A Defense of Portland, Street and Company and Tuna Bolognese, Part 1 (of 2): “Mr. Bourdain, Please Kiss Me Before You F*ck Me”

by chubbywerewolf on 20 October 2011

Note: This blog entry, part one of two, is nearly 20 months in the making. For reasons explained below, I’ve written it, trashed it and re-written it at least a half-dozen times over the course of the last several months. With Anthony Bourdain—the subject of Part 1 of this commentary—visiting Portland in a couple of weeks, I decided that now was as good a time as any to publish it. Most of what you’ll read below was last edited in late August. That said, I’ve updated portions of this entry to address comments made by Mr. Bourdain in his recent interview with the Portland Press Herald, which you can find here.

I should also disclose that I do not know Mr. Bourdain, the man, at all. It may well be that, in real life, he’s a perfectly nice guy. So I am qualifying the comments below by stating that they are targeted at what might be termed “Bourdain, the Character,” the guy who speaks to us via the filter of his books and television programs. I’m not, by any means a Portland restaurant “insider” and I  have never met Mr. Dana Street, owner of Street & Company restaurant. My understanding of the goings-on in the Street and Company segment of “No Reservations: Maine” is limited to what I saw on television.

 

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Ask your average foodie for his or her opinion of Anthony Bourdain—chef, writer and host of The Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”—and they are likely to describe him in one of two ways:

a) “He is a douchebag.”

or

b) “He is a humungous douchebag.”

If you’ve seen “No Reservations,” my tongue-in-cheek assessment of its host probably comes as no surprise to you. The acerbic, “bad boy” public persona Mr. Bourdain has cultivated—and profited richly from—over the last dozen years seems to be as much of a draw for viewers as the locations he visits. The man clearly has a following… one that is measured as much by the throngs of up-and-coming chefs who seem to want to be him as by the millions of dollars he has earned from tv royalties, book sales and speaking engagements.

Mr. Bourdain’s style is not really for me. I enjoy his program—and have seen most if not all of the episodes—but my appreciation tends to come in spite of his presence rather than because of it.  It is not really the swearing, the smarmy attitude or the caustic personality that bothers me. I can deal with that. Unless you haven’t turned your television set on since 1986, you know that smug assholes don’t exactly run in short supply on television these days, especially in the “reality” genre of programming. Mr. Bourdain wasn’t the first by a longshot, and he won’t be the last.

What does tend to turn me off about Mr. Bourdain is that there’s a phony, disingenuous quality to him. Very little seems to impress him, at least when he’s aware that the camera is trained on him. He has seen some amazing things on his televised travels, but there’s never a sense of awe or wonderment. Why not display just a little bit of earnestness? Why not admit that you learned something on your show today? Is it that “Bourdain, the Character” is such a worldly guy that he has nothing left to learn about food, travel or culture? Or maybe genuine reactions just don’t pay as well.

But it goes even further with Mr. Bourdain. No matter who he interacts with on his tv program—be it a duck hunter from the Ozarks or a 70’s punk music legend—it just seems as if he’s trying way too hard to prove to them (and us) that he’s one of them. Honestly, in the more than 120 episodes of “No Reservations” I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard Mr. Bourdain tell at least four different authors that their book is his all-time favorite. I suppose there is some rule for journalists out there that says “identify with your subjects.” And we know that the ability to relate is a critical for politicians. So why does it chap my hide so much that Mr. Bourdain tries to be all things to all people? I dunno… maybe its just that I know too many people like that in my own life. Or maybe its that relate-ability works both ways: in trying so hard to relate to his subjects, Mr. Bourdain often fails to realize that his audience cannot relate to him. Or possibly it is that—as interesting as it might be to watch him pretend that he knows how to handle a shotgun or a fly rod—it would be ten times more interesting to watch someone who is doing these things for the first time and not afraid to admit it.

But these are minor grievances, really. And if that’s all there was, I probably wouldn’t even take time to put pen to paper, much less ask you to invest the time and effort in reading it.

 

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No, where Mr. Bourdain lost me… not just lost me, but PISSED ME OFF in a very big way was with No Reservation’s take on Maine back in January of last year.

Things started out well enough. It became apparently early on that Mr. Bourdain was coming to visit in the winter months, meaning that tv viewers would get to see life in Maine outside of the the months of June, July and August. I took this as a sign that the show might just avoid being yet another one of those “Maine is lobster, blueberries, bean suppers and whoopie pies” treatments.

