A Sneak Peek of ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ Season 6—From Croatia To Nashville

Somebody Feed Phil, Netflix’s award-winning travel-food show that stars gleeful global eater Phil Rosenthal, returns for its sixth season on October 18. Laura Manske at Forbes Magazine prescreened the episodes. According to her, this is Rosenthal’s and his team’s best on-the-go work yet. Showcased are five destinations — Philadelphia, Croatia, Austin, Chile and Nashville — plus an extra episode that is a touching tribute to Rosenthal’s late parents, Max and Helen, who appeared in previous seasons via funny video calls. Rosenthal dishes up his unique humor and heartfelt exclamations during meals shared with family, entertainment-industry friends and food aficionados. This is feel-good escapism TV — brimming with Rosenthal’s characteristic kindness, goodwill and joy — set in eye-catching, interesting locations. Creator, executive producer, writer and showrunner for nine years of the very successful Ray Romano sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Rosenthal’s new career in front of the camera is currently flying high. Here, a smorgasbord of photos and some hints about what’s ahead.

Episode 1: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hoagies — the name was born in Philly — require two hands to hold.

Rosenthal revels in this richly historical city, which boasts the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other American Revolutionary sites. Philadelphia is also well-known for huge cheesesteaks and other over-stuffed hoagies. What’s especially progressive now are taste-expanding twists on those classic sandwiches.

A gustatory gallop among vendor stalls at Reading Terminal Market.

Turkey legs, stuffed pretzels and sweet potato pies are popular at the vast Reading Terminal Market, a must-see venue. Philadelphia also embraces a remarkable roster of stellar chefs, whose ingenious menus dazzle. They have built an extraordinary community that nurtures culinary vision. Highlights include multi-award-winner Michael Solomonov, a champion of Israel’s diverse cuisines, who, in addition to his game-changer Zahav restaurant, co-owns more than a half-dozen of Philly’s fab eateries. Notable Shola Olunloyo also makes an appealing appearance. He’s a Nigerian-born chef and food writer who helps people brainstorm new culinary concepts. Rosenthal is invited to Olunloyo’s home. In his leafy garden backyard, Olunloyo impeccably cooks tender squid in a 700-degree Fahrenheit oven.

With pal Patton Oswalt — actor, comedian, screenwriter — at Solomonov’s Laser Wolf restaurant.

Episode 2: Croatia — Split, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Korčula and More

Smiles across the miles: Toasting Croatia’s gorgeous scenery.

“Croatia is a word that was fraught in my mind,” admits Rosenthal. “Being war-torn, former Yugoslavia split into separate countries after a decade of brutal strife. But there has been peace in this Balkan nation on the Adriatic since the mid-1990s. And I kept hearing about the Croatian coast, dotted with islands in a sparkling sea, right across from Italy. Ancient towns with their own traditions. Obviously, I wanted to see it all.” So he sails among picturesque ports and swoons over succulent seafood, such as fresh oysters that are salty and sweet at the same time. “My favorite thing about travel is discovering the new, something you had no idea about,” says Rosenthal.

Pastries at Kruščić Bakery in Split, Croatia. The building was a convent in the 11th century.

In the spectacular city of Split, which Rosenthal compares to a movie set, he visits the grand Diocletian’s Palace, which was built for a Roman emperor at the turn of the fourth century AD. Then he devours a phyllo-flaky, buttery, savory burek bun, its recipe brought to this port centuries ago by Ottoman Empire Turks. Clearly, this dreamy getaway is a leap into far yesteryear – with modern conveniences of today. At Kantun Paulina, cevapi — a soft pillowy bread roll stuffed with sausages and tomato-sauce, which originated in Bosnia — is king. To cap off his lunch, Rosenthal scoops up lavender-lemon iced dessert at Gelateria Emiliana.

At Konoba Maha, Ivan serves Rosenthal fresh sea urchin.

Rosenthal sails to charming Hvar (it is both the name of the town and the island), an important port located in the middle of the Dalmatian Coast. It was active on Adriatic trading routes since well before the ancient Greeks arrived. There, he strolls and has lunch at Konoba Menego restaurant with the mayor, Rikardo Novak. Rosenthal notices the clean and clear sea water, as fish can be easily seen. “We don’t have industry on the island,” replies Novak. “We don’t have black water [sewage] that goes to the sea.” Venetian architecture is abundant in Hvar’s old town area, evidence of the Venetian Republic’s 400-year-long rule over this isle. Next port is Korčula: “so idyllic,” says Rosenthal. On its shore, Rosenthal, wearing a wet suit, is instructed by Ivan — who, with his brother, Jakša, runs their family restaurant Konoba Maha, situated in the hills just outside Korčula — to dive into the water to collect spiny sea urchins, which Rosenthal attempts, with comical effect. “I have to say,” Rosenthal concedes, “that for an outdoorsman, I’m quite the indoorsman.” Later, at Konoba Maha, Ivan slow-cooks octopus under an iron bell in an outdoor wood-burning oven, while Jakša concocts a fig old-fashioned cocktail for Rosenthal.

