Red Hook, Brooklyn, is the next big thing, and the Red Hook Bait and Tackle is just about the most organically hip scene I have stumbled across in the last ten years.
This is the crowd (see pix) we discovered at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning when Tony Bourdain and I ambled in for an impromptu scene for one of the shows that we are shooting here in NYC this week. There was hardcore new-wave porn on the vid screen, everyone there was still high from Saturday night's party—they had never left the joint—and Tony felt like a raindrop entering the river. He had been out drinking with Mario Batali the night before (those two always go late) and had a 7 p.m. date with Gordon Ramsay that promised to be a late one also. I don't know how these guys do it. I took him to the B and T, then on to Soccer Taco stalls at the Red Hook Ballfields for Latin and South American foods, and then on to Moonshine, a legendary bar where they make some of their own booze and you can grill your own meat, and then to visit legendary metal artist Steel Neal.
. . . Batali is PO-ed about his TV shows getting canceled . . . and so am I. He was the best thing on the network.
. . . Gordon Ramsay's new NYC restaurant is INSANE, a fifty-seater modeled after Ramsay's Hospital Road eatery in London . . . Neill Ferguson is the chef, the food is amazing, the room is stunning, and the remodeled Rihga Hotel is gorgeous.
. . . Beirut changed his life, and he is still shaken by the experience.
Bourdain is one of the wittiest, most charming and gracious people I have ever worked with. He made the first days of shooting a breeze for me, loaded me up with pointers such as, "Do what you want, how you want, and tell the network about it after you get home," and is taking me out for the day on Thursday.
I'll let you know if I survive.