Anthony Bourdain

Year in Review – The Other Shit

Editors Note – I am not sure when I am going to publish this post. But in order to give a you proper understanding of my next statement today is the day that the President walked out of the Boarder wall/Government Shutdown meeting with Democrats.

Damn I miss that Anthony Bourdain isn’t here anymore. I could really use his commentary on current administration and his thoughts on immigrants coming into this country.

We lost a bunch of good people this past year. We lost Maddy our beloved Monkey Head, who would have told me that 4 months gone we still miss that fluff ball. I will get to that later but we also learned a bunch of new things about ourselves and we saw a bunch of cool stuff living here in the North East. Let’s dive in shall we?

Music and Shows are always big on our radar. We went to more Losers Lounge Shows than I care to think about. Tribute to Barbara Streisand was a good one. The Last Waltz was so-so, but we enjoyed the shit out of the Disco Cruise around the Hudson with the band. We also saw some concert shows this past year. Thanks to a certain someone who po-po’d on a ticket Mary Louise got to see “The Piano Man” from a suite. We caught Phil Collins at the Barclays and listened to some Elvis Impersonators on Long Island Off the beaten path we got to see the Airshow on the middle of Jones Beach for Memorial Day. Mary Louise also got to see some Broadway shows; Frozen, Waitress, One on this Island with different friends. I would be remiss to say that I saw David Byrne this year. Still one of the better shows I ever saw. Yes I said that again.

We had a bunch of different friends come up and see us too. We got to hang out with LoveBug one weekend and had a blast with her. But we can’t forget when EGP and Cali rolled into town and attended Slavic Easter Sunday Mass with us. Northwest Arkansas came over one weekend and we even had our favorite Venezuelan make an appearance while we were in the city on a Sunday. Our former dog & house sitters came to town and we got to see some Memphis BBQ guys roll into town one weekend. The invitation is always open to come see us. We have 2 hotels very close to us if you have to stay close to our joint in Brooklyn.

We explored our new neighborhood of Downtown Brooklyn and found a whole bunch of new Dive Bars to frequent. By the way, and I have said it before; Moving in New York really sucks. The good news is that we are in our new home and we really enjoy living here. Of course the Muphranks have accused us separately of being bad influences. I will just say that it isn’t our fault that the mixologists at a couple of Park Slope bars over-serve patrons. We also went to the Rose Mansion this summer with Z(squared) and I even enjoyed it (just don’t tell anyone) but didn’t take a selfie there.

Sadly we said goodbye to some really good people this past year. Yes the loss of Anthony Bourdain is still a shock to me. But what it really does is cry out to people that on the exterior people may have their shit together but inside they need help. You can never know so here is my advice. Be good to people. Don’t be a dick. You have absolutely every right to disagree about politics but you don’t have to make it personal and attack people’s character. Stop and think about what you say or about to tweet. If you are a bully then you should automatically get to have your nuts kicked in. End of story.

Maddy hated it when ML’s got the outfits out. We sure do still miss her.
Donahue’s Doppelganger singing at Losers Lounge
Had a lot of fun with this knucklehead.
Jones Beach for the Airshow with the Muphranks
Elvis on Long Island
David Byrne at Kings Theater
The Gang at Phil Collins
Rocking the Hudson
Graduate with your Masters from NYU, Start a new job, Move to Brooklyn, Keep your shit together during it all – She is a fucking Rock Star!
We miss you Poppy!
On the 2/3 train you will travel by Franklin Street. God Bless the MTA as they put “Respect” signs as you travel by the stop.
A Fort Greene Gem I tell you!
Forgot about seeing Alan Cummings too! Also not a fan of our current Commander in Chief
The Royal Palms Shuffleboard is in the hood too!
A Brooklyn Dive Bar – Dimly lit bar, cash only, Tabs are considered a diet drink from the late 80’s
She swam over to see us!
Since Mary Louise occasionally travels on Sunday I find myself hanging with these two on Sunday Funday.
Our new place is kinda cool. We have an outdoor theater
Pay no attention to those glasses on the table.