Episode 3: Austin, Texas

“New school barbecue, old school service” — at the LeRoy and Lewis food truck.

“Americans!” shouts Rosenthal. “If you really are interested in barbecue, boy is this the show for you! Welcome to Austin!” Accompanying Rosenthal is Daniel Vaughn, author of entertaining books about smoked meat and the barbecue editor at Texas Monthly. Barbecue is more than food in Austin. It’s considered an art. And, for many meat-eaters, a soul-soothing indulgence, too. Rosenthal salutes the well-earned hotspots, then steers toward cool newbies fired by out-of-the-box chefs whose imagination flares with flair, such as Damien Brockway with his food truck Distant Relatives.

At Torchy’s Tacos, Rosenthal’s fave joint. Tortillas are tops in Austin.

For Mexican-inspired dishes that wow, acclaimed chef Fermín Núñez makes kitchen magic at Austin’s Suerte restaurant with a seasonally driven menu. Chef Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel and wine guru Arjav Ezekiel, married owners of oft-praised Birdie’s, delight Rosenthal with anchovy-and-tomato cavatelli, as well as olive oil cake. “And here’s another example of creativity you find all over this town. We’re talking cross-culturalization,” says Rosenthal, referring to Kemuri Tatsu-ya restaurant. Owned by chef Shion Aikawa, this meat-centric bar — Japanese izakaya meets Texan smokehouse — serves scrumptious shareable plates. Rosenthal is joined by Jane Ko, a food blogger who talks him through this revelatory culinary combo.

Is Rosenthal racing to do this again? Stay tuned.

It’s a thrilling (or chilling?) blur as Rosenthal is raced around a Formula One track in Austin by driver Eric Paradis in a Ferrari at more than 170 mph.

Episode 4: Chile — Santiago, Valparaiso and More

Standing in wild flowers, Rosenthal is astounded by Chile’s wild blue yonder.

On the West Coast of South America between the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean, Chile is the longest (approximately 2,700 miles) and narrowest (on average 110 miles wide) country in the world. Among its amazing landscapes are Atacama Desert (the driest place on Earth) and verdant valleys lush with wildlife and waterfalls.

At Santiago’s restaurant Liguria.

A food item that unites the entirety of Chile? The sandwich, explains food writer Isidora Díaz, who leads Rosenthal on a sandwich crawl around Santiago, the capital city. Rule numero uno? Sandwiches are eaten with fork and knife — not with hands. They are large, with lots of toppings, messily piled tall. Mayonnaise is not a condiment; it is an essential ingredient. And expect mucho avocado.

At Boragó, with chef Guzman, whose approach to sustainability and flavor is dynamic.

In Santiago, Rosenthal enters the food laboratory of chef Rodolfo Guzman and his fantastical Boragó, which has been rated as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Many ingredients incorporated into its menus, such as puya (a delicate root), are culinary expressions of Chile’s indigenous people. For Rosenthal, Guzman slow cooks for 14 hours a whole lamb outdoors. Wildly imaginative, Guzman surprises with other delectable morsels, such as honeycombed seaweed. At Ambrosía and Ambrosía Bistro, chef Carolina Bazán is a culinary pioneer, voted best female chef in South America. Born to a diplomatic family and exposed to different cuisines at an early age, Bazán, a world traveler, trained in Paris among other places. With her partner Rosario Onetto, a sommelier, they keep their customers elated, originating dishes with personality. This episode’s final scene exudes a lovely camaraderie, set mountainside outside the city. Rosenthal brings chefs and other foodies together at a big table for an al fresco sunset dinner.

Episode 5: Nashville, Tennessee

At Joyland with its trend-making chef Sean Brock and superstar musician Brad Paisley.

