"No Reservations" Chicago Episode Brings City To Screeching Halt

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 2, 2009 10:00PM

2009_02_BOURDAIN.JPG In case you haven't heard (and as we mentioned in our inaugural podcast earlier today), the long-awaited Chicago episode of "No Reservations" airs 9 p.m. tonight on Travel Channel. This means that, in addition to seeing the already obnoxious lines at Hot Doug's grow even longer by lunchtime tomorrow, the BOURDAIN Midas touch could also convince some folk to get off their duffs and actually head out south for a mother-in-law at Fat Johnnie's, smoked chub at Calumet Fisheries, or the best chili in the city at Ramova Grill (the full rundown of what made the cut during filming is here).

As BOURDAIN himself notes in his blog entry on the Chicago episode, this is going to open up a can of worms as to what he should and should not have visited when the episode was filmed last fall. But his words about the culinary delights this city has to offer — and Chicago itself — never rang more true:

"I'm ambivelent (sic) about a lot of places, but I am unrestrained in my love for Chicago. Only Chicago could convince me that the New York hot dog was not, in fact, anywhere near the apex of the hot dog arts. (The Chicago Red Hot deserves that honor) . Two respectably old school baseball teams, great, great bars, a tradition of unapproachably good and important music, its own, truly imposing style of architecture, an attitude both big city wise-ass and heartland lack of bullshit, a city open to the best and most excessive/creative of new, experimental cooking styles, loaded with great chefs (many of whom are pals), it's simply another place I'll use any excuse to visit. Tonight's episode was just such an excuse."

The way he waxes about the city makes us love it even more. And we were born and raised here. Anyway, the list of places BOURDAIN visited while in town for the episode is a good cross reference of north and south sides, Loop and suburbs, and should by no means be considered Gospel. Except for Fat Johnnie's mother-in-law, which is so damn good that it made BOURDAIN declare "Screw Pizzeria Uno."