The Layover: Seattle
So, people who watched last night, what did monsieur Bourdain miss on his trip?
I was surprised not to see Spinasse or Book Bindery mentioned (or maybe even Il Corvo, which is suddenly so hot in it's new spot).
And the nod to multi-culturalism with the trip to the Rainier Valley in the end seemed tacked on and lacking. I mean, if you're going to call it out as "the most diverse zip code in the country" with cuisines to match, how about actually spotlighting some of these places and visiting instead of just paying it lip service?
I also thought it was a dissappointing that even a non-conformist-type like him spent the time doing a Pike Place Market segment when he could have been in Fremont/Ballard, Cap Hill or even White Center, although he makes a good point that it's nice that even the "tourist trap" areas of the city have great food here.
Also, I wish did more with beer and all of fun micro/nano breweries that around, but that's more a personal preference.
I'm watching right now, so may be kind of a stream-of-consciousness post. It's pretty clear that the angle of this episode is not about any one (eg, expensive/fine dining) aspect of the city's (food) culture, so I'm not at all surprised that they didn't hit every single one of our fine-dining venues. I love that fact that they worked-in Easy Street Records alongside Quinn's alongside Canlis alongside the 5-point, etc. They all have their own special value here. I even like seeing Pike Place Market. The Market is great. My wife works down there, and we both still get a bit of a rush when we spend a day down there. It's an incredible asset to the city - I agree that it's *awfully* high profile and over-utilized as the go-to Seattle thing, but that doesn't diminish its value. As a Seattle resident I think this episode gives a pretty fair picture of the myriad styles and preferences that exist here. As an aside, it was super-cool seeing that Matt still owns Easy Street, and hearing AB unabashedly declare his hatred of Dave Matthews' music!
There are a few things that get on my nerves, though. I could do with about 80% less Renee Erickson, whose brand of affected laconic hipness seriously drives me up the wall. I also agree with the two gals' assessment of the idiocy of putting cream cheese on something and calling it 'Seattle Style'. I wouldn't mind if Belltown didn't get brought up at all, but it seems like they could have selected something other than Tilikum Place. Hell, why not the Rendezvous? It was telling that Bourdain spent that segment describing their "famous" dutch babies, then dejectedly picking bones out of some smoked salmon (b/c they didn't *have* dutch babies that day) while lamenting the fact that he wasn't going to get to go to Salumi. It was pretty funny seeing him totally blow Tilikum Place off in a way, but also clearly a squandered opportunity to highlight something a little more worthy of his & our time.
Just wrapped up the episode - overall it was really fun watching this, as a person who's lived here since '96. I thought they covered a hell of a lot of ground in a short period of time. It's the only ep. of this show I have seen, but I'm interested in seeing after watching this.
Generally, I thought the coverage was pretty decent.
The Pike Place Market, impassable as it is on a summer weekend, IS a treasure and is worth a visit for someone with only a couple of days in town.
I was sad and happy that Dinette didn't make the final cut (apparently they filmed a segment there) - sad because Mel deserves recognition and success, happy because I'll still be able to go there without a lot of hassle.
Did anyone notice right before the bit about Salty's that one of the interviewees referred to "Salty's Fish and Chips on Alki" - I wondered if he meant Spud.
I thought the Rainier Valley bit was fine, though it was odd that he had just done a pho segment in the NOLA episode. (FWIW, I've been to Pho Tau Bay - any number of places in Seattle are better.)
For better or worse, Book Bindery (much as I like it) falls squarely into the "International Rich Person Food" category; no need to cover it, every big city has one or more places like this at any given time.