Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Bourdain Thing

Saturday night, my friend TT and I traveled to Lowell to hear Anthony Bourdain speak. I shall pause while you all drool and swoon and squee. All set? OK.

Some of his speech I'd heard before, when he spoke at the Commonwealth Club (they have a pretty cool podcast) but much of it was new. He refrained from dissing Rachel Ray because they have a bit of a truce going now. Honestly, Rachel Ray annoys me a bit, but she seems like a good sport about all the flak she's taken over the years from Bourdain, so kudos to her for not getting into a knot over it.

He spoke about Sandra Lee *shudder* who creeps me right the fuck out - the story was very funny and very self-deprecating. He thinks Guy Fieri is a douche (true) and Adam Richman, of Man vs. Food, isn't getting paid enough for what he has to eat (also true).

What stuck with me the most was what he had to say about being a traveler and how awful most Americans are at it. I agreed with all of it - that you should avoid the restaurants where the tourists are, that you should try the local food; when in Jakarta, don't order gumbo. Eat what the locals are eating. Eat the street food. Try things you haven't tried before, go places that are off the beaten path and really experience the place. Stay away from tour groups.

He took a ton of questions from the audience. Most were predictable - what would your final meal be? (Bone marrow on toast.) What's the best restaurant to go to in city X, Y or Z? (Local places and street food.) But the audience was weird. People were yelling things out, random words and hollers came from every side of the auditorium throughout his speech. And several people tried to shill products to him, including, god help us all, a dessert hummus. (His answer? "Do I look like the kind of guy who eats hummus?") It was really odd.

Overall it was a good talk. Not mind-blowing or anything, but funny and entertaining and a nice way to spend a Saturday night, even if it was in Lowell.

And sadly, aside from a few people who rushed the stage, he didn't do autographs. My boobs, uh, I mean books, are Bourdain-signature-free.


Deb Rox said...

"Do I look like the kind of guy who does boobs?" Why yes, in fact, he does. He's such an ass I'm drawn to him, so I envy your odd night with Anthony. Too bad it wasn't in Jakarta, right? Next time.

Rachel said...


for a different kind of girl said...

He did a signing when he was here to speak, but you had to pay extra and, god love him, I'd already paid enough for the two tickets we bought, plus parking, to listen to him. His talk sounds a lot like the points he hit when he was here in November - and it was good, but was I blown out of the water? Meh. And this from someone who totally loves him! - and after more than an hour of audience questions, I looked at my husband and asked the time because I was ready to go.

But still, I'm loyal to the man who would squat on the dirty floor of Arctic eskimos and eat seal eyeball.

Opinionated Gifts said...

Whenever I travel I ask where do the locals eat. Don't take me to fucking Applebees.

Also, I loathe Rachel Ray with every fiber of my being. I want to know more about what he says about her.

Unknown said...

I bet he gets weird audiences every where!
I assume you are talking about Lowell, MA?

Anonymous said...

Yes God help you all it is Dessert Hummus! Don't bock at it until you try it. If you are truly a foodie and not just a wanta be then you would never down a dish without trying it first. I am the creator and maker of the dessert hummus. It was my partner that asked him about it. We new he would never go for it. Yet we could not lose the chance for him to hear about the product. Also it did get people talking about it. This is the third blog that people have mentioned the product. Smart advertisment if you aske me. So before you go yuk check it out at desserthummus.com It will be coming to a store near you soon. Crazy Camel Dessert Hummus!!!!!

Mindi Fried said...

Dear anonymous developer of Dessert Hummus,

Your product actually sounds good, yes, I did look at your website.

That said, you should learn to spell/use the following words correctly, if you are ever to be taken seriously as a business person:

>Balk, not bock - the former is a word, the latter, not.

>Knew vs. new - the former indicates foreknowledge, the latter indicates something not before seen - they are homonyms, not synonyms.

>Yuck vs. Yuk - while either word could work in your sentence, the first seems to be what you were going for, since Major Bedhead wasn't actually making fun of your product.

Really, at the risk of sounding like a grade school teacher, your grammar and syntax are atrocious and difficult to read.

And I'm not really sure why I'm even writing this, as I doubt that the person this is intended for will ever read it. However, bad grammar and spelling annoy me like nothing else, (and I'm pretty sure the Major had some words to say on the same topic recently), so consider this a chance to be annoyed constructively.