Bourdain in Travel Channel Home Stretch

By Karen

I’ve lost count of No Reservations’ seasons. Some are calling the current new episodes Season 9. According to my DVD recordings, it’s part 2 of Season 8. But if you count how Travel Channel lopped Season 7 into two last year, this would be Season 10.

Anyway, in the opener, Tony visited Austin, TX, where, in addition to the world’s best barbecue, he seemed to be in search of that elusive, probably mythical, demographic — young males who prefer food porn to the usual type, enjoy hanging out with 50-something-old dudes, and who think anybody who makes noise on an instrument and screams incoherently is playing “music.”

About 10 minutes in, I found myself stealing glances at the clock to see how much longer I had to suffer (I was taping it). As it turns out, I was in good company with the New York Times.

So it didn’t float my boat to watch Bourdain play rock band groupie, eat BBQ, and deface himself again with yet another tat (not a gargoyle or a tarantula, as you might expect, but a cute little sun on his left forearm). But I still have high hopes for whatever’s left of NR.

Here are a few other things I’ve collected…

On August 15, Tony did a live “hangout” on Zagat’s Google+ page where he answered fan questions.

In November, Tony’s road show morphs into the “Guts and Glory Tour,” with supposedly fresh material. He’s even got a new logo and it has an official site.

I’m idly toying with catching it when he goes to Baltimore.

Tony’s appearances with Eric Ripert as “Good vs. Evil” also have their own site.

Now, here’s a mystery…

Some weeks ago, a blogger named Colman Andrews with The Daily Meal cruelly trashed Marilyn Hagerty in a column titled, “Does Anyone Get the Joke?” — you remember Marilyn, that nice lady from Grand Forks whose unabashed admiration for Olive Garden earned her a book deal with Bourdain’s imprint.

Bourdain quickly struck back at Andrews on Twitter, claiming that Hagerty’s book will be “an extraordinary and beautiful thing.”

I didn’t totally disagree with Andrews. Bourdain undoubtedly believes that exhuming Hagerty’s work to enlighten us all on what “the heartland” ate 30 years ago is a noble quest. His name will probably appear on the book’s cover larger than Hagerty’s to drive initial sales — and then the book will sink like a stone.

Bourdain told Zagat in August he’s perused about half of Hagerty’s oeuvre of 7,500 pages, searching for the gems he’ll publish.

Better him than me.

And finally, from the Tony’s Friends Dept…

As it turns out, Zamir’s not a shiftless deadbeat Tony found in a Russian gutter, but an accomplished documentary filmmaker. Who knew?

Eric Ripert’s latest On the Table interview featured Mario Batali.

36 Responses to Bourdain in Travel Channel Home Stretch

  1. imabear says:

    That’s interesting about Zamir. I always kind of wondered about his “real” life.

  2. imabear says:

    Please note that I managed to avoid the temptation, in my above post, to use the pun “reel” life since he is a filmmaker…

  3. catsworking says:

    imabear, I applaud your willpower! Zamir is a wonder. Playing the buffoon for Bourdain always seemed to come so naturally to him, who knew he was hiding any real talent?

  4. adele says:

    Karen, all your links worked for me.

    I know what you mean about the Austin show; I’d read the New York Times review, too, so I knew what to expect, but still I’d hoped for some New Orleans or progressive country music (which I like, and for which Austin is a center) rather than the discordant stuff I’m too old to appreciate. And none of the food looked that interesting, According to the Times, tonight’s show will be much better — and I’m really looking forward to Burgundy.

    Somehow I found that Zamir had a website, and I knew that he was a filmmaker. He’s an interesting guy, it turns out. I hated him on the Romania show, but I began to feel differently about him in the Ukraine — he was still buffoonish, but when he talked about his family, you could tell he was actually thoughtful.. Some of his tweets are pretty interesting.

    I just do not get the Marilyn Hagerty thing, unless some of her writing is really folksy and humorous. You sure couldn’t tell from the Olive Garden article.

    I keep hoping the the Good vs. Evil tour will reach Chicago, but so far no dates are posted.

  5. Bacardi1 says:

    Links work for me too, Karen.

    I knew about Zamir’s talents soon after he first appeared on the show. I found him so amusing that I just had to look him up online.

