Review: The Originals with Emeril
I finally got a little more quality time with the Cooking Channel so I am attempting to review several of the shows I have not seen. This time around I’ll take a look at The Originals with Emeril.
If you haven’t seen The Originals yet then here’s the scenario from the Cooking Channel web site:
Chef Emeril Lagasse pays tribute to The Originals — iconic food establishments that have helped shape the country’s culinary landscape. While the restaurant industry is notoriously challenging and the life of a restaurant is sometimes short, every city has those cherished institutions that have stood the test of time. Emeril visits a new city in each episode and goes behind the scenes at three historic eateries. From uncovering the birthplace of famous dishes like Boston Cream Pie in New England and the French Dip Sandwich in Los Angeles to revealing Charlie Chaplin’s favorite ’20s Hollywood hangout and Dr. Martin Luther King’s preferred Atlanta dining spot, Emeril guides us from the other side of the stove. Join him on a fascinating and tasty journey through New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and his beloved New Orleans.
I knew from the start I was going to like this show. First off Emeril is the consummate host. He’s genuine, passionate and funny. The reason he became a star was not because of his catch phrases; it was because he comes across as someone with whom you would love to spend the day. He’s warm and inviting. Catch phrases or not that has never changed.
Secondly I never tire of the food-travel format. There may be some variations that I like less than others (Kid in a Candy Store, Unwrapped) but I like them all. Right now my favorites are The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network and Unique Eats and FoodCrafters on the Cooking Channel. Well, add The Originals to that list.
On the episode I watched Legasse was in Miami where he visited the famous Joe’s Stone Crab which is purported to be the busiest restaurant in America. I used to work for a chef that had been on the Joe’s team in the 80’s and he said back then they’d do 2000 covers for lunch. That’s insane.
Next Emeril went one of the Cuban neighborhoods, Flagami, and visited Casa Larios. The Larios family had fled the brutal Cuban dictatorship of the bloodthirsty Fidel Castro and opened their family restaurant in 1988 featuring family recipes. Legasse ended his sojourn in Miami with a visit to Miami’s oldest bar, Tobacco Road for some good old Southern barbecue. Opened in 1912 has hosted everyone from Al Capone today’s top bands.
Part of the fun of this episode was hearing Emeril say “Cuber” for Cuba and remembering, as he joined blues great Pappa E on stage at Tobacco Road, that he is an extremely talented drummer. What’s not to like about this show? Great host, great premise and the restaurants featured have endured for decades not because they follow trends but because they set them; they are originals.