Yesterday afternoon, I spent an hour listening in on a conference call with other members of the press and Anthony Bourdain. It's media season for Bourdain, as No Reservations nears its final episode and he prepares to head out on the road, for another one of his speaking tours (he'll be at The Hippodrome on November 17th).
I had other things to do during the call, so I just listened in. I was the only person from Baltimore on, though, so I'm kicking myself now for not piping up with at least one question (We know you love The Wire. We know - from Lucky Peach and Treme - that David Simon loves food. Have you and David Simon ever talked about Baltimore food?).
UPDATE: I wasn't the only Baltimore person on! Kathy (aka the Minx) was on the call, as well. Apparently I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been.
But still, I heard some good stuff. A few tidbits:
On the next big thing in restaurant cooking:
"That second generation of Chinese and Korean kids who don't feel any particular geographic connection or responsibility to stay authentic. They're really interesting."
What's exciting now:
"If you look at New Orleans, there's a huge number of Vietnamese. That's delicious food and great foodways. A whole new supply train of ingredients entering the spectrum of flavors. It's what will be, in ten years, traditional New Orleans cuisine."
Where to eat abroad (I think I'd heard him say this before):
"If the place is packed with locals, eat there. If you see other people where you come from in the restaurant, you're probably in the wrong place. It's likely that you'll eat badly in Rome or Venice or Mexico. The key to eating there, or anywhere, is don't eat where you see Americans. Not that Americans are bad, but they tend to congregate, and then it's a vicious circle. You want to eat at the stall where someone eats every day."
The cities with the best holes in the walls:
"I think San Francisco has wonderful dive bars. New Orleans also has great hole in the wall eateries and bars. Both are big eating and drinking towns."
On Michael K. Williams' appearance in the No Reservations finale:
"I'm a huge fan of his work on The Wire and the show in general. I work with David Simon on Treme and I was aware that Michael comes from Flatbush in Brooklyn. I'm always looking for someone from a particular area to show me around, but it was also an opportunity to hook up with someone I admire. Has there ever been a cooler character on TV than Omar?"
What he wants to explore next (with CNN and otherwise):
"I want to go up the Congo River. I'd like to shoot in Libya, Iran, Myanmar (used to be Burma), the West Bank/Gaza strip. Places where Travel might have had some security concerns."
"If I could get Iggy Pop to show me around Ann Arbor, Michigan, that would be a dream show."