"I'll Have What Phil's Having" on PBS Tonight

Frank Bruni Tweet o’ The Day regarding Los Angeleno & Sprouts General Partner, Phil Rosenthal…
Check your PBS station for local listings:
Food/travel TV continues to boom with new contender 2nite from v. funny “Everybody/Raymond” creator @PhilRosenthal, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/what-phils-having/


Oh, is THAT the eponymous “Phil?” I thought he looked vaguely familiar. The commercials looked good.

He was the producer of everyone loves Raymond plus he’s a major investor in a lot of Los Angeles restaurants including Mozza

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I loved the first episode–channel surfed into it. My god, the food in Tokyo that he ate was beyond amazing to look at–very high production values in the filming–much better than Bourdain’s show. And one Urusawa-like place also seemed very whimsical. And some of those places looked like a meal was the price of an inexpensive (or maybe really expensive?) car. I found Phil charming, even kinda lovable (although may be some people would find that he mugs for the camera a little too much). Anyway, am hooked–there are only 6 episodes and I think you can watch the Tokyo episode from last week on PBS online. Next week is Italy–maybe just Rome? Lots of fun.

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LA episode really weird. Obviously he was going to go to Langer’s, which is cool, but felt so incredibly saddened to see him tout Choi’s kimchi fried rice as the height of Korean food in Ktown. No Thai food…No Chinese…No Vietnamese…no Italian…

It didn’t really feel like the episode actually captured the serious bounty that LA offers, despite making the point that it’s one of the world’s greatest food cities.

Very sad…at least Carnitas El Momo, and Guerilla Tacos made it on, and I was happy to see him say the pastrami at Langer’s is better than anything in NYC. Petit Trois probably also deserved it, although it felt a bit celebrity-pushing to have ludo make the omelet of all things personally for him…

Sigh. I guess more for us locals to enjoy in secrecy.

I had no idea he is a managing partner @ Sprout. That’s pretty amazing - I guess it’s a lot easier to be an investor when you have those fat producer checks coming in.

He literally made $300 million once Raymond was syndicated…he doesn’t even care if his investments make money.

I guess his episode makes sense in some ways since he avoided going to any Sprout restaurants, I guess that’s nice of him, but Sprout restaurants are actually pretty fucking good, heh.

I’m also a big fan of the sprout group. It will be interesting to see what happens this year with the loss of Chait and Cox

This was not a show aimed at us. This was a show aimed at my mother & those like her. She’s a long time PBS viewer and is “enlightened” by things they present. She grew up in the depression and because of that plus a few other reasons she has a ton of food phobias. When I was a kid, her oven had two settings, off & sterile. When Dommy and I head east to visit and cook, we have to simplify and obscure things, lest she poke at it with her fork and make faces. Generally if we get her to take a few bites, she usually loves what we cook.

Now that a nice Jewish man on Channel 2 (WGBH) told her that not only won’t mole poison her, but actually tastes good and should be tried, she might be willing to give it a shot or at least not say “why would you eat that?” when we suggest it for dinner.

While we might be enamored by ramen, or nose to tail cooking shows by Anthony Bourdain or David Chang, those are shows with a narrowly focused audience. This is a show to teach broad swath of Murican’s that a taco of broccolini with‏ cremini mushrooms, scrambled farm eggs, parsley, & burnt tomato chili is something to savor and not shun. This show is something to celebrate.


I really enjoy this show. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because he’s so endearing. It might also be because he picks more “foodie” (apologies for that awful word) restaurants and menu selections than the average travel food show does, with him really focusing on specific dishes rather than just highlighting the restaurant as a whole.


I have never seen the show - perhaps he made that assertion on the show?
In my experience, if there is any correlation to me made about wealthy folks and their investments, it is that they care as much - if not a whole lot more - as anyone, about the success of their investments. Unless they inherited the dough, they generally got wealthy by caring about these things.

As far as restaurants go, he doesn’t care if he makes, or loses money on them if he feels they add something unique, and great to Los Angeles.

Being a Hollywood comedy writer that lucked into getting a syndicated show, btw, is very similar to inheriting $300 million. It’s something almost no one has happen, it’s pretty much all luck based, and it happens AFTER you’ve already done all the work on the show. It’s just a kind of random, massive windfall. If you’ve ever met writers like this, they view their money like they view inheritance. He certainly worked hard, but his massive fortune didn’t come from pinching pennies, or making wise investments. I’m sure he has a finance team that makes good investments with most of his money so he can continue doing whatever he wants, but he doesn’t care to think about money like that himself (if you’ve ever met Hollywood people, especially writers, that come into massive amounts they all have similar views).

I loved the show in general. I only found the LA episode a little disappointing b/c it seemed more about inviting his famous friends to entertain the home audience (and, truth be told, there’s nothing wrong w/ that) and we (on this board) who are watching already know the city so well.

I do agree that the show is something to celebrate. For me, I have the strong impression that he “gets” food, even if he’s not a professional chef, and he makes it very accessible to those who are, er, less naturally enthusiastic about food.

@Aesthete: he did go to a Chinese restaurant in the SGV (Chengdu Taste?) as a “bonus” clip at the end of the show…

How does one view the bonus clip?

Still…no Thai in LA is kind of absurd to me honestly. I guess I can’t say any more absurd than leaving off Chinese, except maybe that it’s just a bit more accessible than the Chinese.

Yeah, I guess you must be right. I was just hoping it would be a bit different. Overall, it’s nice to see another person repping LA so hard in such a public way.

Bourdain’s episode of Parts Unknown sucked pretty hard (they literally go eat at fucking Sizzler), so honestly, I guess Phil still beat that. Odd trend of people saying LA is an insanely awesome food city, and then not even showing the best parts I guess.

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I hope they keep it up - Choi and Bourdain going to Ham Ji Park has made my life a living hell. Let’s hope they keep turning the spotlight on places i do not want to go.

You won’t understand the sizzler thing unless you grew up poor and Asian.


It was an ode to Korean Americans story, at least that was my interpretation. I thought it was insightful and very well stated.


@Ns1, @A5KOBE, normally definitely agree with you about most good eats :slightly_smiling:, but I found Bourdain’s L.A. episode disappointing.

I grew up in L.A., definitely had Sizzler, LOL, so I get that part of it. :wink:

I guess for me and my friends, when we gathered around to watch Anthony Bourdain’s debut on CNN for “Parts Unknown”, we were eager to see what Bourdain might try in L.A. All of the great hole-in-the-walls, or new chef-driven restaurants, or various ethnic gems.

Instead, we got “treated” to Roy Choi and that wacked out artist (forgot his name), taking Bourdain to Sizzler and Jollibee?! :open_mouth: Just kinda sad.

I get the homage part, it just wasted so much time on the episode. Wished they hit up more places in L.A. that were more interesting.

It wasn’t an episode of No Reservations, that’s for sure.