    I missed most of the Austin show (fell asleep – lol!), but did record it. Will have to give it a sneak peek. I AM disappointed that – for some reason – last night’s “Sydney” episode didn’t record for me, but I’ll catch the rerun next week.

    For some reason, except for the NY area & NJ episodes (& perhaps Chicago & Cleveland), I’ve never been really all that enthralled by the U.S. episodes. They all have this general “sameness” to them. Is there even one that doesn’t showcase “barbecue” in some way? Like it’s the U.S. national dish or something.

  6. catsworking says:

    Guys,thanks for the heads up on the links. I tried them in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome, and they didn’t work in ANY, so obviously my PC has issues. I’m going to try deleting and reinstalling all the browsers.

    Bacardi, I watched/taped the Austin episode on Verizon On Demand and, amazingly enough, ALL the commercials were deleted. Just in case because On Demand is totally unreliable, I throw in a VHS and tape each episode. At this point, I think I’ve got every one except “The Making of Kerala” special (which got chewed up in an LG DVD accident), so there’s no turning back now. Haven’t seen Sydney yet.

    I thought the NY Times nailed what ails NR sometimes. When Tony’s in the States, the episodes seem to lack his usual je ne sais quois.

    Yes, I agree that I’d rather see Tony in Europe, South America, or Asia (in that order) than the U.S. I’m afraid when he moves to CNN, it’s going to be the same-old, same-old, but in much more dangerous places. Getting a glimpse of what our enemies eat isn’t high on my must-see list.

  7. Bacardi1 says:

    Wow – VHS? Where do you even find the blank tapes anymore? I have about 20 episodes recorded on my dvr; the rest on dvd’s.

    And I agree that I also don’t much care for the desert-nation episodes – Egypt, Beirut, Ghana, etc., etc. While the cultures can be interesting, the food definitely does not float my boat. So needless to say, I haven’t bothered to keep the recordings of those episodes since I know I won’t watch them again.

  8. adele says:

    I just had an uncharacteristically hopeful thought. CNN may not be playing to the same “young male” demographic, so perhaps AB will be putting out consistently more sophisticated fare. Perhaps we’ll be done with barbecue, although I do think you’re right in saying that he’ll visit more dangerous places.

    I think AB must be doing a Layover episode on Chicago. I’ve liked many of the U.S. shows, but I hope he’ll delve into the history of places a little more. And I’m really, really hoping for a Cote d’Azur- Marseilles show as well as Southern Spain. I suspect, though that on CNN, AB will finally get to the Congo.

  9. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, I have an LG recorder that’s DVD and VHS, and for years I’ve been dubbing my VHS collection over to DVD, so I reuse those old tapes for throwaway stuff. I haven’t bought a VHS tape in years.

    If the media changes one more time, I’m chucking everything. No more collections. I started taping No Res years ago and got so many of them, it became a quest to acquire the complete collection. I have no life.

    When Tony goes to the Middle East, it’s always him sitting around communal piles of mush with a bunch of guys all shoveling it in with their hands.

    Adele, I think you’re on to something. Tony traipsing around like an over-inked, wrinkly adolescent isn’t going to fly with CNN viewers, so maybe he’ll raise the bar to a more mature level. We middle-aged types who have stuck with him through thick and thin all these years deserve to be rewarded. 😉

    The “Guts and Glory Tour” strikes me as a last hurrah for the young male demo. He’s so many years out of the restaurant business that his target audience could be a new generation of kitchen workers who were toddlers when Kitchen Confidential came out — attending with their fathers who beg, “Trust me, this guy used to be GREAT!”

  10. MorganLF says:

    Gee, I’m feeling so disloyal. I thought Austin was a repeat and didn’t watch…I am currently fascinated with British Top Gear and all three honestly funny and clever hosts but mostly the fucking brilliant Jeremy Clarkson…. Extremely tall and funnier than balls, all delivered with a perfect Oxford accent, dry and the most clever eye rolls ever. Sure he looks like a well worn catchers mitt, but I fancy him. Am I fickle?

    Of course I will always adore Tony and Ottavia and hope to have the chance to meet up with them again in the future, they are genuinely nice people. So I anticipate the rest of the season and will be more dilligent but I think CNN will bring a new, needed vibe.

