Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Anthony Bourdain: A Lunch to Remember

Anthony Bourdain Thai Town Noodle Whore

It's really a nice feeling when you get noticed for doing something you love. In my case, it's writing about noodles and food, in general. Two weeks ago, I got a call from the producer of Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations". If you haven't caught a glimpse of the show, the show follows the fearless chef/writer as he eats the unique foods of the world. In Indonesia, he ate Penis Noodle Soup. In Vietnam, he ate porcupine. In Europe, he ate the head cheese of a sheep. The list goes on. The producers came across my Noodle Whore site and read the review on a coffee shop in Thaitown that serves up some of the best Thai Boat Noodles in Los Angeles. The quirk factor: a broth made with cow's blood. After two weeks of correspondence, they asked me to be his sidekick at the Sapp Coffee Shop. Hmm, lemme think about it.

Two weeks later, I found myself leaving work for what would be a very, long lunch break. All the information I had researched on Thai Boat Noodle soup began spinning around my head like a laundry load in a washing machine. I said forget it, I'm just gonna have to play it by ear. I got to Thai Town about 15 minutes early. I stood outside my car and smoked a cigarette and again, started to think about what I would say. I felt like I was doing a last minute run-through on a college final/midterm. I grabbed my backpack which contained my chef coat and 3 books for him to sign. I started to walk down, staring aimlessly down the street. Within a few steps, I started to notice a very familiar figure: a tall, slender, grey-haired man wearing a black leather jacket, puffing away on a cancer stick... Anthony Bourdain. All of a sudden, I wasn't nervous anymore. I felt calm and relaxed. I walked directly to him and introduced myself and met the producers who were setting up the cameras.

We then walked into the restaurant which had about 5 occupied tables. All of them oblivious to what was going on because they were too busy inhaling their food. We picked a table and I was then mic'd up. *Note: you may not see it on the shows, but everyone is wearing a tiny mic that clips on to the underside of your shirt with the receiver tacked on to your belt like an old Motorola Bravo pager. We then decided on the dishes we would be ordering and took our seats. Mmm, Thai Boat Noodle soup and Pork Noodle soup. Anthony then stood up and said to me, "See you in a few minutes". He stood up and walked outside of the restaurant to film the shot of him walking into Sapp Coffee Shop. I sat there and took a deep breath and all of a sudden... pure silence. I turned around and gave one last look at everyone in the restaurant. The cameraman stood next to me, anticipating Anthony's entrance. The patrons, who really didn't give a f*ck about what was going on, were still inhaling their food. The crew sat in the back table also waiting for the camera to roll. The restaurant staff stood behind their counters holding menus. I then looked at the window of the neighboring store for a reflection and saw Anthony approaching. Here we go.

AB: "Hello Dylan, how's it going?"
Me: "Hey Anthony, how's it going?"


The waitress then came up to us and handed us menus. We ended up ordering the Thai Boat Noodle soup and the pork version of it, which includes pork blood. From there, a 20-minute conversation began. What are we eating? What's the story behind this dish? What's in it? What's up with the strip malls? What's up the 'C' rating? What do you do for a living? What kind of noodles do you like? Blah, blah, blah. I could tell Anthony liked the noodles. Not only was he building up a sweat, he actually finished a bowl of noodles before I did. People that know me, know that I inhale, rathen than eat. It was so weird eating next to him. Each few bites, he let out a moan of satisfaction in the food. This guy really eats anything and everything. When the camera wasn't rolling, I took every opportunity to ask him questions. I told him that my friends and I had tried to do the same things he did in Osaka, Japan. I asked him about the importance of blood in French cooking. I asked him about his experience in China. Just a few of the many questions I fired at him.

Me: "How do you like the food?"
AB: "This is good stuff. Americans really underestimate the power of blood as a thickening/flavoring agent."