But then things began to go downhill. A much-discussed meal at Bresca never materialized. Whether the Bresca visit was actually ever planned—or just the product of too much wishful thinking—remains a mystery. And when the identities of the restaurants Mr. Bourdain would be visiting (Street and Company and J’s Oyster, both of which are situated in the tourist-heavy Old Port), Portlanders were unimpressed. No Bresca? No Miyake? No Emilitsa? No Duckfat? No Evangeline? No Scratch Bakery?

The final clue that Portland was about to get short-shrift came not long before the Maine episode of “No Reservations” aired. Word came from up North that Bourdain had some less-than-kind things to say about Portlanders not being real Mainers. Now again, what was said and how it was said depends largely on who you ask. And to be fair, the quote featured in the Bangor Daily News’ coverage of his visit was fairly harmless:

“Of Maine in general, Bourdain said the first thing that struck him was until he arrived in Milo, he had yet to meet a single person who was actually from Maine. ‘Portland, Rockland, everyone we met was a displaced person from someplace else,’ he said.”

If I had to guess, I’d say that Mr. Bourdain was probably just paying lip-service to the people who were sharing a meal with him and that’s about all there was to it. But on the off-chance that he really did mean to say that transplanted Portlanders aren’t real Mainers, then its an absurd and ignorant statement. Not to mention an ironic one. After all, Mr. Bourdain resides in New York City, which has more than its share of transplants calling themselves “New Yorkers.”

Despite these warning signs, I still had high hopes for the episode. In the days before it aired, I emailed friends and family with great pride, encouraging them to tune in for what would surely be an entertaining, unconventional look at my adopted city. As showtime on that Monday night drew near, I opened a bottle of wine and prepared some cheese, olives and bread to snack on. And as the clock struck ten, I even found myself doing a little dance to the opening chords of “No Reservations.” I felt so edgy!

When the show ended an hour later, the cheese and olives I had barely touched. The wine, however, was mostly gone, as was any semblance of jubilation, exuberance, good will or satisfaction. It was like watching the “Seinfeld” series finale all over again… or any given episode of “Two and a Half Men.” What I had just seen made me embarrassed for my city, disappointed with the Travel Channel and angry with Mr. Bourdain.

If you haven’t seen the episode for yourself, I encourage you to check it out. Those of you with Netflix Streaming can watch it online, right now (it is Volume 8, Episode 12). Non Netflix users can always order the DVD or just turn on your television to the Travel Channel. Since “No Reservations” seems to air at least 22 hours a day, you’re bound to come across the Maine episode sooner or later. If you want to keep reading without seeing the episode, I can give you quick rundown of what happens:

  • Segment 1: Mr. Bourdain and his cameraman Zach (a Maine native) begin their journey in Portland which Bourdain notes in a “Who knew?” kind of way is just an hour north of NYC by airplane. (Ok, so I guess I have to take back what I said about him never acknowledging when he has learned something new.) They visit J’s Oyster (which gets a good review) and Street and Company (more on that later). After just nine minutes, the segment on Maine’s largest, most-diverse city ends… not to be revisited.
  • Segment 2: Mr. Bourdain visits the Midcoast, where he chats with Melissa Kelly and dines at Primo. Afterward, he moves on to Conte’s. Both restaurants receive stellar reviews. The segment runs approximately 16 minutes.
  • Segment 3: Mr. Bourdain heads 100 miles inland to visit Milo, ME where he eats at Spring Creek BBQ and participates in his first Bean Supper. The next day, Mr. Bourdain and his colleagues visit Zach’s Uncle Bobby. There, they eat, chop wood, collect spring water and “shoot the shit.” This segment also runs about 16 minutes.

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, here’s how, in my opinion, the episode did a disservice to Maine, Portland and Street & Company.

For me, it was always a bummer that Portland did not have an episode in and of itself. Sure, we know that Maine is so much more than Portland… a fact that I was reminded of recently after reading about Malcolm and Jillian’s weekend adventure in Aroostock County on their blog, FromAway. But lumping our city—whose rich, culinary landscape has been praised by every publication from Bon Appetit to the New York Times—in with the rest of the state seemed like a bit of a lazy, amateurish move made by producers who hadn’t really done their homework and just assumed that you can stuff all of Maine into a one-size fits all type of treatment. Maybe we should be thankful that they stopped at the state border and didn’t try to wedge us into a “Northern New England” episode along with New Hampshire and Vermont. Think it can’t happen? Check out the the Season 7 “Rust Belt” episode that combined Buffalo, Detroit and Baltimore. I’m not kidding.

