Travel like Bourdain: the ‘No Reservations’ host gets his own travel app

anthony bourdainFans of Anthony Bourdain‘s no-holds-barred style of travel can rejoice because the next best thing to taking a trip with the famed Travel Channel host is finally here. Today, the Travel Channel launched a “Layover Guide with Anthony Bourdain,” which offers tools to help travelers create their own Bourdain-inspired experiences.


Geared towards armchair travelers, or those with more of a “get up and go” mentality, the app ($1.99) repurposes content from “The Layover” and “No Reservations” to allow travelers to customize trips in ten featured cities, including: Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, Rome, San Francisco and Singapore.

The app allows travelers to plan an afternoon excursion or a weeklong journey, all focused on Bourdain’s signature love of food.

What do we like about the app? It offers curated content from a certified travel professional – if you like watching Bourdain’s show, chances are you’ll love his suggestions in app form, adding the ability to “mix and match” as well as customize a trip to fit within a dedicated time frame.

The integrated “timeline” feature allows users to plan their own itinerary using Bourdain’s POIs, automatically estimating the amount of time needed to do each activity to build a custom itinerary. The app uses Google Maps to estimate the time between distances, to make sure that you won’t cross from one side of town to the other and back.

We also like the app’s customized video intros and notes about each city from Bourdain himself as well as the personal list of travel “Do’s and Don’ts” anchored by the host.

Of course, half the fun of travel is getting excited about the trip. The app offers “inspiration lists” created by Bourdain to help set the mood. His recommendations vary from watching the Steve McQueen classic, “Bullitt,” before heading to San Francisco to studying the “Au Pied de Cochon” cookbook by Martin Picard while planning a trip to Montreal.

As would be expected, there’s social integration as well, including checking-in at locations, earning badges and sharing to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Have you downloaded the app? What do you think?

Eat while traveling on cuisine-focused adventures

eat while travelingWhat we eat while traveling has always been a big part of a memorable trip. A recent survey by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism says 71% of Americans participated in at least one culinary activity while on an out-of-town trip and that activity was one of the most significant travel experiences of the vacation. Now, cuisine-focused adventures offered by travel agencies are making menus much more than a souvenir.

“With interest in local cuisines growing thanks to the success of popular television shows like the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, gastronomic adventures are overtaking itineraries among gourmets and casual diners alike,” said travel service company Amadeus in a recent newsletter.

Noting trending travel requests and getting the information out to travel agencies who want to be prepared with their offerings, Amadeus sent along information about a variety of food-oriented travel packages.

Taste-full tours
Travel agencies are creating itineraries that include tours of wineries, food and wine events, festivals, cooking classes, cruises with guest chefs and more so travelers can experience the unique flavor of a particular geographic region or city.

Learn to cook on a cruise
On cruise lines, dining has always been a big part of the experience. Now, many lines have gone beyond buffets to offer culinary-themed voyages. Holland America’s Culinary Arts Center and Oceania Cruises’ Bon Appetit Culinary Center are floating cooking schools where passengers get up-close and personal instruction from chefs on the ship.

A side order of history
“Culinary tourism offers foodies a taste of history with experiences such as the Tasting Tour of the French Quarter in which the rich New Orleans food culture comes alive,”adds Amadeus. “After experiencing a historical walking tour, travelers visit the city’s famous eateries such as Antoine’s and Tujague’s, both established in the 1800s.”

Chocoholics unite
Die-hard chocolate addicts will want to experience the Swiss Chocolate Train and visit the Cailler-Nestle factory and tasting room at Broc, Switzerland. In the U.S., life doesn’t get much sweeter than the town of Hershey, Pa., or the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory in San Francisco.

Cooking on all burners
Culinary travelers want to take home practical knowledge of how to prepare the foods they’ve discovered and can sign up for cooking classes, such as the weeklong Culinary and Art Adventure in Provence with Chef Philippe Gion. Participants go home with a personalized cookbook of dishes they’ve learned during the week.

