Anthony Bourdain: the chef who doesn't know shit.
The new season of the Travel Channel’s hip show No Reservations,
starring celebrity chef/author Anthony Bourdain, debuted last night in one of the world’s most cool and happening places. Oh, wait, that’s next week. Last night he came to Cleveland.
Bourdain, used to sampling delights such as chocolate cockroaches, unidentifiable meats, and pickled dog feces (OK, I made that one up, but I wouldn’t be surprised), was invited to our fine city by friend and local author Michael Ruhlman. “Why would I possibly want to come to Cleveland?” he asked at the beginning of the show, obviously unaware of our fine selection of murder sites and aggressive bums. But Ruhlman pressed, and Bourdain grudgingly accepted the challenge. It was time to bring the experience of Cleveland, and all its grit and soul, to the masses.
First stop: Skyline Chili? That’s right. If he was to really experience Cleveland, there was no better place to stop than a suburban strip mall serving the delicious spaghetti/chili/cheese slop. Never mind that Clevelanders think Skyline, a Cincinnati creation, is just as disgusting as guys from New York who eat toast points; Bourdain was determined to torture his stomach as much as humanly possible.
Next stop: Eating head cheese with Harvey Pekar. Nothing whets the appetite like choking down cow brains with a guy who could make watching “Schindler’s List” cheer you up. The head cheese was specially prepared at Sokolowski’s University Inn
in Tremont, where you can get great comfort food served cafeteria style, and an instant heart attack, for well under $10.
Next stop: Mittal Steel. Bourdain found poetry in the glowing blast furnaces of Cleveland’s steel mill, and dribbled on for a while about the American soul, before heading off to go eat a plate full of sausage. Apparently he didn’t have time to stop at the homes of people who live next to the steel mill, or he could have written a poem about how it’s really hard to breath through a cloud of soot.
Next stop: Drag-racing Michael Ruhlman. Somehow, in between eating stadium mustard and foie gras with Michael Symon, and bitching about having to put his cigarette out before entering the Rock Hall, Bourdain found time to come up with a ‘70s Camaro to drag race Michael Ruhlman in front of an abandoned warehouse. Because nothing says Cleveland like abandoned warehouses – Jared Klaus