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Anthony Bourdain No Reservations: The End Is Near

No Reservations, the final tour, premiered last evening. The series, which features host Anthony Bourdain eating, drinking, and behaving badly, has won both awards and a loyal fan base. In this, the first of the countdown to the end of Bourdain's Travel Channel show, we travel to Austin, Texas, for the South By Southwest festival.

Bourdain's goal? To make like a Jewish mother and feed as many hipster

rockers as he can in a one-hour television show because, as he puts it,

"In my experience rock 'n' roll bands don't get a good meal, so in a

non-creepy way, I'm feeding as many bands as I can."

First episode... already getting ink. It's going to be a good year.
First episode... already getting ink. It's going to be a good year.
Travel Channel

Tony takes

the band Ume to Bryce Gilmore's restaurant, Barley Swine, where he

learns over a dinner of goat neck, chicken fried eggs, chicken

testicles, and Greek garlic rice, that these "undernourished" rockers

wold much rather eat foie gras than KFC. So much for his theory.

You've got to get up pretty early in the

morning if you want some barbecue in Austin. Apparently, 8:30 a.m. to be

exact. Which is the time you have to start waiting on line in order to

get some of Aaron Franklin's barbecue when his Franklin's Barbeque opens

at 11 a.m. While Tony waits with blogger Daniel Vaughn and hundreds of

others, I wonder where these people find time to wait all morning for

brisket. I'm picturing a meat-obsessed office in chich part of the job

description of the intern is to get on line at 8 a.m. and bring ribs to

the office at precisely noon each day. So does this meat deserve giving

up an entire morning for it? As Tony tells us, it's "Supernatural.

Unbelievable. Only Texans and Jews understand brisket."

Ever

wonder what a rock band does with a rental house in the suburbs? The

answer is to turn it into a combination pig roast/bar/tattoo parlor. As

Tony drinks avocado martinis and gets a tattoo, a pig and the entire

contents of the Gulf coast are cooked. The band Sleigh Bells and their

crew are the hosts. The avocado margarita? "Doesn't sound like a good

idea. But it is."

Tony takes a break at a food truck in the

parking lot of a laundromat before meeting The Sword, who swear by their

music (they opened for Metallica) and their hot sauce (once banned for

being too piquant, they now have FDA approval). More tacos, more

barbeque, then it's time to get down with Santa at Lala.

This

dive bar is all-Christmas-all-the-time and features a monthly party

complete with a belligerent drunk Santa. Tony's with Alan Palomo, frontman for Neon Indian, drinking bloody Marias and chilling out before

heading to Le Mexicana Bakery for a stoner breakfast of Jarritos soda,

pink pastries, and pork chops.

Over some chili at Texas Chili

Parlor (great name), Tony learns that musicians in Austin not only know

their food, but they receive free health insurance, including optical

and mental health services. "This is Texas and you're talking

socialism," Tony points out to The Golden Boys. "It a social program.

It's not socialism," a band member reminds Tony. Tony says that some

politicians might beg to differ.

As Tony notes, "People blather

on about the real America. And what does that look like? Like this. This

is the real America." Stay weird, Austin.

Stay tuned for next week, when Tony swims with the sharks (and we're not talking about television network executives).

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