Have a good day and remember what I said earlier; Don’t be a Dick!

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In Memoriam – Anthony Bourdain

We all can recall what we were doing when we found out when Elvis Died. How about when we found out that Princess Diana was killed in the car crash. What about John-John Kennedy when he and his wife were killed in the plane crash? Well this past Friday I know what I was doing when I found out that Anthony Bourdain died. It was as I was getting ready to head out the door to head into the city and I got that text from my fellow chef stalker GrainBinGirl. 5 minutes later I got a text from Pepe with the same information.

First thoughts were – No way, not Bourdain. I clicked on the CNN link and the worst was confirmed. If you have ever read this worthless dribble of a blog you know that I have huge ass man crush on Bourdain. His writing, his stories, his love of exploring different cultures and naturally his love of food and drink were things that I envied. I read all of his books cover to cover. I binge watched No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown ad nauseum. When he went on tour I bought the damn tickets. Like I said, I loved that man and wanted to be just like him.

Now he is gone and a huge hole is in the hearts of millions of people and his fans. I have read pretty much every tribute to him. Watched the CNN memoriam and it still is unbelievable that I won’t ever get a chance to drink a beer with him in one of the many dive bars here in the city. Much less watch him visit my hometown, do a show on it and probably say something that will probably piss off half of twitter. KC Jayhawk was very bitter when he did the show on Kansas City.

While reading some of the comments on twitter I recall someone saying that the best way to honor Bourdain was to act like him. Go visit an unfamiliar place, order something that you have never tried before, and ask a complete stranger about their life. I know that Tony probably didn’t agree with everyone that he met along his journey but he respected them, he got to hear their side of the story and he grew from it. This is what made his shows so fucking good.

IMG_3380Never in a million years would I imagine that I would see this tribute on “the pass” at Per Se.

IMG_3393I don’t know why I made it a point to swing by the shuttered Les Halles yesterday but I had to. Deep down I know that this probably pisses Bourdain off because he wasn’t a fan of fame but people need closure.

IMG_3394To read some of the notes is a testament to how much he was loved by all walks of life, cultures and people.

IMG_3395I could have spent hours reading these but the crowd was rather large today.

IMG_3396Lots of flowers and cards

IMG_3398It is impressive to say the least. Like Graceland or Morrison’s grave impressive

IMG_3399Puts a smile on my face seeing this tribute

IMG_3401All kinds of stuff being left for his memorial

This one is going to hurt for a while. Condolences to his family, his friends and his fans.

Operation Ripert

You have heard me reference my fellow chef stalker AT in some previous posts. She, like me, is a foodie who is not afraid of plunking down some cash for a fancy meal. Back a couple years ago when my man crush, Anthony Bourdain, did his tour she was quick to purchase us tickets for Nashvegas and then Memphis. We attended the event and yes you probably have seen the pics of us with Bourdain in our Facebook pictures. She for the longest time was one up on me as she got to meet one of my other French Chef Gods, Eric Ripert. Well that shit changed last Wednesday.

Ripert just penned a book about his childhood and growing up to become a very young line cook in the critically acclaimed La Tour d’Argent in Paris. Here a string bean armed 17 year old cut his teeth or as I refer to it, became a man working in a French Kitchen. If you have never been a restaurant employee this next part may be a tad boring for you. When I graduated from the University I got a job as a busboy in Memphis’ acclaimed Chez Phillipe in the Peabody Hotel. The kitchen was run by Jose Gutierez who is a very well respected chef in Memphis. Jose was French, his sous chef was French, the Fish chef was Spanish, and the Garde Manager (salad & dessert chef) was from 110th street in Harlem. To say that there was some verbal abuse is an understatement. It was in this environment that I learned humility, self control and two words that I would say at least 100 times a night “Yes Chef!”  I learned how to operate under stress, how to stay focused and all the time while Chef was screaming at me “Hey Blondie, will you move your ass!”  Oh and thank God I wasn’t the worst one, poor back waiter JV took more abuse than any of us. I look back on this time as a great learning experience to become humble and learn respect. I, much like Ripert (stop laughing AT) went to work at another French Restaurant in Memphis and worked under the mad scientist Gene Bjorklund. Thankfully I got my first R.J. (Real Job) and went to working days.

