Years of working in East Coast kitchens, tending to cokehead line cooks and feeding his own junkielike need for adrenaline have hardened Kitchen Confidential, reads like a Mafia don giddily coughing up the Family secrets. But the world has softened Bourdain in the years since his debut book made him a household (kitchen) name. His No Reservations show puts him in locales where his tough-guy shtick doesn’t always play well. As such, his freakish trips, and his recent No Reservations companion book, allow us to ponder the deeper mysteries of Bourdain—the romantic who’s humbled by Africa’s natural beauty, the adventurer who senses his own death in an Argentine glacier. They’ve also made him the most likable, reliable, and entertaining tour guide in his quest to bring the world’s pantry to our living rooms. Bourdain discusses and signs copies of his work at noon at Olsson’s Books & Records, 418 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 638-7610.

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