Anyway, this is not to say that the segments on Primo and Conte’s didn’t deserve to be there. Or for that matter, the portions of the show involving the the bean supper and the cabin in the woods (my favorite segment, by the way). They all very much did. But did they have to come at the expense of Portland, a city that—as we’re so often reminded—has more restaurants per capita than New York or San Francisco? Why not a full episode on Portland and then—at some point in the future—an episode on the Midcoast or the Northern part of the state? Or one for each? If it sounds like I’m going too far, bear in mind that the last few seasons of “No Reservations” have devoted entire episodes to individual neighborhoods in cities like New York and Boston. And yet, Portland can’t get more than nine minutes of screen time?

Incidentally, when Bourdain was asked why Portland got so little attention, his response was to basically throw his cameraman Zach under the bus. The show was “about Zach and Zach’s favorite places, and his view of Maine, period,” he told the Portland Press Herald.

So its the cameraman’s fault… I see… The producers, the writers, the guy whose name is featured as part of the show’s title… they had nothing to do with it. Its the fucking cameraman’s fault. And even though your Executive Producer Lydia Tenaglia went so far as to solicit recommendations from Mainers on places to visit in late 2009, it all boils down to “what the camera guy says, goes.” Thanks for clearing that up, Anthony.

And who chose Street and Company and J’s Oyster? Well, it seems that too is apparently mostly Zach’s fault. “I’m not making a show that any tourism board is going to be happy with because it’s incomplete, it’s point-of-view,” continues Bourdain. “It comes from how much I had to drink that day and who I’m with, and in this case, is was the Zach Zamboni show.”

Wait. You claim that your shows aren’t tourism board friendly and yet you chose two of the most touristey places in town to visit? Fuzzy math, anyone?

Don’t get me wrong. Street and Company and J’s Oyster are fine establishments. As you’ll see next week, I’m actually extremely fond of Street and Company. So when I take issue with the inclusion of these establishments, its not because I have anything against them. Its just that for a guy who babbles ceaselessly about bending and breaking the rules, Mr. Bourdain sure played it safe on this one. Moreover, choosing to profile two seafood-heavy restaurants in a segment about a town regarded by much of the country as being all about lobster (and little else) just seemed like a crass, oversimplified generalization about our city made by people who don’t know any better and didn’t take the time to learn before presenting their findings to the rest of the nation. (On the bright side, at least they didn’t claim that our streets are paved with blueberries.)

And yet, even this would be forgivable had the profile of Street and Company not been so bad.

Again, if you haven’t seen the segment in question, I encourage you to stop reading, check it out for yourself and form your own opinion of it, at which point you are welcome to come back and agree with me wholeheartedly or tell me that I’m completely full of shit.

The profile begins with Mr. Bourdain exclaiming that the atmosphere at Street and Co. is kind of “dull” and questioning why his host (the aforementioned Zach Zamboni) brought him there.

Of Street and Company owner Dana Street, he says, “After two minutes with this guy, I can already tell it must be difficult to work in this place.” If the comment was meant to sound endearing in any way, it didn’t come across as such.

A couple of dishes involving Maine shrimp and monkfish, emerge from the kitchen. The shrimp gets a little bit of love from Bourdain, but—apparently realizing that he’s on the verge of saying something nice—quickly mentions that the monkfish served with leeks, monkfish liver and red pepper was something that “frankly, I didn’t love so much.”

It is only when a cuttlefish dish emerges from the kitchen that Bourdain acknowledges that he actually likes something in the restaurant (he calls it “sublime”).

But then comes the biggest of the low blows. As the camera pans in on the dish that Dana Street is eating—Linguine Alla Vongole (linguine with clams)—Bourdain narrates via voiceover: “But I’m not likin’ the look of the pasta this guy is eating. He calls this ‘Linguine Vongole,’ served in some kind of… what is that, a saute pan? Swimming in watery-looking sauce.”

