On September 3, Anthony Bourdain will begin his final season of No Reservations on the Travel Channel by hanging out with the band Sleigh Bells in Austin during South by Southwest (see below). Don't worry, he'll be back in 2013 on CNN, this time with a considerably larger budget behind him.
But that doesn't mean we can't be sentimental about Tony leaving the show he started back in 2005. With its irreverent dialogue, snarky tone, and unapologetic abundance of food porn, No Reservations was like no other travel show the world had ever seen. Before the new season starts, here's a refresher on the best moments from the first eight seasons.
No Pain, No Gain (Season 1, Episode 8: Uzbekistan)
You might remember this episode from the punishing, bone-cracking massage scene that takes place at a 100-year-old Uzbek spa. Yes, that's Zamir, the show's reccurring Russian guide, laughing in the background.
Best Sports Bar We Wish Existed in America (Season 1, Episode 13: Osaka)
Forget Buffalo Wild Wings. In Osaka, Tony visits a Hanshin Tigers sports bar, complete with freshly made sushi, organized cheering sections, and a phrasebook of dirty Japanese sayings.
An Unexpected Lesson in Global Politics (Season 2, Episode 12: Beirut)
In 2006, Bourdain's trip to Beirut started with hummus, rooftop drinking, and late-night shawarma. Then the bombs started falling. What would eventually become an intense 34-day conflict between Israeli and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon trapped Tony and his crew inside their hotel room until they could be evacuated by Marines. It wasn't the show they went to Beirut to get, but it was riveting television that was later nominated for an Emmy.
Food Pornotopia (Season 4, Episode 1: Singapore)
For slow-motion shots of sizzling, slippery street food, nothing beats the episodes where Tony travels to Asia. The most food-porntastic of them all might be Singapore, where he wolfs down everything from bone marrow cooked in a bright-red chili sauce to steamed shark's head in the city's many bustling food courts.
Kicking It Old-School (Season 5, Episode 8: Disappearing Manhattan)
Ever wanted to explore Manhattan, Don Draper-style? Tony has you covered. He parties in New York like it's 1969 with a massive mutton chop at Keen's Steak House and a stiff drink at Sophie's in the East Village.
Dream Vacation (Season 6, Episode 9: Provence)
Do you really need a reason to watch an episode about eating tapas and drinking white wine in the south of France? Fresh-made aioli, sun-kissed vineyards, and the cheese—my God, the cheese—Provence looks like a food-magazine spread come to life.
Hero Worship (Season 7, Episode 12: El Bulli)
If you revere chefs the way tween girls worship Justin Bieber, you'll go crazy for this episode, in which Anthony Bourdain visits the world's most respected chef, Ferran Adria, in Spain. Prepare to gasp as Tony foodgasms over black truffles and some of the finest jamon on Earth.
After Austin, Tony will go diving with sharks in Sydney, visit a butcher shop in Burgundy, and eat on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. His final destination, however, will be a lot closer to home: Brooklyn. With CNN, he is rumored to be visiting harder-to-access destinations like the Congo and Libya. No matter where he goes, it's a good bet his fans will follow him—to the new network.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.