Trips and tours with special, focused themes like the food-oriented travel options listed here won’t be found on a click-to-buy website. A qualified travel agency, specializing in food-oriented travel packages is the place to look for these and other themed travel options.


Cooking School of Rancho La Puerta in Mexico

Flickr photo by Jeff Kubina

Bourdain to host second Travel Channel show

BourdainAnthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel‘s No Reservations will host and executive produce a new series called The Layover which is set to premiere in the fall. The premise of the new show has Bourdain spending no more than 48 hours in a city, searching out the best experiences he can in that time.

“This is a chance to show viewers the secrets of Tony’s traveling routine: cracking open the essence of each city, getting right to the marrow of every experience, and making the most out of every moment,” Fred Graver, Travel Channel’s head of programming told Zap2It.com.

Originally called 24-hour Layovers, Bourdain says of the show “unlike No Rez, you will actually be able to do the stuff covered on the show. And unlike other shows of the genre, you might actually want to.”

“These shows are not only about finding the best of every city, but they’re filled with amazing tips and tricks for where to go, where to stay, where to eat, and how to get around — as only Tony can share them” Graver adds.
Bourdain and fellow No Reservations exec producers Lydia Tenaglia and Chris Collins will also executive produce The Layover.

No Reservations, in its seventh season, continues Monday, August 1 as Tony visits the famed Spanish restaurant El Bulli, which is about to close.

Photo: @OttaviaBourdain

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Dreaming of Bali – A guide to Indonesian food

Pizza lovers, did you know Indonesians adore Pizza Hut? True, your typical Indonesian pie probably has more crispy fish pieces, shrimp and corn on it than you’re used to back home. And you probably won’t find avocado milkshakes as an option at the soda fountain back in Grand Rapids. But the Indonesians in Bali are lovers of pizza much like you and I, dear reader, and unashamedly so.

At this point, more experienced travelers are probably scratching their heads. Who travels to Indonesia and writes about American fast food?? But the truth be known, this odd love for all things pizza illustrates a surprising fact: Indonesians are cultural chameleons when it comes to eating. This immense island nation is a place criss-crossed by trade winds of diverse culinary origin, bringing together influences and ingredients from places as far-flung as China, The Netherlands, India and even Mexico.

Whether you’re just visiting Bali or making a larger exploration of the Indonesian archipelago, expect to be surprised by Indonesia’s spicy, exotic, and altogether unexpected blend of delicious eats. A taste of the tropics, and a taste of home at the same time. Ready to dig in? Keep reading below to begin your exploration of Indonesian (and Balinese) cuisine.The World’s Pantry
It was the world-famous islands of Maluku that first put Indonesian cuisine on the world map. Back in the 1500’s, this string of remote islands was the only place in the world European traders could find the elusive spice Nutmeg. It didn’t take long for the rumors of these fertile tropical islands to spread; soon the English and the Dutch were demanding their piece of the lucrative trade, adding coffee and tea plantations to the mix.

The Europeans were soon mingling with the Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern traders who already knew Indonesia well, introducing a bewildering array of new foods. Peanuts and chili peppers came from the Americas, leading to Indonesia’s ubiquitous sauces: the mouth tingling Sambal and the spicy peanut sauce used to top grilled skewers called sate.

These new ingredients were mixed with more familiar Indonesian staples like rice, a grain you’ll see growing in paddy fields everywhere, and coconuts, another tropical staple that finds its way into the country’s flavorful curries. Add in the country’s ever-present and wonderfully fresh seafood, some wildly exotic fruits like Durian and rambutan, and you begin to get a sense of the diverse ingredients available to the typical Indonesian chef.

Local Specialties
Upon this palette of flavorful and exotic ingredients, all sorts of fantastic Indonesian specialties are possible. What’s worth a try during your visit to Bali? Make sure to keep an eye out for uniquely Balinese specialty Babi Guling, a spit roast pig stuffed with spices and roasted in coconut water. Many travelers will swear Ibu Oka in Ubud is the place to try. We have to agree…the crispy pork skin, roasted for hours over hot coals, is sublime. Bebek, the local Indonesian duck, roasted in banana leaves stuffed with spices (Bebek Betutu) is another favorite.

