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Aug 16, 2010 11:50 PM

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: Rome

Not bad, one of the better and more tolerable episodes so far, but the black and white was horrible. Hope they re-broadcast in full color.

I wonder if the "un-named" places were not disclosed on purpose, or to take the piss out of the exclusivity, or they worry that too much exposure would lower the quality. Who knows.

Loved that Tony's wife bagged on him.

The over-emphasis of "eating what's in season" degrades the intelligence of the viewers. It's common sense and part of the old world culture. What is so superior about the way of life of others, eating the seasons and local and fresh, that is overly deemed as exotic?

Cesare Casella packed on lotta pounds since Tuscany and Food Porn 2! Always a good show when he's around. Delicious looking ox tails, cheese, and pasta. No gelati, no coffee.....

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  1. the black and white didn't help the fact that although he touts its all about great ingredients.

    How can I tell the ingredients are great when I can't even see the color beside for the occasional sight hue of red or yellow.

    Nice episode ruined by an a pretentious color filter.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Johnny L

      His producers were trying to recreate the Fellini films vibe with the B+W.For the colors of the food...use your imagination!Wife added some antagonism that is the passion of Italy as was the scene in the ristorante where the pasta amatriaciana was eaten.Of course all of that is staged for the viewing audience.BTW all the ristoranti and locations were named.Just came from Roma today and can never get enough.Loved the wrap up at the beach with the tutti frutti di mare.

      1. re: casalbore spirit

        >>>> recreate the Fellini films vibe with the B+W<<<<<<

        ha ha -- if only tony were a marcello!

        1. re: alkapal

          To some of us, he IS a Marcello. ;-)

            1. re: alkapal

              Had to laugh at your original post Alkapal. As soon as the program began all I could think was, "Where's Marcello...?"

              1. re: Gio

                Can't wait till AB's producers reach for Pasolini

                1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                  I hope not... that poor fellow was murdered. Horrible loss to the artistic community, controversial though he was..

                  1. re: Gio

                    Certain "loss" can always be .., sadly, expected.
                    "Frog"s, on the other hand ....

                    1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                      Well... say what you will, I miss him. Wish I had paid more attention.

      2. http://anthony-bourdain-blog.travelch...

        is the blog link. His last comment was that he expected this episode to be 'reviled'.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mramage

          Fully realizing and understanding the intent of this episode, I still wasn't crazy about it (and I'm a Fellini fan). Bourdain's impassioned blog words didn't sway my opinion. In fact, I switched over to Dating in the Dark at several points.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I liked the B & W aspect and thought it was an excellent episode. There hasn't been much A.B. talk lately. Thought the Liberia episode was OK and I liked the look back just after Kitchen Confidential came out. Didn't enjoy the Dubai episode.

            1. re: californiabeerandpizza

              This Anthony Bourdain Rome episode was good, and if you picked up on the "Romans Only" venues that he mumbled about you could figure out that some were fairly well known, Filetti di Baccala, came to mind. In any event this series is light years ahead of all the other stand and stir "Shooting Stars in the land of Reality cooking shows"!!!!
              The B&W format fits the off-beat nature of AB and his attitude that is displayed in his writing.

        2. Oh I was so homesick last night!

          I liked the black and white. I liked how much Bourdain loved Rome! I liked how they did not edit out the bad, but realistic truths of roman culture and food industry (obnoxiously rude staff and often cocky and aggressive people - in this case wanting to pick fights over having waited too long for their table although they new they were filming!...)

          The ingredients are there, no doubt - we know how to do it. We don't bitcha and moan about seasonality...we still JUST DO IT.....not that it's something to pat ourselves in the back as much as a sign of still not having developed into the mass consumerism a-la' USA ( i have no doubt that time will come).

          If you watched closely they would add color at times in the food prep scenes (nice touch).

          I can think of another dozen places where his reactions to the food would have been identical - and funny thing is - it's all for the price of an entree in the US. Problem is, and this came up briefly in the scene at the Timoniere restaurant (where the fight and rude waitress were) that Romans are eternally stuck in vicious existential cycle of tradition vs. trying something new, which, coincidentally, might be delicious and change things up a bit!

          It takes a while to get bored of the food in Rome, but when you do, your only option really is to get crafty and make some non-italian things at home. Variety is not our "forte".

          GOOD SHOW and 100% vouched for a by a roman!

          6 Replies
          1. re: sir_moli

            Not a big fan of the continuous B&W - they could have used it more judiciously to better effect.

            I did like the parts with Mrs. Bourdain: the fake car ride, wanting to eat with the camera man, ragging on Tony's Jersey Boy Italian pronunciation (seriously, why do they do that?), turning down the chicory, even if it was in season, because she doesn't like it.

            1. re: 512window

              I had this friend come visit on Rome last year, we ate in several good "osteria"s and had awesome food throughout, which he really appreciated. Then one day we end up in a pizza al taglio/rosticceria joint. Basically the roman version of street food. We got a piece of chicken and chicory and potatoes on the side (had previously OD'd on pizza) and I swear this kid lit up like it was Christmas after the first bite of chicory! He won't stop talking about 6 months later...haha...I mean, it's just fascinating to watch what happens when you taste something your palate just does not know. I mean like me when I get thai food or even my addiction to cilantro... amazing.

            2. re: sir_moli

              Your review hits the spot. I appreciated the riskiness of an arty point of view, but misguided color palette aside, Tony pulled it off without turning too pretentious. I like how he's become more crotchety (and modest) about himself--his wife's acid-sweet presence also helps--and how he made sure to identify the underside of the myth of Rome the seasonal, local, artisanal , and traditionalist utopia. For some reason, I loved the fake driving scenes.
              Bourdain seems to have reached a level of honesty about himself and his role, like what being a grown-up is all about. His openness and acceptance of limits, including his own, only enhance his considerable narrative skills--and his eye. Watching his Rome, I cringed retrospectively at memories of Batali and Florence and others who should know better making fools of themselves in similar ventures. Bravo, Tonuzzo.

              1. re: sir_moli

                >>>>>"""still not having developed into the mass consumerism a-la' USA ( i have no doubt that time will come).""<<<<

                i seriously doubt that the romans could be efficient enough.

                i'm curious, does anyone know what percentage of italian income is spent on food? average family, average meals?

                fao has some interesting stats, one can compare veggie prices per tonne/USD in italy:

                and the u.s. (esp. interesting is the major discrepancies in particular veggies. maybe some are favored, therefore produced more en masse, and per tonne prices are thus lower? fun to noodle around with -- and speculate ;-).


                  1. re: pdxgastro


                    i guess kids all over love fish sticks. i was surprised by the similarity of their tableau to an american table of a week's groceries.

                    i'll bet roman prices are higher by a good factor, though. not that tony bourdain was showing "average family" food anyhow, was he?

              2. PLEASE - can someone tell me what the name of that pasta dish with the black pepper in the parmesan bowl is called and where can I find a recipe?

                9 Replies
                1. re: Sharon S.

                  It's cacio e pepe, and it's generally not served in a parmesan bowl. That was the restaurant's twist. If you google it, you'll find lots of recipes.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    and the recipe in No Reservations was spot on -

                    try this , and if you do it in a pan - all the better


                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      I want to know how to make the parmesan bowl... I haven't found that online.

                      1. re: sashen

                        I've seen parmesan crackers made on TV - just spread even layer of grated cheese on a silicone mat, and bake till melted. For the bowl they may have done that, and then draped the still hot disk over a form to shape.

                        1. re: paulj

                          You could just drape it over an inverted bowl.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            The chef used an inverted 1 Cup metal measuring cup. You could see the handle.

                    2. re: Sharon S.

                      I did not see all of the show yet, but you may be referring to rigatoni caccio e pepe, mentioned in an article I read recently in Frommer's Budget Travel called eat like a Roman:


                      The writer suggest ordering it with spaghetti, i believe.

                        1. re: Sharon S.

                          Go to the eponymous Cacio e Pepe in NYC's East Village and get it out of a pecorino bowl, as it ought to be served. Seriously powerful cheese they have there, with the bite of romano but a richness that is atypical to pec romani.

                        2. I don't know about eating seasonally and locally being "exotic" but there was just an article on Chow this week about it being just a trend (in the U.S.). I think there's a lot to be said for bringing home the fact that eating local season food isn't just a trend, but a way of life.