Right off the bat here, I'm just gonna give you a pro tip: If you're snowed in and all you have to eat are a few Lean Cuisines because you were basically in denial/just too flat out lazy to deal with the maniacs at the grocery store pre-blizzard, don't torture yourself by binge-watching TV that's going to make you hungry for food that you can't have.
Or if you're like me (read: a masochist), go for it.
That's exactly what I did. Though my hatred for snow and all things winter has been well-documented here, I kind of enjoyed my snow weekend (until I had to shovel...fuck that noise). The last time I relaxed like that I had just had surgery, and let me tell you, binge watching is a lot better when you're not in pain/on opioids.
Jen told me a month or two ago about "Chef's Table." I started it one night last week and that sent me down the Apple TV rabbit hole of food and travel documentaries. You know that Jen and I strongly believe food is an integral part of travel, and if you don't agree...well, get snowed in and watch these guys.
This is a six-episode documentary-style series featuring chefs from different parts of the world -- Italy, NYC, Patagonia, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and Sweden -- each in a different episode. Besides the fact that it's just a flipping gorgeous show to watch, the stories of these chefs, who are among the best in the world, are nothing short of inspiring. It takes a lot for me to feel inspired by something I see on TV, but it's true. They all faced massive mistakes, failure, and self-doubt and came out the other side by virtue of their relentless hard work and unwillingness to be anything less than 100 percent true to themselves. Even the hipster to end all hipsters, Francis Mallmann, who spends his days burning food outside in Patagonia (and whom I found completely unlikeable), had a point when he said he refused to spend time with people he didn't enjoy. I will never be a chef but I admire these people and really hope Netflix does a second season soon. Plus...you know, tiny delicious food.
MIND OF A CHEF
While I watched "Chef's Table," Netflix suggested I watch "Mind of a Chef" next. I got through the first season, thoroughly entertained and wanting to be besties with David Chang (Momofuku). This is a PBS series, must shorter and lighter, and narrated by Anthony Bourdain (whom you know Jen and I worship). The first series follows Chang as he delves into the elements of his cooking -- noodles, eggs, pig, smoke, etc. -- and travels through New York, Tokyo, Kyoto, Copenhagen, Spain, and a bunch of other cool spots I'm forgetting. The heavy emphasis on ramen killed me; I haven't had solid ramen since my own trip to Tokyo, and now I'm plotting a trip to Momofuku next time I visit New York.
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI
I had heard of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" but kept forgetting about it until Netflix recommend I watch it as well. "Jiro" came before "Chef's Table," but was done by the same people. Jiro is basically this super old guy who still works his ass off every day making the best sushi in Tokyo, starting at $300 a meal. Naturally, this made me crave sushi like crazy and since Maryland was in a state of emergency, I couldn't even order delivery. Sigh. #firstworldproblems
I'LL HAVE WHAT PHIL'S HAVING
When a friend and I were discussing over e-mail what we were each binge watching, she told me about "I'll Have What Phil's Having." I've since watched the first two episodes -- Tokyo and Italy. First, let me say, Phil isn't my favorite. Phil Rosenthal was the creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond," and he's basically...Raymond. Down to the horrible Queens accent, goofy personality, and plethora of dad jokes. That said, I appreciate how much he enjoys traveling and eating and how his eyes bug out when he eats something really delicious. And in the Tokyo episode, he went to Kyubey for sushi, the same place where I had the best meal of my life. He said he thought Jiro was dreaming of *that* sushi, but that meal only cost $100 (plus I bet Jiro would be pissed if he heard that). Also, he started the Italy episode in Florence, which has a special place in my heart, and this episode made me homesick (and gave me a crazy craving for gelato).
Seeing as I actually had to, you know, shovel this weekend and occasionally move off the couch, I didn't actually watch this one or the next one, but I did last year when we had snow, and these fit the bill for foodie travel must-sees. Jon Favreau plays a high-profile chef in LA who loses his shit at a food critic, gets into a Twitter fight, ends up losing his job and going back to Miami to start a food truck. He and his son take it to New Orleans, and it's just a really cute, funny, delicious movie that makes me want to follow in Jen's footsteps and book a trip to NOLA stat (beignets plz).
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY
"The Hundred-Foot Journey" takes place in France where Helen Mirren (YAS KWEEN) runs a Michelin-starred restaurant. An Indian family opens their own restaurant across the street, and she and the father toss around some fightin' words. Then she ends up employing his son, deliciousness ensues, and to be honest, I don't remember all of the details, but I do really remember loving it.
Any noms TV that I missed?