We wandered through unfamiliar streets in the dark to find a restaurant in Jaen, Spain. It kept popping up on our radar. Finding it had become our mission. Nothing about the street Casa Antonio is on promised greatness. Jaen isn’t a city that stands on appearances. It has it’s own business to do. Casa Antonio’s business is creating startlingly delicious food. Food you’ll wake up in the morning and want more of.
That walk in Jaen, when you strip it of its city clothes and put it in a t-shirt, was inspired by Anthony Bourdain. He had the gift of making the pursuit of the sublime look badass. Bourdain had a handle on the transitory nature of our singular journeys. The bright moments when all your senses collide around a perfect bite of food in the perfect moment, that’s the territory he owned.
So, our journeys now become a tribute to Anthony. The Art Deco grandeur of Hotel Hidalgo in Martos, Spain with its balconies overlooking the bull ring, the tour of tumbledown working people’s homes on the hillsides of a white village, watching a home health worker cook mussels and bacalao in a kitchen the size of a coat closet…these things will forever be touched by our irreverent host, Anthony Bourdain.
Here of course I am obliged to mention the journey’s end. There is a darkness that pulls at us all. Our journeys all wind up in the same place. It’s the memories we collect on the way that matter.
John Cale, of Velvet Underground fame, wrote, “Home is living like a man on the run. Trails leading nowhere, where to my son? We’re already dead, not yet in the ground. Take my helping hand, I’ll show you around.” Despite the darkness, and perhaps because of it, Anthony Bourdain took our hand and showed us around. He did it in grand badass style. He will be missed!