Anthony Bourdain kicked off Season Three of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel with a nice clean haircut and a trip to Ireland. Ususally, Anthony Bourdain goes someplace off the beaten path. I was surprised that Ireland would be the destination he chose to begin his new season. Ireland seems so . . . normal. And European. Not edgy at all. But that is also why I am glad Tony went there. He brings the edge out. He finds the interesting nooks and crannies of a place.
For those not in the know, Anthony Bourdain is known as the "bad boy" of the culinary world. He is also known as a fearless eater. He is an accomplished food writer and chef in his own right. He is the executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles which has locations in New York, Washington D.C. and Miami.
In his traditional format, Tony visits local establishments in the town he is visiting to eat, drink and be merry. He always meets up with some local people to talk about the town and the food. What is so unique in his show is that we not only find out about what the locals eat, but how they live. And he always discusses the history and current politics of the region. Tony's voice-over during the show delivers his famous a no-bullshit style. He is very frank and that is refreshing. He is quick to voice his opinoins but he is also very respectful. He admits when he is uneducated about things. So even though some people may not appreciate his language or his harsh manner, he is very honest. To mirror his writing and speaking style, the videographers hired for No Reservations also deliver an edgy format.
No Reservations is one of my favorite shows to watch each week and I am glad that the new season has begun and Anthony will be taking us to all sorts of interesting places.
As for his trip to Ireland, first up is Belfast in Northern Ireland. The Shankhill district to be specific. After checking out the town, he settled in at The Crown Salon for a few pints of Guiness and some traditional Irish pub fare. Tony ordered an Irish Stew and a Beef and Guiness Pie. He comments on Irish Stew that "depending who is making it, it's either the best or worst thing on earth."
For some fine dining in Belfast, Tony ate at the Cayenne Restaurant. Chef Paul Rankin brought out an Oriental Appetizer plate with Lobster-chicken Wontons, Sushi, and other goodies that looked amazing. They discussed the Irish people's dislike of fish. It was funny because they were eating sushi as they were discussing it! But Chef Paul explained how he is trying to raise peoples awareness of new foods. For their main course, Tony ordered Irish beef and the Chef Paul ordered Irish Lamb. Of course Tony had to try both. They must of had to roll him out of there after eating all of that food!
Next stop: Dublin. on the train ride to Dublin Tony had a traditional Irish breakfast - including blood pudding - and then took a nap. He spent the day wandering the city with an old friend. Of course U2 got mentioned since they are Ireland's favorite rock band. When asked what a traditional Dubliner would eat, he was taken to an asian food market! They discussed the influx of Asian people and culture in Dublin and noted that it is a good sign of the city's growth.
It was off to the seaside town of Howth to discuss more seafood with a different friend - named Paddy of course. They ate some amazing looking shellfish dishes at King Sitric. Tony was forced to wear a lobster bib and he looked so cute! All the shellfish looked so fresh and yummy - not that I'd want to cook any of it, but I'd love to be able to try it all. The razor clams he described made me want to run out and find some.
His experience in County Cork looked like so much fun! It was filled with live music, making blood pudding with another chef, playing rugby and visiting some artisanal cheese houses. YUM! I love cheese. The cheeses and meats direct from the farm looked so fresh. I did a quick search online and discovered that you can order a wide varity of Irish Artisan Cheese from Artisinal Premium Cheese. (They also have a catalog you can order and a cheese of the month club you can subscribe to!)
Next week Tony goes to someplace more exotic: Ghana.