And with those kind words, the segment on Street and Company—all two minutes of it—comes to an abrupt end… as does the show’s coverage of Southern Maine. As “No Reservations” prepares to go to commercial, Mr. Bourdain whines that he has yet to meet any native born Mainers but hopes that will change the next day when he and his crew venture “down coast” to the Midcoast Region.

Now, if you’ve seen the episode and are reading this blog, you’re probably doing one of two things: either nodding your head in agreement with my assessment or saying to yourself, “Why is this asshole whining? Because Anthony Bourdain didn’t like the dishes he had at a restaurant in your town?”

 

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Here’s the thing. I don’t have a problem with criticism. Mr. Bourdain—like any of us—is entitled to be critical of a person, a place or an experience. What I do have a problem with is people who say shitty things about others under the veil of criticism and then can’t even be bothered to qualify their remarks. Take, for instance, the monkfish dish that Mr. Bourdain “didn’t love so much.” What did he dislike about it? Was it not fresh? Was it the taste of one of the components? Was it the pairing of the leeks and red pepper with the monkfish liver? A little bit of information would go a long way here. Ditto on the comment about Mr. Street’s “watery-looking sauce.” Did you taste it, Anthony? Or did you just decide that because you saw something that looked “watery” that it was bad? And why is it that Mr. Bourdain had such an aversion to the use of sauté pans (in lieue of plates or bowls) at Street & Company but didn’t so much as bat an eyelash when a lobster dish at Conte’s was presented to him in… yup, you guessed it… a sauté pan.

In the short time that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve had to write a few bad reviews. I can tell you that, without question, they are the hardest ones to write. Part of it is just my personality. I was raised in an environment of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Admittedly, that is my own baggage at work, and I don’t believe it should be a rule for all critics to follow, nor do I hold it against Mr. Bourdain that he’s not built the same way I am. That said, even writing this blog entry—which requires me to say lots of not-so-nice things about Mr. Bourdain—has been enormously difficult for me. As I mentioned in my introduction, I’ve started and stopped writing this blog entry countless times over the past eight months. I’ve deleted it more than once, only to return a few days later and start from scratch. So no… it has not been easy.

On the occasions when I’ve had to say something negative about a meal or an experience, I’ve tried to qualify it by being as specific as possible about what I liked and disliked. I do not take lightly the notion that something I write could have a negative impact on another person’s business, so I feel that I owe it to that person to qualify my statements as completely and thoroughly as possible.

You would think that Mr. Bourdain, given his popularity and his reach (it is not inconceivable that his criticism could shutter a restaurant’s doors overnight) would feel a burden a thousand times greater than what I feel when I have to say something negative about a restaurant. If he does feel that way, it certainly wasn’t reflected in his comments about Street and Company. Mr. Bourdain’s assessment contained nothing remotely resembling thoughtful, intelligent (much less constructive) criticism. What he did say was “fuck you” to Mr. Street by way of a handful of cheap verbal jabs, cowardly voiceover narration and post-production edits.

Maybe Mr. Bourdain has just forgotten what it’s like to bust your ass running a restaurant. Or perhaps his comments were the product of the need to live up to his “edgy” reputation. (Though, if that is the case, he was pretty lazy about that to0. These days, I’m hard-pressed to think of a Portland restaurant that is an easier target for criticism than Street & Company. More on that next week.) Or maybe he just came to our city with a chip on his shoulder, bound and determined to be underwhelmed by us and our culinary offerings. If that’s the case, can you really blame him? The Portland food scene is shockingly low on washed up 70s’ punk musicians, reclusive novelists and disgraced politicians. All we have are a collection of amazing chefs doing incredible, creative things with food on a daily basis. Pity us.

Either way, it doesn’t sound as though we can expect to see much of Mr. Bourdain in the future. Asked by the Press Herald what restaurants he might eat at during his November visit, he said he’d most likely dine on a pack of Pringles from the hotel minibar. Its probably just as well. And when the topic of a second Maine show came up, he said that if it happened, he’d visit other parts of the state. Based on past performance, my guess is that will translate to a 32-second segment combining Bangor, Lewiston and Auburn, with the remaining 40 minutes dedicated to a spot where he hunts human prey in Caribou alongside Ted Nugent, Martha Stewart and Linda Bean.