    I checked out his participation in this year’s New York Food and Wine Festival, and he is being roasted by Guy Fieri and some really funny comedians and a four course meal will be offered by the brilliant Michael White. The tickets are $400 and while I have easily spent that going to see him at the DC Food Fight this year has been tough financially so I passed, but I just got a new gig, at least temporarily, so I may consider it …if for no other reason than my favorite comic Artie Lange is on the dais …..f it, I just convinced myself ….I’M GOING!

  11. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you’re right. Austin did feel like a rerun. Even Tony says it’s getting harder and harder to do something fresh these days.

    I’m still not feeling the love with Top Gear, but cars aren’t my thing. I don’t care who’s driving.

    I’ve been channel-surfing a LOT lately, looking for new fixes. I spent all last night on TLC, watching the “Long Island Medium,” who was pretty interesting, and classy compared to the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Then this trainwreck called “Breaking Amish,” where they’re getting all these young Amish kids and one Mennonite girl to defect to NYC. And finally, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

    What passes for “entertainment” these days makes Bourdain high art.

    Congrats on your decision to attend the NY Fest. We will expect a full report. I’m still on the fence about G&G in Baltimore. As you say, it’s a lot of money beyond the ticket because it’s an overnighter.

  12. Bacardi1 says:

    It’s an unfortunate fact that there are very few things worth watching on tv these days, unless your mindset is into the unbelievable idiocy that is “reality tv”.

    I can count what I watch on the fingers of one hand: “Mad Men”, “Boardwalk Empire” (new season for that starts this Sunday), a few sundry cooking shows, the “Biography” channel once in awhile (love their “Mobsters” series), & the rest taken up by the Turner Classic Movies channel (which is frankly the only channel I’d ever really miss if given a choice).

  13. Bacardi1 says:

    I hate to break it to y’all, but I just saw a commercial for this coming Monday’s new “No Reservations” episode. The title says it all “Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n Roll” Special. Apparently Tony links up with “The Black Keys” & sundry other bands he’s a groupie of to do Lord knows what. Doesn’t look like all that much food is involved.

    Sigh. Doubt I’ll be bothering to record this one.

  14. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, I get Showtime, and was watching Episodes and Web Therapy, but both of those are gone are going. But I know Homeland is coming back soon, and possibly The Borgias. Love Jeremy Irons!

    Another show I really like is Lost Girl on SyFy. It’s about vicious fairies. What’s amazing about it is that it went from the first to 2nd season with no break, and Season 2 is 22 or 23 episodes, like the good days. And each an hour long. It’s a real anomaly when the networks are trying to pass off 5 or 6 episodes as a full “season.”

    And a new season of “Upstairs, Downstairs” is coming to PBS in October. The first “season” was only 3 episodes, so I really didn’t get attached to the characters except the original maid Rose (Jean Marsh). I just hope they give it more time this season.

  15. catsworking says:

    Bourdain said somewhere that they’re doing 3 specials of clips, so it sounds like that’s what this is. So Travel Channel aired 2 bona fide destination episodes, then felt compelled to pad the season with this shit. Nice.

    As much as I like watching travel shows, besides Bourdain, there’s nothing I ever watch on that stinking network. I even got sick of Hotel Impossible. You see a couple of semen-soaked bedspreads, poopy toilets, and maids wiping drinking glasses with fetid rags and you’ve seen it all.

  16. Zappa's Mom says:

    I think I need an intervention.I surfed onto an abomination called “Hardcore Pawn”. It was so bad, I suffered some internal bleeding. Until Downton Abbey returns,Im going to see just how low I can sink.

  17. adele says:

    ZM, I’ve watched a couple of episodes of “Chicago Mob Wives,” and I must confess that Carole Radziwill’s presence has me watching the real housewives of NYC again. I feel dirty, even saying it. Thank heavens for HBO and Showtime; I’ll soon be watching “Homeland,” Boardwalk Empire,” and “Treme,” again and hopefully feeling not too bad about myself. I also look forward to the PBS series (miniseries?) “Midwives.” Wish we could all get together for tea for the premiere of “Downton.”

