216 Wonderful responses to “No Rez Cleveland”

  • Danina

    Did you have to instruct Mr. Soft Palms on how to cut up the pig? And speaking of soft palms, I actually think he said “If there’s no in room porn, I’m not getting any exercise at all”. Was that the PG rated version?

  • Frances

    Good show! Love seeing you and Mr. Bourdain together. Thanks for featuring Michael Symon and Lola. It was cool to see the inside of that place. I’d only seen photos of the work in progress (which was rather like The Agony And The Ecstasy).

  • FoodPuta

    ok, I’ll accept Cleveland into society, simply based on the meat content.

    I don’t care who made the Cassoulet. I’m just happy that ANYONE did!!

    Not so sure about turd-surfing though….

  • J.Smith

    hey m.,
    when will we see the iron chef battle of pardus/ruhlman vs. lagasse/bourdain? i’d work a year for free to witness that!

  • Karin

    How much did the editors have to condense the making of the cassoulet, time-wise? That thing’s quite the multi-day affair, as I understand it.

    (Unrelated: I just made the fennel-cured salmon from the Charcuterie book, and it was declared a total success in my household. Great stuff; looking forward to trying more recipes from the book.)

  • The Central Scrutinizer

    A very entertaining episode! Although pretty much anything that includes cassoulet is good in my book…
    Also a nice salute to midwestern foods without dwelling on the prevalence of “salads” that include Jell-O as their primary ingredient!

  • FoodPuta

    Comon Mr. Ruhlman, your acting just isn’t that good. You couldn’t hide your enjoyment of Skyline Cuisine.

    Next for you, is straight to Chico’s in El Paso.

    Admit it man, you love Gov’ment cheese!!!!

  • ruhlman

    tony, surprising though it may seem, knows his way around a pig with a knife. in fact, i haven’t seen the guy look happier than when he had a big knife in his hand and actually working with food and deli paper and working in an actual kitchen.

    show taped mid january, VERY cold.

    cassoulet of course couldn’t be shown start to finish. tony came to cleveland a week early to cure and cook the confit and make the sausage.

  • Chicago Karen

    Dear Michael – It was a real enjoyment to see this episode. Since winter you and Tony have mentioned the week making the Cleveland episode often on your blog and was familiar with where you took Tony and the crew, and meeting Harvey and Markey but, the graphic visuals and the desolate neighborhoods gave the show so much richness. Almost as rich as that cassoulet Tony made. ha
    There are a few nieghborhoods in Chicago that have that worn with pride look, they are changing rapidly along with our butcher markets too.
    Thanks for bringing No Reservations to Cleveland. Been there three times – now I have to go back to see that bookstore. Amazing.

    – question..I’ve been looking for a pate terrine like that, ist it French? Most are too wide.

  • david m. lemoine

    Great episode tonight. Always a pleasure to see you give Bourdain a run for his money. It’s too bad I’m all the way out in Massachusetts, because my Polish ancestry was salivating during those meal scenes. My Dziadu would have been proud.

  • Tom Luffman

    Skyline Chili in Cleveland?

    Next time I wanna see the Baconator since Wendys is from Columbus.

  • Carri

    You were right in that it was one of the most entertaining of No Reservations episodes, but I think that the two of you at the Velvet Tango Room would’ve topped it off ‘nicely’. Next time, perhaps!

  • Vince

    Fun episode, but I wish the Velvet Tango Room was included. That place would have given people a different impression of Cleveland besides the blue collar industrial town that we saw on teh show.

  • Sorcha

    Why was there no “Cleveland Steamer” joke when y’all were hanging out with the surfers? I mean, it was perfect timing for one, what with how the camera kept going back to the sewage warning sign.

    Seriously though, even from an objective non-fangirly point of view (which we do occasionally manage to attain), it was a great show. I had no idea that bookstore existed – makes our own Powell’s here in Portland seem second-rate, even! And I really liked how you guys talked about Cleveland’s troubles as well as the cool stuff. It made the show more human and real.

  • Kal

    I was terribly excited to see your kitchen, Ruhlman — after reading about how it came to be in House: A Memoir, it was great to see the finished product.

    Mostly I was just relieved that you didn’t let Tony get away with ALL of the smack talk. If anybody deserves to spout R-rated language at Tony on Tony’s own show, it’s you (especially after that Buford crack — sheesh!).

    Let’s see, questions, questions. Did you let Bourdain stay at your place after being such a brat to you, or did Mr. Softy Palms value the comfort of a fancy hotel over friendly hospitality? (Or were you wise enough to decline offering him 24/7 access to your loved ones (and that includes your kitchen) in the first place?)

    Also: What’s one foodie destination in Cleveland you really wish had been featured on the show but, for whatever reason, didn’t make it in?

  • exclevelander

    Thanks for the show and giving me a couple of ideas on places to eat with my family back in Cleveland next time I visit . By the way how about your terrine recipe since you gave out Tony’s cassoulet recipe . I have one of the Le Cruset terrines like the one you had on the show at your house . I could use another pate’ recipe for it .

