Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali Launch 2016 EAT (RED) Culinary Tour

Mario Batali, Courtesy EAT (RED)


If you could eat well and save lives at once, you could hardly say no, could you?

To that end, this year’s edition of the highly anticipated EAT (RED) kicks off June 2 in New York, with the (RED) Supper at Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place, hosted by those ubiquitous, globe-trotting celeb chefs Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain. Other participating a-list culinary talent for the night will include Dominique Ansel, Frank Falcinelli, Nancy Silverton, Tom Douglas, Vinny Dotolo, Angela Dimayuga, Kristen Kish and Kevin Gillespie.

The overall goal? To raise money for the ongoing (RED) #86AIDS effort, by means of 27 days of edible nirvana. Indeed, the “tour” continues through the 28th, with special dinner, lunch, brunch, happy hour or cocktail events and offerings by many of the world’s hottest epicurean gods and goddesses at their exalted, signature restaurants.

Bourdain_CNN1[1] Eat Red

Anthony Bourdain (Courtesy CNN)

To name but a few: Enrique Olivera at Mexico City’s Eno, Stephanie Izard at Chicago’s Little Goat Diner, Jason Wass at London’s Polpetto, April Bloomfield at NYC’s Spotted Pig, Thomas Keller at the Las Vegas and Beverly Hills Bouchon Bakery locations, Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Jose Andres at DC’s Jaleo, as well as Batali and Lidia Bastianich’s own B&BHG Vegas restaurants at the Venetian/Palazzo, including B&B, OTTO Enoteca & Pizzeria and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse—with scores of delectable options to choose from in two dozen cities across four continents.

“Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that the sum of our efforts always far exceeds what we can do individually,” says Batali. “EAT (RED) is an opportunity for all of our restaurants to collectively contribute to a tremendously worthy cause while doing what we do best: making delicious food.”

LeftBank_GnocciGnocchi at Left Bank NYC, Courtesy EAT (RED)

The (RED) charity, of course, was founded by Bono in 2006, with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its primary recipient. EAT (RED) debuted in 2014, and has become one of its most high-profile annual events. N.B. Plan to reserve in advance. It’s a hot ticket.

Some Suggestions For The Brand-New Esquire Network

In an age when television is trying to figure out how to compete with the Internet, and print is struggling to survive at all, you have to love the idea to expand your magazine into a TV channel. Nevertheless, men’s lifestyle publicationEsquire has taken over the Style Network to give you reality shows from Anthony Bourdain and Ryan Seacrest—because you definitely aren’t sick of those guys, right? (It’s actually kind of unfortunate they’re not co-hosting something where contestants have to sing pop songs while preparing crème brûlée.)

Of course, the real mark of Esquire’s success in this venture won’t be programming that features established stars. They’ll need a dash of originality to establish a loyal fan base. To that end, here are a few ideas: what about a show about pants? It’s just that I’ve noticed every man on the cover of Esquire is wearing very nice pants, and it’s made me realize I don’t know much about pants at all—let alone where you get the nice ones. I’d also appreciate a fashion series about attaining the perfect stubble. You know, like Ben Affleck has when he’s not in a movie set in the 1970s.

We’re going to need some babes in there as well: do you really think men’s periodicals are anything but softcore pornography deemed appropriate for the doctor’s waiting room? Maybe an all-nude, all-female revamp of American Gladiators is in order. Or something where they get infrared footage of Kanye West having sex with that one Kardashian lady. But where the network could really shine is in importing those endlessly amusing magazine quizzes. Which NFL All-Star am I? What sort of pick-up artist persona do I have? Give me a meaningless multiple-choice test you take via remote control and I may just have to un-cancel my cable.

From Danny Boyle to Martin Scorsese: New York’s Best Cinematic Events of the Week

Not at Sundance? Stuck in this cement cage of fluctuating temperatures? Big whoops! Although, yes, it is troubling when you see the rest of the world incessantly writing about all the premieres and film events you’re missing down in Austin. However, this week happens to not be the worst for film fun in New York. After speaking at SXSW this past weekend, Danny Boyle is headed to Manhattan tomorrow to speak at 92YTribeca for "A Conversation with Danny Boyle"—and how can you miss that? But Boyle’s not all, this week—and tomorrow night in particular—appears to be packed with some pretty great cinematic events from Harmony Korine to Martin Scorsese. Here’s looking at this week’s film events around the city.


