Tag Archives: New York

Rest in Peace Chef: Anthony Bourdain dead at 61.

As I write this I’m watching people share stories and thoughts on what is looking like an apparent suicide by Anthony Bourdain.

The one time chef and author/globetrotter was found dead by his friend Éric Ripert in France this morning apparently by his own hand.

Anyone who has even casually looked at this blog will know that I have been a constant fan of the man and his work. A previous girlfriend of mine used to call him my man crush and I suppose that assessment was true.

In fact this blog page is a direct result of my early ‘obsession with Bourdain’. When my girlfriend and I won a trip to New York one of the first things we did was go to eat at his old restaurant Les Halles where he had been head chef.

I can’t even begin to imagine what his ex wife and daughter are going through this morning and in all sincerity my heart goes out to them though all of this.

Bourdain has the distinction of being one of the original bad boy celebrity chefs along with Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay.

He used food as a bridge to explore different cultures. Sharing a meal and finding out what really makes the world tick. From high end dining with 3 star chefs to squatting in the sand with tribesmen in Namibia eating the less appealing parts of warthog.

He opened my mind to the world of exotic food. To the point where I will often try a new cuisine and just have the server bring me what they would want to eat.

Depression and suicide are very serious medical issues. One can never really know what demons a person is struggling with. What pain, guilt or shame they carry in their hearts. Real or imagined to the outside world those feelings are all too real to the person suffering.

Mental illness can be as debilitating as a broken bone or heart condition. But because that pain is invisible to everyone else it is misunderstood and marginalized by the outside world. I know this because I deal with depression and severe anxiety on a daily basis.

To all of Anthony’s family and friends I offer my sincere condolences. You do not grieve alone.

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Winnipeg Meets Nunavut.

I’ve written these pages now for almost 5 years, since fate smiled upon Darlene and I and we were whisked away to New York City. Over the years I’ve covered many topics before finding my voice and becoming a cheerleader for my adoptive home town of Winnipeg. As any blogger will undoubtedly tell you writing is only half the job of running a blog, the other portion includes reading vast amounts of other people’s work and striking up constructive friendships that help hone the craft.

One such friendship that I cultivated is with the author of I’ll Have Nunavut, a blog by Suzanne Parm-Etheridge and her husband Ian.  Two people adapting to life in Canada’s far north.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Suzanne was coming to Winnipeg as part of a conference and would be staying less than 10 minutes from our home.

Suzanne and I with Darlene enjoying a nice evening stroll on Corydon Ave.

Suzanne and I with Darlene enjoying a nice evening stroll on Corydon Ave.

We met at the Forks Market where Suzanne stayed and journeyed out to UnBurger in Osborne Village.  Suzanne frequently commenting on Winnipeg’s beautiful parks and neighborhoods.  In return Darlene and I asked questions about the far northern reaches of Canada.  It was like we had been old friends for years.

From Osborne Village to Corydon Avenue the three of us strolled, enjoyed Italian Gelato and shared stories of our lives.  As the sun dipped below the horizon a starlight tour of Downtown Winnipeg seemed in order.   Suzanne loved the stories of old Winnipeg and really seemed to get a kick out of visiting Portage and Main, Winnipeg’s most famous intersection.

Darlene and Suzanne ham it up for the camera at Portage and Main.

Darlene and Suzanne ham it up for the camera at Portage and Main.

Thanks for visiting Suzanne, I hope I didn’t bore you with my long-winded explanations and rambling stories.  It’s one thing to have made a friend though our writing but it’s an absolute joy to have met you in person.  Come back to Winnipeg anytime!

To wrap it up here’s a great song about Winnipeg by two hometown boys Randy Bachman and Neil Young with Prairie Town.

 

Sunday Journal – June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day Everyone.

First things first, let me add my voice to the growing throng who are pissed off as all hell at what happened in Vancouver this week.  To my mind it was a perfect storm of emotion and alcohol fuelled mayhem that only needed a spark to explode.  I believe that at the heart of the Vancouver riot there was a core element that was not there to celebrate game 7.

Vancouver Riot

Who in their right mind shows up to a street party with a baseball bat or Molotov cocktail? This was not a riot based on the win or the loss of a hockey game in my opinion. This was a deliberate act by a core group of hateful people who were determined to twist the drunken emotion of a hopeful crowd into a violent orgy of hate.  Mission accomplished.  I hope you were stupid enough to get your picture taken by one of the hundreds of cameras present at the event.

Water Polo player caught red handed.

May you feel the hot breath of your new butch cellmate on the nape of your neck as he introduces you to life in jail! Bitch.

