Home News Best lines from his San Jose show – The Mercury News

Best lines from his San Jose show – The Mercury News


Eleven years ago, Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert brought their “Good vs. Evil” show to the Bay Area. Here’s our April 2013 report of the hilarious gig, from the pair’s stop at a 7-Eleven on the way to San Jose to Bourdain’s arch comments (the printable ones!) to the menu a local chef prepared for the duo and their fans. Bourdain died June 8, 2018. 

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert brought their very frank and very funny Good vs. Evil show to the Bay Area over the weekend, and — if the number of arch comments and F-bombs coming from, yes, Ripert, were any indication — the devilish Bourdain side is winning out.

Also unexpected was the comparative turnout of foodies: Bourdain, the multitalented l’enfant terrible of the culinary world, and his many-Michelin-starred chef friend packed the house in San Jose, selling 2,351 tickets to the show at the Center for the Performing Arts, theater managers said. That’s 250 more than were sold in San Francisco on Friday night.

But the gig in the city gave them a chance to make a Saturday morning pilgrimage to the legendary Swan Oyster Depot for seafood and sauvignon blanc. After tweeting the obligatory “someone knows the way to San Jose,” they headed for the South Bay.

On the way, Bourdain mentioned a plan to torture Ripert with chips and snacks, then asked his Twitter followers whether there was a Tex Wasabi’s in San Jose. (Bourdain’s disdain for Guy Fieri, owner of Wasabi’s and Johnny Garlic’s, is legendary.)

A mild panic ensued among South Bay twitterers. This was not looking good for the area’s culinary reputation. Weren’t Bourdain and Ripert going to hang with David Kinch at Manresa? Check out the hip new food stalls at the San Pedro Square Market?

As it turns out, there isn’t time to tailor the show’s culinary content for the city du jour. But Bourdain planned a blind taste test of snack foods for the show, so the pair noshed at a 7-Eleven, of all places, during their shopping trip, our sources say. (Take a minute to let that sink in: Eric Ripert at 7-Eleven. The rest of us never again have to feel guilty about succumbing to the occasional Slurpee.)

In a scripted roadshow that managed to feel fresh and spontaneous, the two laughingly grilled each other, prosecutorial style, and riffed on everything from embarrassing restaurant moments to sustainable seafood before taking questions from the audience.

Among the printable bits:

— Tit for tat: Bourdain teased Ripert about the snooty name of his New York City restaurant, Le Bernardin, suggesting that a better one would be “Eric’s, A Place for Fish.” Ripert chided Bourdain for launching his own TV shows after criticizing as “sellouts” other chefs who do so.

— If stranded on a desert island with three chefs: Ripert said he would select French chef Joel Robuchon, Suzanne Goin of Los Angeles and local star Kinch. “You’re such an (audience-panderer),” Bourdain responded. His picks were Mario Batali for Italian food, sushi master Jiro Ono and Robuchon.

— On California’s foie gras ban: “You guys got suckered into looking like rubes,” Bourdain said. Both spoke of ducks raised cage-free for foie as receiving better treatment than caged fowl.

— New York vs. San Francisco: These East Coasters give the nod to N.Y. for high-end cuisine, with Bourdain noting there are enough very wealthy residents to support that level of dining there. Ripert said he was surprised to find that “fine dining in California is much more stuffy than New York these days.”

When the 2 1/2-hour show ended, the two retreated to a VIP after-party to meet fans and sign autographs — for another 2-plus hours. Joe Cirone of Hay Market Willow Glen was tapped as chef-host. He and his staff created a menu of Fallon Hills Ranch beef and Duroc pork:

— “Flintstone”-sized ribs (2- to 3-feet each) smoked in oak, roasted and glazed with black garlic and plum barbecue sauce.

— “Red, Blue and Yolk” burgers with quail eggs, radicchio and d’Auvergne Roquefort on homemade sourdough rolls.

— Oak-smoked and pulled beef nachos with pickled Fresno chiles and pasilla cream.

— Candied skinless homemade hot dogs.

— House-cured guanciale with French breakfast radishes and foie gras butter. (It’s OK. They didn’t sell the foie, which is illegal in California. They gave it away.)

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