yet another foodie milestone
Anyone who reads this blog may know that I am a devoted fan of Anthony Bourdain. While he’s viciously uncensored and dripping with sarcasm, I love him, his show, and books.
Yesterday, he was doing a book signing at the Borders in downtown Manhattan, so I went.
As he strolled into the signing area with a beer in hand, he smiled and waved at everyone there to see him. He was really chill, friendly, and seemed to really enjoy bullshitting with his fans. His fans, by the by, are a weird sort. A mix of young and old, they appear to cleave onto everything Bourdain stands for: brutal honesty, which can at times be quite humorous.
I realize that he is just another person, like you and me, and that there was no real reason to be totally tongue-tied. However, once I approached the table at which he sat, all logic and reason left me. I went from being a composed, articulate individual to a stammering idiot with a flushed face. That’s okay, though. He greeted me with a huge smile, a slightly nervous hello, and he shook my hand. We talked about his beer, and the moment that I spent 2 hours waiting in line for passed in mere moments.
Sure, I could have asked him about being a chef. I could have asked him where and what to eat when I’m in Sydney. Hell, I could have even asked him if he’s heard the latest New York Dolls album. Instead, we talked about the stupid beer, smiled, I giggled, we posed, and finally said our goodbyes. Ah well. It still made my day.
After the signing, my mom and I went to Les Halles. Bourdain was formerly executive chef at Les Halles, though not at the location at which we ate. Nevertheless, the food surpassed my expectations and their fries are to die for. In his Les Halles cookbook, he gives the recipe for the fries in case anyone reading this wants to go for it.
What did I have?
These mussels were DELICIOUS. And the portion was very generous, as well. I had my mussels in a tomato-garlic broth with cilantro and chorizo. I could’ve bathed in it.
These french fries were expertly fried. They were very salty and crunchy on the outside, but warm and fluffy on the inside. These people know what they are doing. And I got a heaping plateful of them with my mussels.
Finally, for dessert, my mom and I split cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream. I gather they make their own ice cream because it was VERY VERY vanilla. I loved it. I usually hate vanilla ice cream, but this was done so well. It was creamy, but not heavy. There were specs of seeds from the vanilla bean, indicating that this was not store -bought shit. And the chocolate sauce they serve on the side was divine. Not heavy like a ganache, just light and frothy enough to drizzle over the pastry. It was bittersweet chocolate with a hint of cocoa. Whew.
It was an awesome day – probably the best this summer (so far?).