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Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Seasons 1-5


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I guess this brings up the thought that any Bourdain fix is arguably miles ahead of 90% of any other food related tv these days?

Having said that I still feel I have to call him on what I perceive as a lazy planning exercise (although satisfying it seems for the great majority of viewers who have not visited Vancouver). Interestingly he mixes unattainable aspects: visiting Electronic Arts campus and filming a bit with the world's worst director Uwe Bolle, combined with the most obvious restaurant choices.

That bit of him playing the prima donna star with his hapless producer was lame and tired after the umbrella sequence. Is that what is needed to help market this to the masses or just inexpensive filler?

There was a comment farther up about every town having a Chinatown and it gets redundant doing a feature all the time. No more than sushi or Italian food. The point I wanted to make about our Chinese food culture here is that our Chinatown is actually a very modest part of the whole Chinese scene which is easily one of the premier in N. America (if not the top).

This may be good Bourdain to many but I have the feeling that this is him giving about a 50% effort.

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Moderator note: merged from discussion in Vancouver forum.

Did anyone catch Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" Vancouver Episode on the Travel Channel the other night? There is more discussion over in the Food Media Arts section but I thought it would be interesting to get the local take on his visit.

The show was taped last July (during a miserably rainy week) and the food highlights were: Tojo's, Cioppinos, Vij's and .... Japadog.

On an excursion to Vancouver Island he visited (can you guess?)....Sooke Harbour House.

Now, I know that every local will yawn at these choices (I sure did) and I understand that on a global perspective we need to showcase our best (and these are all solid places). It just seems that for a guy who has been here before he could have tried a little harder and dug a bit deeper into equally solid and more interesting choices. A throwaway segment he filmed in Gastown could have easily been a visit to Salt.

Worst sin of omission? Not a single Chinese restaurant or even a mention of the Chinese food scene.

This series is, of course, a travelogue and not wholly dedicated to things food but I really hoped for more from the old food maverick.

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EA's gym and squash courts are cool, but...

Squash courts? We don't have squash courts ... unfortunately.

Eatrustic and Xando Head, I think the Chinatown thing works like this; most major cities have a Chinatown that are probably dynamic in their own little way. I'm sure Bourdain could do a show that simply focuses on the Chinatown of the city he's currently in. That could get redundant, and he's more into the indigineous thing anyway. Many cities have a Chinatown, but not a Sooke Harbour House or that ziptrek thing, which looked awesome by the way. Just my two cents.

I don't think our china town should have been covered. It's quite pitiful compared to others around NA. Unfortunately. The issue with our Chinese food scene is that there is great and authentic Chinese all over the city. It has become endemic to our city. My in-laws from HK consider Vancouver to be better than HK, as an example for what it's worth.

Edited by mtigges (log)
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Eatrustic and Xando Head, I think the Chinatown thing works like this; most major cities have a Chinatown that are probably dynamic in their own little way. I'm sure Bourdain could do a show that simply focuses on the Chinatown of the city he's currently in. That could get redundant, and he's more into the indigineous thing anyway. Many cities have a Chinatown, but not a Sooke Harbour House or that ziptrek thing, which looked awesome by the way. Just my two cents.

Point taken, but you have to realise that Vancouver has a huge Chinese population-it is a very large part of the identity of our city, not just confined to one neighborhood or to the few blocks of Chinatown There is nothing little about it. China has arguably been the biggest influence on our food culture here. To leave it out means that the show is, IMO, not accurately reflecting the food scene here.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Did anyone catch Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" Vancouver Episode on the Travel Channel the other night? There is more discussion over in the Food Media Arts section but I thought it would be interesting to get the local take on his visit.

The show was taped last July (during a miserably rainy week) and the food highlights were: Tojo's, Cioppinos, Vij's and .... Japadog.

On an excursion to Vancouver Island he visited (can you guess?)....Sooke Harbour House.

Now, I know that every local will yawn at these choices (I sure did) and I understand that on a global perspective we need to showcase our best (and these are all solid places). It just seems that for a guy who has been here before he could have tried a little harder and dug a bit deeper into equally solid and more interesting choices. A throwaway segment he filmed in Gastown could have easily been a visit to Salt.

Worst sin of omission? Not a single Chinese restaurant or even a mention of the Chinese food scene.

This series is, of course, a travelogue and not wholly dedicated to things food but I really hoped for more from the old food maverick.

I DVR this show every week on Travel Channel and last week's ep was on Singapore (at least it was here in Vancouver). I'm going to be really choked if I miss the Vancouver episode as I've been wondering why he didn't do one, even it it was a bit pedestrian. Makes you wonder if the shows he's done on other cities are as superficial...

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I DVR this show every week on Travel Channel and last week's ep was on Singapore (at least it was here in Vancouver). I'm going to be really choked if I miss the Vancouver episode as I've been wondering why he didn't do one, even it it was a bit pedestrian. Makes you wonder if the shows he's done on other cities are as superficial...

I Tivo it regularly too, and haven't gotten the Vancouver show yet here on Shaw Cable in Vancouver. I wonder if it only has aired on non-shaw travel channel (is there a difference?) so far????

Edited by Vancouver (log)
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I Tivo it regularly too, and haven't gotten the Vancouver show yet here on Shaw Cable in Vancouver.  I wonder if it only has aired on non-shaw travel channel (is there a difference?) so far????

Hmmm... I don't have that level of Shaw cable and get a friend to download the shows that interest me. I didn't realize that they were out of sync with the U.S, sorry about that.

I checked an episode guide and Singapore was #42 and Vancouver is #44 with Berlin in between, so it shouldn't be long. At least you know you won't be missing any revelations of hotspots!

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I agree.  The Chinese population in Vancouver is such a huge part of the city's identity that overlooking its contributions to the city's culinary scene is nearly criminal.

this I totally agree with to over look Chinese food iin Richmond/Vancouver BC is a downright insult!

..however as far as the rest of Vancouver (and the same feeling about his show in Seattle) .....let him travelogue the tried and true that everyone knows about anyway.....that way on my many trips up there... just to eat... I can still get a table ..shop in the markets and enjoy all my "secret spots" :smile:

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

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I know, you can't have everything.  But I really wish less time had been spent on the Uwe Boll/EA-type segments which really don't say much about the flavour of Vancouver.  Yes, the film industry employs a lot of people (well, at least for now).  Yes, EA's gym and squash courts are cool, but...

My philosophy is that Tony is going to have a lot of great episodes, and one occasional so-so one. I think the Vancouver ep was it. I don't mind his forays into goofiness or cinema verite, but the Uwe-video game segements, back-to-back, were too long, and I found them bordering on self-indulgent. They really did not communicate much to me about Vancouver, either food- or culture-wise. Tony gets to do a lot of cool things that regular "gastronauts" can't, it's true (or can't, without a little finagling), but there is no way most of us will ever have a video game created for us (even a mini one) or appear in a movie. I found that chunk of the ep somewhat distancing - it not only added nothing to my knowledge of Vancouver, but it felt to me more like a case of us, the viewers v. Tony - NOT the adventurous gastronome and traveller, but Tony the celeb, who is now getting to induldge his every adolescent fantasy. Actor? Spy? Cartoon hero? Man of Mystery? It really hurts me to even think that, since I'd not only be the first in line to drink the Tony Kool-Aid - I'd probably be the one mixing it. Siiigghhhhh. I'm just telling myself - OK, so this was one ep I'm never going to be in love with.

Oh, the faux prima donna stuff with the umbrella, lip-wiping and Meeting the Star's Every Need didn't bother me at all - that was funny. What else are you going to do when rain wipes out half of your shoot? But I still think Vancouver could have been treated a lot better, rain or no rain.

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my favourite line from the episode:

"so i'll take you guys next door and show you how you can dupe a white person"

:laugh:

i'll let you guys guess who said that...to be fair, they did say it as a joke. but there's a bit of truth in it methinks.

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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I

I know, you can't have everything.  But I really wish less time had been spent on the Uwe Boll/EA-type segments which really don't say much about the flavour of Vancouver.  Yes, the film industry employs a lot of people (well, at least for now).  Yes, EA's gym and squash courts are cool, but...

My philosophy is that Tony is going to have a lot of great episodes, and one occasional so-so one. I think the Vancouver ep was it. I don't mind his forays into goofiness or cinema verite, but the Uwe-video game segements, back-to-back, were too long, and I found them bordering on self-indulgent. They really did not communicate much to me about Vancouver, either food- or culture-wise. Tony gets to do a lot of cool things that regular "gastronauts" can't, it's true (or can't, without a little finagling), but there is no way most of us will ever have a video game created for us (even a mini one) or appear in a movie. I found that chunk of the ep somewhat distancing - it not only added nothing to my knowledge of Vancouver, but it felt to me more like a case of us, the viewers v. Tony - NOT the adventurous gastronome and traveller, but Tony the celeb, who is now getting to induldge his every adolescent fantasy. Actor? Spy? Cartoon hero? Man of Mystery? It really hurts me to even think that, since I'd not only be the first in line to drink the Tony Kool-Aid - I'd probably be the one mixing it. Siiigghhhhh. I'm just telling myself - OK, so this was one ep I'm never going to be in love with.

Oh, the faux prima donna stuff with the umbrella, lip-wiping and Meeting the Star's Every Need didn't bother me at all - that was funny. What else are you going to do when rain wipes out half of your shoot? But I still think Vancouver could have been treated a lot better, rain or no rain.

