by Anthony Bourdain
Tuesday night it was grilled turbot at Elkano, about ten miles down the coast from San Sebastian. David Chang and Wylie Dufresne were happily sucking lobster brains out of the shell when Daniel Boulud insisted on portioning and serving the fish tableside, a skill that unsurprisingly, he excelled at.
The next night, it was roast woodcock at Mugaritz–and foie gras and megrim, skate “filaments” and braised iberian pork tail and pan fried langoustines. Juan Mari Arzak debated the nature of umami (flavor or sensation?) with Chang and Neil Perry over red cardoon salad and clams with black bean broth.
Continue reading: Gentlemanly Repasts »
by Anthony Bourdain
In his book “The Comedians” set in the Papa Doc era Haiti of the ‘60s, Graham Greene’s ambivalent hero describes the “Trianon” Hotel he is returning to:
“..with its towers and balconies and wooden fretwork decorations it had the air at night of a Charles Addams house in a number of the New Yorker. You expected a witch to open the door to you or a maniac butler with a bat dangling from a chandelier behind him. But in the sunlight, or when the lights went on among the palms, it seemed fragile and period and pretty and absurd, an illustration from a book of fairy tales.”
This, then, is the Hotel Oloffson, the model for Greene’s Trianon–and my home away from home for a little more than a week in Port au Prince. Rarely can one step right into the pages of a book. But the Oloffson seems just as described. The shower heads are omnidirectional. You are issued a single towel and a tiny wafer of soap a day. The pool bar is being used for storage. And the ceilings leak.
But it is a marvelous and magical place. During the earthquake that collapsed steel and concrete buildings all around it, the ungainly wooden gingerbread structure of the Oloffson is said to have listed left, listed right, and finally settled in on itself as pretty much the magnificently noble ruin it has always been. It is still, regardless of its condition, one of the world’s great hotels.
Continue reading: Comedians »