 p.m. ET.

The Bourdains just attended the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and returned to Miami Ink (where Tony got his skull tattoo and we got our first glimpse of Ottavia). This time, they got matching body art — a hissing snake. The Daily Mail published a great series of photos. And here’s a brief video of Tony under the needle.

All I can say is, when you can’t check out your wife’s new tat without your reading specs, you’re probably too old to be doing that stuff.

Rolf Potts at Gadling did a masochistic experiment to go “Around the World in 80 Hours (of Travel TV)” by watching Travel Channel. I only mention it because he ends his 5-part blog series discussing the NR Tex/Mex episode and how Bourdain personifies how good the Travel Channel could be (if it weren’t such a commercial-riddled crap-fest).

According to this Delaware Online recap, Tony outed himself himself as a cat person in Wilmington on the 22nd. Good work, Lupetto (Bourdain’s cat) and thank you! That should get certain felines around here who think my Bourdain posts make me a blog hog off my back.

During the Boston Phoenix interview about the NR episode Tony recently filmed there and his upcoming March 4 appearance with Eric Ripert, Tony called B.R. Myers “the asshole in the Atlantic,” while conceding that his anti-foodie article was well-written. Well, DUH! Myers quoted Tony.

The Dallas Observer thinks Jamie’s Food Escapes with Jamie Oliver on Cooking Channel may give Bourdain some stiff competition. The travel/food format is similar, but Jamie also cooks. If you want to check it out, it’s on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

And now, Top Chef All-Stars

Paula Deen took Tony’s place for last week’s Southern cooking challenges, which was probably a blessing. Tony declared North Carolina BBQ his favorite in the March issue of Budget Travel for its “purity” of being seasoned only with vinegar, salt, and pepper.

I’ve eaten a lot of NC BBQ living here in the South, and more often than not, its only saving grace is that big bottle of red BBQ sauce on the table because it’s so dry, you need lots of lubrication to choke it down.

Anyway, mustard was the undoing of one of my favorites, Dale. Now only Carla and Tiffany are left, although Tiffany has started to annoy me and I’ve developed soft spots for Antonia and Richard.

Mike is another story. Talk about your stereotypical Jersey scumbag (apologies to Morgan!). A few weeks ago, he shared his aversion to helping his competition, but he topped that in the latest Quickfire by hijacking a chicken oyster idea Richard had shared with him. Even worse, he WON $5K and, with a big smirk, gave Richard credit for “inspiring” him.

With that, Mike joined the ranks of every unscrupulous creep who has ever not deserved to win a reality show, beginning with Richard Hatch on Survivor: Season 1.

Thank God Richard prevailed by winning the Elimination Challenge and a trip to Barbados.

Tony didn’t blog for Bravo last week because he was at the SoBe Festival, but Bravo claimed a few days later that he was in Connecticut. Now I’m wondering if Tony’s messing with them by lying about his whereabouts. (He was speaking in Connecticut the night Top Chef aired on the 23rd, but probably didn’t get back to his hotel in time to see it.)

Max Silvestri wrote another great recap on Eater.

A new satiric series called Foodies is coming to the Web March 9 at www.freefoodies.com. It looks interesting, and I’ve marked my calendar to check it out.


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