I'm going to reserve judgement till I catch the ep, which sounds like next week. I will say one thing, however, and that is whoever did the planning for this ep fell down on the job big-time if s/he didn't have a fallback position for lots of rain! It's Vancouver, for heaven's (and I use that term advisedly) sake. A week of rain in any month of the year is not all that unusual. And we don't stop because of it, nor do the restos close. Easy to criticize, I guess, but why not add another stop at one of our many more indigenous food purveyors if you had airspace to fill. Edible BC on GIsle, perhaps, if you didn't want to add another actual restaurant? It's indoors and it's interesting for locals and out of towners, I would have thought. Oops, so much for reserving judgement :raz:

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my favourite line from the episode:

"so i'll take you guys next door and show you how you can dupe a white person"

:laugh:

i'll let you guys guess who said that...to be fair, they did say it as a joke. but there's a bit of truth in it methinks.

Yeah I caught that too and laughed.

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I like the show a lot better when I fast-forward over the little skits/homages to whatever in the middle. I just want to see him talk to people who do interesting things (like that traditional noodle maker in one episode) and show off neat locations and foods. Everything else, if I were editing the show, I'd cut. But I'm not, so I make liberal use of my remote's 30-second jump.

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having been to vancouver once when i was 14 as part of a family vacation, the vancouver episode simply solidified my own desire to go back, not to mention grabbing my wife's attention as well. as much as we would all like it to be a food show, it's more than that now.

all that being said, i cannot wait for DirecTV to make Travel Channel HD available, which would mean No Reservations in HD.

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FWIW, I didn't say "Chinatown" -- I was, as others have pointed out, talking about the amazing Chinese culture that is abundant throughout the city -- not JUST in Chinatown.

And too bad about not having the squash courts LOL.

Food Lover -- nothing more, nothing less
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I thought the Greece show was a little bit disappointing...it was more like just Crete...

I really liked the cookout on the beach though.

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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I thought the Greece show was a little bit disappointing...it was more like just Crete...

I really liked the cookout on the beach though.

I thought it was supposed to be just Crete.

Having spent some time in Greece and in Crete I thought he captured the place quite well, from the snarky comments on the fashion to the affinity for fish, raki and gunplay. Quite made me want to go back.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I thought the Greece show was a little bit disappointing...it was more like just Crete...

I thought it was supposed to be just Crete.

Well, it said "Greek Islands", so, yes, I think we could've expected more than one island. We got . . . three, right? Fair enough. I did feel like Tony was phoning it in a bit, though. I live in NY and have eaten my way through my share of Greek delis, too, but Greek cuisine is SO much more than that, so I don't know why he came into the shoot with such strong prejudices. And, yes, they dance a lot in Greece. So why be so snarky about it? No one dragged him to his feet (remarkably) this time, so I couldn't fathom his persistent grumpiness. How could you be grumpy in Greece?

New Orleans, I hope, should be a great show - I expect it to be intense, fun, interesting and very moving.

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I liked the Greece show very much actually...or maybe because it came after Vancouver it seemed so good. The food looked excellent, the people nice (BTW they also seemed to be ribbing him most of the time too), the raki flowing, and the unique crete cooking alone was worth the price of admission. Oh yeah and the wonderful sea urchin feast made me crave those things more than ever, he sure loved them.

I am looking forward to the NOLA episode next week. Glad to see that Bourdain would be interviewing Lagasse. He sure did mature :smile:.

Edited by FoodMan (log)

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I like the show a lot better when I fast-forward over the little skits/homages to whatever in the middle. I just want to see him talk to people who do interesting things (like that traditional noodle maker in one episode) and show off neat locations and foods. Everything else, if I were editing the show, I'd cut. But I'm not, so I make liberal use of my remote's 30-second jump.

I tape the episodes and fast forward over the skits and schtick too when I watch them. It's get's to be a bit much. Still NR is a head above what the food channel offers.

Edited by Susie Q (log)
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I actually enjoyed the Vancouver episode, despite a few hiccups here and there. As for the Greek Islands, I really got the impression that his prejudices from his previous experience influenced everything he did and saw. Whatever happened in the past, it must have been pretty nasty. He just looked like he did not want to enjoy himself.

In any case, the food looked great, especially the grilled octopus (which I've had in several NYC Greek places and which I LOVE). Maybe he was just hungover the entire time. I know that's happened to me after a few rounds of raki...

Cheers! :cool:

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Can anyone tell me about that creamy white dip made by boiling milk fat and flour?  He seemed to love it more than it deserved.

Could it be Skordalia?

I may be wrong.

nope, not Skordalia (made with garlic, potatoes and olive oil). This was a unique Crete (Cretan?) food item made with goats milk fat (cream I guess) and flour.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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