Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Day with Bad Tony

We headed down the road into Indiana and soon were headin' into Indy. It was very cool to see all of the WVU flags and stickers heading into the city to see the Mountaineer basketball team play in the Final Four to play Duke. Alas, the following Saturday the Mounties would fall to Duke. Coach Huggy Bear and his team had a helluva season though, and made the school, the fans and the state mucho proud.

We spent the night in downtown Terre Haute and had breakfast the next morning a A New Day Cafe. It was simple breakfast fare done exceptionally well and featured one of the hardest-working, friendliest and most attentive staffs I've ever experienced. The fact that they are located smack dab next to IHOP and were packed and on a wait said a lot.

The remaining drive home felt finally like a new day to me. The preceding few months, hell, the past few years have weighed heavily on me and this day felt truly new. This may sound perversely corny but honestly....the early morning raindrops, the sun peeking through the endlessly evolving cloud formations, everything....felt a tad clearer to me. I made the comment on Facebook that I had come out of hibernation and indeed it felt this day that I had. It was if I was unwinding and stretching right along with Spring.....but lest you think I'm gliding along in a hallucinogenic haze...

I was soon snapped to cynical attention by, of all things, a satellite radio show. Saturday featured a marathon of a new XM/Sirius show on the Martha Stewart Channel called Turn and Burn hosted by the Good Humor man himself, Anthony Bourdain and his culinary partner-in-crime Eric Ripert. Now, Ripert by all accounts is a master chef but his French mumblings on this show are getting swallowed by Bourdain's diabolical dialogue. Bourdain as ever, is entertaining as hell. Be it Tony foisting KFC on Ripert or a busy broadcast from the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, I was glad I was just listening and not driving as I was frequently convulsed in laughter.

Bourdain has an enviable way of turning a phrase. I've talked previously about the cynical and bone-honest musings in his books. His show No Reservations is frequently a cringe-worthy hoot. One of my favorite lines from this show has Tony comparing something foul to licking Cheetos dust off the floor of the Rock of Love bus. The radio show features him wielding that wicked wit and the more refined Ripert makes for a perfect foil. Bourdain admits to getting teary over Ratatouille and rants over...well...just about everything. They host awesome segments like Martha Stewart Cage Match which pits the Queen of Good Things against everyone from Sean Penn to Batman. In most match-ups, they surmise Martha would win and their play-by-play of a battle between Martha and Sandra Lee is worth the price of admission alone. Then there's Food Porn....descriptions of memorable meals set to 70's porn music.

My personal fave segments are the dramatic renderings of Ruth Reichl's tweets. Lord knows as I've said before, I love me some Reichl(former NY Times food critic and Gourmet editor)....read all of her books and loved them. When Reichl takes to Twitter, she shares what seem to be endlessly picture-perfect moments involving food. An example:

"Sunshine. Scarlet breakfast. Lobster claws cooked in cream, touched with tomato, spooned over toast. Blood orange juice. Fresh!"

As Bourdain says, we all just want to be her. This led me to Twitter, where I discovered ruthbourdain, which is a mash-up tweet featuring Reichl-style tweets with Bourdain sensibilities....check this one out..

"Sunshine. Basic breakfast. Lobster claws fried in duck fat, bathed in cream, topped with shaved truffles and spooned over buttered toast. Call 911."

Funny, funny stuff all day long. Our ongoing laughter just peppered the rest of the drive. It occurred to me that I love those Reichl moments but like keeping some Bourdain-style cynicism to keep it in check. During this life span of mine, there have been few times I have been happier than on the open road with Keith and this was no exception.

If I'm not careful, though, I'll start waxing rhapsodic like Ruth and start seeing cartoon bluebirds and will soon have Bad Tony perched on my shoulder and whispering, "Snap out of it, moron. Every day ain't Rachael Ray."

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