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Anthony Bourdain at Buffalo’s Ulrich’s

One has to admire local musician Nelson Starr’s many talents, but bringing celebrity Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations” to Buffalo certainly ranks as one of his fancier feats.

Though Starr kept word of Bourdain’s visit on the down-low, everyone who lives here knows that – in the living room that is Buffalo – word travels fast.  It was a packed house at Ulrich’s Tavern on Ellicott Street, and every patron inside the tightly packed restaurant seemed to know what was going on; Bourdain was on his way.
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When Starr showed up, I said hello, and he whispered, “The eagle has landed.  But you didn’t hear it from me.”  I should say here that we did not in fact hear news of Bourdain’s arrival from Starr, but from 3 other pretty good sources.  An email sent to Starr yesterday asking exactly what time the eagle would land went unanswered, as a testament to Starr being true blue to his word.  Another source extracted the actual information for me, and so I was happily there when Bourdain arrived.
Handing my camera to a much taller friend, we got some nice crowd shots and a lot of Bourdain himself.  Bourdain sat in the main dining room and enjoyed a meal we’ll have to rely on Starr to tell us about.
bourdain table.jpg
As a big fellow was herding the massive crowd back from Bourdain’s table, I quickly swam upstream and asked Starr if I could get a shot of him and Bourdain together for BR.  “Tony, sorry.  It’s the media,” Starr said rolling his eyes in mock irritation and taking up a spot next to his guest.  “You know, the media…”
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Bourdain looked tired and full, and I like to think his smile in the top photo was more sincere than obligatory in response to my saying, “Hey, guys, I’m just trying to make a  -beep-  living here, okay?”  I shot, said thanks, and got out of the way with a parting head nod and chuckle from Bourdain.
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This visit will put Buffalo on the map, with Bourdain’s own blog and series, for something we get little national recognition for (other than than one small, spicy chicken appendage) – our food.  Starr deserves a key to the city for his efforts, and  Bourdain – he’s one hell of a good sport.  
And don’t forget, Starr will perform at Nietzsche’s tonight at 7PM.  It’s anyone’s guess who might be there.
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