  • jennifer

    lovely show! a few questions:

    1) please refresh my memory, what horrible thing did you do to tony in the vegas show? I just remember the flying elvises…

    2) can we get a link to the cleveland article in which you call tony an “uppity New Yorker”? although I found that a bit unfair because you were the one turning up your nose at Skyline Diner…


    fabulous episode, and let me add my regrets how the velvet tango room did not get filmed for this episode…looks amazing.

  • Simon

    Ruhlman, I think you need a Quote of the Day for tomorrow.

    Will this one do?

    “I mean as much as I love rabbit, who in the real world eats it? Unless Elmer Fudd is one of your VIP customers, Rabbit With Parisian Gnocchi (Parisian gnocchi is lighter, made with flour, egg whites and sometimes cheese — no potatoes) shouldn’t be served for a first course, second course or any course.”

    That is, of course, from Rocco, the new kinda full-time blogger at BRAVO’s “Top Chef.”

    Last week he mentioned in passing that “it is scientifically impossible for molecules of starch to absorb molecules of fat.” Alas, my fair roux! This week, it’s the rabbit’s turn.

    Of course, Lidia Bastianich has rabbit on both her lunch and dinner menus at Felidia. Mario Battali serves it at Babbo. The Top Chef Guest Judge for that episode, Eminence Daniel Boulud, features a duo of rabbit at his flagship restaurant Daniel. Georges Perrier of Le Bec-Fin features it in several forms on his cold weather menus. Alas, poor Head Judge Tom Colicchio included Braised Rabbit in his “Craft of Cooking.” And Bourdain, he was seen hurling rabbit dishes out the door at customers as Brasserie Les Halles.

    Come to think of it, Rocco himself was slopping diners with rabbit dishes at Union Pacific, including his Rabbit Three Ways. Served Rabbit Cacciatore at “Rocco’s on 22nd”, and said it was so popular he had to put it in “Rocco’s Italian American.”

    Rabbit on the menu… what’s next, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria.

  • realitybites

    Loved this No Reservations episode. The only thing missing was a blizzard. Could Tony have picked a better time to visit Northeast Ohio? Your scrunched up faces, squinting eyes, and hunched up shoulders said it all. The wind chill is one thing I don’t miss at all about Ohio. It is an assault on the body. Just crossing a parking lot, with that cold wind blowing in your face… the thought of it gives me the chills.

    I am almost finished reading The Soul Of A Chef. How great it was to hear Michael Symon’s infectious laugh that you mentioned numerous times in your book.

    Your home cooked dinner looked wonderful. What a nice family. Thanks for putting Cleveland on the map for all the NR fans.

    I’d like to see Tony return to Cleveland in the summer. Take him to Cedar Point in Sandusky. Nothing like amusement park food coupled with roller coaster rides.

  • KingTafur

    Great show Mr. Ruhlman. It was nice to see the West Side Market again, and made we wonder if places like the Polka dancing Sterle’s Slovenian Country House, the Lakewood Deli, the Little Chinese place with Engrish menus, and the Communist book store on Detroit complete with a Joseph Stalin mannequin is still opened. It almost made me miss Cleveland, almost.

  • maggie

    I was born in Ohio City, the neighborhood in Cleveland where the West Side Market is located. The huge building where Tony & Mr Ruhlman went shopping…that is the West Side Market. Undoubtedly the best market in the mid-west!! Anyway, I have lived in Columbus, and I’m now living in Sandusky. Cleveland is far more interesting than Columbus…and Sandusky? Believe me, there is nothing here except a beautiful shoreline and Cedar Point. When the “summer people” leave, Sandusky will be a ghost-town. People go where the jobs are. No jobs = no people. I wish Ohio leaders and politicians would work together to bring more commerce to our state. Oh…if anyone is thinking about a trip to Cleveland, go NOW! No snow, no ice, no gray. The old girl cleans-up pretty nice in the summer.

  • Doodad

    That was an absolute hoot. I stayed up beyond my scheduled slumbertime to watch and was rewarded. I laughed until I hurt.

    Eating the (how old?) twinkie syrup out of the freshly cracked valve? I almost fell over laughing.

    And the sewage blowhole. All I can say is hmmmm.

  • brandon_w

    realitybites I could not agree more, indeed it was great to hear Micahel Symon’s laugh. I finished the Soul of a Chef about a week ago and was wondering what that laugh sounded like.

    Cleveland has been added to the list of places to travel to. I’d like to make a stop for snacks at that sausage store and then head to the book store to eat sausages and look for books.

  • courtney

    Loved it! Currently living in Lakewood, it was wonderful to see someone promoting the local area and actually feel ‘genuine’ (unlike Cleveland +)! I laughed the whole way through. Thank you for instilling my love for the city all over again.

  • ruhlman

    tony stayed at the Ritz downtown. a no smoking hotel–figure that one out.

    food places i wish they’d shot, the Velvet Tango Room (even Tony was upset they didn’t get that on camera) paul minnillo’s amazing raw milk cheeses:

    and adam gidlow’s on the rise bakery, best baguettes in the country:

    Here’s a link to the le creuset terrine mold i use. there are none better:

    what happens in vegas…etc. let’s just say tony’s behavior was so appalling he had no choice but to get the hell out of there.

    and i’ll look for the Plain Dealer article, which was by Sarah Crump.

  • Big Red


    As I posted last night right after the show, great episode. I really enjoyed it. as for a pillow fight, that is as much porn as Tony could handle at 50+.

    I will in fact be going to the bookstore shown ASAP. I am a HUGE reader and it was nice to see something like that is still in existance.

    I am now going to the butcher to get some pork.

    Once again, great episode. DO another one!!!

  • nina keneally

    I thought it was brilliant. On every level. Not at all a “typical” (whatever the hell that is) episode. But wonderfully written, drawn, photographed, produced.
    And the fun you guys had came through the screen. I do feel like my cholesterol went up a few notches just watching; I can’t believe I recognized summer sausage – something my uncle Joe Grabowski the butcher used to make along with his own kielbasa. A fine idea to share what makes Cleveland unique; sometimes in our hunger for travel and “the other,” we forget what’s in our own backyards.

  • brandon_w

    I forgot to mention that my favorite part of the episode was when Ruhlman was scolded by Pekar for cursing at the dinner table.

    Slightly off topic, but Ruhlman I recognized your kitchen. I don’t know from what show exactly, obviously some sort of cooking show. Did you once do a guest spot for a Food TV show about making your own bacon? At the time of viewing this I had no idea who you were, but I’m sure that’s the same kitchen. Please tell me I’m not crazy.

  • Dan

    I’m impressed by your wife. I think it takes a pretty special woman to allow her husband out on an unsupervised excursion with Tony Bourdain.

  • JoP in Omaha

    Fun episode. Little did I know that Cleveland was a surfing mecca. Who would have guessed?

    I enjoyed the bits with Mike Symon. A bit of his personality came through, more so than it did on Iron Chef where due to the time pressure, there wasn’t time for personality.

    Also cool was to see the interior of Lola. After reading about it in “Soul”, I appreciated the peak inside.

    Lastly, what a joy to see watch you and Bourdain cooking in your kitchen. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall to watch such an event live and in person. But…’d probably smack me if I were a fly on the wall, wouldn’t you? Run a contest or something, will ha, with this as the prize? Even better would be watching you and Keller cook. Wow. Wouldn’t that be something?

    I enjoyed the episode indeed.

    JoP in Omaha

  • edwina

    i must be the only person on earth who didn’t think the episode was good.
    i love tony but i thought he was taking too much pleasure in pointing out the things he thinks that suck about cleveland. i realize the filming of the show is time limited but c’mon there are tons of other places they could have gone to. i’m deeply disappointed in his portrayal. [lola excluded]

  • chefwannab

    Loved it! Loved the Harvey Pekar segment too. I also wish the Velvet Tango Room had been featured. That post you did made me want to visit Cleveland more than anything I saw on NR. Surely you took Tony there (or did you keep that gem all to yourself, refusing to defile it with his presence?)

    You’ll have to ask Tony if he plans on doing a “bloopers” segment at the end of the season – I wonder what outtakes we’d get from Cleveland?….

    Also, isn’t Symon going to be one of the Next Top Chef contestants? Hopefully we’ll get to hear more of that laugh!

  • david

    One of the most looked forward to ‘No Reservations’ episodes in a long time. I didn’t even wait for TiVo to pick it up and then play it back, I watched in real time. (Quite the rare event now.)

    I must say that the sausage looked fantastic, is there a website to order online from those folks?

    Overall, one of the most interesting episodes Tony has ever done.

    Looks like you can eat good food in the heartland. Who knew, as you keep it such a secret.

  • Dana


    Nice house, beautiful wife, well-behaved kids (well, there was that unfortunate shirt over the head incident) . . . you’re living the American Dream, my friend.

    Of course now that Bourdain has the address . . . he’ll be over there all the time wanting you to cook for him…. oh and OSHA will be calling about the fingers in the grinder bit….


  • Jenj

    great show, gentlemen. makes me want to make cassoulet for Christmas dinner – and of course, I nearly plotzed when Pekar dragged Toby out of the rainbow woodwork. Wish I was smokin’ da kine herb wit cha.

  • Karin

    Okay, another query: does Bourdain really like that stuff at Skyline Chili, or was he going through all that trouble just to wind you up?

  • Christian

    Great episode, and I expected no less.

    I could comment all day, but I do have one burning question: what was the breed of that beautiful swine, and how much would an entire pig like that cost? Give or take of course.

    cheers from Philly

  • Vercingetrix

    Bourdain and Ruhlman in my, and other’s perspective, did a lot of PR damage to the city with their cynicism laced and poorly researched program. It’s a shame that Bourdain wasted so much time on “Skalini’s” while ignoring the wonderful old European deli 100′ away around the corner. Even a jaunt to Lyndhurst’s Tasty Pizza a mile to the West, talking about their honesty policy with the beverage cooler would have been kool. At every step of the show I was disappointed in the cynicism, lack of research and overall poor selection of topics.

    The scenes with Pekar and that idiot in front of the Free Stamp smelled of the insensitivities a grade schooler might taunt a developmentally challenged child with before they realize what they are doing. I’ve met Michael Symon at the Velvet Tango Room several times and he is a really nice guy and has interesting dishes at his noisy Lola but why would Bourdain waste time on his show for him when Symon is already getting plenty of coverage on competing Food Network about his Cleveland AND newly opened NY operation (i.e. I want out of Cleveland). There are so many other creative chef’s and restaurants in the area.

    It’s bad enough that they use February to highlight the crappy weather but rather than doing something with the cozy unique places even within a mile of Edgewater they idiotically dote over an emergency overflow sewer as if it was symbolic of Cleveland. (Never mind that cities like San Francisco always smell of raw sewage because their infrastructure, unlike Cleveland’s, can only run Bourdane’s poop down the open storm sewer pipes.) They could have gone a half mile West and gotten a spectacular view and meal at the newly redecorated Pier W or a few hundred yards south to the warmth of The Harp and it’s primo pub food but instead waste video on further highlighting a half dozen nut cases, ersatz surfing in February on piddling waves. They get Great Lakes beer but never mentioned the neat restaurant the brewery has or the “je ne sais quoi” on a warm summer night on their street patio. (BTW I was at an upscale restaurant about a 7 hour drive from Cleveland on the Canadian Bruce Peninsula on Georgian bay 2 weeks ago where Great Lakes Beers were prominently mentioned by the waitress). Hot Sauce Williams is chosen apparently for it’s heart attack on a dish specialties but they never bothered with not too far away long favorite Empress Tatu Ethiopian restaurant for real African food!

    The list of poorly thought out scripting goes on and on but the final scenes with Bourdain cooking at Ruhlman’s Shaker Heights home sent the signal that if you want a good meal in Cleveland it will have to be at home, never mind that a very short distance away in quaint Shaker Square are a number of independent restaurants that each serve unique memorable dishes!

    With their focus on trashing Cleveland so ineptly, my only question is why Bourdain and Ruhlman did not have the time to also dote the spot where the Cuyahoga River caught on fire 40 years ago to make their showcase of Cleveland complete! In any case, Bourdain’s show is off my cable for the future because I now realize how little real research he does on preparing a credible story.

    The best thing that can happen now is that association with Ruhlman or Bourdain be listed along with tank tops, sweat shirts, torn jeans and ill fitting polyester pants as a reason for not being permitted into The Velvet Tango Room!

  • Casey

    Great episode. Loved getting a glimpse of your kitchen and both the terrine and the cassoulet looked fabulous. I have all your books except for Charcuterie; now I’m going to have to add that to my Ruhlman collection.

  • szg

    Alas, Christian may have a point.

    My wife and I watched last night and her two comments afterwards are: “Ruhlman’s hot” and we’re never going to Cleveland, that place looks more depressing than Syracuse.

  • Christian

    Hey, that wasn’t me. I disagree completely. I’ve never for a second wanted a thing to do with Cleveland until last night. That beautiful market alone would be worth the trip.

    Vercingetrix, do you even know who Harvey Pekar is? If so, you certainly have no appreciation for one of the greatest cult figures of the late 20th century.

    “The scenes with Pekar and that idiot in front of the Free Stamp smelled of the insensitivities a grade schooler might taunt a developmentally challenged child with”

    Are you aware of the irony in this statement? You call the man an idiot and then accuse the show of making Toby look like…an idiot? wow.

    You may know that Michael Symon runs a restaurant in Cleveland, but I’d wager the VAST majority of viewers thought, “hey, wasn’t that guy on Iron Chef or Food Network or something? He’s got a restaurant in CLEVELAND?” That’s simply good PR for the city.

    “Hot Sauce Williams is chosen apparently for it’s heart attack on a dish specialties but they never bothered with not too far away long favorite Empress Tatu Ethiopian restaurant for real African food!”

    Once again, you seemed to have missed the point entirely. HSW was chosen to highlight the mix of southern soul food with eastern european food (Polish Boy) making it a uniquely Cleveland dining experience. I live in Philly and can get 5 different types of African food within 10 blocks of my home. I certainly can’t get a Polish Boy.

    You need to watch the show more carefully and stop with the pre-conceived notion that any show about Cleveland is automatically biased against it. Then again, don’t bother. No skin off my nose. But don’t bash the intentions of either Bourdain or Ruhlman when it seems that the true bias lies within you.

  • Wayne

    I watched it last night. It was pretty good. The Skyline Chili and sewerage surfers really queased me out! You’re a star Mr. R

  • Big Red

    szg- Syracuse is in fact more depressing than Cleveland. I have lived in both places. At least Cleveland has the RR hall of fame. But I laughed heartily at the comment. That and “Ruhlman’s Hot”. I would certainly boing Bourdain first. (only cause he reminds me of my high school crush on Steven Tyler) But Niether one of them are on my “to do” list.

  • jaye joseph

    Wow, that was a fantastic episode, totally worth the wait. As a fan of Pekar, that was my favorite part by far. Well, that and Zubal’s (being the book slut that I am). All of it was fascinating. I’m floored that Cleveland is that interesting! But, that’s the thing that No Reservations does so well…it shows the interesting aspects of places you’d never look twice at on a normal basis.

    As an Art Director, I was blown away by the style of the episode as well. I’m sure that some of the influence will show up down the road in some of my work.

    As a home cook in Texas, it made me long for a cool day so that I could make cassoulet. And also long for that paté recipe. Will you share that recipe if it’s not in Charcuterie?

  • iereiavela

    ahhhhhh- stop whining about how bad Cleveland looked or how so many great things about it were overlooked. When Tony went to New York, how many places were missed because the show isn’t 8 years long, when he went to Tahiti did the pearl divers cry? No, as usual the show was filled with the kind of quirky and irreverent subjects I expect. How awesome was going to the R&R Music Hall of Fame with freakin’ Marky Ramone!!! And if the lunatic soundtrack Mike Symon cooks pig that well, it’s Bourdain’s favorite food so of course he’d go there. I feel blessed by a glimpse into Ruhlman’s kitchen and to see the two at work (Tony always goes to someone’s home for the best food, because it’s true! just normally the foods are cooked by a mom, not a legend of food writing collaborators), and as far as the portrayal of Cleveland, it looked like so many other cities in the aftermath of American industry’s death. To treat it any prettier would have been lying. I appreciated Ruhlman’s soundbites explaining his city, and Tony’s backstory. Tony even apologized for leaving 50% of the population out of the segment, and I felt he meant the comment that he tried to represent. It was REAL.

  • jaye joseph

    Vercingetrix, I’m doubting that you’ll even come back to this board, but in case you do, your post was well…

    First, as Christian stated, you obviously have no idea who Pekar is, or Toby for that matter.

    Second, you can’t even spell Bourdain.

    Third, the cynic here is definitely you. Go back and re-read your post, OK?

    Fourth, this show is not only about the food. And HSW? Are you aware of the fact that this is where Symon took Tony? Chef’s have lots of haunts that you might never even know about, and to see one chef take another to one of these haunts is what it’s all about.

    But, alas, the show didn’t focus on the places you know and love, so you decide that it’s cynical. I guess there’s one in every crowd, no?

  • edwina

    christian and ruhlman
    i too am a rabid fan of cleveland however there were parts of the episode that i thought were painful to watch. and there were many times that i said out loud…”damn why didn’t they go to ….this place or that place”
    it DID seem at times that they were bashing us and it made me uncomfortable and after chatting with other this morning i’m finding i’m not alone. it won’t make me stop watching NR b/c nothing could make that happen

  • Tags

    Keep in mind, everybody, that Bourdain is originally from New Jersey, of which New York and Philly are merely suburbs.

    Industrial ambience, toxic surfing, self deprecating humor… he’s been there, done that.

    One thing you’re not likely to find on the East Coast, though, is a master chef who can channel Frank Gorshin.

    Cleveland stands in no one’s shadow – except maybe Chagrin Falls.

  • Mona

    This will go down as one of my favorite episodes ever!! Thank you guys so much. I just finished reading all of Ruhlman’s “Chef” books so it was great to actually see Michael Symon, hear that maniacal laugh and see some of his dishes. And to all you negative people who just don’t get it (Vercingetrix), I thought it was a GREAT advertisement for Cleveland. It made Cleveland cool. Now I want to go there. I want to eat at all those places (well, not Skyline). I’m thrilled to learn of Zubals. In a way I think this show was really about interesting people — through food, through art, through music, through books. Come to think of it, all these shows are. So whingeing about why not this restaurant or that one (or this local brew pub — such a tiresome cliche) is just ignorant.

  • Erika

    I don’t think I’ve ever posted here, but I visit often. I loved this episode of NR. I felt like I was watching old friends run around and have a good time. I learned a ton about Cleveland, and went to bed last night with an insatiable craving for all things pork. After watching Tony play with the pig in the kitchen, I have to admit a bit of a crush.

    I have to ask though, the Twinkie Goo…? Whose idea was it to crack into the pipe for a taste?

  • Connor

    What a great episode. Really well done. My favorite part, hands-down, was watching you both cook. The cassoulet and pate looked amazing, as did that pork loin. You could literally see it glisten when Tony sliced it. I figured the pig was a good one when watching you two butcher it, but wow, that must have been one mighty fine pig. That shot could easily convince a lot of people to give up mass-produced pork!

  • bourdain

    What You Need To Know About Ruhlman–and the Cleveland Show:

    Ruhlman’s discomfort during the Skyline Chili scene was all too real. You’ve never SEEN anyone so miserable as our Mikey, visibly trying to shrivel up into his clothes to avoid being depicted in such brightly colored, proletariat surroundings. And I confess to taking sadistic delight in his suffering, lingering over my food–every minute like a jolt from a car battery to Ruhlman’s tender, elitist sensibilities.
    Note also Ruhlman’s angry, expletive-laced reaction to my gentle, good-natured jibe about Bill Buford. All-too real, my friends. First thing every morning, Ruhlman obsessively checks Buford’s Amazon rating. Also Hesser’s Brenner’s Steingarten’s–and anybody else’s who MIGHT be selling more copies than his paranoid, obscenity-laced screeds. He practically had to be sedated in front of the appalled diners at Sokolowski’s. Thank God, the grill guy had a stun gun– as there were children present.
    And a Final Note: T’was not me who stank up Ruhlman’s downstairs bathroom. (Initially, anyway). Perhaps it was the pools of stagnant bong water run-off from his office. Of course, I DID leave him an “upper-decker” on the way out–which might well be a problem. (I suggest hosing out the tank)

    Mr. Soft Hands

  • Carri

    Say what you will about where they went or what they did…(what was up with the drag race anyway?) The show really made me want a pulled pork sandwich! Pork fat indeed RULES!

