There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Anthony Bourdain will put just about anything in his mouth: boiled calf’s face, fried tiny birds, braised reindeer, shots of homemade mustard seed and horseradish vodka followed by glasses of pickle brine, the still-beating heart of a cobrayou name it. And though I’d much rather eat food (no matter how disgusting) than read about it, the New York nativewho’s been to Cambodia, Morocco, London, and almost everywhere in betweenwrites well and has a wonderful eye for the absurd. But it’s Bourdain’s gustatory derring-do that makes A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal wildly entertaining. The book’s premise is simple: Bourdain traveled the world, eating and writing about both the strange and the sublime, all the while drinking enough liquor to paralyze Lynyrd Skynyrd. As you read about his experiences with snake wine in Ho Chi Minh City, potentially toxic blowfish in Tokyo, and iguana tamales in Puerto Angel, Mexico, Bourdain’s unique sensibilityHunter S. Thompson meets James Beardshines through. On his visit to Phnom Penh’s Gun Club (where he is offered the opportunity to shoot water buffalo with a B-40 rocket): “You’ve got to admire an establishment that invites its customers to get drunk and fire automatic weapons indiscriminately.” And his loving description of a Glaswegian chip shop where you can get deep-fried anything (and where one happy patron says, “I could eat bloody Elvisif you put enough vinegar on him”) is unforgettable. The best part is that he says nasty things about vegans. Bourdain reads at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Olsson’s Books and Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Michael Little)