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Louisa Chu

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Seasons 1-5

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I'd stopped watching the show--I was really tired of the little "skits" and non-food related stuff that weren't nearly as entertaining as Tony just being himself. But I watched the Hawaii episode last night and it was great--just like his earlier shows, before they got so corny. At the beginning I thought, here we go, before you know it he'll be decked out in a grass skirt trying to learn to hula at a luau. But no! It was mostly about food, I felt like I learned things I didn't know and that would be useful next time I go to Hawaii, and all in all it was entertaining. Hopefully they'll keep doing shows this way again.

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The Las Vegas show really turned my stomach. I was so excited about seeing four good restaurants..it started out ok and then just got so strange. I love ironic and cynical but this dharma bum stuff, I'm kind of past it.

ETA: I'm watching the Singapore episode right now, which is especially interesting to me cause I have been there. It's ok thus far. There's a mention of some chef injecting mozarella balls with gazpacho. I am SO stealing that, only it's going to be some kind of marinade. I hate serving drippy marinated mozzeralla but I LOVE to eat the stuff, I'm so up for trying this out...marinating from the inside out.


Edited by pax (log)

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The Las Vegas show really turned my stomach. I was so excited about seeing four good restaurants..it started out ok and then just got so strange. I love ironic and cynical but this dharma bum stuff, I'm kind of past it.

Consider it the basis of Tony's evolving work (it was from 2005) (!) Tony always has a theme or leitmotif, and he basically took his beloved Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and made this episode a paean to that book, and to Gonzo. Most people think it's one of his best episodes (although my personal favorite is Malaysia).

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Well, I appreciate you taking the time to put it into context for me, I had no idea that was his intention, didn't HST die around that time? I can see that, then. I appreciate you setting me straight.

I was kind of on the mark with the dharma bum thing, I guess. :rolleyes:

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Last night's episode was really great. Laos is so hauntingly beautiful, the food and the people really are something. As being a part of the generation born at the tail end of Vietnam, I enjoyed learning about the culture and the people and the history. Someone somewhere ( I think the No Reservations site.) suggested that Tony apologize to the gentleman who lost his leg and arm. Someone else responded that it would be contrite and I have to agree with that. They don't want apologies, they really want to move forward and are doing everything they can to do so.

The mystery and beauty of the country and the people was amazing. I really enjoyed it.

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Last night's episode was really great. Laos is so hauntingly beautiful, the food and the people really are something. As being a part of the generation born at the tail end of Vietnam, I enjoyed learning about the culture and the people and the history. Someone somewhere ( I think the No Reservations site.) suggested that Tony apologize to the gentleman who lost his leg and arm. Someone else responded that it would be contrite and I have to agree with that. They don't want apologies, they really want to move forward and are doing everything they can to do so.

The mystery and beauty of the country and the people  was amazing. I really enjoyed it.

OMG, I have to agree with you, kristi, 1000%. Haunting, and beautiful. I loved everything about it - the way it was shot, the pacing, the gentleness to it . . . . but I don't think Tony needed to apologize to the amputee in any way - in fact, several people on the NR board were rabid because they thought he had. The man just wanted people to be aware that this was the damage done to him and his country by our ordinance, right or wrong. So Tony has made a lot of people aware. As the man asked him, "Can you look at this? Can you see the truth?" And Tony said he could - the question did not make him angry or want to shy away. It was just painful, though. That's it. Painful.

I loved the ba ci (bah see) ceremony. It was so natural and warm, a group of people wishing a stranger well, and gently holding his arms, etc., in the correct position for the blessing. It was something to see a room full of people in concentric rings around Tony, just lightly touching him, with a finger on his rib or arm or back, not because he's some media star, but because he was just a man, a visitor, being blessed and honored by a group of warm, caring people. Idon't even think there was voiceover on the that final shot - lovely. Warm, serene, down-to-earth . . . and I did not regret the lack of the usually highly enjoyable snark through this ep at all. It was a beautiful ep. Way to go, Tony.

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Last night's episode was really great. Laos is so hauntingly beautiful, the food and the people really are something. As being a part of the generation born at the tail end of Vietnam, I enjoyed learning about the culture and the people and the history. Someone somewhere ( I think the No Reservations site.) suggested that Tony apologize to the gentleman who lost his leg and arm. Someone else responded that it would be contrite and I have to agree with that. They don't want apologies, they really want to move forward and are doing everything they can to do so.

The mystery and beauty of the country and the people  was amazing. I really enjoyed it.

I also have to agree. This episode was just fantastic, even if it was less an ode to the country's food as to its natural beauty. After a while, I just sat there, entranced, loving the views and the people and the traditions, and wondering if they weren't ruining it by filming it. Of course, they tackled that issue as well, which was a good point.

As someone also born at the end of the Vietnam conflict, I could only shake my head in shame when they were speaking about the legacy of that war. And I don't think the man wanted an apology, but more an acknowledgement of what he'd been through due to our government's missteps. I am glad that Tony was able to look at him and recognize both this man's misfortune and the country's bad luck.

Of course, now I'm just dying to go to SE Asia.

Cheers! :cool:

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I just saw the Laos episode yesterday and I thought it was really wonderful. Maybe the best NR episode ever. The scenery, the great camera work, and Tony's interaction with the families -- first class stuff!

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I didn't realize new episodes were even airing, so I was pleasantly surprised to open my DVR list and see two eps waiting for me. I watched the Laos one last night.

It was the toughest watch for me so far, but kudos to Tony for shining a light on a long-forgotten and frankly shameful part of our history.

Any Asian NR episode is usually tops, but then as an even further subset the SE Asian shows are even better, and this wasn't an exception.

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It will be interesting to see the DC episode following Tony's recent visit (left DC today). Stops in various places around the area, including Eamonn's and PX on Saturday night. Says he has some amazing stuff coming up on this season's shows.


Edited by Camille-Beau (log)

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Laos, Columbia, Saudi Arabia... Tony seems to be more of a thrill-seeker this season. He is definately pushing the envelope. I sat there last night watching the most recent one and trying to think of where I would have wanted to go with him if I had won the contest (I didn't enter).

I settled on the Himalayas. I watched Michael Palin's documentary crossing them and think that I would do something similar. Maybe end up in Nepal or Tibet by way of Mongolia. I'm not a Buddhist, but these people, Seeks, Buddhists, Hindu, have an enlightenment in food and culture that I would like to experience.

As far as the most current episode. I'll say that I think Tony did a good job of showing the people of that country and finding similarities to ourselves. Of all the meals he had there, once they stopped trying to make him eat the unusual, the final one was really appealing to me.


Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)

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My 16 YO daughter now hates him. She turned into a vegetarian a few months ago. His line about weeding out bed-wetters, masterbators, and vegetarians sent her over the edge. I thought it was damn funny.

Tony definitely isn't sitting on his laurels. Great episode.

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I settled on the Himalayas. I watched Michael Palin's documentary crossing them and think that I would do something similar. Maybe end up in Nepal or Tibet by way of Mongolia. I'm not a Buddhist, but these people, Seeks, Buddhists, Hindu, have an enlightenment in food and culture that I would like to experience.

Im with you on the Himalayas. I suggested Nepal, Tibet and Burma a few seasons back. And, of course, since then, Tibet has been crushed under the jackboot even more so than usually since the protests, Nepal was overrun by Maoists and has since voted to end its absolute monarchy, and Burma (Myanmar) has become even more repressive and totalitarian since the tsunami. So I'm guessing Tony won't be going anywhere I suggest (!) (Definitely not Burma, anyway. I know he won't promote a totalitarian regime through tourism, no matter how tempting.)

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My 16 YO daughter now hates him. She turned into a vegetarian a few months ago. His line about weeding out bed-wetters, masterbators, and vegetarians sent her over the edge. I thought it was damn funny.

Tony definitely isn't sitting on his laurels. Great episode.

Had the hubby and I in fits! I feel for those fans whose videos were so summarily rejected, but . . . damn . . . it WAS funny (!)

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I really enjoyed both the Laos and the Saudi Arabia shows. It's good to see him doing interesting, informative, non-cheesy shows again! The clips of fan videos were hilarious, especially when he said he would never, ever do a show on Denver.

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It will be interesting to see the DC episode following Tony's recent visit (left DC today).  Stops in various places around the area, including Eamonn's and PX on Saturday night.  Says he has some amazing stuff coming up on this season's shows.

i made a joke on another board about wanting to follow him around d.c., and the awesomeness that would be tony hanging out with jose andres and seth hurwitz (owner of 930 club and close friend of jose andres).

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I have nothing of value to add here except..........my GOD it has been so nice to have skit-free shows. Columbia and Saudi Arabia were both just incredible and informative while still being entertaining. And wow, I never thought I'd see a meal that made a proper English breakfast look like yogurt and granola......those Colombians do it right!

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My 16 YO daughter now hates him. She turned into a vegetarian a few months ago. His line about weeding out bed-wetters, masterbators, and vegetarians sent her over the edge. I thought it was damn funny.

