Cat Tuong for lunch today. The best place in Saigon for Bun Cha (“Bun” means noodles and “Cha” means grilled). The lunch is a bowl of rice vermicelli and another bowl of grilled thick bacon and pork meatballs in a light fragrant and flavorful broth with a hint of fish sauce and tiny slices of green papaya and carrot. On the side is a large plate of greens. A couple kinds of lettuce and several herbs like basil and some others unknown to me!
The idea is to put some of each of the three offerings in a small bowl and navigate them into your mouth with chopsticks. A tasty treat.
But I’m not here to write about Bun Cha today (Well, actually I am, but it’s just part of it!)
As I sat down I was checking out the “art” on the walls. I’ve done this many times before. Even taken a few photos. But today I decided to REALLY check out the large prints (about 5’X3’…most of them). You see they’ve reminded before of a well known California artist. I could only remember “Thomas” and couldn’t get his last name.
His art is a that nostalgic trip to another world of Cotswold-like cottages and rambling English gardens. Silent streams and meandering paths are often there as well. I’ve been in shops carrying dozens of his prints and greetings cards and other paraphernalia somewhere. Can’t remember where. But while I’m not a great fan of this genre of art, I have great respect for his attention to detail and to the kind of “Home Sweet Home” appeal they have.
Anyway…today I really checked out those huge prints on the walls of Cat Tuong Bun Cha semi-hole-in-the-wall favorite of mine and to my surprise there was the signature almost obscured by the ubiquitous grime of Saigon – Thomas Kindade. Yeah…THAT’S his name, Thomas KINKADE.
There you have it! “Home is where the heart is” paintings by a California artist in a most unexpected spot of the world. A grilled meat and vermicelli restaurant in the heart of Saigon, Vietnam!
I came home and checked out Thomas Kinkade online and found a ton of stuff…of course! But I was also surprised and saddened to read that Mr. Kinkade died unexpectedly of unknown causes a just 54 years of age. April 6, 2012. Good Bye to an loved Very American Artist.
See for yourself. Kitsch? “Real” art? You decide. But it’s unarguable that Kinkade knew how to touch hearts and market his works well!
EVENING AT MERRIT’T’S COTTAGE
Kudos to Mr. Kinkade!
His work lives on at www.thomaskinkade.com Check it out. You might like to drop by a shop near you to purchase a box of cards for just the right moment of nostalgia. And if you do, remember, Thomas Kinkade is alive on the walls of Cat Tuong Restaurant in Saigon!