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CNN’s Bourdain takes food tour in Las Vegas

Former Lt. Gov. Lorraine Bono knew it was an epic night at the Bootlegger Bistro when she figured out what her friend on the phone was talking about.

“She asked me, ‘Do you know your spaghetti and meatballs are all over Anthony Bourdain’s Facebook page?’  ”

Temporarily confused — “it almost sounded naughty,” she said — Bono called her family-operated restaurant on Wednesday night to get the delicious details.

Bourdain, the outspoken host of CNN’s “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” was indeed at the Bootlegger, chowing down on pork neck bones and “Mama Maria’s spaghetti and meatballs.”

Since that night, Bourdain has been all over Las Vegas, Twitter and Facebook, while filming a season three episode of “Parts Unknown.”

Bourdain and his camera crew showed up at Eat, Natalie Young’s downtown breakfast hotspot, Raku, Lotus of Siam and Jose Andres’ Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan.

Bourdain returned to the Bootlegger on Friday for dinner with jazz singer Laura Shaffer, a fixture at the old Vegas hangout.

“He loved the authenticity of everything,” said Bono.

Footage was shot of Shaffer preparing backstage for her appearance on Dennis Bono’s radio show at the South Point and Lorraine’s 96-year-old mother, Maria Perry, executive chef emeritus of the Bootlegger.

“It’s just so cool,” said Lorraine Bono, “that he had so many places he could have gone, and he ended up in our little place. All of our employees are so jazzed.”

Jet Tila, who operated Wazuzu at Steve Wynn’s Encore from 2008 to 2012, was in Texas when he got a call asking if he could join Bourdain in Las Vegas in 48 hours.

Tila dropped everything and ended up having a dinner-for-two feast at Lotus of Siam on Friday.

“He had not been there,” said Tila, who was named Thailand’s culinary ambassador to America last year after serving as Bourdain’s guide during the latter’s “No Reservations” episode through Thai Town in Los Angeles.

“They wanted to cover the duality of Las Vegas, the crazy and extravagant and big money players and the other side you never see,” said Tila.

Las Vegas, said Tila, has some of the best Asian food in the West Coast area and Lotus of Siam is one of the most popular, if not the most popular Thai restaurant in the world.”

Bourdain “raved about the entire dinner,” said Tila, but the Khao Soi, a northern-style beef noodle soup, really stood out.”

Bourdain’s tour-de-Vegas wraps up tonight at downtown institution Atomic Liquors with “Parts Unknown Last Bite,” which will air live at 10 p.m. EST after the season two finale of the series, which features Detroit.

Joining Bourdain will be chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Roy Choi, actor Wendell Pierce of “Treme” and “The Wire,” comedian Bonnie McFarlane and CNN anchor Don Lemon.

The debate will feature food sustainability and guns in America.


NFL and media investigations into the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin controversy will surely reveal more hazing and bullying during team-bonding parties that took place in Las Vegas. NFL offensive lines have held their rookie initiation parties here for years.


Hollywood producer Anthony Katagas, playing goalie for a Denver team in the Las Vegas Lacrosse Showcase at Kellogg Park in Summerlin over the weekend. His latest project, “12 Years a Slave,” is getting a lot of early buzz for Academy Award consideration.


“The ‘Today’ show did the prostate exams live. This really is the golden age of TV.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.

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