Have you ever met the sort of person who goes out of his way to hate Britney Spears? Quietly disliking or ignoring Ms. Spears apparently isn’t enough for this person and he must wail like a hired mourner at a Roman funeral that he HATES her and that he only likes real music (probably U2 or something). Mr. Bourdain has more than just a little bit of this problem and because of this we at deadman/party were slow to warm to him. Whether ranting about chain restaurants or ABBA [we are secure enough to admit that ABBA kicked out some serious jams] or raving about the Ramones, New York City, or pork belly, Mr. Bourdain always seems especially anxious to let us know how cool he is. It took an endorsement from ace food writer, Cleveland booster, and occasional No Reservations guest Michael Ruhlman to truly open our eyes to the charms of all things Bourdain.
Despite his shortcomings, these facts remain: No Reservations is the best food travel show on television (nothing else comes close); the Les Halles Cookbook manages to be valuable in the kitchen, beautifully designed, and more entertaining than any cookbook has a right to be; and if we needed someone to show us around an unfamiliar town, few would be better than Mr. Bourdain. So what if he is a little obnoxious about his love of early New York punk? At least he has good taste (certainly better than whatever Blueshammer junk Guy Fieri would try to sell you) and doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. When it comes down to it, an appreciation of earth’s simple pleasures and a sense of humor are the kind of traits that earn you a beer. Congrats Mr. Bourdain: the next round is on us.