  18. Bacardi1 says:

    Oh I so agree. Once Bourdain leaves Travel Channel, I won’t be visiting there again.

    “Hotel Impossible” was repetitive & obnoxious. I only watched 2 full episodes – one sheerly by accident when there was nothing else on – lol! – & another because the pretentious host was “redoing” the long-ago-famous “Gurney’s Inn” of Montauk, Long Island, NY, which was near where I used to live & I was familiar with the place.

  19. catsworking says:

    Bacardi, I actually like the guy on Hotel Impossible, Anthony Something, because he always wears a suit and reminds me of an un-regal Yul Brynner. But he’s a one-trick pony, unfortunately.

    Adele, I’ve seen every minute of this season of Real Housewives of NY, and for me the highlight was when Aviva called Ramona and Sonja “white trash” and they had to Google it. While a lot of their behavior is undoubtedly trashy, I don’t think Aviva knew what she was saying. R&S certainly wouldn’t fit in to white trash circles around here.

    I’ve also been watching RHONJ, just to see how low Theresa will sink, with Joe’s help. Always amusing to see how they spin Guidice. On RH everyone calls them “Jew-dice.” When she was on Celebrity Apprentice, Trump called her “Gwee-a-dee-chee,” which is probably closer to the Italian pronunciation.

    ZM, last night I watched 2 episodes of Airline, which is about people acting like assholes, or getting jerked around by the airlines, in airports. Last night one asshole tried to bring his cat onboard a flight in an unventilated zippered carry-on bag and intended to throw her into the overhead bin. He said he’d been doing it with the cat on flights for 3 days. The cat was amazingly docile, just sitting there with its head sticking out while an airline employee carried it around. It never tried to escape. They finally got a proper carrier for her and let the guy bring her into the cabin. But you had to wonder how long before he killed that poor cat. Top it off, he said he was traveling to write a book about animal “languages.” Like how dogs say “woof” differently in different countries.

    I am counting the days until the return of Downton Abbey. Upstairs, Downstairs is just a cheap fix until then.

  20. adele says:

    On a RHONY note — how is it possible that Ramona Singer has been so successful in business (I saw somewhere that she and Mario have a net worth of around $15mil.), and she is so completely ignorant? Most of the other housewives were born into or married into money, though Carole Radziwill was a respected journalist and is a good writer, and Heather has created her own business. With Ramona, though, she’s portrayed as having made really good money on her own. I don’t get it.

  21. catsworking says:

    Adele, I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what Ramona’s business is, except her wine, which she seems to spend more time drinking than selling. Even Sonja has her toaster oven.

  22. adele says:

    Revealing my lack of a life because I know this: Ramona is a fashion jobber; she buys up stuff from various companies and fashion houses and then sells, I imagine to places like TJ Maxx. Mario’s family has a jewelry company, and I think they make stuff like class rings and religious jewelry. I suspect, though I don’t know, that most of the Singers’ net worth comes from this long-established jewelry company.

    Enjoyed seeing Carole and Heather getting bombed in a gay bar last night; it had a real SATC feel to it.

  23. Bacardi1 says:

    Adele – when you say “Mario’s family”, are you talking about Batali? Because I can’t find any reference to them being in any sort of jewelry business. Mario’s parents do own & run a fantastic charcuterie business in, I believe, Seattle, Washington. No “Ramona” or “jewelry” in sight as far as I can see.

  24. adele says:

    No, Bacardi, I’m not talking about anyone as accomplished as Mario Batali. I’m talking about Mario Singer, husband of Ramona Singer of the Real Housewives of NYC. I’ve tried to swear off of reality TV, but I’ve watched every episode of the NY housewives this year.

  25. Bacardi1 says:

    Oh – pardon me. I thought this thread was about foodie Anthony Bourdain – not idiotic reality tv housewives.

  26. adele says:

    Sorry,Bacardi, somewhere we got to talking about other TV shows (mostly trashy). That happens sometimes. The “Sex,Drugs and Rock and Roll” NR WAS hardly any food and bands I’m way too old to appreciate.

