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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.

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.

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…”

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.

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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