I don't know why I picked up Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential (it was probably reviewed on NPR) but I devoured that book a few years ago. Apart from a slam against Baltimore's Club Charles, the mix of restaurant tips and tell-all autobiography told with Bourdain's distinct, cynical tone enchanted me.
I don't know why it took me so long to tune in to the Travel Channel's "No Reservations" but I only started watching it in the last few weeks. So far I've caught about twenty episodes and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. The concept of the show is simple; Bourdain visits a locale, tries the local cuisine, and usually engages in some humiliating activities. The mix of adventurous food, travel, and Bourdain's distinct, cynical tone has made "No Reservations" my new favorite show.
Please don't confuse Anthony Bourdain with Andrew Zimmern. Often sandwiched between two tasty episodes of "No Reservations," the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" is a little bit like a freak show with host Andrew Zimmern trying the strangest (and often most unappetizing) foods as possible. This seems like a hamhanded attempt to duplicate Bourdain's success as the author often indulges in seemingly "bizarre" dishes during his travels.
Bourdain doesn't go out of his way for weird wonders but never exhibits problems with them. The few times I've watched Zimmern, he's tried and failed to eat stinky tofu (no, that's really the name of it) and durian. Meanwhile, I've seen Bourdain feasting on durian. Sure, no one would go near him while he ate the stinky fruit, but he's definitely not shy about trying unusual cuisine.
If you haven't checked out "No Reservations" or "Kitchen Confidential" (the book, not the TV sitcom of the same name), I suggest you change your ways.