  27. Bacardi1 says:

    No problem. Horrible weather here yesterday with many tornado warnings. I was cranky/bitchy as hell all day. 😉

    I didn’t bother to watch the SD&RR Bourdain episode; cheap “clip” shows don’t interest me (unless they’re very food oriented). I did, however, tape the missed “Sydney” episode at some wee hour of the morning & look forward to watching it.

    The “Encore” channel has been showing the old “Shogun” miniseries with Richard Chamberlain all this week – commercial-free – & I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying (& recording) it. Brings back pre-satellite tv memories. 🙂

  28. catsworking says:

    I think I was the one who introduced the Real Housewives of NYC into this thread. Sorry. On Monday night, I totally forgot RHONY was on because I was watching Tony’s clip episode. I re-saw him burn cocaine in Panama, and some of the next segement, which I can’t even recall. I know meat was involved.

    The Sydney episode seemed very “adult” coming on the heels of Austin. Nothing special. I wonder if Bourdain ever feels like everything he does has become “been there, done that.” Because I do.

    Shogun is one of my VHS stragglers I’ve been dying to move to DVD, but I don’t think I get Encore. Rats! Way back when, I loved the book, and I thought they did an excellent job with the miniseries. In fact, I toyed with having a “Toranaga for President” T-shirt printed. (Can’t remember which election it was for.) It set me off on a quest to see every Toshiro Mifune movie I could get my hands on. What a man!

    Adele, I caught the RHONY I missed On Demand last night. Loved it when Sonja told Aviva to go pound sand. I liked Aviva at first, but she’s turned into Alex II. Her husband is OK, but what a demanding, needy pain in the ass she is! I suspect as soon as Carole has sucked out all the hype for her book and TV show she can get, she’ll be moving on.

  29. Bacardi1 says:

    What’s funny is that the commercial-free episodes “Encore” is showing are 95-minutes long, meaning that way back when regular tv ruled, they were saddling us with 35 minutes of commercials (since each episode was 2 hours long).

    Funnier? After taping Sun., Mon., & Tues., hubby informed me that he’s pretty darn sure he gifted me with the dvd set of “Shogun” a couple of years ago. Darn if I know where the heck I stuck it if he did.

  30. adele says:

    Rats! I just noticed that Shogun is on Encore, but I’m guessing I missed several episodes. I liked the book and the miniseries as well, and speaking of Richard Chamberlain, I’m itching to see “Thornbirds” again. As a friend of mine said at the time, Richard sure looked good in a skirt.

    And Karen, I think I read somewhere that Carole Radziwill won’t be on RHONY next year; she’s admitted she decided to join the show for publicity for her next book, Her blogs on the Bravo website are a hoot.

  31. Bacardi1 says:

    Yes – “Shogun” started Sunday night, & the episodes are running consecutively every night this week at 8 p.m. until the series ends Fri. or Sat. night. They start a different miniseries Sunday – apparently they’re going to do a bunch of them.

  32. catsworking says:

    Has anybody heard how Bourdain did at the Emmys? I’m thinking they didn’t win any because it would be splashed all over the Net by now.

    Yup, I read the Thornbirds and loved that miniseries as well. Little did I know the story would play out in my own family with my long-lost grandmother!

    I haven’t read the RH blogs in ages. Last night I actually started watching the Housewives in Miami, but the first thing I saw, one of them went to a farm, picked out an adorable young pig, and in the next scene they were loading its corpse into her car. Too Bourdain-like for me. I’ll never watch it again.

  33. catsworking says:

    Answered my own question: No, Tony and crew were shut out this year. But Downton Abbey got 2, for hairstyles and music!

    Looking through the categories, what a deadly boring ceremony that must have been to sit through.

  34. Zappa's Mom says:

    Hairstyles? DA wins an Emmy for hair in chignons hidden under hats? Dumb.

  35. Bacardi1 says:

    Adele (& any other interested parties) – for those of you who get the Encore channel & missed one or more of the “Shogun” miniseries episodes they’ve been showing all week, Encore will be showing all six parts – back to back – tomorrow (Sun., 9/23) starting at 10 a.m. 🙂

  36. catsworking says:

    Well, rats. I just double-checked and I don’t get Encore.

    ZM, you’ve got a point about the hairstyles on DA. On the other hand, they ARE hairstyles, as opposed most of the messes that pass for ‘dos on contemporary shows.

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