Monday, March 7, 2011

Anthony Bourdain in Budget Travel - a favorite within a favorite!


I've already mentioned my love for Budget Travel magazine (I swear I'm not writing on commission, here), but I have another confession to make; I'm addicted to the Travel Channel's food programming.  I've been a fan of Anthony Bourdain's adventurous and often irreverent No Reservations for a while, but Adam Richman's epic Man v. Food and Andrew Zimmern's fascinating Bizarre Foods are new programs I've come to know and enjoy.  I'm always eager to learn more about food, travel and foreign cultures, so I think it's great that you can spend as much as three hours of the afternoon doing just that, under the unique and very individual tutelage of these three intrepid gents. Whoever thought of scheduling these shows back-to-back was a genius!

Lest you think I'm an absolute TV addict, I should also confess that Matt and I don't actually own a TV (shocking, I know).  Instead, I catch my favorite programs in the only place nearby that does - the gym.  I'm well aware of the irony of watching food shows while working out - it's especially funny to watch Adam Richman chow down a 72 oz. steak while I'm pounding down the miles on a treadmill - but I'm a competitive person so I reason that it's better to watch while working out than to watch while eating - I might just try to give Adam a run for his money!

For gut-busting, eye-popping food and challenges, Man V. Food is my go-to show, and I admire Andrew Zimmern's chutzpah and willingness to try just about anything that comes along, but Bourdain's No Reservations really hits the spot in terms of combining travel tales and deadpan delivery with culinary exploration.  I was excited, therefore, to open my new March issue of Budget Travel (it arrived while I was away last week and I've not yet read it cover to cover!) and see Bourdain, all sunglasses, shirttails and barefeet, staring out of it. 

I first encountered Bourdain a few years ago in his book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which is part memoir, part back-of-house expose, so I was prepared for his unapologetic, no-holds-barred approach and loved it from the get-go.  In the light of his books and his on-camera persona, the BT interview is a little tame but it does carry a few great sound bites and also a sidebar, which seems to be getting a lot of buzz online, about his opinion of some famous food rivalries.  In case you're wondering, Tony votes in favor of New York pizza vs. Chicago (hardly surprising since he's a New Yorker) but comes down on the Chicago side - against his hometown - when it comes to hot dogs.  He also weighs in on tacos (Mexico City), burgers (Los Angeles) and barbeque (N. Carolina, which would not be my choice, but what can I say - he's the professional).

Here are a few other highlights from the interview:

On getting immediate, in-country immersion: "...go to the morning market...You'll get a quick idea of what everyday consumers enjoy."

On the dangers of street food: "...in a way, the filthier a place looks, the better; clearly they're feeling pretty confident about their food."

On getting sick and taking risks: "And I always try to remind people: Leave yourself open to the perfect meal by leaving yourself open to the occasional really bad one."

He also puts in a plug for food bloggers (yay!) and leaves us with this little gem:
"The best kind of vacation is one where everything goes marvelously and memorably wrong. Those are the incidents you laugh about 20 years later."


If you're interested in the rest of the interview, pick up a copy of BT and check it out. It's short, but sweet and has definitely whetted my appetite for my next Travel Channel sponsored sweat session!

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