As soon as he was done with the Thai Boat Noodle soup, the cameras stopped rolling. Before he could leave, I pulled out my chef coat and books and kindly asked for his autograph. I asked him to draw his trademark chef/skull logo which is displayed in his book, The Les Halles Cookbook and in tattoo form. You can see it in one of the Miami Ink episodes. I held the chef coat and folded it neatly back into backpack. And before I knew it, Anthony stood up, shook my hand, took a photo and quietly put his black blazer back on and was out the door back to his hotel. Wow, very cool.

Anthony Bourdain is someone I highly respect. After reading his Kitchen Confidential novel, I knew I wanted to try my hand as a cook/caterer. He's funny, drinks, smokes and is probably more open-minded than anyone out there when it comes to food. He's the anti-Food Network celebrity and is a true badass. Most of all, I admire the fact that he knows how to enjoy life, and will never stop pursuing it until the day he dies.

Thank you Anthony Bourdain for your time, this means a lot to me. Thanks to everyone for reading.

"No Reservations" Season 3 will air sometime in January and will feature the Sapp Coffee Shop segment including Phillipe's French Dip and many other LA establishments. Eat here soon before it gets crowded. It's good!

58 comments:

Jonah said...

So cool EDBM, you have my congraulations and my envy!

Daily Gluttony said...

OH MY GAWD, OH MY GAWD, OH MY GAAAAAAWD!!!!

you MET and ATE with Tony Bourdain???? *drooling* come on tell me, was he cute? does he need anyone to have his children? are you going to take us to SAPP and show us where he sat so i can sit in the same chair & lick it? haha, j/k, but you know i LOOOOOVE tony bourdain!

congrats dylan--that is SOOOOOO effin' cool!!!

Renee said...

Dylan, your chance to met and eat with Anthony Bourdain is awesome! I'm more impressed that you didn't jump and scream with excitement like a schoolgirl. :P
So your palate as a true Asian has finally proven itself useful, huh? Geeze, today AB, tomorrow Fear Factor, n'est pas?
Congrats!

elmomonster said...

Whoa. I mean "WHOA!" "Hold the phone!" This is momentus!

I'm almost beside myself with glee.

Not only did you meet Anthony Bourdain, you had lunch with him. Not only did you have lunch with him, you had lunch with him because you were his guide and you're going to be on his show!

If we food bloggers were Star Wars geeks, this is like George Lucas asking one of us to co-direct one of the prequels and star in it as Young Anakin!

One question though...why bother blurring out your face when you're going to be on national television!!!!

Congrats Dylan! It couldn't have happened to a more worthy food blogger.

yoony said...

dude that is the coolest thing ever!!! no reservation and ab is def ones of coolest things. but eating lunch with him?!! crazy.

Bon Vivant said...

Anthony Bourdain is a God! I loved it when he was eating in Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in London and he commented that GR had more respect for the spinach than any vegetarian would - interesting perspective.

I think that I could do without Penis Noodle Soup despite how much I like noodles.

Since reading your review of Sapp Coffee Shop I've been trying to get my friend "Mr. Taste of Thai" to have a dinner there; he better do it before January.

Congrats on your wonderful culinary adventure with AB!

s'kat said...

Sweet, what a bodacious story! And finally, we will be able to see an un-piexelated version of you, ha!

BR said...

det ij, rike, teu keul mang!!!!!!

i'm so sad i forgot to give you my kitchen confidential!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

Eddie Lin said...

Don't wash your hands. I want to shake them while you still got Bourdain's nicotine stains on them. Man, I wish I could've tagged along. This is the second time I missed him in LA.

Like Elmomonster said if we were Star Wars geeks, then this is like meeting and co-directing with Lucas.

You are big time now, baby! Can't wait to see the episode. And can't say that I'm not sick jealous.

rameniac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tokyoastrogirl said...

WTF?!??! You've been holding out! You hung out with AB and you didn't say anything?!?!?! WHAT? You are so lucky!!! Congratulations- to think the producers picked you out because of your blog is awesome. Is he skinnier in person? Are you gonna frame your chef's jacket? Did you invite him to the next LA Food Blogger event?;)

rameniac said...

i figured out what it is about him, especially in that 2nd photo you posted. he looks like a skinny, younger leonard cohen. if i ever had a chance to sit down and eat thai boat noodles with leonard cohen, i'd cream my pants. well, in an extended metaphor sort of way. also did i forget to mention that's one sick ass experience you just had there? sick as in a "totally awesome" manner of speaking. rock on!