PS: In some perverse way, I suppose that I owe Mr. Bourdain a debt of gratitude. It was actually his skewering of Street and Company back in January 2010 that made me realize for the first time that I had something to say about food and that I wanted to have a voice. It would take another full year before that realization would manifest itself in the form of this blog (and another eight months before I’d get around to publishing my feelings about his visit), but it was definitely one of the motivating factors. So with that said, next week, I’ll put Mr. Bourdain behind me and get back to talking about food. Part 2 of this post will focus on my expereiences during two recent visits to Street and Company. Stay tuned.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen@Mignardise October 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Well said. I look forward to your review of Street & Co.
I’ve been trying to decide if I want to go see the Tony and Eric show at Merrill in a couple of weeks. Leaning towards no (even though I could listen to Ripert talk all day), because I’m pretty sure Tony is just coming for the cash. After reading this, I’ll probably skip the event and go out to eat instead.

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Matt October 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. It’s incredibly unfortunate that restaurant business is affected by the brand of breezy commentary (devoid of any substantive analysis) characteristic of Bourdain. I feel as though Mr. Bourdain arrived at Street and Co. with a predetermined need to perform his schtick rather than actually engage with the restaurant on its own terms, and that’s a shame. I truly feel as though the best restaurant analysis exists not from television shows or the general “establishment” but rather from the blogosphere–from sites like yours.

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joe appel October 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I’ve written a post like this 10 times already, in my head. Thanks for actually putting it on screen. Bourdain worked his ass off in the biz for many years, yes, but I’d never want to spend 2 minutes with the guy, and clearly his priority is burnishing his image and primping his ego. For all his vaunted “I’m the real deal, here’s the nitty-gritty” self-promo, I don’t trust a single word he says. Thanks for writing.

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Malcolm October 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Thanks for this excellent post, CW. I just wanted to add a few of the rambling, going-nowhere thoughts I had while reading through your commentary.

I don’t know Anthony Bourdain the person, at all. I’ve read all of his books, and so, like many of us, have gotten to know Anthony Bourdain, the character, at least somewhat. I liked catching a glimpse of the inner workings of the restaurant world in “Kitchen Confidential.” I had lunch a few times at Les Halles in the early 2000s, so I have some basic appreciation for Anthony Bourdain, the french fry cook, as well. I’ve also watched almost every episode of “No Reservations,” a show I like quite a bit.

I’m torn on this issue, because I can see both sides. In some ways, I appreciate that Bourdain didn’t focus all of his effort on Portland. Though I have lived in Maine off and on my whole life, until last year, I had never spent more than a few weekends in Portland. There is, indeed, a whole lot more “Maine” out there (as you referenced in your post, thanks for the shout-out, btw), and I found myself way more interested in the barbecue shack on the snowmobile trail in Milo, than I was in the segment at Street & Co. and at J’s. How cool was it that he came here in the winter? Right off the bat, we knew we weren’t in for another “Lobster Roll in July” segment.

I’ve never eaten at Street & Co., and I don’t know Dana Street, or any of the people who were there at the time. But Bourdain’s reaction to the place couldn’t have been much of a surprise. Bourdain’s entire shtick is built on the idea that he eschews what he believes to be the inauthentic. Second, he is a champion of the “little guy” in the restaurant world, devoting whole episodes to the work ethic of his Dominican dishwashers. I can see why the perceived shortness Street had with his waitress would rub Bourdain exactly the wrong way. The same holds true with the saute pan full of pasta; no matter what it tasted like, it’s exactly the kind of overwrought plating that Bourdain’s character seems to only have patience for at the very, very high end. And as great as much of Portland’s cuisine is, there’s still an awful lot of overpriced tuna tartare being squashed into ring molds, or being dramatically assembled in Cubist plate arrangements. “Oh, I see what you did there. You made all of my food into little squares.”

On the other hand, Street & Co. was no doubt talked into the segment by the show’s producers, and the positive exposure for the restaurant must have been held up as the carrot on the end of that particular stick. I can see why Street would feel somewhat bait-and-switched, somewhat blindsided, particularly if, as he says, Bourdain walked in there just being kind of a dick.

