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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

Sundays on CNN

Remember when Anthony Bourdain wrote the restaurant exposé “Kitchen Confidential,” cementing his stature as culinary bad boy for the ages?  Turns out, he brings the same sort of bad-ass intrigue he brought to the literary world to CNN, where his travel/food show “Parts Unknown” begins its fourth season next week. “Holy mother of Santa Muerte, please protect my stash of cocaine,” he begins in Mexico, where he dives head first into the world of drug cartels and government corruption, stopping along the way, of course, at the hottest table in Mexico City and the hippest mescal bar in Oaxaca.  In Jerusalem, he re-examines the Arab/Israeli dynamic with aplomb, or rather, over plums, apricots and zucchini from a restaurant’s garden in the West Bank and a watermelon field ablaze with gunfire in Gaza.  And in Detroit, though he likens the abandoned and decaying streets of the once-fabled Motor City to Chernobyl (!), he flaunts its irrepressible entrepreneurship and ends the episode defiantly believing in its comeback. (And its ribs.).

Unlike the dearth of predictable travel and food shows littering cable, “Parts Unknown”  takes you to places, and kitchens, really unknown, and all with Bourdain’s keen eye and voracious appetite.  Think you know Tokyo?  Think again.  Been to Vegas?  Not this Vegas, I assure you.  Bourdain may still be an arrogant celebrity chef with a penchant for eating the balls of a bull, but word has it he goes to Iran and The Bronx in the coming weeks!  I’m going too.