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Anthony Bourdain

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Grub’s Gold: The Best From Year One

Ah, how time gets away from us! It was only one year ago that Grub Street began. How we long for those innocent days of yore! We poked through our archives, and, while we had to put a few personal favorites aside, here’s our short list of Grub Street’s Greatest Hits.

Bourdain’s ‘Spin’ Essay Is Pretty Thin Soup

Anthony Bourdain
No offense to one of our favorite writers, but Anthony Bourdain’s stories are starting to become as rehashed as the specials he warned us against ordering in Kitchen Confidential.. Yes, Tony, we know that during the year 1977, you were shooting up, listening to punk, and hitting the after-hours clubs — as we’re reminded in this essay in the latest issue of Spin. And we know about “the bathroom of CBGB, awash in turds, glassine bags, condoms, and used works.” (This may have been what Paul Levy meant about bravado-filled writing.) We’ll say this, though: Even if Bourdain’s essay doesn’t say anything new (couldn’t he have at least looted his boss’s charcuterie during the blackout?), the piece is worth a look just for the photo of the man sporting a machete and locks reminiscent of Howard Stern. We can just imagine the “bitter, delicious taste of heroin in the back of [his] throat”! Eat to the Beat [Spin] Related: British Toff Decries the Coarseness of Modern Food Writing

British Toff Decries the Coarseness of Modern Food Writing

We’re still scratching our heads over an essay in Slate today, in which a British journalist, fretting over what he considers the unseemliness of today’s food writing, declares himself out of the game. Is it for real? Something about the piece had the whiff of a put-on, like Ernie Kovacs’s poet character, Percy Dovetonsils, or one of those stuffy authority figures who get hit with a pie in a TV commercial appealing to teenagers. “The food writing that’s in vogue today consists chiefly of a bellow of bravado,” writes Paul Levy, formerly of the British newspaper The Observer. Today’s food writers, he says, “thrive on the undertow of violence they detect in the professional kitchen, and like to linger on the unappetizing aspects of food preparation. The gross-out factor trumps tasting good as well as good taste.” Is he kidding?

Bourdain Gets Skewered in the Latest Roman à Chef

PBJ
Another day, another pissed-off restaurant worker writing an Internet roman à clef. This one, penned with panache by a one Peanut Butter Jesus, isn’t quite as delicious as Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry, maybe because it’s not quite as obvious who the players are. At least one person’s identity is unmistakable:
People he played that game with now fly around the world and tell TV Chefs their broccolini blows. They have three assistants you have to get through just to say “fuck you, meet me at Siberia in twenty minutes”. That game is gone, now filled with cookbooks and TV spots on Today, filled with front of house managers sitting on their ass in their offices during service.
Alright, so that takes care of the man with no reservations. But who are the other characters and venues based on? Here's what we're dealing with:

Batali Denies Being Ditched; Pinkberry Issues Mea Culpa

Batali won’t admit he’s been canned by the Food Network even though inside sources say he’s just trying to save face. [NYP] Pinkberry Corporation issues an apology upon learning its N.Y. outlets pump hollow servings. [Eat for Victory/VV] Tony Bourdain analyzes what made Howie tick: "When I look at Howie, short, bald, pants looking two sizes too big on him, built like a small tank and with an expression on his face like a closed fist, I sense the end product of a long line of tormentors." Is Bourdain the best reality-show blogger ever, or what? [Bourdain’s Blog/Bravo]

Whole Foods Plot Still Grimy in Gowanus; Tony Bourdain on Ina Garten

Whole Foods has only one more building to demolish to clear out its plot by the Gowanus Canal for its 2008 opening, but there are still no signs of environmental cleanup. [Brownstoner] Related: Has the Benevolent Whole Foods Betrayed Its Health-Obsessed Customers? Anthony Bourdain didn’t waste much time agonizing over the expulsion of Tre from Top Chef before laying into Casey, who slices slower the “Ina Garten on Thorazine.” [Bravo] Related: The Gay Side of ‘Top Chef’ Comes Out Amalia chef Ivy Stark hates chicken. So why is there chorizo-stuffed crispy chicken on Amalia’s menu? [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Tailor Delayed Yet Again; Bourdain Takes It to Howie

The opening of Tailor has been pushed back to September 1. Another delay? Who would have thought it? [Eater] Related: Farewell, Sam Mason. Hello, Tailor Tony Bourdain outdoes himself taking it to Howie in his Top Chef blog: “neither logic, nor the criticisms of chefs as great as Daniel, nor the passing seasons — nor even blunt objects — can infiltrate the inner workings of his space-age polymer nose-cone.” [Bravo] Andrea Strong details her experience as a guest judge on Top Chef – and gives the full review that was read from on last night’s episode. [Strong Buzz]

