man v foodThere are some food-focused TV shows we love, like Top Chef, No Reservations, and America’s Test Kitchen.  And there are others whose premise we’re not entirely on board with…Bizarre Foods, I’m looking at you.

Until recently, Man versus Food fell squarely into that second category.  There was something about the idea of a guy repeatedly taking on “big eater” type challenges that seemed unnecessary at best and unhealthy at worst.

But then I actually bothered to watch an episode or two (okay, it may have been a marathon) and found a show that was part travelogue, part comedy…and part “big eater” challenge.  It was more than I had guessed it would be, and I found myself liking host Adam Richman’s enthusiasm, humor and outsized personality.  He was more than just a host; he came across as a cheerleader for wherever he was visiting.

RichmanIn each episode, Richman takes viewers to a couple of honest-to-goodness local establishments before taking on his challenge.  It may be a lunch counter or a burger joint, but it’s always the kind of place that locals hate to see revealed on national television.

And then I heard Man v. Food would be filming in DC – and in our neighborhood, no less!  The epsiode aired last night, and we tuned in to see a couple of Washington’s landmark dining spots.

Details on the episode and highlights from Ben’s Chili Bowl and Horace & Dickies after the jump. (more…)

Suddenly DC is awash with celebrity chefs. The weekend of the 4th Thomas Keller dined at Restaurant Eve. Top Cheftestants Stephanie, Atononia and Lisa walked the red carpet at Spike’s Good Stuff party (the former two were spotted dining at Central that night, for those keeping track). The latest bold name to grace our fair streets? Mr. Nasty Bits himself, Anthony Bourdain. Maybe he’s in town to personally thank Endless Simmer for the E-ward shout out?

According to DCist and Apples and Bananas, Bourdain was spotted cruising the Penn Quarter Farmers Market with local heavy Jose Andres, No Reservations crew in tow. The pair spent some time talking to vendors and then slipped out of the heat into Cafe Atlantico. Maybe one of Katsuya Fukushima’s famous Minibar cotton candy foie gras is in his future?

If you watch No Reservations, you know Bourdain is especially prone to covering the split personalities of his destinations. He’ll usually kick off with visits to some trendy, high-end establishments (ahem, see above) then veer into everyman joints… taquerias in LA… noodle shops in Singapore. All reports indicate a similar agenda for the Beltway episode. So where should you stake your claim if you want a little Bourdain facetime? We hazarded a few guesses:

Ben’s Chili Bowl: The granddaddy of the “down with the real folks” tour in DC. Much like Jumbo Slice, I’ve only consumed Ben’s after a night of boozing. Still 50 years of booming business means they’re doing something right. We recommend the half-smoke.

Jimmy T’s: A hole-in-the-wall breakfast diner tucked away on Capitol Hill. this is where DC staffers can pop in for a no-frills breakfast with old school prices.

[Insert Bland, Preppy Georgetown Restaurant]: J. Paul’s, Clydes, The Daily Grill… take your pick. This restaurant segment will not appear in the everyman segment of the episode. For guaranteed on camera time, pop that collar. (more…)