Friday, July 31, 2015

Anthony Bourdain- Close to the Bone 2015

After Alton Brown, it's Anthony Bourdain, the "No Reservations" guy from Travel Channel. I got to see him live on stage at Paramount in Seattle on Monday night. I was smart this time as I bought the tickets well in advance and got pretty decent seats.

The Tickets

To be honest, I went for the show with no expectations- I wanted to be surprised. And indeed I was. The only props on the stage were a podium, a stool, and a beer bottle placed on the stool. At 7:30 sharp the lights dimmed and the audience applauded and cheered as Anthony Bourdain very casually walked on stage, clad in a pair of jeans, a gray-blue shirt with sleeves rolled up to reveal his tattoo sleeves, and this gorgeous pair of shoes. And he started talking.

That's him! 

2 Immediate Impressions that made me wonder if this was a good idea: 

1. His favorite word is the F-word. It seemed to me as if he started and ended every sentence with it and then threw in a few more in between.

2. He dislikes Food Network channel as well as some of the people on that channel. ;)

As he continued though, I got drawn in:

Curious Mind- The one virtue he relies on when he travels is his curious mind. He does not refrain from asking the stupidest of questions, because that's how he learns about the place, its people, their food, their culture, the history. That is true. If you don't ask questions, you don't learn. Period.

Food, an Intimate Gesture- He has traveled to over a 100 countries, and has been offered and eaten all kinds of food. Often times he has had to take heavy doses of antibiotics after eating some of that food. But over the years he has learned that when you are offered food by somebody, it is a very intimate gesture. By offering you their food, they are telling you their story, and opening themselves up to you- and to refuse that food is a very rude thing to do. I think that's profound.

Food Obsession- He talked about how much we have gone overboard with the whole food craze. We are obsessed with taking pictures of food (I am guilty of this myself) and posting on social media. We eat too much, exercise too little, and then complain about obesity, cardiac problems, diabetes, etc. Sure, let's eat good food, but let's also be fit enough to be able to walk a few steps without having to feel like our heart's going to pop out of our bodies! We are overdoing the whole organic thing too. Yes organic food is way better for the body, but how about making it more affordable?

He also mentioned the "farm to table" trend that has been going around lately and how he finds it ridiculous. He is right- "doesn't everything grow on the farm anyways, and then we eat at the table....!"

About the whole gluten intolerance insanity, what he said made sense- if you have celiac disease, you should first go see the doctor! Don't just decide that you are most definitely intolerant to gluten and then go looking for gluten free pizza!

Describing Food- When he eats something, he only uses simple terms such as good and very good. He doesn't get all fancy-shmancy because "there's only so many ways of describing a salad!"

Indian Food is Delicious! While joking about vegetarians, he said that when he traveled to India, he ate only vegetarian food because that's all they eat there. Well, he is wrong, because that's not all we eat in India, but yes, there is a wide variety of vegetarian options available there. He did say that he would be happy to eat that vegetarian food for as long as possible because "it is delicious!" He sure got that right!

Adoring Dad-  He very lovingly talked about his 8 year old daughter, and how she seems to have taken after him in terms of food. He said that becoming a Dad has completely changed him for the better. He also mentioned his jiu-jitsu marital artist wife a few times. So we got a tiny peek into his family life, which is always a nice touch.

And I thought hmm, he is good! This is a good show! 

The above, by the way, is just an excerpt. There was a lot more he said and most of it was pretty deep, I must say.

He did a little Q&A session in the end, answering questions from the audience. One of the questions was which is the "worst country" he has ever visited? With a little laugh he replied, "Probably East Europe." He said he didn't really like Romania, though Romanians are beautiful people. And when asked about the best country, his immediate answer was Iran. He said that in his experience, the Iranians were the friendliest of the lot. Finally when asked which is his favorite place to eat at in Seattle, he said he likes Salumi, and then he added that he'd rather dodge that question. ;)

Alton Brown Show Vs Bourdain Show: 

There was a lot more cheering and applauding that happened on Alton's show, as compared to this one. Perhaps because that was more of a cool cooking kinda show, with more audience interaction.... plus somehow Alton's personality just seems more likable. Well, Bourdain's style is very different- he seems unpretentious and blunt. And not a whole lot of people appreciate unpretentious and blunt. I was very excited at the Alton Brown show and wished that I could go meet him and talk to him, whereas at this show, I was very calm. I laughed here and there, but there was no crazy-fan-screaming-her-lungs-out scene going on.

Let's put it this way- after the Alton Brown show I was simply star-struck, whereas the Anthony Bourdain show got me thinking and my desire to travel the world has become stronger. I absolutely want to travel, meet new people, experience new cultures. And I want to try food that is offered to me by kind strangers in new foreign lands, because I want to know their story.

Close to the Bone 2015

Just in case you are wondering about the beer bottle on stage, that was for Anthony. That's what kept him hydrated!

No comments: