I Like Phil and What he is Having

@Robin Just to be clear, I watched TWO episodes: Italy, and then – because I couldn’t believe it was so awful – Paris. That’s it. Never again.

I understand. One persons fried green tomato is anothers unripened tomato sandwich :wink:

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Jason, no one has to tell you that you are under no obligation to watch this show, and most certainly need not like it. It’s a light-hearted approach to the travel/food genre, featuring a guy who is possibly the last person I would have chosen to do a show like this. Maybe it’s that counterpoint that got him the job. Sometimes it’s just fun to relax and see a simpler perspective. I don’t see myself watching more than a few episodes but I don’t feel violated by what I’ve seen so far. I can enjoy a bottle of $4.99 Vinho Verde sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be the best out there.


I watched the Hong Kong episode. Here are my thoughts on the episode.

What I like:

  • A very brief shot of the Chungking Mansion at 25:16, which is where Wong Kar Wai’s Chung King Express was filmed

  • That they profiled PMQ, the former’s marine dorm reborn as a design hub. Though I also don’t like something about his PMQ segment.

About the PMQ:

  • That they profiled Lei Yue Mun and the ‘pick your seafood and find a place to cook for you way’ of eating, though I wish they actually showed the discussions of the prep method with the kitchen and shots of the kitchen preparing those seafood. That is the fun part.

  • The tea culture

  • San Xi Lou is great

What I don’t like:

  • The whole point of PMQ is to have a space to give opportunities to local designers. I understand G.O.D. is a local brand, but it has stores everywhere and it has been prominent in Hong Kong for years. They should have just interviewed an upstart designer at PMQ instead.

  • Phil pretends that food commonplace like century old egg, chinese medicinal teas are weird alien food.


  • Tim Ho Wan is good for the price, and its one of the cheapest Michelin starred meal anywhere (if it means anything in HK, that is). But I think he can get better dimsum elsewhere.

I think overall I like the cultural aspect of the episode, a little less so on his food knowledge. Its not like he’s trying to pretend to be an expert in food so that I guess is part of the charm, to show how everyday tourist will react to unfamiliar food.

If I am to compare him to Bourdain, I think Bourdain goes a bit deeper in food and assumes one has a foundational knowledge of the cuisine (vs, oh hey this is shu mai!)


[quote=“Midlife, post:23, topic:1823, full:true”]
Jason, no one has to tell you that you are under no obligation to watch this show, and most certainly need not like it.[/quote]
Jeez, all it is is my opinion – and, insofar as I know, we are all entitled to have one. (Maybe even more than one!) I’ve already acknowledged that I am clearly in the minority. What’s the big deal?

[quote=“Midlife, post:23, topic:1823, full:true”]
It’s a light-hearted approach to the travel/food genre, featuring a guy who is possibly the last person I would have chosen to do a show like this. Maybe it’s that counterpoint that got him the job.[/quote]
One can certainly have a “light-hearted” approach, but to me – let me repeat that: to ME – one person’s “light-heartedness” can be someone else’s “air-headed stupidity” and a “waste of time.”

[quote=“Midlife, post:23, topic:1823, full:true”]
Sometimes it’s just fun to relax and see a simpler perspective.[/quote]
I completely agree. I just don’t want that “simpler perspective” to be a “dumbed down” version of reality. NOVA doesn’t dumb down science, does it? Ken Burns didn’t dumb down the Civil War. I guess I just expect more from a program on PBS than I do from the Food Network.

As I indicated above, I only watched two – and the second one only because I couldn’t imagine it being as bad as the first. (I was wrong.) “Violated” is not a word I would use. I wasn’t being raped. My time, however, was wasted. As I said above, I expected more from PBS.

As for the Vinho Verde, there can only be ONE “best,” and so I rarely have “the best” of anything. And while I can’t think of any Vinho Verde priced at $4.99, I’ll defer to you on that score. But certainly I agree with you: wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good and/or enjoyable.

However, as the expression goes, “Life is too short to drink bad wine,” or – more to the subject at hand – life is too short to waste it watching “I’ll have What Phil’s Having.” Or at least, mine is . . .

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Sorry if my reaction was a bit strong, although I’d hate to hear your critique of something of real importance if you found it unworthy. Jeez, it’s just a TV show. But, as Gilda Radner used to say… never mind!!!

Actually this is in stark contrast to FTC, where there’s a somewhat heated discussion about whether calling something “overrated” should even be allowed.