BoLA said...

Shut up!!!

You got to meet Anthony Bourdain? Eat lunch with him? Got a picture with him? Be his guide? Got your chef jacket signed by him?

Holy shiatsu! That is AWESOME! YOU ROCK! Can't wait to see all you guys tomorrow night to get out meatage on! ;)

sarah said...

ho

lee

sh*t.

you got to see tony bourdain? and touch tony bourdain. and talk to tony bourdain. and. and. and...

i hate you.

*sigh*

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this and leaving kind comments. This means a lot to me that you're all very excited (and jealous) haha. This was truly a weird experience. A lot of people are fans of Bourdain and I felt really honored to meet the man.

As for Sapp, this place will definitely blow up once the show starts. So I recommend you try the noodles if you're into Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Thai Boat Noodles are darker and more flavorful.

If you haven't read his Kitchen Confidential book, definitely pick it up. It changed my views on a lot of things.

Santos said...

hey dylan, i'm not a big AB fan, but i am a big EDBM fan, so congratulations to you! although, crap, now it's going to be a b*tch getting a table at sapp now ;)

Colleen Cuisine said...

Holy f'ing sh#t! (can I say that on blogger?). Dylan, this is the most amazing thing that could ever happen to a foodblogger - you RULE! I'll be buying you a big ol' drink at Friday's dinner.
Big congrats!!!

Erin S. said...

sweet! how very cool (and fun). Congrats.

Jeni said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Professor Salt said...

Yoooooo........




bahstid.

Looking forward to seeing the episode. Have fun tomorrow, sorry we can't make it.

Chubbypanda said...

Dude! I'm literally sick with envy, as in I have a cold and you've only made it worse. Kudos!

- CP

Will Pillage For Yarn said...

Oh man. You ate noodles with my Hottie Love Monkey. No, he doesn't actually know he's my hottie love monkey yet. Details. Whatever.

I have mad envy.

cakegrrl said...

Bourdain is my hero. Thanks for posting the story and the pictures. Wow...

MessyJessy said...

I am pea green with envy. I met Wolfgang Puck last Saturday when he was in the area but that is nothing compared to meeting and eating with Anthony Freaking Bourdain. Geeze.

Rasa Malaysia said...

That's really cool. You are so lucky and I guess you are now "almost famous" and will officially be famous when the show airs...can't wait to see it. ;)

Christine D. said...

oh my gad...*speechless*

Can't wait to see the episode!!! AH!

Passionate Eater said...

I am going to TiVo that episode and put it on YouTube! You are so freekin' amazing Dylan! I agree with Elmo Monster, that you are totally worthy of Mr. Bourdain. But hey man, how come you didn't invite me or Oishii!? Jk. Thanks for inviting me to read about it on the post though!

Completely cool EDnBM.

Completely cool.

Brian Gage said...

Bless you for introducing me to The Soju House...I'm moving in next week...

elle said...

great fun-when will it air?? i enjoy watching Bourdain-wadda kick.
i read your site all the time-nice job.

Lisa said...

Amazing, and wonderful. You're so lucky! I would love to lunch with Bourdain. Good for you, and a great write-up. Thanks for sharing the experience.

djjewelz said...

that...was freaking awesome. Congrats!

Kirk said...

Major congrads and kudo's! Sheesh, I go on vacation, and when I come back ED&BM's a rock-star!

Anonymous said...

as everyone has said, i'm green with envy too, what an experience!

Ocean Floater said...

Amazing. I'm a fan of the show and I can't believe you are going to be on it. I'm impressed.

Pirikara said...

Wow, that's really cool D! Congrats! I need to show you my Europe photos.

Yuzu said...