  • Christian

    trust me, I completely understand your point of view. Whenever Philadelphia comes up in a show there’s always something about our losing sports teams or the tired old Rocky cliches or god forbid creme cheese (which was never actually made here), and I never fail to roll my eyes. That said, if you look over the comments by those of us who are unfamiliar with Cleveland, I think you’ll see that we were all surprised by the great things the city does in fact have to offer. We already knew about the urban decay, the dead or dying industrials, and the oft miserable weather. What we didn’t know is that there’s a lively other side to the city that makes people like Michael Ruhlman and Michael Symon stay and thrive. It was in fact a pleasant surprise. Just look at that market!

    all the best

    oh, and Michael, about that pig…

  • NancyH

    We loved the show. Among other things – we thought that the use of Pekar’s cartoons throughout the show was simply brilliant!

    Michael – can you tell us where you got that beautiful pig? After watching you guys disembowel and cook it, I am very glad that I am going to Lolita for the pig roast tonight!

  • French Laundry at Home

    Cannot believe I forgot to mention this last night. The Jill St. John Cookbook shout-out was a hoot. As a vintage celebrity cookbook collector, this is one of my favorites (right after Liberace, Dinah Shore, and Annette Funicello)….. Hilarious.

  • Clarkehead

    Tony, that comment about Bill Buford was mean spirited, and you know it. He had every right to lash out, and you turn it against him? I’m surprised he let you into his house after that.

    I’ve made your cassoulet from the LH cookbook about 3 times now, and not once did it come close to looking like yours. That was cheap, making us watch that in the miserable heat of August. This Fall, it’s tops on my list.

    This one fits easily into the Top 5 all-time NR episodes. Well done.

  • Cigarlady

    Cleveland looks a lot like Toledo, where I lived for almost 2 yrs. I have a sausage question, I’m trying to replicate really good Mexican chorizo, that I’ve bought, for times when I can’t find it, like the 7 years I lived in South Florida. Whenever I make it and then fry it, the seasonings seem to wash out of it and I get grey meat. I don’t get the red chile grease that store bought gives me. Is it not enough fat, not enough marinating? Any advice would be appreciated. I checked out your recipe in Charcuterie and it didn’t seem that different from what I’ve been doing.

  • rockandroller

    I’m surprised how many Clevelanders don’t know about places like Zubal’s and the Sausage Shoppe. Almost none of my non-foodie friends shop at the WSM. If this episode helps highlight those places and keep them in business, that’s awesome.

    Everyone is an editor, and I’m no exception. I would have loved them to have skipped Skyline Chili, which doesn’t have anything to do with Cleveland, as well as Sokolowski’s, which in my opionion is only good from a historical perspective, not a gastronomical one, and instead focused on one of the truly unique things about Cleveland, which is probably our best feature as a city our size – our incredibly diverse ethnic population allows for a HUGE variety of ethnic foods; you can’t get that variety in other cities our size. Chicago, NY, LA, yes, but none the size of Cleveland that I can think of. It’s the variety, not any one store’s particular food, that is notable. From Lorain-117th area’s many middle eastern shops and restaurants, to Lakewood, where there are more bars per capita than just about any city in the world (particularly Irish bars), from Slyman’s for the best corned beef sandwich you can get, Siam for authentic Chinese, several great Thai and Mexican places, Udupi or Cafe Tandoor for Indian food, Sterle’s Slovenian house for great schnitzel, Carrie Cerino’s for great pasta as well as unique “home grown” dishes such as the blue egg ravioli, it would be impossible to hit every cuisine we have available.

    I would like to have seen TB taken to the Agora. Surely the Ramones played there more than once over the years; if anything deserved a rock and roll visit, that was the place and I’m sure Hank L would have been open to it.

  • Connor

    I may be crazy here, but are you sure that Bill Buford scene in Sokolowski’s wasn’t a product of the editing room floor…you know, Tony saying something REALLY offensive to Michael to get him to curse and turn red, but then cleverly deleting that scene? Come on, it just seemed too easy…mention Buford, get Ruhlman to curse on camera.

  • Rainman

    As someone who’s lived on both sides of Cleveland and in Cincinnati, I was fascinated by last night’s No Reservations. Did they pick the worst day of the year to go to Cleveland and then the most depressing parts of the city to visit? It sure seemed that way. As an earlier commenter noted, Skyline has nothing to do with Cleveland. They should have noted it was a Cincinnati specialty. When I lived in Cleveland, there wasn’t even a Skyline north of Columbus. All in all, though, it made me long for the North Coast of America from my new location on the Potomac.

  • Mike Fincham

    One question and one comment –

    1. Was that cooking vessel for the cassoulet lined with pig skin? If so, that’s awesome, if not a little Buffalo Bill-ish (see Silence of the Lambs).

    2. If that pulled pork sandwich was the best Cleveland has to offer in the way of BBQ then I am packing up my shit tomorrow and coming up there to teach those Yankees how to BBQ and make a killing in the process.

    Shameless plug – Please visit my blog at .

  • Columbus Foodie

    Loved the show, and loved the natural rapport that you and Bourdain have with each other. It was also nice to see familiar sights (like the West Side Market) featured, along with places I need to check out next time I’m up in Cleveland (the sausage place, the Polish place).

    But agree with the others, Skyline is a Cincinnati thing – and its one of those things you really need to be in the mood for. It tastes great after a long night of drinking, the same way White Castle sliders do. When sober? Pretty much inedible.

  • Beth

    Have to echo the complaints about Skyline Chili – why waste any part of the hour on something that has nothing to do with Cleveland? Tasty’s Pizza (mentioned in a post above) is just down Mayfield Road from where I think that Skyline is – that would have been a much better first stop. Having grown up in Cleveland, watching last night’s episode made me in turns homesick, sad, and hungry. Unfortunately, I thought some of the bleaker and more depressing aspects of Cleveland in the winter were emphasized over the cool, beautiful parts of the city. Maybe there should be a re-visit in the summer?

  • edwina

    thanks for your comment. don’t get me wrong i truly believe ruhlman and bourdain rock. [and i WOULD put them on my to do list]…i’ve got all of their books and ruhlman himself has walked me thro recipes from his charcuterie cookbook….and for all of those out there who’ve never tried homemade braised pork belly….you don’t know what you’re missing. cleveland or not these guys have introduced the world to all kinds of crazy stuff…..thanks guys

  • Neal Langham

    I don’t think that the Skyline bit was intended to be a Cleveland highlight. Just some jollies for Bourdain at Ruhlman’s expense. I have to hand it to those from Cleveland. They love their city. They love the Browns too. Now that’s devotion.

  • ruhlman

    First, a lot of people are complaining about cleveland’s looking bad, etc., and I haven’t heard from my dad who’s probably pissed that tony didn’t do a hallmark card with lovers strolling through the metro parks and sipping wine at sunset on our rocky beaches. Instead sewage and abandoned factories.

    To all those people: if you don’t want sewage in the great and mighty lake erie, DO something about it. we have abused and trashed a great natural wonder. don’t tell people to look the other way. that’s the biggest lie of all. you don’t like our rocketing unemployment, DO SOMETHING. WAKE UP!

    as for you tony, you media whore swine, the skyline chili was a sucker punch. that’s from Republican Central, Ohio. and while yes, it may be the ticket after a few days of heavy drinking, it ain’t cleveland. Tell the good people, mr. soft palms, the exact effect eating that chili had on you. we all remember in this house. people, i kid you not. and no, the lighter and the candle didn’t help.

    the buford remark. there was some editing slight of hand there. I think he was impugning my fair city just to get a rise. fact is, buford and i became fast friends after he contacted me for his Food TV nyer story. His book Heat, is excellent, and I recommend it. the batali profile he did in the nyer doesn’t do it justice. the book format is perfect and buford soars.

    Now, importantly: that pig was grown by daniel stutzman, an amish farmer a couple hours south of here. there is plenty of pig to go around. orders taken by james falb at the north union farmers market saturday morning, they’re at the western end and sell a lot of grains as well other excellent produce.

    as for who made tony’s cassoulet? if it weren’t so damn good this would be painful–but i actually Soft Palms do it himself. it was the best I’ve had. seriously. why else would i have let him in my house, why else would we have been so damned chummy? pate cassoulet, pigs ear and lardon salad. that’s just too much damned PLEASURE.

    why wasn’t he out there surfing? he’ll tell you himself: the shrinkage factor.

  • arthur


    You’re being kind. Skyline isn’t from “republican central Ohio”, it’s from Cincinnati. And as all true Clevelanders know Cinci rates even lower than Pittsburgh on the list of places Cleveland is infinately superior too.

  • Natalie Sztern

    Unfortunately Canada is still not current with NR as with Top Chef…but I can’t wait to see it, if just for Pekar…no offence but that clip u showed on ur site a while ago was a great funny piece…has he done a comic book with all three of u? if so i want one, hey if southpark can make it i am sure pekar can too

  • Claudia

    Ruhlman, I don’t think you should care about who really made the cassoulet – I think you should care why Gary drew you several inches shorter and smaller-framed than Bourdain in the cartoons, when you are both exactly 6’4″ – and you could probably benchpress him (!) (See? This is what happens when Bourdain has TOTAL creative control over NR – even on the Travel Channel website!)

  • rockandroller

    Many Clevelanders ARE trying hard to do something about the sewage, the sludge, the air pollution, etc. As a member of the Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace,, Working Assets and many other groups I do a lot of things, including writing a lot of letters to my congressmen and senators, working for change, attending rallies, staffing booths to help distribute information, etc. I think it’s a bad a stereotype to continually claim that nobody is doing anything to facilitate change. I spend a great deal of my free time volunteering for causes trying to make change happen as well as writing a TON of letters. I have a stack of replies probably as high as your kitchen island. Some of us ARE working for change.