Enough about me, Eric Ripert in his book, said that while working at La Tour d’Argent he cut himself, screwed up Béarnaise turning it into scrambled eggs and this was his first day too. He described it in his interview with Bon Appetite’s food editor as very hard and tested his soul to become a chef. After 2 years he then went to work for Joël Robuchon and here he learned that there was nothing short of excellence. If you want the rest of the story, go buy the damn book “32 Yolks” and read it yourself.

On Wednesday of last week I headed to Brooklyn for a book signing by Eric Ripert. The bookstore had a Q&A with Ripert and  Adam Rapoport of Bon Appetite and I have to say, it was pretty funny. Afterwards AT’s man crush signed copies of his book and since my girl AT said all she wanted was a signed copy of his book, I got her one and overnighted it to her. By the way AT, I chose not to get a pic with Ripert but did ask if he wanted to share an Uber since he lives not to far from me in the UES. He said he would have to decline because he was going to have a late dinner with his wife and son. We are going to get beers next weekend anyway.

So I guess the only last two names on my list are Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud and then I can move onto another genre of cuisine.  Happy Early Christmas AT! And if Eric Ripert goes missing I am sending them to your apartment in Memphis.

318771_4932146344203_660601464_nYeah, Yeah, You were first to meet him!

387911_4934076472455_1502071067_nHaven’t seen him yet but it is just a matter of time.

425789_10151349604149928_1782869171_nThis was right before AT asked Tony Bourdain “Does this napkin smell like Chloroform?”

IMG_1391Ripert and Adam Rapoport grilling each other.

IMG_1386So I got there a tad early to Dumbo in Brooklyn.

 AT – We still have our deal right? You get him, I get her right?

 

You want to hear who my Grandfather is?

“Have you met any famous people yet?” This is a question that we both get from time to time from our friends. My smartass canned response is traditionally “Well yes, every time I see my reflection in the mirror!” What I love about the people of New York is that famous people are just normal people getting by in the big city. I recall a story that my friend RJ told me when he was on the foam with the Asian Firemen who was walking on the street in Manhattan one day. The Fireman tells RJ that he is about to walk pass Drew Barrymore at the intersection and RJ hears him say “I loved you in ‘Something about Mary” as they pass. Naturally it was a joke and I don’t know if Ms. Barrymore responded to him but you got to love it.

There are plenty of famous people living here in New York City and I really think it is cool that it isn’t that big of a deal. Where we live, the mean streets of the Upper East Side, we are next building neighbors to Grainbin Girl’s favorite chef, Eric Ripert, and his wife. My main man crush Anthony Bourdain and his wife Octavia live at 94th and Madison Ave in Carnegie Hill and even though we haven’t slung beers it is just in time. Now when I do see them on the streets will I freak out, hug them, and dry hump their leg like a rabid dog? Time will tell but I do hope that I don’t make an ass of myself.  To date we have seen on the streets; Chris Robinson, Jackson Browne, Tina Fey, Alex Baldwin and I could have seen Pamela Anderson but I didn’t want to wait for her to exit ABC’s studio because, well I have already seen her video… (sorry for the bad pun) I am sure that my 3 readers have someone in their network of friends who “knows X the celebrity” and they share that information for validation. Bless their hearts.  When I say that New Yorkers are very nonchalant about famous people here is an exchange with one of my work compadres that I am still in shock and awe.