Tony ‘No Reservations’ Bourdain Hearts Ali's Offal in Astoria

Astoria: Anthony Bourdain featured Ali’s Kebab Cafe on No Reservations, and here’s the video of him downing offal. [Joey in Astoria] Boerum Hill: Workers are renovating the old Independence Bank for Trader Joe’s. The space may even retain its character! [Lost City] East Village: AvroKO and Public boys Brad and Adam Farmerie hope to score a liquor license for their new place, Superior. B Flat applied for a license at the same Bond Street space a few months back and was denied. [Eater] E.U. will accept euros as payment from August 24 through Labor Day. You can eat 34 cents more on the dollar! [Grub Street] Financial District: Stonehouse California Olive Oil has moved to the South Street Seaport and refills bottles at $2 off the regular price. [NYT] Hell’s Kitchen: No free Cuban for you today; unfinished construction indicates the new Sophie’s on 40th between Seventh and Eighth is in no way ready for a grand opening. [Midtown Lunch]

Red Hook Vendors on the Run Again; Bourdain on ‘Top Chef’

With the Parks Department temporarily off their back, the Red Hook food vendors now have a new enemy: the ever-mischievous Department of Health. [Serious Eats] Related: The Threat to Red Hook’s Street-Food Paradise Unites New York Foodies Anthony Bourdain doesn’t have any sympathy for last night’s Top Chef loser, Sara: “I've worked with women cooks who could crank out a hundred fifty meals off a very busy grill station in freakin’ stilettos and still have the energy to give Howie the beating of his life — so that don't cut it as an excuse.” Bonus: Bourdain on Rocco’s career arc. [Bravo] Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag The hidden food treasures of the Bronx range from an ancient candy store where you can get a classic egg cream to a Chino-Latino place with great shrimp mofungo. [NYP]

End of the Line for Ureña; Rocco Admits Douche-baggery

Alex Ureña is closing Ureña and turning it into “a bistro-style eater called Pamplona.” The modern Spanish curse continues! Now Suba alone carries the banner. [Eater] Rocco DiSpirito doesn’t seem to mind being called a douche bag: “I was thinking he must have worked for me to know I'm a douche bag,” the chef tells Nina Lalli. [VV] Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag On his Top Chef blog Tony Bourdain has some wise words to console Joey: “Joey's the chef of a damn famous restaurant in New York freakin' City. The place every ambitious cook and chef hopes to work — in the big leagues. So he's already a "Top Chef" — and already a winner in my book.” [Bravo] Related: Adam Platt Finds the Moral in Last Night’s ‘Top Chef’

Great American Chef Sick; New Yorkers Enjoy Too Much Mercury

Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea, arguably the most acclaimed of all American chefs, has an advanced form of cancer but vows to beat it. [Chicago Sun-Times] A quarter of New Yorkers have elevated mercury levels in their bloodstreams. Especially those who eat fish. [NYP] It’s tough for Top Chef rivals Howie and Joey. When your life has turned into a paella whipped up by Philip K. Dick and Andrew Sullivan, it's time to move to the suburbs with a pair of chocolate Labs. [Amuse Biatch] Related: ‘Top Chef’’s Howie Tastes the Big Time, Briefly, at Gotham Bar and Grill ‘Top Chef’ Biases Finally Out on the Table

Bourdain Lays Into ‘Top Chef’ Hung; Restaurant to Open in Back of Setagaya

Anthony Bourdain jumps on Top Chef’s Hung even harder than he laid into Marcel last season: “‘Flavor’ counts for very little in a competition for ‘Top Chef.’” [Amuse Biatch] Related: ‘Top Chef’ Biases Finally Out on the Table ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner Lia on What Went Wrong Kanye West is a soul-food connoisseur, when he’s not eating out in haute Asian eateries like Spice Market and Philippe. [WSJ] An unrelated restaurant will open Thursday in the back room of Setagaya and will feature Thai, Japanese, and Malaysian food. [Eat for Victory/VV] Related: New East Village Ramen Spot Insists It’s More Authentic Than Momofuku

