Hands down, without a doubt, my absolute favorite show on television is Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Cindy (a culinary school buddy and old co-worker) and I have had multiple conversations over many meals–ramen at Katana-ya, siu mai at Hang Ah, Guinesses at The Chief, and dosas at, well Dosa–about how this man literally has the greatest job in the world. Yes, the traveling would be rough, the multiple takes tiresome. But what a joy to travel the world, sampling the very best foods that people have to offer. Food that’s high end, food that’s cooked on a make-shift grill on the side of the road, but above all, food that has soul and a story. And, not to mention, the cinematography, the editing and the music on this show are unbelievable. Inspiring. It’s no surprise that the show recently picked up 3 Emmy nods. It deserves (to win) all of them entirely. If you haven’t checked out the show, do so soon. It’s truly great television.
Tonight’s episode saw Tony taking on San Francisco. When I first heard he was coming to town, my initial reaction was that a) I need to find him. Tackle him. Drug him. Then convince him to help Cindy and I produce Two Girls, One Moped, this genius show idea in which Cindy and I would take on the cuisines of various countries by traveling around in a moped (I call sidecar!). Sort of ABNR meets Two Fat Ladies meets…well, I dunno, some Asian sitcom (and the title, while certainly a reference to our ethnicities, and a humorous nod to a now infamous viral, um, “poo” video, IN NO WAY reveals anything about our lives in the bedroom with our respective mens. Ew. If you’re tempted to do some Google research to find said video, I must warn you that it is unequivocally NSFW.)
The second reaction was that b) I hoped he wouldn’t play up or play into the San Francisco that’s grown wearisome for me: the Chez Panisse, Boulevard, $16 heirloom tomato salad-Slow Food side of the food scene here (true story: was at Out the Door last week, and when the server said to us “We have a few specials tonight,” I immediatley perked up. Then he said, “We’re featuring an heirloom tomato salad tonight with melon and herbs. It’s really delicious because heirloom tomatoes are in season right now.” Ugh. I lost my culinary boner quicker than you can say “local.”) Yes, what Alice did was important, blah blah blah, but after 3 years of these topics being the most publicized, talked about part of the food scene here, it DOES get old.
So when the epi aired tonight, I was extremely amused to see that he visited such renowned San Francisco institutions such as House of Prime Rib and Red’s Java House (whoa, right around the corner!). I was also thrilled to see one of my favorite farmer’s on screen, looking as jolly and jovial as ever: Mr. Tory Torosian, of Tory Farms, which I profiled early last July. I was stoked to see the boys from Sebo, and glad that if any fine dining space was featured, it was Incanto–and during Head to Tail, to boot. 75% of the way through the episode, Joe said, “Is he going to go to Michael Mina?” No. No, Joey, he’s not, and for that, we must once again bow down to the temple of Bourdain.
But what really made me happy was seeing my city from a different view point. And I think on his blog, Tony was able to sum up my feelings about the city pretty well:
San Francisco, underneath a gossamer thin veneer of granola is in fact, a two-fisted drinking town, a place of oversized martinis, silver zeppelins overloaded with bleeding slabs of meat, restaurants you could call “institutions” that defiantly refuse to suck, and in an ever tidier, cleaner, Disneyfied world–where even New York’s Times Square looks like a theme park, still, a delightfully nasty, dirty, beautiful, carnivorous, vice-filled town.
Cheers to that. And I can hardly wait for him to re-visit Thailand next week. GUARANTEED food porn.