Tag Archives: No Reservations

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.

Taco, Taco, Taco: El Torrito comida de la calle

As many of you already know I am a big fan of pointing my jeep in a random direction and exploring the street food options in my home city of Winnipeg.   This long weekend the direction was simple to choose, I headed downtown to the afternoon site of the El Torrito taco truck.

The Winnipeg street food scene has long been dominated by scores of smokie carts and burger trucks that have a strangle hold on the Canadian street food market.  But just last month I began hearing rumblings of something exciting and new, at first I thought people were talking about a trip down to Mexico or chatting about a Food Network program they had seen on taco vendors.  But they insisted there was indeed a taco truck in Winnipeg, and they even had a following on Twitter.

Intrigued to the point of obsession I made it my mission to find this elusive taco truck and taste its bill of fare.  Indeed El Torrito (@ElTorrito1) does have a large following on Twitter and a write-up in the local pages of Metro.

El Torrito comida de la calle

When I came upon the truck at its downtown lunchtime location, I could smell and hear the difference from across Portage Avenue.  The aromas of savoury meats being grilled and the pumping music from a boom box had a small crowd wondering what this apparition was, unaccustomed to having a Mexican option the crowd watched as I bravely strode up to the front window.

Immediately a friendly face appeared from inside and offered me the daily El Grandé  special.  Three tacos (beef or chicken) and an authentic chorizo dog with chips and drink for $10.  How could I say no to that?

As I ordered the cook and co-owner Ian Bowman smiled at my enthusiasm and shouted over the music how hot I wanted my tacos.  I replied “hot, but don’t make my face melt off.”  He laughed and said with a sly grin, “but I like to make faces melt!”

Simple and authentic taco goodness

The tacos themselves are based on traditional Mexican street food, if you’re looking for hard-shelled tacos covered in cheese and cliché then you’ve come to the wrong truck my friend.  Simple is the name of the game here, and fresh is how they taste.  Hot grilled meat, some salsa verdé, tomato and a hit of cilantro wrapped up in a warm tortilla is what you get.  A lime on the side and some chili sauce for heat makes for simple street taco perfection.

The chorizo dog was also very good, a mild pork sausage also served with salsa verdé, onions and tomato was a welcome break from the smokie sausages that Winnipeggers are accustomed to.

Overall my first impressions of El Torrito were good although the tacos seem a bit small and not overly laden with meat, by local standards they are still a bargain at 3 for 5 dollars.  The condiments are fresh and the service is enthusiastic, more than once I saw the cook poking his head out to see if I was enjoying my lunch.

So if you’re in need of a change look the taco truck up on twitter (@ElTorrito1) and head down for a bit of spice this summer.

Winnipeg Street Eats: A Bourdain Friendly Dog Hits Winnipeg.

Well another weekend is upon us here in Winnipeg.  This particular afternoon found myself and my significant other in search of something new and exciting.  Well we found that today in spades.

Dingo's Store Front

Winnipeg hospitality group WOW! has opened a new style hot dog  joint in Winnipeg’s Little Italy.  Dingo’s Wild and Crazy Dogs marks a departure for the group from fine upscale dining to upscale street food.  The concept diner features a dozen specialty quarter pound hot dogs on the menu, any of which could have lept directly from Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and onto my tray.

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