Haha. :laugh: My vegetarian sister also hates Tony (really, really hates him so very much) because of his constant digs at vegetarians. I think it's hilarious. I love to torture her by "accidentally" having No Reservations on when she comes over. God bless the DVR.

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Haha.  :laugh: My vegetarian sister also hates Tony (really, really hates him so very much) because of his constant digs at vegetarians. I think it's hilarious. I love to torture her by "accidentally" having No Reservations on when she comes over. God bless the DVR.

Vegetarians know better to come over to my house when NR is on - on tape or live (!)

Hubby and I killed ourselves laughing over the opening. I'm SO glad I didn't seend in a tape (!)

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As someone who is partially of Middle Eastern decent it was an interesting look at an otherwise veiled ( both in the literal and not so literal sense.) culture and society.After talking to someone else who saw it we both came to the conclusion that Tony was lucky to see what he did, because Danya has permission to film without a male present so she obviously has more room for movement than most. I was really surprised that, while Danya was covered up in that last scene at her home, other female members of her family were allowed on camera not covered up.

Camel, tastes like chicken... who knew?


Edited by kristin_71 (log)

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Camel, tastes like chicken... who knew?

I thiought they said the camel tasted like gamey lamb? (Gamey, in a good way). And the lizard tastes like . . . lizard! (Gotta trust Danya's brother Abdullah on THAT one!)

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I could to the roasted camel....the hump looked a bit rich for my carnivorous taste though lol

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My wife is from a Colombian heritage and we visited Bogota briefly around Xmas last year and had an ok but 'sheltred' time (i:e Damn city felt like any other in the US and we barely had any contact with the local side!). I defintily enjoyed the Colombia episode and the attention he gave to the city of Medellin. That gentleman he was talking to in the restaurant, the one who almost teared up remembering the Escobar days, made it for me. He was the real deal, you know he lost friends during those dark days. Of course the fried food, sausage restaurant and the amazing sancocho did not hurt at all.

The highlight of the Saudi episode for me were the first 15 minutes, honestly. Tony weeding out the serial killers, bed wetters and non-Apocalypse Now watchers was great fun and him at his sardonic best. As for Saudi Arabia itself...well it was exactly what I expected to see. Rich oil country (of course they don't use camels as a daily method of transport!! Does anyone actually still think that??) in the middle of the desert that is less than a hundred years old. Basically it's a Las Vegas without all the fun stuff. Interesting and well portrayed, but nowhere near enough interesting to visit. I also have a tough time taking Danya's portrayal of the 'laid-back' Saudi culture as common or a 100% accurate reflection of what it is like to live there. Like someone mentioned upthread, she had special previliges.

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Anthony's South America-heavy focus these last few seasons has gotten me interested in going there, particularly with the dollar being what it is. Is that a conscious decision by Travel chanel I wonder? Either for them to save money (can't hurt!) or to turn people on to more reasonable travel destinations than say Europe . . .

Anyways, nice little poignant episode last night. Reminds me of the France ep he did on Cook's Tour, also featuring his brother . . . seems like Chris brings out the melancholy in Tony.

I must admit the ending comment caught me off guard and it almost seemed to me like he was saying he didn't enjoy Uruguay terribly much.

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Anthony's South America-heavy focus these last few seasons has gotten me interested in going there, particularly with the dollar being what it is.  Is that a conscious decision by Travel chanel I wonder? Either for them to save money (can't hurt!) or to turn people on to more reasonable travel destinations than say Europe . . .

Anyways, nice little poignant episode last night.  Reminds me of the France ep he did on Cook's Tour, also featuring his brother . . . seems like Chris brings out the melancholy in Tony. 

I must admit the ending comment caught me off guard and it almost seemed to me like he was saying he didn't enjoy Uruguay terribly much.

Hmmm . . . I think there's just an awful lot of Souyth America that NR hasn't been to, and Uruguay just happen to tie in nicely with Chris Bourdain's ongoing genealogical research. I think both brothers enjoyed Uruguay - I just think that Chris was more interested in genealogy than Tony (who is, after all, more about the food and culture), and both were a little bummed that they hit a dead end with the genealogical research. Looks like the Uruguayan Bourdins (note different spelling) are going to have to give Chris a hand, or else he's going to have to schlep all the way to France again and get the records on all the French Bourdains who went between France and Uruguay before returning for good, 1816-1870.

I thought the look on the faces of the grilled meat joint in the market was priceless when the Bourdains went for round TWO of that massive meat-in-pile entree . . . they were gobsmacked! ("These gringos . . . are . . . not . . . human!") :biggrin:

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