Paying Homage to Anthony Bourdain At A Dublin Chipper
Tasty Tuesday at Roma II in Dublin to pay homage to a restless soul who just had to move on.
I watched every single one of his shows. Every.Single.One. And, I will likely be watching most of them over at least one more time.
So many of my Saturday mornings have been spent with *him.* I have coffee and listen to a travel show. Always beginning with Anthony Bourdain weaving a food-travel story like no other.
After his recent death, a major film star wrote that she often dreamt that she would hang out with him. The scenario would be the same; they would eat, drink, and laugh. It made me think of the millions of fans that have had the same thought.
And like so many of his fans, I was inspired to see more, eat more, and ask questions. Hands down, he was different than all of the other travel show hosts.
He didn’t wear khakis, sported tattoos, sunglasses, and wore killer boots. He was like the super cool older neighbor kid, that harbored secret genius, lived the wild 70’s life of drug, sex, and rock-n-roll. Emulated by all the kids on the block. His legions of fans all over the world aspired to be a cool traveler like him, myself included. But, I could never “be” like him.”
A graduate of The Culinary Institute, a Chef, a writer, and a TV personality, a documentarian/journalist. With his success, he showed humility and was quite open about the demons that he had faced. But, what made him troubled, his drug abuse, alcohol use, manic-depression, was also part of what made him special. He swore like a sailor, drank like a fish, in earlier episodes he smoked like a chimney, hung out with rock stars and in his books and documentaries, he brought life to the story. He was a man with a past and he put it to good use in his life’s work. He was a flawed human. I could relate to him, and he made me laugh my head off.
If I had to put a finger on what I most loved about the shows and books, it would be how this New York city boy used his words in a quick witty fashion. Mostly, I loved how he would use shocking words, profanities, and wild descriptions and on a dime, slap me back into reality with intelligent thoughts and questions. I am thoroughly convinced that as a woman, or say, Samantha Brown, could never have been on the Travel Chanel or CNN saying things like…
- “I would nibble a Twinkie off of a Harley, at testicle festival no less, just to escape this cold.
- ” What do you get when you cross booze with fun friends? I don’t remember.
- ( Bourdainism on noisy monkeys being adorable.) You say that now but wait until one is humping your ear hole and shrieking at the top of its lungs.”
- “The amount you drink is adverse proportion to the ability to maintain an erection and the likelihood of you peeing in your sock drawer goes up.”
To me, the Dublin Roma II episode is a good representation of what I had loved about him the most. His fluency in street talk could switch to haut monde as easily as flipping a switch. He spoke my language with his witty Bourdanism’s.
Some of my favorite “Bourdainism’s” made me laugh for days and will stay with me forever, I can’t even write them on this blog because they are, well, quite crude. However, I keep them in my pocket and once in a while, I take them out and roll them around in my head. As a mild example, in the Chipper episode, he used melodic speech while describing the effects of drunk food. “Freckling the toilet bowl” and “Yep, my bathroom looked like the (?) bridge this morning, I mean, if I see the chambermaid, in the hall I’m going to avoid her gaze.”
Gross, but with his unique style, he seamlessly follows up with Irish poet Brendan Behan. Exactly the kind of person that I would want to hang with while visiting Dublin.
When I heard that he had died of suicide, I like many millions of his fans felt a loss so great that the stars seemed to have re-aligned. I found myself in Dublin, Ireland and a need to visit one of the places that he had visited to make sense of it all. To pay my respects.
Before I get into the Temple Bar and the Dublin world of after-bar food, let me give a shout out to one of my favorite places on the Earth, Ireland, and its culinary excellence from their gorgeous land and sea.
That said, I chose a spot to visit from “The Layover-Dublin,” Season Two Episode Three. I remember the show well because this episode was in my top 10 A.B. favorites. I love quick Irish wit; my own family, especially my maternal line, schooling me. But they were serious people, nurses, social workers, professional students, scholars, surgeons, teachers, and professors. They walked the Irish Catholic seriousness. Fortunately for me, I grew up with this fun-loving Irish Catholic family of eight as my neighbors and surrogate family. They made me laugh and laugh and taught me how to belch, play cards, and swear. But always stick together, to look at things with a different set of glasses, the Irish way. Think Shameless vs Bluebloods. Not heathen, but fun, Craic!
In a portion of this ‘chipper” episode, Anthony meets up with these hilarious Irish guys and together, they party the Dublin night away and visit Roma II also known as a chipper shop, late night drunk style. With his eloquent and poetic speech, he introduces the guys by saying.” These guys are a gift from the Irish drinking god’s who have come to show me light, give me guidance and point me in the proper direction of a midnight feast.”
The Irish guys describe late-night food by using Mom’s words ” never bring anything home that you “pick up” after 3 a.m.” The school Anthony on Dublin drunk food according to the level of drunkenness. From a mild buzz, I’m getting a little drunk, to the level of “FALLING ass over tea kettle, where we will laugh it off till the X-rays come back.”
There were so many hilarious moments and verbal exchanges in this episode that I could write it out verbatim.
But, it wasn’t funny when I visited. The place was located on a city street loaded with closed businesses, pubs, bars on windows and so on. It wasn’t that I felt unsafe, it was simply more depressing than the picture that I had in my mind and I couldn’t help thinking about how it would look worse in the wee hours of drunk o’clock. There was not a makeshift memorial like I often see on television; there were no roses, notes, nor teddy bears with hearts on the sidewalks of the place.
Also, I wasn’t visiting in a state of alcohol-induced gluttony, and swearing with Irish guys. I had the place to my lonely self. I felt like leaving but I was on an escalator pulling me towards the counter.
I looked around for a moment and my eyes stopped at “the table” where the episode was filmed.
I stood at the counter reading the menu, and once again, I wanted to bolt. Especially when the dude at the counter was irritated with my hesitancy. Yet, I was in Dublin and wrestled with using my stomach’s real estate on a meal in this place.
I chose a few foods from the episode. I ate the cardboard flavored burger and found it unworthy of a photo.
But, the curry chips (fries) hit the spot. They were ok, different, and cheesy. Almost like poutine but with curry. I ate a few and brought the rest to my daughter who wanted to be with me but was across town at the moment. We paid our respects.
This page of the newspaper made me smile and then laugh. I remembered on one of his shows he said: “If I can’t swear here, there is going to be a problem.” Fittingly, a perfect backdrop for my photo.
Sometimes the stars do align!
I left feeling the loss, yet satisfied with my accomplishment and the realization that I carry inspiration from Mr. Bourdain’s shows, an outlook on another way to travel. Without a doubt, I am a different traveler because of what he has taught me.
At the ending of the show, Anthony says “As with all good things, this time ends..and I find myself pained to leave. This city always gives you what you need, good food, amazing people and always always, the best pint on earth. Period. So, put down that glass of horse piss that you call beer, hop a flight and get your self to Dublin.”
Slainte’ R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain.