Living life between the barrel staves in Bourbon Country

Real Time blogging during “No Reservations – San Francisco” tonight at 10pm EDT

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Week 4 of the play by play blog experience is history.  Tony Bourdain and the “No Reservations” crew landed in San Francisco.  We hope you tuned in, turnd on and dropped dumplings.  The recap is below.  Enjoy.

I have no emotional or cultural attachment to hippies, counter-culture or the Summer of Love.  Being born in 1971 I missed the whole thing.  I suppose if I had been born three years earlier I might have been named after Timothy Leary or Jerry Garcia.  Instead, I was named after Neil Diamond as my mother spun Hot August Night on the record player over and over again.  She told my father she wanted to name me after Neil Armstrong, the astronaut, but let’s just say there were no Neil Armstrong records in the house when I was a kid, and the only concert my mother ever attended without my father featured a greater display of gold and chest hair than a bearded women’s convention.  Besides, my parents’ upbringing was a lot more Happy Days than Haight-Ashbury.   In short, I’ve never been to San Francisco, and I don’t know what I’m missing.  The closest I’ve come is singing the opening lines to Jimmy Buffett’s “Come Monday”.

Speaking of vegetarians (insert rimshot here), I was at a pool party Saturday night where an inordinate about of meat was being grilled.  Two guys were talking about a grocery store trip with a friend of theirs.  While raiding the meat department their friend asked “Have you all ever tried pork wrapped in bacon?”.  Ok, he really said “y’all” but the rest I’m assured is recountered accurately.  One of the other guys responded, “Isn’t that just pork and pork?”  We had much fun at his expense for what, on the surface, was a hideously ignorant remark.  Then comes a recipe today from the RSS feed of Food and Wine magazine, Pork with Arugula, Prosciuto and Tomatoes.  Click here for the recipe.  Ok, so it’s not exactly the same thing, but it shows we might have been a little hasty in our judgement of our pork infatuated friend.  Next up, ground beef wrapped filet mignon.

And with that, it is time to unveil tonight’s drinking game!

9:55pm EDT

No Reservations – The Drinking Game

Anytime Tony Bourdain makes fun of vegetarians, the Grateful Dead, or Alice Waters, take a drink!  Bonus round – take a drink for every snarky reference to Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship or the Starship Enterprise (anybody remember Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home? – I didn’t think so…)

 10:10pm EDT

Vegan’s, only 7 words in – first winner in our drinking game.  Jerry Garcia, drink again.  And I had forgotten Dirty Harry was set in San Francisco.  Makes you wonder what Clint Eastwood was thinking.

“Tastes like it died screaming”.  A while back I read an article that said crabs and lobsters feel pain when you pull their legs and claws off.  Most the time, it’s not my intention that the crustacean survive, so I’m all about a quick painless dispersal of my future dinner.   Vegan Radio?  Somehow, I don’t think they’ll be opening a satellite station in Finchville, KY anytime soon.  Toto, we ain’t in Hazard anymore.

Vegan, vegan, vegan.  Ok, the shots have to stop of we won’t make it ’til the halfway point.

Bacon, oysters and martinis???  I think I’m serving a San Francisco themed menu at my next dinner party.  My seven year old son was devouring dinner one night, from the grill off course – after all it is summer – and I happened to remark “I’m sure glad you aren’t a vegetarian”.  He thought for a moment, then remarked, “No, I’m a steak-a-tarian.”  What can I say, I’m a proud father.

10:20pm EDT

The whole Haight-Ashbury sequence made me profoundly sad, for those who still believe, and for those who don’t understand, that it was all a dream after all and never, ever, reality.  There have been several interesting articles lately about the 40th anniversary of the Manson murders and how they in many ways signified the end of the innocence that the Summer of Love was suppose to stand for.  Hippies killing people ?  No way man!  I just can’t get the images out of my mind.  I saw the movie Helter Skelter in the 7th grade, and immediately found the book and read it cover to cover.  It stands, in my mind and those of many others, as one of the pinnacles of crime writing, and a exposition of pure evil.  Coming from a later generation, I can see the whole forest and not be distracted by the trees with which I am most familiar.  I see modern day hippies, who are really nothing more than spoiled rotten sons and daughters of upper middle class parents who have never known want in their lives, and I get sad – and angry – for what might have been had the intelligence and ideas of youth not been soured and distorted by sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Hippies, trully, represent the lost generation of yesterday and today.  God I’m depressed.

House of Prime Rib.  Every vegetarian I know just keeled over.  All of a sudden, I’m happy again.  And Bourdain is obviously slurring his speach at this point.  Beef and booze, it made Churchill Prime Minister – what can it do for you?

 10:35pm EDT

The organic food movement has taken one on the chin lately with the publication of multiple studies showing that organic food has negligible nutritional difference to regular food.  Now, I’m all about no pesticides and free range chickens.  I’ve had cancer already at 38 – I really don’t want to think my food my give it to me again.  But that being said, Bourdain’s previously statement on the likes of Alice Waters and the cost of organic food is a serious detriment to it’s spread.  It is, without question, elitist. 

Toxins in the White House soil!  Scandal! Hilariously, it turns out what spoiled Michelle Obama’s organic garden was nothing less than the last Democratic administration.  Apparently the Clinton White House used sewer sludge as fertilizer.  What lesson do we learn from this?  Recycled isn’t always better.

Ninety-five percent of the sushi restuarants menu is shipped in from Japan – and Tony totally calls them out by stating “So you’re not exactly a loca-vor?”  I’m starting to think this show is about unmasking hypocrisy in the modern culinary movement.  I feel like going to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and kicking a little ol’ lady selling mushrooms.  Seriously, if you want to talk about obesity in America you have to address the economic issues of food (I’m a conservative and I’m saying this, mind you).  Screw organic, just get to basic healthy non over processed, sugar and sodium filled entrees.  We’ve crimilized being poor – government assistance programs are more concerned with not being abused than providing healthly food for families.    Do food stamps work at the Farmer’s Market?  Why the hell not?   You can buy frozen TV dinners with them.  Once again, the government and it’s rules have a good deal of guilt to bear for the creation of the problem. 

 10:45pm EDT

So, amongst the massive meat filled sandwich served over the counter in the liquor store, we learn Tony is on Lipitor.  I’d like to think the beating cobra heart from “A Cook’s Tour’ is to blame.

10:55pm EDT

There should really be an Anthony Bourdain quote page (maybe there already is).  Telling Chef Chris Consentino “You bring the monkey, I’m leaving the room” has to go in the books.  Consentino, some of you might remember, was a contestant on “The Next Iron Chef”, a competition ultimately won by Michael Symon.  Tonight, big brain served with little brain.  Cranium and crotch.  Cerebellum and testicles.  Consentino is known as the American culinary pinnacle of hoof to tail eating.  We are wasteful in American culture, our success has allowed us to be (there’s that economic metaphoric undercurrent again!).  We waste a lot of food in the US.  Not just what’s wasted on the plate – “Timmy eat your spinach – children are starving in Africa”.  We waste more food before it gets to the plate than we ever waste from the plate to the trash.  We have, it seems, as a culture, a lot to learn when it comes to cooking.

Ok, the “antidote to Alice Waters” comment deserves a drink in tonight’s game for those of you who didn’t pass out during the first 20 minutes.  Last week was our biggest week – at least 5 winners during the drinking game.  Tonight, we have that many in the first half hour.  We might need to scale back.  But then again, next week is Thailand, and we’ve all heard how much fun one can have in Thailand, provided you don’t get caught with some of the nation’s finest in your pocket.

Until next week,  eat something good, eat something different.  Enjoy!

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