Anthony Bourdain's Emmy-nominated No Reservations cable TV show features Baltimore Monday night at 10 on the Travel Channel.
Before you get too excited about that, though, you should consider the context in which Baltimore eateries are being presented to a national and global audience. The title of the episode is "Rust Belt" and along with the magical cities of Buffalo and Detroit, Baltimore is described on the show's website as the "heart of the Rust Belt."
You should also be warned that it appears Bourdain and his producers view Baltimore mostly through the prism of HBO's The Wire -- with all too familiar images of boarded-up rowhouses in the background of promotional shots and Bourdain visiting the favorite eating spots of actress Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and actor Jay Landsman. The episode features Bourdain dining at The Roost, Mo's Seafood and Chap's Pit Beef.
Here's the online set-up for tonight: "In the bleak, cold winter, Tony meets up with his good friend Zamir, and they travel to the heart of America's Rust Belt with stops in Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo."
After "visiting the misunderstood region," the online episode description says, Tony and Zamir come to understand that "it's not just about aging factories and cold weather, but it's also full of kind people and delicious food."
Beyond the patronizing tone, whether or not anyone at the Travel Channel cares about presenting a representative and accurate sense of Baltimore, it should be noted that the weather here is considerably warmer than it is in Buffalo and Detoit, two of the colder cities in the country. And this is a show that has just been nominated for Best Non-Fiction Program.
Here's the desription of the visit to The Roost: "Tony and Zamir enjoy one of Baltimore's specialties, lake trout. But there's a catch -- it's not trout and it's not from a lake."
On the promotional video trailer of their visit to The Roost, Bourdain orders a tray of food worth $7.95. Food at The Roost is described as: "tasty... and cheap... a meal for increasingly hard times."
As for Mo's Seafood: Tony eats here with Felicia 'Snoop' Pearson from The Wire. This is one of her favorite restaurants.
Chap's Pit Beef: Tony eats pit beef with The Wire's Jay Landsman.