Rosenthal kicks off the Nashville episode with actress Patricia Heaton at the more-than-half-century-old landmark Loveless Café for a Southern-style breakfast: pimiento-cheese-and-fried-green-tomato biscuits, hash-brown casserole, red-eye gravy and pulled-pork omelet smothered in cheddar cheese, onions and barbecue sauce. Food writer Jackie Gutierrez-Jones points Rosenthal to Arnold’s Country Kitchen, an area institution, for traditional fried chicken and turnip greens. Much-applauded chef Sean Brock, who has masterminded a variety of note-worthy restaurants in the South, including Nashville’s Audrey and Joyland, explains his attraction to this Tennessee location: “One of the things that drew me to Nashville early on was its soul,” he explains. “It’s not just music anymore. Now [Nashville] is turning into a place that for anyone who wants to start a creative small business, this town supports people doing good work, honest work, hard work.” Later, Rosenthal veers with his son, Ben, to famed Prince’s Hot Chicken, where the twosome consume increasingly spicy fowl until the last extra-hot version requires them to wear rubber gloves.

Rosenthal encourages finicky eaters to experiment, trying novel food flavors and textures. Nashville resident and stand-up comedian Nate Bargatze, who stars in several ace Netflix specials, is admittedly a non-adventurous eater. So at food truck Maiz de la Vida, Rosenthal nudges Bargatze to taste the spirited Mexican fare of chef Julio Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and has worked in kitchens of leading New York City restaurants, including those of Michelin-starred French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Hernandez’s passion for a type of Mexican corn and quest for the perfect tortilla is admirable. “We brought heirloom corn from Mexico and milled it with volcanic stones by hand, the ancient way, like [it was done thousands of] years ago,” he explains. His menu breaks new ground, an ideal jumping point to expand Bargatze’s horizons. The verdict on Hernandez’s quesabirrias stuffed with American Wagyu beef? “Unbelieveable!” Bargatze affirms, nodding. “This is awesome! I would eat this everyday.” He tries a fish taco, too. “I like this!” he adds, “I’m pretty blown away by it.” Rosenthal beams.

With daughter, Lily, at chef Trevor Moran’s Locust restaurant for Asian-inspired dumplings.

“Nashville knows how to make classics feel new,” opines Rosenthal, as he accompanies journalist and food writer Delia Jo Ramsey to Pelican & Pig, which she deems a must-do restaurant. It’s owned and operated by married chefs Audra and Nick Guidry, who say: “If you don’t leave here needing a nap, we didn’t do our job.” At Rolf and Daughters restaurant, owner and chef Philip Krajeck perfects pasta. There, Rosenthal sits down with Callie Khouri, the screenwriter of film Thelma & Louise and creator of the TV show Nashville, and her husband T Bone Burnett, one of the greatest music producers ever, who says: “It’s a privilege to get to say that I’ve held the door open for a lot of people, [particularly] those who weren’t getting through the door. They are deserving of much more attention.” “As I walked the streets, there was music coming out of every door. And the music was phenomenal,” enthuses Rosenthal. “Every bar is filled with so much talent.” Burnett concurs: “This is probably the most profound gathering of musicians in the history of the world right here, right now.” Adds Khouri: “The bench is so deep here it just blows your mind.” Restaurant after restaurant, music bar after music bar, this episode packs in a sensory bounty that is only the tip of Nashville’s pleasures.

At The Store, with wife Monica Horan, actress-writer Kimberly Williams-Paisley and her husband Brad.

Almost everywhere Rosenthal travels, he tries to feature a positive giving-back initiative. The Store in Nashville is one such helpful service. Founded by his friends Kimberly Williams-Paisley (actress and writer) and Brad Paisley (country music singer, songwriter and incredible guitar player), it operates year-round as a free grocery that enables people to shop for basic needs in a dignified way that fosters hope. There is no charge. For more info about what The Store does, how it gets done, who gets involved and its life-building philosophy, go here.

Episode 6: Max and Helen Rosenthal

With parents Helen and Max, plus friend Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, who holds a pot of Helen’s matzo ball soup.

During a recent interview, Rosenthal shared that his viewers were avid fans of Helen and Max, who died in 2019 and 2021, respectively. “I feel lucky in every regard,” says Rosenthal. “Having them as parents and as fonts of humorous material. Then, having them be in Somebody Feed Phil as much as they were. And to honor them in this way. I thank Netflix for the opportunity to give me an extra episode to do it.” Rosenthal and his brother Richard, an executive producer on the show, unveil an episode that is both a love letter and look at family history. Helen and Max’s backstories are compelling. Both born in Germany, they were persecuted as Jewish children during the Holocaust and arrived as immigrants to the U.S.A., eventually meeting each other as adults in New York City. I don’t want to reveal any more details here, because watching episode 6’s moving collection of images and anecdotes without a descriptive preview is impactful. I can tell you that this remembrance is enlightening, endearing and, of course, in unbridled Rosenthal style, graced with laughter.

Reprinted from Forbes: LINK

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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