The time I almost, sorta, really did meet Anthony Bourdain

This story is about a New York minute.

I know it’s a real story and not my imagination because many friends have recalled the night in question in their memories of the man.

  • Scene: Partners in Crime
  • Dateline: April, 2008
  • Event: a celebration of Mystery during Edgar Week

It was hot, I remember. I also remember being downright giddy and why not? Jon and I had followed the Edgar’s like most people follow the Oscars since the year we were married. We were in New York. We were going! Friends were nominated! Friends were all around us.

Among the attendees was a gentleman, a very tall gentleman, who made it his mission to assure that every attendee received at least one appetizer for every warm glass of white wine they consumed.

We were there because I was going to host Bouchercon with Judy that fall, so I didn’t feel like a poser.

People liked Crimespree, a lot. People were glad to see us. Also, I had really hot shoes.

Partners in Crime.

Can we all just take a moment to remember and rejoice? I believe Bourdain would approve. Can any of us imagine Sarah Weinman having any other part time job? Or just everything.

Okay, back to the night in question.

It was really hot in the store and one of those rare 21st century moments I was all, like, thank God I’m a smoker. I climb up the steps, spot my husband half a block away with Dan Hale, look down the steps to take it all in. Mr. Reed Coleman walks up the steps. We talk a moment. That tall dude walks up the steps. He asks Reed for a cigarette. Reed is apologetic; he doesn’t have one and turns in conversation to Jonathan and Dan.

Me, “I have a cigarette.”

Tall dude, “Thank you, why are you here?”

Me, effusive “dream come true” monologue.

Tall dude, “I’m Tony.”


I did not know Anthony Bourdain except as the writer of KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. And the writer of GONE BAMBOO. I am heartbroken we’ve lost this gentle giant. I am chagrined I knew him not when we met. I suspect, though, it’s why he spoke to me that night at all. And that is the story…

I almost, sorta, really did meet Anthony Bourdain.