Balinese cuisine also tends to be a microcosm of larger food trends in Indonesia. Nasi (rice) is practically the Indonesian national dish. You’ll find Nasi Campur (mixed rice, meat and vegetables) and Nasi Goreng (fried rice with meat & vegetables) on menus everywhere. And there are the desserts – weird as it may sound you’ll never go wrong with an Es Apokat avocado smoothie, doused with a liberal helping of chocolate sauce. And if you’re looking for a totally unique dessert experience, track down some Es Campur. It’s a sweet soup made of coconut, condensed milk, ice and a mix of chewy jellies. Bizarre, but quite wonderful.

Padang: A Taste of Everything
No matter what food you find to your liking in Indonesia, you’re sure to be overwhelmed by the delicious options at some point. That’s when Padang food comes in handy. Although Padang cuisine originated on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, it’s become a universal favorite – nearly every city in Indonesia has a Padang restaurant, including in Bali. Look for the dishes of food stacked in the window and spicy scent wafting from inside, and you’ll know you’ve arrived.

Don’t know what to order? Not to worry… just walk up to the dishes and start pointing at whatever looks delicious. The server will add a healthy spoonful to your plate. You’re likely to end up with specialties like Rendang, a buffalo coconut curry, or some leafy green kangkung (water spinach) and a few pieces of ayam goreng (fried chicken).

The flavors are mix of just about everything your tastebuds could want: spicy, milky, bitter and savory. The textures – crispy, creamy and chewy. It’s like an Indonesian Old Country Buffet – execept with just a tad more spice, much fresher ingredients and some of the best home-cooked food you’ve had in life. In fact Padang cuisine is a lot like Indonesian and Balinese food itself – a wildly diverse mixture of flavors, textures and cultures, coming together into something that tastes like much more than the sum of its parts.

Dreaming of your own visit to Bali? Read more about Gadling’s “visit to paradise” HERE.

[Flickr photos by burgermac and closari]

NO RESERVATIONS: Bourdain to push limits on new season

NO RESERVATIONS new seasonAnthony Bourdain charges back with an all new season of NO RESERVATIONS starting this Monday. In this seventh season of the Emmy award-winning Travel Channel program, Tony starts in Haiti to uncover beauty in the dark corners of humanity, a theme promised to be delivered throughout the new season.

Calling it as he sees it, Bourdain puts a new perspective on the situation in Haiti during a visit with actor/humanitarian Sean Penn in the opener February 28. His frank, unique summations, open a never-before-seen window to the enduring devastation that continues a year later.

Regular viewers are promised a different season this year as Bourdain takes personal risks leading to a renewed sense of purpose in his journey. By taking viewers to off the grid locations that challenge him with a better understanding of human existence, Bourdain probes behind the underlying stories.

Gadling readers hooked on our new series, Around the World in 80 Hours (of Travel TV), will totally be in the right mind to glean new perspectives from the intense and evolving focus of both NO RESERVATIONS and it’s host.

In Around the World in 80 Hours (of Travel TV), Gadling’s Rolf Potts hopes to “glean five days worth of travel experiences from the glowing parameters of a single TV set and figure out what the Travel Channel might be saying about how one should see the world.”

On NO RESERVATIONS, Anthony Bourdain is back to give viewers more of his trademark sharp commentary on the world…with a twist. Throughout the season, viewers will watch a transformation of sorts in the progran’s host. In one episode, he’ll travel to Cambodia and identify a parallel between Cambodia’s development and his own maturation, seeking to reconnect with this historically rich country during his second visit.

Viewers can chat live with Anthony Bourdain during the premiere episode Monday February 28, 2011 on the Travel Channel @NoReservations.

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