Whole Foods CEO’s Online High Jinks Unmasked; Magnolia Bakery Reopening

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has been going online anonymously on Yahoo Finance bulletin boards for seven years to blast rival Wild Oats and talk up Whole Foods stock. [NYT] Related: Did Michael Pollan Throw the Whole Foods Debate? (Just Asking) Magnolia Bakery, closed for less than a day for having only one sink, has now been reopened after promising to install another one. [Eater] Related: A Sad Day for Overhyped Pastries: Magnolia Shuttered [Daily Intel] Anthony Bourdain is warming up to The Next Food Network Star. As a matter of fact, you could say that he’s become a devoted fan: “Whether it's the butterfly mobiles dangling from my ceiling, the onset of early dementia, or long delayed side effects of past drug use drawing me to the tube Sunday nights, I'll be watching.” [Ruhlman]

Batali and Bourdain Argue Over Adam Platt, the Egg Thief, and Much More

Marco Pierre White showed up at Borders last night for a book signing with two friends in tow: Mario Batali and Tony Bourdain. We sat down with the latter two for a few minutes before the event and picked their brains. In true style, Mario sent one of the store’s managers out for a bottle of vodka and some tonic at the start, but as the harried fellow didn’t arrive until the end, this discussion was conducted in cold sobriety.

Bourdain Body-Slams the Food Network Awards

Some highlights of Tony Bourdain's lively excoriation of last night's Food Network Awards, just posted on Ruhlman: “Okay … so some brain dead douche bags from Ad Sales and 'creative' got together and cooked up this hybrid, fur-bearing catfish of a beast, this jackalope of a High Concept. Fine. That's what they do. But who green lit this monstrosity?” “The production itself — above and beyond the witless, ill-considered, just-plain stupid "concept" of an Awards show where most of the awards' went to inanimate objects (accepting the award for Best Comfort Food is … Macaroni and Cheese!!), appliances or cities (Portland's mayor wisely did not bother to show), — the production values — were lower than whale shit.” “Did the network, upon realizing (as they surely did) that the whole thing was a hideous, stultifyingly boring cluster fuck — and a public slap to their talent — did they consider maybe having the good taste to just bury the whole thing in archives like a rotten bone? They reportedly had no trouble burying the Ripert and the Ramsay episodes of the excellent, critically acclaimed My Country My Kitchen. Have they no decency? There's a famous story where Robert Mitchum walks into studio head David O Selznick's office, pulls down his pants and takes a crap on his white carpet. I hope Emeril is pinching a loaf right now.” But honestly, Mr. Bourdain, what did you think of the program? The Fabulous Food Network Awards!! [Ruhlman]

Really, Is It You? David Kamp Shares His Five Favorite N.Y. Food Books

David Kamp — author of the definitive, not to mention best-selling, account of America’s metamorphosis into a nation of gourmands, The United States of Arugula — must like us. Why else would he share an eloquently annotated list of his favorite books relating to New York food history? Okay, it may be that he’s an overachiever, spilling with knowledge. Either way, we welcome his voice here on Grub Street.

Bourdain Smacks Down the TV Chefs; Great Restaurants Hiring

Anthony Bourdain takes on the TV food personalities. Here's a taste: “SANDRA LEE: Pure evil. This frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker seems on a mission to kill her fans, one meal at a time.” [Ruhlman] Many great New York restaurants are hiring. [VV] Mama’s Empanadas and Papa’s Empanadas go to war. Clearly the Baby Empanadas are going to grow up very conflicted. [Gothamist]

Servers to Strip; Jamie Oliver Wears a Fat Suit; Gordon Ramsay Gross-out

Has Halloween come early? Bars disguise themselves to avoid the liquor ban, lettuce may be the new spinach, Gordon Ramsay's secret sister emerges from the shadows, and more. • First the trans-fat fighters came for NYC. Then, D.C. Now, if N.J. lawmakers have their way, you won't even be able to water-taxi your way to the stuff. [Nation's Restaurant News]. • Having cracked down on spinach, the E. coli police go after green-leaf lettuce. [Los Angeles Times] • Bars evade the booze freeze by posing as restaurants (and if that doesn't work, they'll buy pairs of mustache glasses). [NYP] • Topping off a recent slew of testosteropenings — Lonesome Dove, Porter House, etc. — Corio promises servers in skivvies. [NYDN] • Tony Bourdain and other food scribes recall no-can-do assignments; says Peter Elliot, "publicists should have their heads examined." [Snack] • Glasgow and (soon) London get a Priceline-style Website for haggling over the dinner bill. Will there come a day when we can ask Daniel, "How does 50 bucks for the prix-fixe sound?" [Sunday Herald] • Gordon Ramsay tells all, unfortunately, including how the name of his first restaurant was inspired by his penis. (Also, something about a long lost sister.) [Chow] • Does Jamie Oliver fancy himself the new Ali G? First he gave a sophomoric fake interview on Danish television; now his fat suit causes a stir. [Daily Mirror]