One of my work cohorts and I were talking about him borrowing my iFoam power cord and I tell J.S. to give it to me later when we all meet up for drinks later that evening. I joke “Hey both of our last names end in a vowel, I know you are good for it and won’t squelch.” That gets the conversation going toward Mob based movies and he tells us that his grandfather had a part in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”. He named the character’s name but unfortunately I quit watching it when I saw Steve Buscemi’s naked ass in the first season and that was enough for me. The next statement that J.S. said was a classic nonchalant New Yorker comment. “He also was in The Soprano’s show as he played one of the mobsters.” *MY EARS PERK UP*  “Did you say The Soprano’s, as in HBO’s award winning show The Soprano’s?” I ask. The next comment rolls off his tongue like it is no big deal; “Yeah, he played Junior Soprano or Uncle June. He has an apartment up near you CBT, he lives at 59th and First Avenue.” I was without words,  my mouth immediately goes dry like I just swallowed a bag of sand. “WAIT! YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT YOUR GRANDFATHER IS FUCKING DOMINIC CHIANESE!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!”

No big deal to my work cohort, just another day sitting down with the family at Thanksgiving. Dude how cool would it to sit down with Uncle June and have a glass of wine and shoot the shit. That is what I love about this town.

junior-soprano-1024Yeah, my grandfather, he was in some movies and also is an accomplished Opera Singer too! #JSSandbaggedme

552461_10151349983739928_851859404_nIt was a good couple of days of stalking our favorites with SR

318771_4932146344203_660601464_n

He ends up missing, I am calling the tip line and telling them to check out an apartment on Georgia and Riverside Drive

And NO I won’t be stalking Matt Lauer or Al Roker anytime soon!

The Great Sushi Debate of New York

Apologies to my 3 readers because I am going to break character and jump up on my soapbox (so I can be normal height) for a minute. Up here we have some classic debates and arguments; naked painted women in Times Square, composting in apartments and single family dwellings, toasted or untoasted bagels, but now sushi? The department of Health is demanding that all sushi chefs wear gloves while preparing RTE (ready to eat) foods. The DOH went so far to close East Village’s Sushi Dojo run by critically acclaimed chef David Bouhadana for violating the no glove rule. Bouhadana isn’t taking this lying down and is being joined by other sushi restaurants and fighting the DOH as this rule was repealed in California a couple years back.

Being that I have a very good working knowledge of Institutional Foodservice I think this glove rule is absurd. Yes, a rubber glove does protect the worker from the food but do you know how many times I have seen a kitchen worker cross contaminate food wearing gloves? It is all about washing your hands but the DOH doesn’t see it like that. Personally, I am against gloves because it gives you a false sense of security and unless you have a cut on your hand who gives a feck if the guy in the kitchen is preparing my food with a clean glove or just recently washed hands?

Sushi is an art and you need that ‘touch’ to form the rice, filet the meat and let’s be honest folks, it is raw fucking seafood! Secondly, the sushi chefs aren’t grilling burgers here, they are fileting poisonous fish and serving it to those who wish to pay over 100 bucks a roll and guess what? They haven’t killed anyone yet so hey DOH, why not go look for rat droppings or pink slime in the ice machine. Lastly, they already have warnings plastered on the walls against eating raw shellfish and that pregnant women shouldn’t eat it. Why don’t you worry about something more important and let the sushi gods work their craft.

*gets down off my soapbox

These Department of Health guys need to stop jacking with something they don’t know anything about.

I mean seriously, when they have a safety notice about eating something then you really can’t bitch if you get sick.

What you are shocked that I would share the same view as my man crush.

Seriously, the next time you cook a meal from start to finish, count the number of times you wash your hands. I can almost promise that you washed your hands maybe twice and that was after handled raw chicken that had more steroids in it than the WWE.

Have a good weekend and please go order a Philly roll or a crunch tuna roll.