Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – Getting ready for the Final Tour

Tonight is the night.  We’ve had 7 years of Anthony Bourdain guiding us around the world, but tonight is the beginning of the end.  The Final Tour.*

In honor of this show and what it has done for many a traveler, we are dedicating a new series to Bourdain’s Final Tour.

Every Monday I will break down one of my favorite Episodes of No Reservations and talk about what I learned from it and why it is my favorite.

Then you’ll definitely want to join in the conversation on Tuesdays as we talk about what happened the night before!

Also, you’ll want to follow me on twitter @sojournerabroad so that we can talk live during the new episodes!

The favorite episode for today: Episode 1 – Why the French don’t suck!

“The most important thing to do the instant you arrive in Paris is stop, find some place inviting, and slip comfortably into the Parisian pace of life.”

Is there ever a more memorable episode of a TV show than the first?  Seinfeld had the button conversation in the pilot, How I Met Your Mother had the blue french horn, Lost had the plane crash and weird thing that moved like a dinosaur, and Anthony Bourdain has Paris.

As any one that wants to start a show about Travel and Food would think, Paris is the best place to start!

Bourdain’s travels in Paris take him from the hotel where Oscar Wilde died, to many exciting restaurants and iconic cafes.  From dive bars, to absinthe bars. From working markets, to the catacombs scattered under the Paris city streets.

Bourdain does a great job in all of his episodes of focusing on tangible things to remember while traveling such as going to markets is the best way to get a feel for the culture of the area. Or that a common Parisian past time is to sit in the rows of chairs outside a cafe and people watch.  However, with all of the tangible recommendations that Bourdain offers, there comes a slew of existential Travel tips.  Here are some from the Paris episode:

Lesson 1: Be open minded

Bourdain starts out by saying the “Americans think the French suck, but we are looking at them in the wrong way.  Thus not allowing us to experience the world.”  This is a common theme of all episodes of No Reservations.  If we are are unwilling or afraid to experience other cultures, or if we are stuck in our preconceived notions of the culture, we will never experience the world.  It is only ourselves that can hold us back.

I know a family that recently returned from Spain and when I asked how it was, the response was: food sucked, glad to be home.  THAT’S IT?  When I hear things like this I get mad!  I would have gladly traded places!  Do you know who never returns from a trip saying, ‘food suck, glad to be home’?  People that travel with an open mind!

Lesson 2: Slow down and even ditch the itinerary!

“Once you allow your senses to guide you and not your itinerary, you may begin to find pleasure in many things you ordinarily over look.”

This quote embodies much of the spirit of Sojourning that Christian described in our Post about the Meaning of Sojourning.  We want to constantly explore what we have and where we are.  We don’t want to over look anything, but come to appreciate everything!

Lesson 3: Try the food

“Here, food is not something to be shrink wrapped…. it is to be celebrated.”

This is something that I have been learning my self.  I used to be a crazy picky eater, but I am working hard not to be and I am loving it.  It is very difficult to begin eating out of your comfort zone and in a place like Paris, it would be easy to not venture far off the path!  Their favorite snack: fresh baked bread!  Who doesn’t love that?

But a realization I’ve come to lately is this: people regularly eat the food that I have avoided for ever…. and they live to tell about it!  THEY’RE NOT EATING POISON!  If I can just muster up some courage and eat something that I might find weird or not appetizing, I might just be surprised by how much I like it.

Foods I didn’t think I liked, recently tried, and liked:

-Blue cheese

– Mayonaise (not the gross stuff at the store though… I still hate that Mayo.  But like homemade craft mayo at a restaurant)

– Onions…  I didn’t think I like them and I ate some a few years ago grilled on the grill and have loved them since.

– Raw Tomatoes

– Lamb

– Hummus (never thought I would dislike it, but would have been something I’d have never tried)

– and many more.

Foods I’m working on:

– Sea food.  I don’t mind a few shrimp or crab wontons… I even liked deep fried oysters but the texture was a little much at the time.

– Fish… I know it is encompassed above, but still…  I’m not big on fish.

– Fats.  So many places around the world value fats… i do not and it is very tough for me to eat fat.

I guarantee you a memorable experience if you take a leap and try something new.  You may not like escargot, but what is the risk in trying it?  The people serving it aren’t there to trick you, but only they have the food that can give you a unique experience.

Well that’s it for today.  Don’t forget to follow me on twitter and to tune in to the Travel Channel tonight for No Reservations.  Tony will be in Austin TX as far as I know and it should be a great show filled with some great southern food.

Do you have a favorite episode of Anthony Bourdain?  What are you looking forward to the most with this final season?

*For those unfamiliar with Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, you are missing out on one of the best shows on television.  Emmy Award Winning, the show follows chef Anthony Bourdain on his travels around the world.  Bourdain is know not only for this show, but also for his books, most notably Kitchen Confidential.  To find out more about the show, click on the link above.
**All photos from wikipedia
6 Responses to “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – Getting ready for the Final Tour”
  1. Julie says:

    No Reservations is one of my favorite shows. Food + Travel together. It doesn’t get better. 🙂 Nice blog, btw.

  2. tchistorygal says:

    I love the line “people regularly eat the food that I have avoided for ever…. and they live to tell about it! THEY’RE NOT EATING POISON!” For me that would be mushrooms first and foremost. I get mad because most restaurants call them vegetables. So If you want a vege-pizza, burger, almost vege-anything, mushrooms are included, and I may not die from them, but they are fungi, and I object to being subjected to them when I want a vegetable. It’s like wanting a relationship with a living breathing person, and someone introduces you to a good-looking vampire.
    Great article! Sorry I went off there on mushrooms.

  3. Mz Zoomer says:

    I am a huge fan of AB. He is just so damned smart and witty. When he talks about food, you just can’t help but drool. Even more, I love his no nonsense point of view.

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