So, the most recent (July 12th) episode of “No Reservations” aired, and while I am a fan of the show, I get a little annoyed with the we-can-explain-away-entire-segments-of-the-country-in-one-show episodes. They did it before with a “Rust Belt” episode that included Detroit, Buffalo and Baltimore.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I didn’t think the “Rust Belt” included Baltimore. I thought it primarily dealt with steel-towns along the Great Lakes, but, whatever.
Point is, I know Buffalo isn’t much more than chicken wings and, maybe, beef on weck, to most people, but the city is actually blessed with a wide array of restaurants and interesting places to eat. That’s just my inner-Buffalonian griping.
Back to this week. They did what they called the “Heartland” episode, which included Austin, TX, Denver, CO., Ann Arbor, MI., Minneapolis, MN., Milwaukee, WI. and dear-old Columbus, OH.
I don’t know what all these cities have in the common other than they aren’t New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, otherwise known as, the only cities that matter to people from New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.
What was particularly disturbing about the episode was the snide and snarky attitude Anthony Bourdain and, during the Columbus segment, Cleveland chef Michael Ruhlman, had toward Columbus.
Let me just back that up. A guy from Cleveland took pot shots at Columbus.
Quite often on these shows, Tony gets led around by a local handler who finds him the cool, interesting places to eat. Apparently, that didn’t happen in Columbus, because all Tony and ‘the guy from Cleveland’ (CLEVELAND!) could talk about was the strip malls and Applebee’s.
To be fair, to see an actual operating, thriving Applebee’s instead of the burnt husk or foreclosed version currently littering the streets of Cleveland probably caused ‘the guy from Cleveland’ to swell with jealousy.
Point being, I think these two, and sadly, the country, is missing the boat on Columbus when it comes to food. Hell, I think lots of people in Columbus are missing the boat on how good the food is around here.
Off the top of my head, if I want someone to have a good meal in Columbus, I’d take them to Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, The Thurman Cafe, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, Starliner Diner, LaScala, Anna’s Greek, Dublin Village Tavern or Matt the Miller’s. Never mind the fact we have place like Pink Moon Cupcakes, Jeni’s Ice Cream and The Chocolate Cafe for dessert.
Fact is, I have taken people, both from Columbus and out of town, to these places to eat, and never have they let me down. And in the future, I hope to take people to places like Skillet Rustic and Luce Enoteca.
Maybe it’s for the best to keep this all a secret, to keep the globe-trotting television personalities and celebrity chefs away from what is a pretty nice food scene that’s going on here.
They did actually mutter some nice words about Kihachi and Clever Crow at Circus, though I’m not convinced that either of them actually ate at Clever Crow. Overall, the show seemed hobbled together, and I guess that’s the greatest disappointment.
I don’t mind when Tony gets frustrated or whines about something, but at least he’s present. This one felt like a getaway day game for a last place MLB team in August – lazy, uninspired and looking forward to the next city.