A Conversation with Danny Boyle at 92YTribeca

Tuesday, 7pm

Goodfellas & Post-Film Discussion with Anthony Bourdain at IFC Center

Tuesday, 7:00pm

Spring Breakers with Harmony Korine in Person, Museum of the Moving Image

Tuesday, 7:00pm

Cheatin & Post-Screening Q&A with Bill Plympton at Nitehawk

Tuesday, 9:30pm

Double Feature: The Mad Genius + Alias the Doctor at BAM

Tuesday, 4:30 and 7:30

Twin Peaks Bingo: Season Two at Videology

Wednesday, 8:30pm

Anthony Bourdain, Pixelated Guinness, and the Real Definition of Responsible Drinking

I’ve long enjoyed chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain’s irreverent take on the various cities he visits in his Travel Channel shows, particularly his latest series, The Layover. Unlike some of the chirpier hosts the network employs, he takes a warts-and-all approach to his destinations, heaping praise upon the great and worthy aspects of a city while being refreshingly candid about the stuff that sucks. His loyalty lies with the viewer over the sponsor, as it should. But his recent episode on Dublin got me thinking about all the behind-the-scenes considerations that go with the various brands and businesses that make it into the show. In the case of Dublin, there appears to have been much hand-wringing over the ubiquitous presence of the city’s most iconic product: Guinness. [Update: Scroll down for Bourdain’s response.]

No visit to Dublin is complete without a few pints of the black stuff, and Bourdain certainly indulged, but I quickly noticed while watching that whenever he referred to Guinness, he used precisely that metaphor, "the black stuff," or something similar. The Guinness logo on pint glasses and tap handles was pixelated as well.

In the case of most shows that feature a particular product, that probably means that the company was contacted and asked to pay a fee to be included in the show, since its association with it and its stars can be seen as an endorsement, making it more effective than an advertisement. When the companies balk at paying, the show’s producers blur out the logo.

But watching The Layover, I began to think that the pixelation of the Guinness logo was Guinness’s choice, not the Travel Channel’s. After all, Bourdain was drinking multiple pints of the stuff and wound up somewhat drunk, and admitted it. It’s likely that the makers of Guinness felt that this didn’t quite represent "responsible drinking" and decided they’d better not be associated with Bourdain, even though they secretly think he’s great.

I get that. There are lawyers involved, brand image to consider, and booze and TV laws and standards to follow. But yet, was his consumption of Guinness in Dublin really irresponsible?

Not at all. Bourdain had a driver to ferry him to his various destinations, or he traveled on foot. In my view, the true definition of irresponsible drinking is driving drunk, or even buzzed. (Being violent, of course, is also irresponsible, but violent drunks tend to be violent people in general.) But having a few pints in a pub and then going to a chipper? That’s what people do. That’s not abuse of alcohol, it’s use of alcohol. Responsible drinking simply means not being an asshole. 

Of course getting drunk all the time is bad for you, wreaks havoc on your health, and can cost you your job and family, but that’s nothing you can see happening in two nights of drinking on a one-hour TV show. Anthony Bourdain getting mildly drunk in Dublin? There’s not a thing wrong with it. The idea that people never have more than one drink in a sitting is simply a fantasy.

And I have the feeling that Bourdain himself chafed at the restriction. In two instances I did hear him murmer the word Guinness, and the logo (but not the entire logo) is available in the screencap above. Perhaps there’s enough editorial justification for him to say what he was drinking, because it’s simply reporting the facts. Perhaps he was allowed two instances to say the word, and he reached his limit.

Despite its ridiculousness, The Layover and shows like it will continue to dance around issues like this, using euphemisms and dippy metaphors for what they really mean. In this case, the fact that Bourdain was drinking Guinness couldn’t have been more obvious, so not mentioning the name is skating by on a technicality.

That’s probably good enough for Guinness, and I guess it’s good enough for me too. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to sharing a bottle of Dogfish Head Theobroma beer with my wife for Valentine’s Day tomorrow night, possibly followed by a Stoli martini. Don’t pixelate me.

UPDATE: Anthony Bourdain informs me via Twitter that it was the network’s decision not to identify Guinness by name. Thanks!

Bourdain Tweet

This Week’s L.A. Happenings: Catchy Pop Concert, Super Serious Show, & Dan Sung Sa

WEDNESDAY: Catchy Pop Music Hits The Echo
If slinking toward a member of the opposite sex, drink in hand, amid pulsing, catchy music is your thing, then head over to The Echo on Wednesday, when Sir Sly, Kitten, Onuinu, and DJ Captain Cuts perform their swerve-inducing melodies. And it’s free.
The Echo (1822 W. Sunset Blvd, Echo Park) Check the listing at BlackBook Guides for the inside scoop.

