Book Reviews: Kitchen Confidential

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Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

I honestly read the book before I knew he had a travel TV show on the travel channel. I read it cover to cover as it engaged me in a way I didn’t know a food book could. It felt as if he was giving me the inside scoop to New York City dining and I was thankful just to listen in to his secrets. He gives great maxims like don’t order the fish on Mondays and which stew is likely leftovers from the previous week.

A couple takeaways have stuck with me over a decade after reading it. I always suspect the bread brought to the table. If it’s warm, it’s generally ok. If it seems like a potpourri of bread samples, then there is no telling how many people have handled it. I also have a habit of checking out the Chef’s special. At higher end places, this is supposedly the Chef putting his or her heart and soul into something and much focus will be spent on the dish that night.

I also remember the story of his old boss who had some superpower and could summon people to repair anything he needed at 3 am. Bourdain makes New York City’s dining scene look like a cut throat business.  Only the most dedicated apprentices should apply.

Recently I watched The Big Short which you can read on another blog post. Anthony Bourdain made a cameo to explain the similarities between CDOs and left over halibut to make a soup. The only difference between the two, I would guess, is that left over halibut will only wreck you stomach.

It was funny seeing him in a Chef outfit knowing that he hasn’t been one in many years. He still writes about the industry, but wonder who today could write a book of the restaurant industry in 2016.

Book Rating: 8/10

Movie Reviews: The Big Short

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Imagine a casino. Inside the casino there is a crowd around a single roulette wheel. Instead of thirty-eight numbers on a roulette wheel, imagine there are a million numbers. Then imagine people betting a huge amount of money on a single number. The casino is happy to take all bets because they don’t see how they can lose.

And then someone hits big.

This is what the Big Short is. Housing was considered the safest investment since the 1930’s. The banks packaged loans into mortgage backed securities and CDO’s and synthetic CDOs. A few bright minds bought credit default swaps against it, and won.

Big time.

Huge wins. Like buy a private island big.

The movie goes a long way to explain all of this to us. Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez are used to simplify it for the viewer. We watch Steve Carrell and Christian Bale and a few others figure out the fraud of Wall Street and what they go through to be on the right side of the bet.

The movie has a ton of star power and the acting is convincing. I particularly enjoyed Brad Pitt’s role as a disgruntled ex-banker who has a thing for post-apocalyptic preparation.  For a better movie on the financial crisis, I recommend Margin Call.

GUEST HOST: RICK RHINESTONE FROM RED RHINESTONE CAPITAL

This movie gives Wall Street a bad wrap. The financial engineers are not to be blamed for any of this. The problem were those infomercials telling people to buy houses with no money down and flip-that-house television shows that filled ordinary americans with dreams of richness. Here is a hint people: If you want to get rich, follow me at RED RHINESTONE CAPITAL where you can get in on the ground floor of Red Rhinestones we received from a Prince from Nigeria (who was down on his luck when we came into contact with him and needed our help!). These red beauties are certified by the Prince himself and for a low price of $299.99 you too can get your hands on the best quality red rhinestones in the world! Imagine this. You are cruising the streets with the top down and the wind in your face and you or your lover is rocking the biggest red rhinestone in town. Imagine going to your High School reunion and telling stories of how you got the inside deal on the lucrative red rhinestone market. Call me. Matt has my number. (FACT CHECK: I have Rick’s card, which he shoved under my door much like the Chinese Restaurant Menu from Mr.Wang’s down he street)

Movie Rating: 7/10