02 March 2009

Stalking Anthony Bourdain

I'm home with a roiling gut today. This is what it takes for me to get time on Male Offspring's computer.  I'm on the couch, hanging with my man, Anthony Bourdain. Yes, the Travel Channel. I know, right? Trust, this guy is no Rick Steves or Samantha Brown. No offense to Rick or Sam. Just not my thing.

I watched Samantha once. Destination Ireland. The whole time, I was like, okay, is she really trying to do a fake Irish accent? It was intermittent, but definitely there. Weird! And what's with the cheery, eager-beaver act? Girl would be perfect working the Starbucks drive-thru speaker at 5am. That brand of perky just pisses me off. But guess what came on right afterward? Anthony Bourdain's Ireland show! I know, too good, right? I don't know what those folks at the Travel Channel were thinking, unless they're going for a mass exodus of SamFans over to Anthony's side of the pub. Basically here's the difference: kissing the blarney stone with an affected faux-Irish accent complete with cheesy soundtrack, versus quaffing Guinness in a smoky bar after a walk through Belfast, Northern Ireland, touching on the not-so-cheery history between the Protestants and Catholics.

Yeah, pour me the Guinness.

Most travel shows work my last nerve with their exoticism and touristy bullshit. I will actually set a reminder for Tony's show. There I said it. I'm addicted to a travel/foodie show.

He's so goddamn appealing.

This guy is the only smoker and pork eater worshipper that I could consider dating. Or marrying. Or stalking. Whatever. Those of you who know how extremely anti-cigi I am, in addition to my vegetarian status, will appreciate the depth of my obsession, here.

Anthony's show, No Reservations, comes with a parental warning. A deliciously sardonic New Yorker, the FCC's obscenity rules are clearly not foremost in his mind. He tends to drink a lot. I don't mean like sampling a good Cabernet with dinner. I mean like slamming it back and dealing with the hangover later. He also says "fuck" a lot and is basically irreverent, caustic, and sexy in a tall, slightly bowlegged, boots-and-leather-jacket kind of way. He's likely to bust out with a "holy shit!" while masticating a juicy mouthful of meat, and you'll never catch him with an umbrella in his drink. And yes, he can occasionally slide toward disdainful when it comes to his travel and food compatriots:

I think the Travel Channel knows it's not getting Jamie Oliver or Rachel Ray when they throw their lot in with me.

Even Samantha Brown would have a hard time summoning a "wow" for this.

He eschews the tourist traps and five-star restaurants, heading instead for street vendors, family meals, and, as a self-described aficionado of the dive bar, any place where local home brew and home cooking can be found.

He will eat any local specialty, from seal eyes to chicken anus to still-squirming octopus tentacles. What's cool about that though, is that he doesn't do it in that "Ohmygod this is so exotic and freakish, watch me gross you out!" kind of way. (Looking at you, Andrew Zimmern.) No, rather than playing the obnoxious dude-check-this-out American, Tony, for all his general snarkiness, is all about genuine learning, about respecting and honoring the people, cultures and traditions of the countries he visits. He uses his show as a vehicle to challenge assumptions and stereotypes. You can see he is honored that people would invite him to their tables, share their food and their stories.

So yeah, I'm smitten with a travel show foodie. I was considering becoming a full time groupie, when my stalking turned up the inconvenient fact that he's now married, and has a little girl. He's apparently a very proud parent:

...she goes absolutely bat shit over risotto made with wild nettles. And when her Mom dips a finger in the local red wine, she greatly prefers it to juice. This makes me very proud.

Damn. I missed my window. Word on the street is, he even gave up the smoking in the interest of extended parenthood. Cruel irony. Stay sweet, Tony.

Okay, stay snarky. Whatever.


  1. I'm with you on Anthony honey. I would LOVE to go out and party with him. He's so I-don't-give-a-shit and a more than a little contemptuous when it comes to popular culture and american pop cuisine.

    I hope you caught the episode where he's caught in Beirut during the last civil war and he can see the bombing of the airport and neighborhoods from his hotel and the harrowing way he and the rest of his crew had to get out of Lebanon. And how when they finally were evacuated aboard a Navy ship, just how wonderful the Marines were and when it was time to get some chow, even though it was just tuna noodle casserole, it was the right food at the right time for him and the rest of the people rescued. It was quite the episode. (Sorry for the run-on sentence)

    Also, his trip to Egypt where he chowed down on pigeon and pigeon soup was excellent as well.

    Oh and my favorite, his trip to Laos was just beyond.

    I know - I'm gushing.

  2. Oh gush away, honey! And yes, I saw the Beirut show. Apparently they were going to give up on the show, because they didn't get any of their footage in before the bombing started, but they decided to just run the cameras and go with it. Yes, I loved the bit about the Marines at the end. I wasn't surprised at all with that part.

    And yes, the Egypt show: "Next time a pigeon craps on your windshield, put him in a little cage to fatten him up for a week, kill him, and eat him. That'll teach him." OK, I know I'm a vegetarian, but that shit was funny. I loved how he was like, screw going to the pyramids - I'm not getting caught up with miles of tourist busses.

  3. Nearly every picture of him makes him look like a poor girl's George Clooney. Pigeon soup ...when I imagine it, it always has sh*t floating in it. ~Mary

  4. I'm so with you on this post. I got really addicted to his show last year when we moved and finally got the travel channel in our cable lineup! I love, like you say, how he really experiences the cultures and not in a gawky-american-tourist way.

    Was totally hoping when I started reading this post that maybe you had actually MET him! But then I'd just be too jealous for words :-)

  5. You've read his books right? If not, his first one is fantastic. And he is so sexy - just the kind of guy I used to fall crazy in lust with.....

  6. Her show does indeed suck. His is awesome. She needs a pair of pom poms and pigtails, he needs a Harley and some tight leather pants...

    Sorry to hear about the delay in Brick replacement! I miss your posting regularly.

  7. I've lusted after Tony for years- I do indeed have a fantasy about being his traveling sidekick. I love his no BS, snarky self to death. But the thing I really love is the tough guy has such a genuine regard for the people and places he goes.


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