Thursday, August 22, 2013


I’ve been reading an interview Anthony Bourdain did for Yahoo TV.  One of the questions:  What do you think of people who Instagram their food?  Bourdain replies, “Look, I'm guilty of it, too. I think it's worth making fun of. We deserve to be mocked. It's a dysfunctional, even aggressive practice. Why do we Instagram pictures of our food? It's not to share. It's to make other people feel really bad. … It's basically a f--- you. You say, "Look what I'm eating, bitches." You don't want people to be eating dinner with you when you Instagram a picture of your food. You want them to be eating a bag of Cheetos on their couch in their underpants. It's a passive aggressive act.  That said, I do it all the time.”

I’d have thought Bourdain was way too cool to do Instagramming (even I feel like a tool when I photograph my meals) and I’d also think he’s too cool to do passive aggression.  Why not active aggression?  But I guess it’s all publicity to further his “brand.”  And hell, it’s not such a bad brand.

I went and looked at his Instagrams – some very enticing pics with some very terse titles, such as Lobster Night:

 Lunch Sicily:

The Glory of Spain:

And the one below has no caption at all but seems to be in South Africa. Pap Beef Curry – pardon my immature snigger:

I cut Bourdain plenty of slack for two, linked, reasons.    First, he knows a good guitarist when he hears one.  In an interview with Karen Brown for she asks him: If you could bring back four dead rock stars, who would you bring back?  After Johnny Thunders, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joey Ramone – he goes for Robert Quine.  Robert Quine!!  All right!! – the only truly great bald guitarist or at least the only one who ever seriously fessed up to his baldness.  Brian Eno writes of him,” Our friendship clicked and resolved itself around the following: a love of wandering round New York and eating in obscure oriental restaurants” also of course “a feeling for music that was 'at the edge of music.'”

Bourdain is also a fan of the desert – he’s done at least two shows about the Mojave, and in one of them he and Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age go to eat and drink at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, a place I know somewhat, and a place I became aware of because of that other great guitarist and desert guy Howe Gelb, who used to live close by, though this pic is obviously taken in Arizona.

And here are Bourdian and Homme at the bar of Pappy and Harriet's, where I have frequently sat.

 I think Bourdain rather overstates the desert weirdness of Pappy and Harriet’s – the place is often full of kids and old couples doing line dancing, but I do believe their steak sandwich with thinly sliced Santa Maria BBQ topped with grilled onions and shredded cheese on toasted French bread  - $11.95, is pretty much unbeatable.  It’s what I always get when I’m there but I’ve never been so uncool as to take a picture of it.  Others, I’m sure have felt no such inhibition.

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