When Anthony Bourdain brings his Guts & Glory tour to the Hippodrome on Saturday, it will be a return engagement for the notoriously opinionated "chef-at-large".
Bourdain launched the Hippodrome's annual Foodie Experience series in May 2010, when he shared the theater's stage with his friend, Eric Ripert.
This time, Bourdain is working solo, but when we spoke with him in late September, he said that he's grown increasingly comfortable being on the stage. "I'm looking forward to it, "Bourdain said, "I've been doing [stage shows] for a while. It's like a stand-up act. It requires some thought and practice."
The audiences on the tour, he said, change from city to city, and depending on the night of the week. "If it's a Monday-night gig, I'll be getting a lot of restaurant people, "Bourdain said. "Saturdays, I tend to get a slightly more sober crowd."
The Baltimore audience will get to ask Bourdain about "No Reservations," which concluded its long run Nov. 5, as well as two TV shows he's launching in 2013, a cooking competition show for ABC and a travel series for CNN.
Bourdain's burning passion these days, he said, is for the writers' room. A contributing writer for "Treme," David Simon's HBO series, Bourdain said that the writers' room is the most creative environment he's ever been a part of.
"I've never worked in a kitchen like that," Bourdain said. "Even if you've got a lot of creative people, there's a hierarchy."
Working with Simon's team is different, Bourdain explained. "It's like the '27 Yankees. It's the most satisfaction I've ever gotten form any kind of work. It's working with intelligent people making completely ambitious and uncompromising television," said Bourdain, an unabashed admirer of "The Wire," Simon's HBO series set in Baltimore.
"It's really liberating, writing your heart out," Bourdain said, "knowing that the worst thing that can happen is you'll be edited by George Pelecanos or David Simon."
At his previous Hippodrome appearance, Bourdain acknowledged that his love for "The Wire" directly shaped the content for the Baltimore episode of "No Reservations," which some viewers thought painted a bleak portrait of the city's dining scene.
Bourdain understands the negative reaction. "I've given short shrift to fine dining and new creative restaurants in Baltimore. I like Baltimore," Bourdain said. "I like the town for the reasons Baltimoreans want me to. I will be eating more there."
Tickets for the Nov. 17 show range from $45 to $60. General public tickets are at the Hippodrome Theatre box office and Ticketmaster (410-547-7328 and ticketmaster.com)
Hello, Hollywood After a six-month hiatus, the city-owned Hollywood Diner has reopened under new operators.
Formally known as the Hollywood Diner presents Thomasino's, the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and on Sunday mornings when the Baltimore Farmers' Market is open. The breakfast menu includes omelets, pancakes and platters. The lunch lineup features panini, sandwiches, pastas and wings.
Late last year, the city terminated its lease with the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development, the nonprofit organization that had run the diner since 1991. In July, the city announced that it had selected the bid of Thomasino's Pizza Subs & Pasta LLC, owned by Richard T. White.
White said he plans to use the diner in the evening for special events like spoken word and poetry gatherings. There are plans, too, for outdoor seating and movie nights.
The diner, which was built on New York's Long Island, gained cinematic fame as the principal setting for Barry Levinson's 1982 ensemble movie about a group of Baltimore guys on the verge of adulthood. The building was subsequently used as a set in other movies filmed in Baltimore and by Levinson again for scenes in "Tin Men" and "Liberty Heights."
The diner was purchased in 1982 by WBAL radio for $34,000 and donated to the city. Its remodeling was financed with nearly $1 million in cash raised by private donations.
The Hollywood Diner is at 400 E. Saratoga St. For information, call 443-872-4370.
Welcome back again Saigon Remembered has reopened in a new location, in the Cranbrook Shopping Center in Cockeysville.