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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Monday, July 13, 2009

"'No Reservations" requires no passport, no airfare

The recession may have killed your plans to travel the world (not bitter at all here, folks), but you can still satisfy that insatiable travel bug by watching "Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations" on the Travel Channel.

The curmudgeonly chef-plus-world-traveler visits some of the most unlikely locales near and far, eating and drinking his way through their cultures with such fervor that it's hard to believe he can do time and time again. After watching a mini-marathon this weekend, including a few episodes I'd seen previously, I realized that Bourdain was able to make me want to visit places that hadn't yet cracked my top ten list (Uzbekhistan). He also gave me new insights into places I had been to (the Spain episode is definitely one of my favorites).

Bourdain isn't an ordinary traveler, though. For one, he focuses a lot on food and less on sight seeing. He also eschews the touristy spots -- avoiding the Pyramids on his trip to Egypt, for example -- and he usually finds a guide who speaks the local language to help him negotiate the local cuisine and culture. That being said, the heavy-drinkin', says-what-he-thinks host is perfect at giving us a window into a world most of us will never see. He's honest, open-minded and ready to eat the most disgusting thing put before him without a second thought.

The new season of "No Reservations" premieres tonight with an episode in Chile. Next week he's in Australia, but the week after, he returns a little closer to home with an episode titled "Rust Belt," where Tony checks out the culinary treats in Buffalo, Baltimore and Detroit. (Come on, Tony, couldn't you have it across the lake to Green Bay? There's a bratwurst with your name on it).

"No Reservations" airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel. Also, Bourdain was named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the 17 sauciest chefs on television. Others on the list include "Top Chef" guru Tom Colicchio and Food Network's ubiquitous chef Bobby Flay.

--Malavika Jagannathan,

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