Anthony Bourdain (center) with Alton Brown (left) and Blondie at the Clermont Lounger for the Travel Channel show "The Layover."

Clermont Lounge featured on Jan. 14’s ‘The Layover’ with Anthony Bourdain on Travel Channel

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed January 14, 2013

I previewed a portion of tonight’s Travel Channel edition of “The Layover” with Anthony Bourdain focused on Atlanta. Unfortunately, most of the first 11 minutes are shrouded in silence: the sound didn’t work. But the point is he spends 48 hours in a city and samples some of its wares.

Bourdain first visits Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. I hope he liked it. He also does some skeet shooting.

Later, he meets up with Sean Brock at popular high-end Southern eatery Holeman & Finch Public House in Buckhead, where only 24 burgers are available a night at 10 p.m. He name drops (but doesn’t have time to stop by) HD1, Richard Blais‘ church of the hot dog, and Empire State South, Hugh Acheson’s Midtown pad.

There are bits of advice about Atlanta from residents, who name drop neighborhoods such as Reynoldstown and Cabbagetown.  They talk about sweet tea, the art of tailgating and southern hospitality.

After Holman & Finch, Bourdain visits the Octopus Bar in East Atlanta, where he samples Sweetwater and Terrapin brews. He mentions Inman Park’s Victoryy Sandwich Bar, a popular place for the service industry.

The next morning, he has breakfast at Octane in Grant Park and reads the New York Times. (What? No AJC?)

Later, he tours Buford Highway Farmer’s Market with Blais. “I’m proud of this because it shows Atlanta is an international city,” Blais tells Bourdain as they marveled over the variety of food available there such as live peri winkle and durian fruit. Other food markets name-dropped; Sweet Auburn Market and Star Provisions.

He does drive-through at  El Taco Veloz in Doraville, then gives love to two other Buford Highway eateries; Northern China Eatery and Crawfish Shack Seafood. Others name-dropped: Iberian Pig, the Varsity, Thompson Brothers BBQ, Bacchanalia and the Brick Store. Later, the Colonnade is mentioned, too.

His final meal is at Miller Union on the Westside with Alton Brown. “I’ve never had a bad dish here – ever,” Brown says.

“Atlanta doesn’t know what it is yet,” Brown notes. “Here’s the problem with southern food. They just don’t want to talk about race. For so long, the iconic Southern dishes were cooked by blacks for rich whites. Knowledge was passed along only by black families. And poor whites.”

He finishes the night with Brown at the Clermont Lounge, which was recently featured on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” “This place should be a national landmark,” Bourdain says. interviews Blondie, the long-time stripper at the club who is known to crush beer cans with her boobs. “I built this city,” she says facetiously. She adds that the strippers are ages 29 to 66. “We all have great personalities,” she says.

“Reminds me of my grandmother,” Brown cracks, watching Blondie.

On TV

The Layover” 9 p.m., January 14, Travel Channel

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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