Ultimately, I think we are all growing a little tuckered out by Bourdain, the character, which anecdotal reports seem to suggest has consumed Bourdain, the man. Like many of us, I found his whole bit as appealing as everyone else, but I think as a culture, we’ve collectively moved on from that whole grumpy excess thing, the smoking and drinking your way through ancient cultures, being largely dismissive and unmoved by much of what you see, but finding time for the occasional Rachael Ray barb. I thought seeing Bourdain blasting down an Amazonian River in a Ramones tee shirt, nonplussed and smoking a cigarette, was as cool as the next guy; now, though, I think as a culture, we’re ready to embrace earnestness, eagerness, and a certain amount of wide-eyed excitement again. Cynicism is so 2008. I’m ready to think things are neat again.

I have re-read this comment and realize I have no point. Thanks for reading anyway.

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S. October 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I want a ‘like’ button for Malcolm’s post.

I will add that there are at least 2 ‘throwaway’ episodes of No Reservations every season. Sadly, Maine fell into that category last year.

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Bobbi October 30, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I love Malcom’s post as well!

I have to say thank you for posting the link to the episode. Besides that, I don’t feel as if I can say I agree with you on many of the points you’ve made. I think it’s a fairly true statement to say that a lot of people in the southern part of Maine are transplants, especially in the Mid-Coast area that they visited. Not that everyone in those areas are transplants, but there are enough of them so that if you are doing something specific, such as eating at nice restaurants, you might not run into many natives. I thought it was quite funny what they said about Maine women being rugged and trying to stereotype us as unattractive, hard working ladies. I will say yes to the hardworking part, but take offense to the unattractive. I have actually been questioned as to whether or not I am from Maine before, by a random man in a Dunkin Donuts in Bath (where I was born). He didn’t believe it and actually made a bet with his boss that I wasn’t. I am still unsure as to why that bet was made, but I am just guessing they didn’t think I was from around there. I immediately thought of that instance when they were talking about Maine women. I am a native Mainer, my family goes back to the founding of our town in the Mid-Coast. You can’t stereotype places or people in such broad strokes like that, because it’s offensive. Just like you are offended that he painted the broad picture of Portland in the manner that he did.

I have only made it halfway through the episode so far, but I am glad that they actually spent more time away from Portland than in. I agree they could have highlighted a more diverse selection of restaurants, but there is much more to the State of Maine than the largest and most diverse city. What bothered me more was the fact that they kept showing pictures of Wiscasset during the Rockland/Primo section. The editing would imply to the viewer that some of those shots would be Rockland, but are in fact Wiscasset and some other towns around the Mid-Coast area.

I like your post a lot, though, because it really made me stop and think about the episode and actually watch it. I was guilty of not doing so already! However, in my defense, I had no idea it was on instant watch until I read this post.

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Turbofan August 23, 2013 at 4:02 am

Its obvious Dana Street is a duck and so is Anthony Bourdain. Like objects repel. Something went down during filming so Bourdain stomped Dana’s duck in the dirt. You can do that when you’re rich and influential.

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Emily M May 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

I’m a born-and-raised Mainer from Windham, and honestly I sided with Anthony on the Portland parts of the show. While it would have been great to showcase some of our more interesting restaurants and at least sample a bit of the local pub life or brewing scene, I liked that he made the show about Zach. To be hones, Zach is probably around my age and he was so like some of my Maine friends, it all just felt really close to home (no pun intended).

I also believe that it’s quite possible that Zach doesn’t know Portland that well, but the producers were like hey, gotta do Portland, so where do we go? Honestly living 2 and half hours from Portland, I’d be surprised if Zach has been 10 times in his whole life. We Mainers don’t travel across the state that much. Zach was probably like, “ok… so… I know J’s is famous…and Street & Co is trendy lately…” And by the time they got to Street & Co, Zach had probably already prefaced it as a kind of snobby place that locals don’t really go to.

This happens to “locals” all the time when visitors are in town, anywhere you go. Local people don’t always know every area, they only know what they know, and it was clear that Zach was out of his element when they were in Portland. I think it’s very plausible that Anthony said, “hey Zach, show me Maine, and let’s be sure to stop by Portland and Primo (because a famous chef lives there).” And Zach was probably feeling a little pressured by that, whereas in Milo he was super comfortable and at ease, thus making up the best portion of the show.

Honestly Anthony probably should have find a different local Portland native for the Portland segment of the show, and made Zach the expert just for the Milo bit. I’m already cringing imagining myself trying to be a Portland guide, when I, like Zach, have never lived there.

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