anthony_bourdain_no_reservations_on_the_travel_channelWith all eyes on Washington for the inauguration, the Travel Channel couldn’t have picked a better time to air the new episode of No Reservations that Anthony Bourdian filmed here in DC last July.  As promised, we’ve been sorting through the rumors about where Bourdain ate and who he hung out with – and I have to say, our commenters got his itinerary pretty well mapped out!

In advance of the episode’s airing next Monday night, the folks at the Travel Channel reached out to us with a few goodies to share – including a clip of the scene in Ben’s Chili Bowl and a poster signed by Bourdain himself.  Want to win it?  Enter the contest at the end of this post.

Sure, Bourdain hit Ben’s Chili Bowl (he even acknowledges that just about EVERY food and/or travel show that has ever done a piece on DC has pulled up a stool at their iconic counter), but he did it in the company of one of DC’s premier writers: George Pelecanos.  Pelecanos’ love for Ben’s is well-known, and Nizam Ali couldn’t help spilling the beans about their visit when we sat down to talk about Next Door back in December.

Check out Bourdain in Ben’s and the inside scoop on where else he’ll be chowing down after the jump.



Ben’s.  Check.  So where else did Bourdain visit?

Like other visitors before him, he makes an effort to portray DC as a city of contrasts (public vs. private, affluent vs. poor – we all know the drill).  Unlike many of his predecessors, though, he does it well.  After a brief stop at Busboys & Poets – which Shazia confirmed for us back in July – and his trip to Ben’s, Bourdain pays a visit to the Spy Museum and chats up director Peter Earnest.

Does that name sound familiar to you?  It should – Stephen Colbert did a two-part segment with Earnest back in November.  Bourdain’s time with the master spy focuses on the art of the dead drop and a sit-down at the bar of Georgetown’s Chadwick’s – as revealed by CornFieldTransplant in the comments from DCist’s coverage of Bourdain’s visit.  So we called the visit to the preppy Georgetown bar, but he was there for a very different reason – the historic connection to spy Aldrich Ames that Jon – The DC Traveler mentioned in the comments to the dining guide we put up yesterday.

As we hoped (and suggested to other foodies coming to town), Bourdain’s itinerary also gave him opportunities to sample some of the best that DC’s various ethnic communities have to offer: El Pollo Rico, “the legendary Peruvian chicken joint in the ass-end of the universe;” Song Que for Vietnamese banh mi and Abay Market for Ethiopian kitfo, both of which are out in Falls ChurchEver wonder what Washington City Paper food critic Tim Carman looks like?  You’ll know after this segment (I had a VERY different image of him in my head).

dc-central-kitchenThe final two segments focus on Jose Andres – with a visit to the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market and a parade of dishes from his innovative Minibar – and the DC Central Kitchen.  I can’t say enough about how happy I am that Bourdain and his crew decided to call attention to the great things that DC Central Kitchen does.  We were lucky enough to have them step in and save the day by catering our wedding after our first caterer bailed on us, and their programs are helpful to so many people here in the city.

bourdainCan’t wait until Monday to see the episode?  If you move quickly and you have Comcast On Demand, you don’t have to!  Look for it under “Life & Home” -> Travel Channel -> Anthony Bourdain.  The DC episode is available in its entirety, but it ends today.  You just know it’s gotta frustrate Bourdain to no end to know that his program is being presented with “limited commercial interruption” thanks to Kraft 2% milk shredded cheese (‘purefectly’ delicious!).

And now for the contest details:  Want to win a poster autographed by Bourdain?  Email us at, telling us where you would take Bourdain for a drink in the DC Metro area.  Would you check out a hot new speakeasy?  Your favorite neighborhood dive bar?  Someplace we’ve never even heard of?  Most creative answer wins!  We’ll publish the winner’s response on Monday, so you’ll be able to brag about your win while you watch the show that night.

Good luck!