“…alcohol helps.”

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader attened the Fredericksburg Forum last night. The guest was renown writer/traveler/chef Anthony Bourdain. Allow your Maximum Leader to tell you something. Your Maximum Leader was giddy as a schoolgirl in anticipation for this event. He’s been looking forward to it for weeks now.

For a few years now the Fredericksburg Forum has had a number of great guests, but they have tended to the political. Your Maximum Leader had grown weary of all the political figures and had stopped patronizing the event. Well… When he heard that Bourdain was coming he knew he had to repatronize the event and make sure he was there. And so he was…

Your Maximum Leader spoke to some of his friends in town who he knew would attend and made a wager on how long it would take before Bourdain said “fuck” in his remarks. (Over under by your Maximum Leader was under 2min. Indeed Bourdain dropped the ole f-bomb about 1.5 mins into his remarks. FYI, many patrons thought that he would refrain from cursing during his talk. Your Maximum Leader believed he’d have been disappointed if Bourdain didn’t curse. It is part of his charm.)

Your Maximum Leader will not recount everything that was said but will hit a few of the high points. These points are familiar to anyone who has read any of Bourdain’s books or watched “No Reservations” (on Travel Channel Monday nights at 10pm). The best part of the talk was when Bourdain talked about the importance of being a good ambassador for your country when travelling. He encouraged us to actually get away from tourist areas and actually meet people and see the “real” country you are visiting. If you meet interesting people and they offer you food, eat it. These are tenets to which your Maximum Leader tries to adhere when he travels. Bourdain expressed amazement that someone like Gwenyth Paltrow could travel through Spain and never try ham. (NB: Your Maximum Leader believes it is a sin against God and nature to visit Spain and not have ham. Indeed people who go to Spain and don’t at least try some ham should be beaten within an inch of their lives.) Bourdain expressed some sympathy for Bobby Flay having to do that awful Throwdown show. Frankly your Maximum Leader enjoys seeing Flay getting his butt kicked when he watches the show (which isn’t often). Flay seems to be an insufferable prick. That said, it seems as though Flay is getting beat up on a bit too much on that show.

The quote of the night was actually the last thing that Bourdain said during the question and answer session. He was asked about his opinion of Andrew Zimmern. Bourdain said that other than the unfortunate name of Zimmern’s show (Bizzare Foods) that Zimmern is a good guy. They have lots in common. One thing they don’t have in common is that Zimmern doesn’t drink anymore. Then Bourdain pulled this out: “When you’ve eaten a dinner of dick and you know you’re having a big helping of nutsack for breakfast, alcohol helps.” Were truer words ever spoken? Your Maximum Leader doubts it.

After the speech there was a “patron reception” for people who shelled out the big bucks to be there. Your Maximum Leader managed to get up to Bourdain before the huge crush of other patrons arrived. He shook hand and said how much he enjoyed the show and books. Then your Maximum Leader asked him “If you could go anywhere in the world to have a meal, where would you go?” Your Maximum Leader speculated before asking the question that the answer might likely be Arzak in Catalonia Spain. Bourdain thought for a moment and said that if you were going to travel anywhere in the world for a meal you’d likely have time for a couple meals. He said that you should go to the San Sebastian region of Catalonia and eat at Arzak, Mugaritz and Extebarri. If you caught the “No Reservations” show on Spain back in 2008 you’d know which three restaurants these were.

Sadly, your Maximum Leader would have liked a little more time to speak with him, but the crush of other patrons was incredible. Your Maximum Leader felt a little sorry for him, as he was surrounded by fanboys (and girls) and hardly had a chance to relax at all.

Anyhooo…

It was a great night. Your Maximum Leader had a great time (as did his lovely wife Mrs Villain). Now your Maximum Leader is off to Wegmans to get himself some Spanish ham for lunch.

Carry on.

8 Comments »
Mageen in Old Virginny said:

Off road in a country like Canada is fine. China, not so much. There is an excellent reason why China controls so much of the tourist trade in that country and its called sanitation.



I would say that China controls a lot of the tourist trade for political reasons more than anything else. But you touch on a point that Bourdain spoke about at length, and one that my experience (and that of some traveling friends) bear out.

Bourdain said you are more likely to sick at the Hilton Breakfast bar in Jakarta than you are by getting something from a street vendor outside the Hilton. The street vendor is using fresher ingredients and is probably a fixture in his community. He isn’t going to want to make his friends and neighbors sick.

I’ve found (even travelling in the US) that just going to a different area exposes you to viruses (viri?) to which your immune system is unfamiliar. We often blame that on food, but it is probably just the exotic location that is doing it.

Sanitation in many places isn’t what we are used to in the US, but I think that the sanitation issues don’t always stem from the food.



Fear and Loathing in Georgetown said:

Love Bourdain. Love him.



Kevin Kim said:

Is that a command?



I think if it had an exclamation point it would be a command. It is the difference between “Hey.” and “Hey!”



Kevin Kim said:

Well… I meant my question as a joke.



Suuuuurrrrrre you did. Joke… Sure… LOVE HIM!!! LOOOOOVE HIIIIM!



filet minion said:

“When you’ve eaten a dinner of dick and you know you’re having a big helping of nutsack for breakfast, alcohol helps.”

I’m pretty sure he stole that from FLG.



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