Foodie TV Review: The Layover

The Layover (2011) Poster

This week’s review from the Weekend Chef is on another TV food series. As promised last week, we’re seeing Anthony Bourdain again. Love him or hate him, he has been prolific over the last decade with food-based programs and especially food-based travel programs. Don’t be surprised if he pops up again in a future review.

The premise of The Layover is the idea that if you have a couple of days in a city during a layover, how do you make the best use of the time? Anthony Bourdain gives the impression that every episode involves a real layover on his way somewhere else. I’m not buying it. Just be honest with me, Travel Channel, and say it’s pretend and then I can stop thinking about it while I watch. In any case, every episode of the show focuses on one city (Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London, etc.). He typically has a local guide of sorts taking him to all the best food spots in town. Some are in the main tourist areas and some are off the beaten path. Anthony tries to boil down and enjoy the essence of the city in the short span he’s there. He interviews both chefs and locals alike to get a handle on the culinary and cultural trends. More often than not, the real and best parts of a city can be enjoyed both inexpensively and without pretense: pubs, taco shacks, greasy spoons. This is essential the way our family tries to access a new place, by ignoring the overpriced tourist traps and franchises and find the unique and local. It would probably help to have a dedicated guide and a bunch of chefs eager to share their wares, but we seem to do ok without. Internet research can be your friend.

How do you find your way around a city? Please share in the comments section!