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Super Bowl Madness

I just finished watching a full slate of NFL games today.  I don’t normally watch the American game but in an attempt to stay current with the manliest of conversations that will no doubt infest work tomorrow, I watched both final games.

Super Bowl XLV

In the afternoons first clash the Green Bay Packers battled the Chicago Bears.  This was a hard game for me to pick a team to root for.  I used to pull for Da Bears in my youth, but since I am surrounded by Cheeseheads at work I took the cowards way out and was rewarded with a Green Bay victory.   The game was full of turnovers and a lifeless 3rd quarter almost put me to sleep.  Da Bears fought back in the 4th but just didn’t have it in them to put Cheesehead Nation out of the running.

Green Bay Packers

In the second tilt, the NY Jets travelled to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.  To be totally honest I only caught bits and pieces of this game.  I was enthralled with playing the Raving Rabbids on Wii.  Thankfully my video game crashed on me with enough time to see the final minutes and Pittsburgh take the game by 5 points advancing to the Superbowl.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Being a fan of the Canadian game I really don’t get all of the nuances of the U.S. game.  However since it is cold as all frozen hell outside and I was planning on having a lazy day anyway, it seemed the perfect fit.

Now I can successfully bullshit with the best of them tomorrow.  Secure in my knowledge of scores and enough of the big plays to make it seem like I actually know what I am talking about.

Wish me luck!

Bob

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…Finale

Looking at the playbill after Jeff Beck had left the stage I noticed that we only had two more headliners to go,  Metallica and U2.

With appropriate heavy metal bluster Metallica took the stage with ear-splitting prowess.  Originally the organizers of the event wanted Led Zeppelin to carry the hard rock part of the show and were pretty much turned down flat by the remaining members of the group.  Thus it came to be that metal’s chosen heirs came to New York representing  every thing that embodies teenage angst and rebellion.

Opening with For Whom the Bell Tolls, the heavy drumbeat thumping into my chest with some force. Then into One and Turn the Page, before bringing out New York Native Lou Reed.

By their own admission Metallica does not play well with others, and did not automatically grasp the “Jam” concept for the show.  However when they learned whom they were to be teamed up with it all made sense, claimed lead singer Lars Ulrich.  It was their job to become the backing band for their Rock and Roll Elders.

Lou Reed emerged onto the stage in a Deja Vu invoking cheer of “LOOOOO”, thinking back to the “BOOOO’s” that greeted Bruce Springsteen the night before.  He appeared totally at ease with Metallica and the crowd as he lead  off with Sweet JaneWhite Heat/White Light followed in a similar rocked up fashion.

Lou Reed leads Metallica

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Night Two

Visibly worn down and physically exhausted from everything we had experienced so far in New York, Dar and I treated ourselves to a short nap before heading out to the second night of incredible music.

The walk to Madison Square Garden seemed shorter this time our tired feet almost seemed to know the way.  Perhaps tonight’s performance would be shorter than the marathon 6 hours of music we had rocked to the night before.

The event started out in familiar fashion, Tom Hanks addressing the crowd bringing out the still incredible Jerry Lee Lewis to open the show once again.  The elderly rascal belted out Great Balls of Fire in classic form.  Even going so far as to kick over his piano bench in a display of youthful enthusiasm.

Next up a red clad Aretha Franklin, took the stage with polished precision.
She rolled though a series of show tunes and a tribute to Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, before bringing out her first guest of the evening.  Annie Lennox, bravely showing her support for Aids research wearing a black Tee emblazoned with the slogan “HIV Positive”.

Annie Lennox joins Aretha Franklin

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New York, New York…Central Park and The Met.

OK, where was I, ah yes…. the morning of Day 2.

First of all let me put it to everyone who has never had the chance to visit New York City, that to see any meaningful part of it in the four days is absolutely futile.  All that achieves is the overwhelming desire to go back and do it all over again.  I also had given myself a task, to do my level best to eat my way across this city.

The previous night at Les Halles, engaged in conversation with a couple of delightful women Dar and I were given the basics of New York travel and the hot spots of the non tourist food scene.

Armed with that information and my stubborn insistence that we not eat breakfast at the hotel.  We hit the streets with empty stomachs and open minds.  Luckily for us a corner shop on the corner of 29th st and 6th Ave provided exactly what I was looking for.  Inside the busy shop, people of all stripes crowded around the counter.  The place had an energy to it, rushed but organized. My first taste of a proper NY Bagel with Lox served as breakfast as we headed up the street bound for the subway.

In planning our trip to NYC, people had tried to steer us away from using the subway, saying that they smelled of pee and homeless people.  But being reassured that subways were the cheapest, easiest way to get around the city we charged on regardless.  Finding the a station was the easy part, was it the right station to get up to central park… we had no idea.

28th Street Station

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