Living life between the barrel staves in Bourbon Country

Real Time Blogging during “No Reservations – Rust Belt” tonight at 10pm EDT

Week two of the blogging experiment and TV show commentary is over.  I hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn’t find it enlightening, may you have at least found it entertaining.  The recap follows below.

The internet creative experiment continues tonight at 10pm EDT, with real time blogging during Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations – Rust Belt” episode.  Tonight we will vicariously visit through Tony’s eyes Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo.  Accompanying Tony tonight is his Russian friend, Zamir, last seen costumed at the Halloween Party at The Castle Dracula Hotel in Romania.

The Rust Belt episode should appeal to all true foodies for the simple reason that it’s likely not on anyone’s list of top places to visit.  These cities, laid out across the large swath of the United States, are probably best known for violent crime, dying industry and, well let’s face it – hockey.  Buffalo has the eponymous wing, christened at the Anchor Bar and now the top appetizer in the country.   Anyone who has seen Niagara Falls from Buffalo has likely made a bee-line for the flower festooned gardens of the Canadian side of the border.  Baltimore – the most appealing of the three – has the harbor, Maryland Crab Cakes, it’s proximity to Washington, D.C., and the grave of Edgar Allen Poe.  That leaves Detroit which has, well, the Red Wings and not much else.  One of the murder capitals of the US, some of the most violent gangs in the country, the battered remains of the once proud automotive industry – let’s face it, if any city in the US needs an Extreme Makeover it’s Detroit.  Which is why I’ll be glued to TV tonight to see what Tony has actually uncovered worth spending precious TV dollars showing the rest of us.  Considering the state of post Soviet Union Russia 20 years after glasnost and perestroika blew up in Gorbachev’s face, Zamir, I think, should feel right at home in Detroit.

9:55pm EDT

No Reservations – The Drinking Game!

Five minutes to showtime, which means it’s time to reveal the rules for tonight’s drinking game.  To play the game, watch tonight’s “Rust Belt” episode.  Everytime Tony or Zamir mention Uzbekistan or Romania – take a drink!

 10:10pm EDT

First commercial break – and two shots into our drinking game so far. 

Pit beef sandwich with a Baltimore homicide cop.  This, whether we want to admit it or night, is a true slice of America.  My first trip to Baltimore was in junior high.  My mother wanted to see Poe’s grave, which we walked to from the Marriot Hotel on the harbor.  For those of you who know Baltimore geography or anything about the safety of the streets during the mid 1980’s, you know this was not a great idea.  I just grabbed a copy of “Kitchen Confidential” off the kitchen bookshelf and realized Bourdain was likely working in Baltimore while me and my incredibly naive parent plodded through the streets of the crime ridden city to the gravesite of an alcoholic writer of stories my mother refused to allow me to read as a kid because they were “inappropriate”.  Probably why I fell in love with them.  Amontillado anyone?

 10:20 EDT

Anthony Bourdain was, in his earlier days, an anti-establishment left-wing philosophy spewing, well, punk.  His present incarnation as best selling author and Travel Channel poster child doesn’t decrease the sheer hilarity of seeing Tony create what, during the Cold War, would have been prime propoganda material for the CIA – Russian born Zamir with a blissed out look on his face consuming fried fish, greens and mac n’ cheese on an American street corner.  James Jesus Angelton couldn’t have come up with a better picture of capitalism trumping communism.

For those of us watching in Lexington, I wonder what Tony would think of having one of Bobby Flay’s appearences advertised during his show?

10:35pm EDT

Is it just me or does the owner or Polonia, a Polish restaurant in Detroit, look less than thrilled to be sitting across the table from Zamir?  I wonder how he feels about Jimmy Carter?  The Poles have their country invaded and their  freedom denied, and the best the Chief Peanut can do is throw a tantrum and refuse to play javelins in Moscow.  Not one of our finer diplomatic moments.

For Tony to meet a guy with whom he shared the rescue boat out of Beruit, and for that guy to own a restaurant in Detroit of all places, is almost to much of a coincidence.   When you have no reservations, anything is possible.  I should be writing ad copy for this show.

 10:45pm EDT

Drink tally is now at 3, which is equal to last week’s Australia episode.

Last week, it was trugo.  This week it’s feather bowling.  I’m starting think Tony needs to travel with Dhani Jones in his luggage to cover the strange sports segment of the show.

And his turtleneck sweater is starting to bother me.  It just looks too… preppy.  This is Detroit man!  It’s hard to look downtrodden and filled with despair in a turtleneck.  Wardrobe!

 10:55pm EDT

Our drinking game conclude with a parting Romania remark at the heels of the Zamir fan club, and another “No Reservations” episode is in the books, the whole show summarized by a comment made barely halfway through: “American food is whatever someone in America is cooking tonight”.  The Dust Bowl, the Rust Belt, the Melting Pot.  It’s all part of America.





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