Last Night's Bourdain Event
Had fun seeing Bourdain speak at the Commonwealth Club last night. Met some new chowhounds. Discovered the importance of owning at least one chowhound pin - it makes it much easier to locate fellow chowhounds if we're all wearing pins. So if you don't have yours yet, order some today!!
At the reception, the cheese was bland and boring; the crackers dry and the wine was cheap. But what the hell, it wasn't chowhound sponsored so what did I expect?
The interview with Bourdain was amusing and enjoyable. What a great drinking buddy he must be. I love people who hold themselves loose, can have a stiff drink and tell a really good story.
Anyway, they taped the interview for broadcast. It will probably air in early February. Commonwealth Club programs regularly air in San Francisco on KQED-FM (88.5), Fridays at 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:00 a.m., and on KALW-FM (91.7), Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m.
Below is a link to the programs scheduled to air in the coming weeks. It should be updated to include the Bourdain interview in the next week or so.
Afterwards, we met up with Melanie at Capital, a nice old-style Chinese-American restaurant. Melanie ordered off the Chinese menu so I don't know what they called the dishes. There was a whole fish that was quite nice. I haven't had sweet & sour pork chops in a long time, but these were pretty good. The veggies were boring. Michael liked the shrimp (whole/in shell) and the duck. I wasn't particulary hungry but found it nice to just hang out and visit with everyone.
All in all not a bad way to spend a Monday night.
That wasn't the best meal I've had at Capital, but you must admit that it was good value priced at $38 for 6 persons on the set menu. In addition to what you listed, we had crispy chicken (not duck), Westlake soup (good), giant squid with vegetables (not good), and fresh crackly fortune cookies. The crispy-finned grilled flounder was very good.
I was sorry that I let our waitress talk me out of ordering the $23 for 4 persons dinner which I like much better. You and the others at the table took it in stride as she said that "Americans" would prefer the sweet and sour dish on the 6 person menu. We fooled her when we didn't need the pile of forks she put on the table, nor the extra napkins and finger bowls because everyone ate the shells on the salt and pepper shrimp! (g)
The wine for the night was the 1998 Knyphausen "Erbacher Steinmorgen" Kabinett Riesling which was drinking perfectly. I couldn't help but think of Dave Feldman and all the wines we had in Las Vegas and that it might have been better with spicy Thai. But I did enjoy pairing it with the sweet and sour pork chop.
It was great to hear the blow by blow of Bourdain, to meet Peter and Karen finally, and of course, it's always a pleasure to sit at the table with you and Michael.
re: Melanie Wong
Yes, it was a most enjoyable evening. My first ChowHound event, as well! Finally getting to put faces with names was the highlight. The vegies and squid were not. :-) But, I've got to do these things more often.
Speaking of more often, I did in fact go to Kepler's last night to see Bourdain again. He read a bit from A Cook's Tour (the section on off Tete de Veau followed by foie gras and physical agony). He answered questions from the audience (many of the same questions and the same answers). He was charming and gracious, and although he could be vulgar, he demonstrated the wit which allows him to write so well. And I was happy that he signed my last three books ("Collect the complete set!") that I didn't get signed at the Commonwealth Club.
For those of you who missed him, he's at Cody's in Berkeley Thursday evening at 7:30 pm.