Phil seems to fluctuate between really fun to watch (like when he ate a giant mouthful of Three Pepper Chicken in Hong Kong) and ridiculously fawning toady (“Oh, this is the best blargasi I ever ate–I want to have the chef’s babies!”). I would love more of the former and less of the latter.

So far all I’ve seen are Hong Kong and Barcelona.

Ooh, I’ll have to go back and check it out–we stayed in a guest house in Chungking Mansions in 1991 when we went to southeast Asia.

Gotta say that I’ve really liked the Italy & Paris episodes, since we’re familiar with the areas & this was enjoyable, light hearted entertainment. Also liked the Barcelona episode enough that we’ve decided to (finally) spend some time there next fall. There’s just a good feel to this show.

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SteveR, meet Jason. ;o)))))


Clearly I am in the minority, but I find him to be a whining, annoying idiot with barely any food knowledge and why I have to watch him placing a FaceTime call to his parents every week is beyond me! He came this close to getting me to dislike one of my favorite cities on the planet (Paris) and cancelling my trip to Italy this Spring."<<

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Hey, don’t start trouble. Clearly, he’s wrong…. I mean, entitled to his opinion. :innocent: Besides, I read his stuff on wine regularly – very informative. I just watched the LA episode of Phil and liked that one as well. It’s just good, humorous light stuff & an ok way to pass an hour.

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Jason, with all due respect… and I mean that quite sincerely… I just finished watching the Paris episode with my wife. She’s been there several times, so I read her your comments about the show. Her thought for you… again with every last bit of due respect… was that you “really need to lighten up”. :smiley::smiley::smiley:

You know, telling me to “lighten up” is probably the wrong thing to say . . . I’m not upset at Phil, though I"m a bit disappointed in PBS. As SteveR said, I’m entitled to my opinion. I have already acknowledged that, on this board at least, I’m in the minority. (Fortunately, I am not alone in my opinion, however, as it’s shared by a number of people I know in the real – versus online – world.)

I’m sure Phil is a very nice guy, kind to dogs and loves his mother (clearly!). But there are certain people on the planet that simply “rub others the wrong way.” I have no doubt that I rub some people the wrong way. I am passionate about any number of things, and in particular, in the way I write online – with italics, bold, and capital letters. My passion sometimes translates on the screen into aggressiveness or anger, when nothing is further from the truth. But he comes across – to me as someone that makes me reach for the remote . . .

Let’s leave it at that. We’ve already wasted far too much bandwidth on this . . . .

Just to be clear, she didn’t “tell” you to lighten up, she just said she thought you needed to. You’re free to stay however you please. Passion can be a very good thing.

Like Phil - don’t like Phil - what do I care, I don’t know him personally.

But pointing out that semantic difference is the silliest thing I’ve read all day. They are equivalent.

Sorry. One’s an order, the other is an opinion.

I started watching the Paris episode last night and enjoyed it until I found myself closing my eyes–NOT because I was bored, but because I was overtired. Phil’s quirky expressions (now I see what Vvvindaloo meant about the eye boggling, funny) and dry humor appeal to me. His despair at finding his favorite hot chocolate venue closed for renovations, followed by his sheer joy when he found new hot chocolate to his liking was just fun to watch. And yes, it made me wish I could have a cup, too.

My Comcast OnDemand (not sure how it works for anyone else’s) only shows four episodes–the first two are no longer available. So, anyone who can’t find it on TV, all six episodes are online here:

That’s because he was a writer on the show. He’s also married to Ray’s sister in law on that show.

I started another thread on this but I guess this is the main one.

To those people who don’t like his knowledge of food, well, that’s what I like about him. He’s a fan of food. Not an expert. I like seeing it from that angle since that’s essentially what I am. I’m not schooled nor have I worked in the business (can’t count BK in the 80’s) so all I have to offer is an opinion of what I like.

Anyway, I’ve seen 4 episodes and the only parts I don’t like are the ones where he calls his parents.

Hey Peeps

Has anyone checked out this new show on PBS called “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having??” I think there has been 1 season with 6 episodes. It’s your typical travel/food show. Not reinventing the wheel here but I actually find Phil rather engaging. He’s a New York born (Jewish. Which he plays up) comedy writer. He’s now in LA and the show is based on his love of food. He’s not a “Food expert” like a lot of them, just a food enthusiast like myself and I like seeing things from that angle. He’s witty (goofy looking) and seems genuinely happy to be doing what he’s doing. The food porn is out of this world. Perhaps no more so than in the Paris episode. There is also a segment where he Skypes with his parents. I don’t care for that but Mrs. Sippi does.
Give it a look.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold