It’s Anthony Bourdain’s world...we just EAT in it.
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
"When Tony said a restaurant was great, I knew I could trust his guidance as a voice shining bright in an overly cluttered array of lame food shows."
It’s 2009 I’m living in Oahu, Hawaii holed up in my 1960s era Hawaii 5-0 studio apartment. At the beach all day where I acquired a nasty sunburn, so with nothing to do but soothe my misery, I mixed some White Russians, cranked up the AC, and turned on the Travel Channel to indulge in some Food Porn with my hero Anthony Bourdain, chef, author and TV host of the best food & travel television ever made.
The episode was Disappearing Manhattan, which drew me in immediately since I was planning to move to New York in about a month for a new job and I wanted to get food schooled by Tony in advance of my arrival. The main premise of the episode was some great old-school restaurants across Manhattan were feared to go out of business soon, so try them while you can. I took notes.
The show crawled across Manhattan to visit what seemed like some of Tony’s favorite under-the-radar places to go. When Tony said a restaurant was great, I knew I could trust his guidance as a voice shining bright in an overly cluttered array of lame food shows. On more than one occasion after watching Tony's show No Reservations, I would record the names of the cities, restaurants, and dishes he recommended and I made a promise to myself to someday check off each on my list ... and that’s exactly what I did.
Where to eat in Manhattan?
A month later, I moved to New York and within my first week, I was already taking Tony's advice to check out Keen’s Steakhouse. Sitting under the century-old clay pipes that adorn the ceiling and carving into a mouthwatering, dry-aged Porterhouse steak, I knew I was home. Later that week, I was off to the Heidelberg for authentic Wiener Schnitzel and fresh-made Weisswurst sausages from Schaller & Weber, and last up, I took my dad to grab some poppyseed bagels stuffed with homemade Lox and cream cheese at Russ & Daughters.
Tony's food guidance made me feel at home, even before I moved to New York. It's like he gave me a New York City “greats hits” mixtape food collection, that contained only tasty hits and underground delights. Over the years I only traveled more and continued to follow in Tony's food-steps, from Montreal to Madrid or even a secret coney dog's at Duly's Place in my hometown Detroit, Tony never steered me wrong.
My Food Hero
Anthony Bourdain was one of those personalities that you wanted to listen to...Honest, knowledgable, Funny yet mixed with a dark sense of humor. Tony always reminded me of some of my favorite underground bands highly talented yet very often hugely miss understood. After Tony decided to check out, I find myself paying even more attention to his books, TV shows, and late-night interviews. Still learning from his food and travel wisdom, and always on the lookout for that one unpolished gem of a dish, place, city, or country that has inspired me to never stop exploring our world.
Thank you Tony for being my food guide & mentor. You are missed!
Follow Eric on Instragram@wanderingwigloo or facebook@liveletroam & liveletroam.com
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