Anthony Bourdain No Reservations: Sydney

bourdainsharksydney.jpg
Travel Channel
Gentle as a lamb....
Tony is drinking with some friends as they discuss Sydney, Australia. Everyone has a boat, the weather is perfect, and people drink in broad daylight. Personally, it sounds like Miami with kangaroos.

It's not all fun and games, as Tony finds out while flying in a private plane to visit a sheep farm. Lightning streaks the sky and the seat belt sign flashes a reminder that death must come to all men.The tiny plane lands and Tony is treated to many lamb chops fresh from the barbie (though Bourdain refuses to play along and insists on calling the cooker a grill). Tony's with chef-restaurateur-host of MasterChef Australia, Matt Moran. They're at Matt's father's sheep farm and we are treated to no scenes of animals getting whacked.

It's still raining as Tony heads back to Sydney to find that hipsters have taken over. Apparently our guy is getting soft, because he says, "if you want to dress up like Duane Eddy go in peace. As long as you make great food." He's at Porteno, where chefs Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz slow roast whole animals for your dining enjoyment. Matt joints Tony for a meal of veal sweetbreads, blood sausage, chorizo and an entire pig's head (served with a knife in its unseeing eye).

One obligatory scene of the Sydney Opera House before we head over to Harry's Cafe de Wheels for a meat pie with mushy peas and gravy, where our intrepid eater admits he's a tad too sober for a curried pie for breakfast, but...what the hell.

Rugby sounds fantastic, by the way. Basically it's football without any padding, helmets, or safety equipment, played in what looks like Ralph Lauren wear by teams named after cute farm animals. Tony takes in a game between the Rabbitohs and the Roosters. Not to say that the sport doesn't have any concern for its players well being. We're told that you can no longer pick someone up and drop them on their heads. The Rabbitohs, much like the Miami Dolphins, do not win. After his fifth beer, our tipsy hero quips, "somewhere Russell Crowe is crying."

While in Australia, you simply must swim with the sharks. It was hyped that Tony would do a shark dive, but it's a bit disappointing that the scene takes place at a giant aquarium. And that these sharks aren't great whites. Yes, yes, it's probably because of some insurance clause, but I have to tell you that if I were a Travel Channel bigwig and this was Bourdain's last season I'd let him try his luck in the deep ocean. Holding a chum bucket. That's Emmy material. But in an aquarium with sea turtles and stingrays? Meh.

Speaking of aquariums, we visit Golden Century Seafood in Chinatown. Which is where chefs go after dinner service when they're drunk. That sort of surprises me because the last time I went to eat seafood with drunk people, my friend took one whiff and threw up all over my mussels. Thankfully, I was sober enough to request another serving.

As Tony hoists a pint with his new friends in the sunlight, chef Matt says that this is what Sydney life is all about -- drinking in the afternoon while the wife frantically texts you because you're about three hours late. Sounds just like Miami to me!

Next week: The sex, drugs, and rock & roll edition.

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