  • Big Red

    Skyline Chili gives me the shits too, so I feel for Bourdain. He paid in spades for making you suffer, Ruhlman. Although I can see the temptation, the look on your face was priceless as you tried to choke it down. However, I think it is high time that you went to NYC and made him show you around, and then let you in his house with his wife and his daughter. Although you are cultured and although snarky, urbane. He is much more hard to live with so I this time his wife gets off easy. It must be harder having Bourdain a guest in the Ruhlman home than vise versa. Although I hear she is Italian, so I am sure that she will have no problem kicking you out on your ass if you misbehave. Then once that show airs, we need to get both Misses together, and do a show about the things in both cities. And then we will really see the dynamics. Nothing like a couple of grown men getting their asses kicked by their wives. I would PAY TOP DOLLAR to see it.

  • Erin

    I loved the Cleveland episode. The sausage shop reminds me of G&W, an old German butcher and deli near my house in St. Louis. Same products, same old dudes working there. My dad’s a produce wholesaler and has been delivering their cabbage for years. Plus they give you beer while you wait.

  • edwina

    and i for one worked for years as a director of nursing and exclusively hired kids from the inner city…so maybe i didn’t directly affect the unemployment in cleveland to a great degree, i’d like to think i helped a young adult stay off welfare

  • Princess Grace

    How come I can’t figure out who all is posting to whom on these comments? Can I get a program or scorecard somewhere? :).

    I liked the Cleveland show but if you want to do a true pork-tacular, try us here in Virginia. Also, you need to do more about goats. Just saying.

    Princess Grace of BaaBaaDoo Farm

  • Natalie Sztern

    Ok so I ordered Best of American Splendor but the large bookstore did not have any copies so i ordered it thru a small shop where all i had to say was the title and the owner finished with “by Harvey Pekar”…surprised by his answer i asked how do u know him and apparently harvey has quite the following….all this because of ruhlman, who knew?

    I can’t wait to read it

  • Mark Schieldrop

    Great episode. The creative use of Pekar’s art reminded me of the experimental qualities of the first ever episode.

    I gotta run. .. Sandra is doing something with huge white mushrooms while wearing a green sweater.

  • Sara

    As a life-long East Coast-er, I’ve always had some (ok, a lot of) disdain for the middle parts of America, and I’ve never been able to see a reason to go to Ohio before. I’m not sure this NR took me all the way to an airplane ticket, but now I know there’s more to do in Cleveland than just the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. I know where to eat.

    Harvey Pekar is the coolest. Thank you for having him on, in all his glory.

    Tony — come to DC, already! Wanna explore the great American melting pot? I’ll show to Ethiopian that will make your tongue burn off, the best late-night chili cheese fries on the East Coast, and the best Peruvian rottisserie chicken to ever pass your lips, not to mention some damn good dim sum and the historical Eastern Market. Maybe later you can stop in at some of the fine dining joints. This is a challenge!

  • Sara

    Oh, I forgot — That twinkie filling? Did that seriously still taste like twinkie? I’m re-watching my DVR-ed episode now and it just looks…. gross.

  • Sorcha

    I’m surprised to see so many Clevelanders dissing the show. I thought it was terrific, and hearing about the economic decline made Ruhlman’s love for his town that much more real and poignant. It’s easy to love your city when everything’s roses, not so much when it’s gone a ways downhill.

    I guess it just depends on who you are. The same thing happened when Tony came to the Pacific NW; I thought he did an awesome show (even if there was too much Seattle and not enough Portland *G*), but a lot of my fellow Portlanders hated it – thought it was too touristy and so on. How you can hate *anything* that has Tony and Chuck Palahniuk in the same space is beyond me, but I’m easy to please.

  • Sorcha

    I’m surprised to see so many Clevelanders dissing the show. I thought it was terrific, and hearing about the economic decline made Ruhlman’s love for his town that much more real and poignant. It’s easy to love your city when everything’s roses, not so much when it’s gone a ways downhill.

    I guess it just depends on who you are. The same thing happened when Tony came to the Pacific NW; I thought he did an awesome show (even if there was too much Seattle and not enough Portland *G*), but a lot of my fellow Portlanders hated it – thought it was too touristy and so on. How you can hate *anything* that has Tony and Chuck Palahniuk in the same space is beyond me, but I’m easy to please.

  • AcidQueen

    I first visited Cleveland back in 1983. My mother’s side of the family lives there–well, the Italians anyway–and Mom took my sister and me to visit them all.

    I had a wonderful time, but I’ve never been able to get back there. After watching NR last night (and again this morning when I got home from work), I think I’ll have to come back up that way to visit the la famiglia again.

    Thank you, Michael and Tony, for indirectly reminding me of the great summer of my 13th year.

  • Major Bedhead

    I loved this episode – I actually got to see Tony cooking something, instead of only reading about it. I think the fact that it was shot in Cleveland, the epitome of middle America, makes it a bit more real and attainable. Excellent, as usual, although that snow must have been a real slap in the face after French Polynesia.

  • t-scape

    Sorcha, I enjoyed the Portland piece of the PNW episodetoo, but my only beef would have been about the Shanghai tunnels. Enough with the Shanghai tunnels, man!

    Well, my other beef was having to share an episode with Seattle. We deserved our own!