THURSDAY: The Super Serious Side Of Humor
Every month at 8pm inside the historic Café Club Fais Do-Do, the super fun Super Serious Show takes over to bring you one of the best nights of comedy in L.A. This show has everything from free cookies (Kyle’s Cookies), wine (Cube Café), beer (Eagle Rock Brewery/PBR) and drinks (Aqua Hydrate). Beyond all of that, it’s an evening watching your favorite comic geniuses like Paul F. Tompkins (Comedy Central, Conan, Best Week Ever) Andy Haynes (Conan, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) and Bobcat Goldthwaite (Jimmy Kimmel Live, Chappelle’s Show) take the stage. Missing this show is like staying at home on New Year’s Eve to find ingrown hairs.  Go.
Super Serious Show is happening at Café Club Fais Do-Do (5253 W. Adams Blvd., South L.A.) at 7pm. Order $10 tickets online here or get $15 ones, cash only, at the door. Visit the listing for the Café at BlackBook Guides.

NOW: Dan Sung Sa: The Dive Bar With Heart And Seoul
It’s late; the party’s over, and hunger pains have set in – a common problem arising from eating cocktails for dinner. The solution lies within the dimly-lit Dan Sung Sa, a Korean eatery that feels more like a kitschy beach house than a canteen in the heart of Korea town. This izakaya-esque joint is perfect for large groups, late-night eats, and appetites for adventure. It’s been Anthony Bourdain-approved and modeled after pojangmachas: small food tents that popped up after the war and now roam the streets of Seoul selling tapas. Hite and Soju flow like water, and the menu has more selection than a 40-year-old on
Dan Sung Sa (3317 W. 6th St., Koreatown) is now open. Read the listing at BlackBook Guides for the inside info.

Find out first about the latest openings and events in L.A. by signing up for BlackBook Happenings, the email brought right to your inbox every Monday. And download the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

Chefs Flock to the Cayman Cookout

Yesterday, while blissfully bathing in the warm water of the Caribbean, I watched as Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, and other chefs dipped their tanned toes into the water so they could get a group photo in the soothing orange light of the sunset.

This little photo op was just the beginning of this weekend’s fifth annual Cayman Cookout, which begins today at the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman. Started by Ripert in 2009, the three-day, celebrity chef-packed even showcases the finer things in life: food, wine, and the white sands of a tropical resort.

Ripert started the event for the pure fact that he loves the island, and calls it his home away from home. He is not alone in his amour of the Cayman Islands; there are over 150 restaurants on them, and many owned by top chefs including Dean Max, who has Brasserie here, Vidyadhara Shetty, the president of the Cayman Culinary Society, and of course Ripert himself who has Blue by Eric Ripert.

As this morning kicked off the festival, along with chef Jose Andres jet-packed stunt on Seven-Mile Beach, there will also be wine tastings and classes with Food & Wine’s Ray Isle, the art of pie with Spike Mendelsohn, a beach picnic courtesy of Daniel Humm, and fresh fish with Paul Bartolotta.

It might already be Friday, but it’s not too late to jump on a plane and join this tasty beach party.

Chicago’s Violet Hour Now Has Its Own House-Made Malört

For the uninitiated, Malört is not a spirit, but a dare. The bitter, face-contorting Swedish brannvin is something recent Chicago transplants like to challenge their out-of-town friends to drink just to watch the expressions when the aftertaste hits. My phone autocorrects "Malört" to "MALORT," which is pretty accurate. 

Even though it’s been a part of Chicago culture for a long time, Malört kind of had a banner year in 2012. It was featured in the local commuter paper, the RedEye, featuring a montage of the staff taking shots of the stuff and showing their “Malört faces;” it later showed up in the Wall Street Journal. Anthony Bourdain sampled the stuff at Lakeview’s L&L Tavern on a Chicago episode of The Layover. Many intrepid mixologists have taken to crafting Malört cocktails. At the new Headquarters in Lakeview, a self-described “beercade” packed with old arcade games and wrestling on TV, bartenders offer “The Billy Mitchell,” a variation on a gin & tonic with Bombay Dry, lime juice, Bitter Tree Lemon Soda and Malört. Bar DeVille in Ukrainian Village offers a similar narrative of gin and citrus with the “Hard Sell,” which features St. Germain, lemon and grapefruit peel.

