"I Am a Whore," and Other Things Anthony Bourdain Said in Dallas Last Night
Not even Game 6 of the World Series could keep local food fetishists from getting their Anthony Bourdain fix last night. The author-speaker-cook-TV-host-and-more took the Majestic stage to a nearly packed house last night, for a talk and Q&A sponsored by City of Ate. (Read my interview with Bourdain here.) The line for will call ran the length of the block as fans stood in the cold drizzle waiting to get their tickets. Inside the theater more fans waited for drinks and gulped down beer until a flash of the house lights ushered them to their seats.
No Reservations sidekick Iazamir "Zamir" Gotta introduced Bourdain. Zamir lubricated the crowd with a shameless Rangers shout out, and the two poured each other shots of vodka on stage. In the seats a few cell phones glowed, streaming live updates on the World Series score. But mostly the focus stayed on Bourdain.
The once workaday chef wasn't shy about his becoming a sellout. "I am a whore," he announced to the crowd, before launching into a star-by-star takedown of his favorite Food Network friends. To paraphrase, he's made up with Emeril Lagasse, thinks Giada de Laurentis has a freakishly big head, thinks Guy Fieri waxes too much and pities Andrew Zimmern's diet of dick dick dick dick dick dick dick.
But the show wasn't all dick jokes. Bourdain spent some time discussing American food culture and dissing vegetarians, not because they're weird, but because he thinks they're terrible cultural ambassadors who travel the world turning their noses up at other region's food cultures. I'm not sure the argument holds water -- some people just like vegetables, you know? -- but I did appreciate the enthusiasm with which he pushed culinary curiosity. And throughout his entire performance his witty, quick banter delivered one joke after another.
I can't say the Q&A period produced the intelligent, fast-paced back and forth I was hoping for, but it did illuminate a few very important matters. Bourdain proclaimed the Chicago-style hot dog his favorite form of tube meat, and confirmed he is not participating in Top Chef Texas.
Other questions were pretty lackluster, and even a little embarrassing. "Where are you partying tonight?" came as a shout from the balcony. Bourdain turned down the invitation, saying he favored his hotel bed and Pringles to shots of tequila in downtown Dallas. That was about when show-goers slowly trickled out of the theater to catch the last few innings of the World Series. They should have gone to bed, too.