Sorry I have been neglecting the foodie blog world lately. CJ and I were just talking about foodie blogs, and we took a look at your blog just now, and HOLY CRAP — Anthony Bourdain?! That's freakin' sweet.

Congratulations on meeting one of your most favorite people in the world. :) Like you said, it's wonderful when you get noticed doing something you really love.

MeowMix said...

Hi :) I've been a long time fan of your blog.

You boldly pursued your cooking passions, you have mad cooking skills, and now, you had lunch with AB.

I am so jealous. Congratulations :)

christianne said...

that's sooooo freakin' rad.

anthony bourdain is the man that made me stop ordering "the special" after reading "Kitchen Confidential." I'm eternally indebted.

sounds like a great lunch!

Blue Plate said...

Cool—you and Anthony Bourdain! I love "No Reservations", and his books and articles are good reads, too.

Anonymous said...

How lucky! Great pictures of Tony! Isn't he just SO cool!!? I got to meet him at a book signing and was so excited to meet him and was honored to get my picture taken with him. But to sit down and actually eat a meal with him like you did?! WOW

Congratulations! :-)

Nicole said...

dude all i have to say is i love your show. i would love to meet you one day. if you ever come back out to seattle wa please get in touch with me. thank so much for making me laugh smile and learn more about this world we live in. keep up the wonderful job you are doing and dont stop

Jeni said...

Wah wah wee wah. That is a sexy time.

Jonathan said...

I'm glad to see he's still doing those shows... it's been a while since I've seen something new. He's great... love love his shows.

my blog: http://www.LAFiltered.com


~J

rick james said...

d, you should just leave this as the final post, you've reached the pinnacle...

i have a strong feeling your next entry may be anticlimactic... i think the only way to top lunch with Mr. Bourdain would be....... Drinking with Eddie Lin!!

Sojuuuuutooowwwwnnnnn!!!!!!! ;p

James said...

i get what you mean. i have a total man-crush on anthony bourdain.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the show in Singapore and I have only one thing to say to you: Dylan you are really really cute!! You looked so sweet and yummy on tv. :)

Spent half the day tracking down your blog and reading it.

Head on down to Singapore to try some unique noodles. You will not be disappointed.

Meanwhile all the best to you.

Anonymous said...

hey there Dylan,

I totally agree with Mr. Anonymous.

AB has been a regular feature here in Spore but un think his fan base is tat great, me not one of them too... sometimes the world is strange cos I dun think you need a AB type personality to sell asian food.

But on the other hand, the noodle whore is excruciatingly yummy and I will follow u to the end of the world to try all the noodles cos I wud trust your taste. Anyone who is so good looking and yummy must know wats really yummy.

Would u consider coming over to singapore and host a TV show on noodles around the world?

I seriously think there will be a great market ... not only cos u have the taste buds worthy of being called expert, but also the eye candy factor. ;-)

Do consider... we have a Channel News Asia that is a forerunner in pushing the wordl to look at asia differently... I think u can be a perfect ambassador.

Please please please consider...

noodle lover (and noddle whore fan)

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Anonymous said...

good blog, hes a lucky sob eating all that good food!!

x said...

a little late to the blog party, but AWESOME!

Aji De Mani said...

Oh em jee. This is the best thing I've read all day. I'm so happy and excited for you!

Treat Blisters said...

Congrats!that is the coolest thing ever.You are so lucky!

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Resume said...

If you haven't read his Kitchen Confidential book, definitely pick it up. It changed my views on a lot of things.

Wedding guru said...

Hey you are a lucky man got a chance to sit and eat with Tony Bourdain. Hope I was also there to see him.

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Riyo said...

Lucky Dude.

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Qureshi Mohammad Hamza said...

Congrats Dylan,Luck one you got to meet Anthony Bourdain . i wish i could have been your assisstant. :)

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SAP Jobs said...

Even I wish I could be your assistant!!!

Sam Jobs from Mumbai said...

Anthony Bourdain, what a man he is? Apart from meeting you had lunch too, who could have had a better opportunity that you!!

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