Before, only one variety of Malört, made by the Carl Jeppson Company and recognized by its distinctive, Chicago-flag-copping insignia, was available for these adventures in alcohol. Now, at Wicker Park cocktaillery of note The Violet Hour, they’ve outdone themselves with, in collaboration with Letherbee Distillers, a house version of Malört named “R. Franklin’s Original recipe Malort” after bartender Robby Franklin Hayes. In contrast to the dive bar staple bottle, Violet Hour’s seems to be a kinder, gentler Malört, featuring a beautifully-drawn label from Nick Pyle and a mix of “grapefruit peel, juniper, elderflower and star anise” to the unforgettable, lingering-in-your-mouth flavors of the original. The house Malört is used in “The Thigh High,”where it resides with Letherbee Autumnal Gin, lime, Amaro Sibilla, egg white and orange flower water. The house Malört made some appearances at the end of the year, was in stock on New Year’s Eve and now it looks like it’ll have a regular place on the shelf in 2013. Sadly, it’s only available at The Violet Hour for now, but maybe someday, this bitter house-made fire-juice can be yours to take home.

[via Chicagoist]

Anthony Bourdain Reads From Snooki’s Novel

It’s a rather strange convergence of two popular and dramatically different television programs both entering their final seasons in fall 2012. It is also probably the only time you will ever hear writer, chef and television host Anthony Bourdain (of the soon-to-be-departed Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations) say the name “Snooki” out loud, in front of a camera.

As part of the first anniversary celebration of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, the standstill ice creamery companion of the fan-favorite truck notorious for treats like the “Salty Pimp” and the “Bea Arthur,” a number of celebrity chefs are offering their congratulations on YouTube, including Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern and the team from Charm City Cakes (of Ace of Cakes fame). But Bourdain has something special up his sleeve: a deadpan reading of an excerpt from It’s A Shore Thing, the debut novel from Jersey Shore star-turned-momma Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. I don’t think he even believes he’s doing it.  Ah well, Happy Anniversary, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop!

Sleigh Bells & A Brief Compendium of Memorable Musical Guests on ‘No Reservations’

Over the past seven years, the guest list on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations has read like your fantasy dinner party. The author and chef has had a number of cultural icons show him around on his culinary and travel adventures, including authors Gary Shteyngart, Chuck Palahniuk and the late Harvey Pekar; culinary headliners like Thomas Keller, Marco Pierre White and Ferran and Albert Adria of elBulli; and a host of musicians, including Marky Ramone, Queens of the Stone Age, David Johansen of the New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter and Morcheeba’s Paul Godfrey.

The ninth and final season of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations begins on September 3rd in Austin, and the first episode has an appearance from blistering indie duo Sleigh Bells, revealed in a teaser clip that was released this week. Here are some other musical artists of note who joined Bourdain for food, shenanigans, sharp voiceovers and the occasional shotgun demo.

Alice Cooper (American Southwest, Season 4)

At the end of the day, you get an accomplished writer and television host and the venerable king of shock-rock together, and you get two dudes talking about baseball. There’s something poetic in this, maybe.

Ted Nugent (American Southwest, Season 4)

The active hunting enthusiast and proud National Rifle Association member has mostly been in the news for his rather outspoken (and outrageous) political statemnts, most recently about how President Obama should be sent to Cuba. But the Nuge’s appearance on No Reservations depicts a more multifaceted side of the Motor City Madman, one that shows a deep reverence for the animals he kills and the ecosystem they inhabit and refers to hunting as a “spiritual erection.” During their post-hunt barbecue, you can almost smell the wild boar bacon. Mmmmmm.

Das Racist (Holiday Special, Season 6)

This is exactly the sort of appearance you’d expect from Das Racist on a sendup of a tacky holiday special. Their entrance, with heads as eggs in Bourdain’s fridge, is one of the most unsettling things that’s been on television in recent years. The actual performance is wonderfully weird.

The Black Keys (Kansas City, Season 8)

On an episode celebrating the finer points of the KC experience — blues, booze and above all, barbecue —Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney “kidnap” Bourdain while on tour, and they stop at a ‘cue joint to trade stories of life on the road and life in the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, the stories are similar, and sometimes involve handguns and cocaine. 

Sleigh Bells (Austin, Season 9)

Turns out Sleigh Bells have really, really nice friends. Friends that will make you fancy cocktails and cook you lobster boils and pig roasts and give you spontaneous tattoos if you ask nicely or are Anthony Bourdain. If this season begins with Bourdain getting a sun tattoo, hopefully the rest will be ride-or-die and feature more musicians with really awesome friends.