I came to this area 17 years ago for a summer job to escape Texas. I landed in Yellowstone Park thanks to a summer-job-help-wanted ad in Backpacker magazine. There wasn't any big plan to find one of the most beautiful places on the planet, just a desire for space, scenery, and the unknown. Since then, I have played the role of tour guide many times, showing off the "backyard" to out-of-state friends, relatives, VIP's, and colleagues. I find it curious and enjoyable to watch others interpret this place, its people, and its scenery. Through others I am reminded of the inherent beauty and big-ness of the area we live in. I enjoy Bourdain's snarky, often inward-looking repartee, and I got a kick out of watching it all take place in my back yard.
In last night's show Livingston's 2nd Street Bistro and Murray Bar served a beautiful multi-course dinner to Bourdain along with local denizens Dan Lahren, Russell Chatham, and Jim Harrison. I like the 2nd Street Bistro very much, and I am glad to see some recognition thrown their way. I even recognized some of the dishes moving by on-screen, having just enjoyed (and blogged about) a proper dinner there two weeks ago.
A worthwhile point was made in the show; except for those people lucky enough (or smart enough) to have made their millions elsewhere, most of us pay dear sums of "mountain tax" to keep our zip codes here in southwest Montana. One is wise to keep the tool bag of skills fully stocked and ready for use, as you never know what sort of creative employment you might need to undertake to make that next mortgage payment. Whether it be the rancher who cooks, the cubicle-wonk who teaches skiing, the teacher that picks up a hammer, we are nothing if not multi-taskers.
As Bourdain pointed out, Montana is an "unspeakably beautiful" place. As I mentioned before, I get a kick out of other's interpretation of Montana, and I enjoyed watching Bourdain's interpretation on the soft glow of my TV. Tomorrow morning I will also enjoy waking up not by the blue glow of the TV, but by the sun breaking over one of three mountain ranges visible from my town.
Check out the preview here: