While we were shooting Diary of a Foodie in France, it was with surreal helplessless to know Tony and the No Reservations Lebanon crew were trapped by real shooting in Beirut.
In the above photo you see, left to right, Todd (cameraman), Diane (producer) Jerry (cameraman/producer), Tracey (camerawoman), and Tony (humble host). You may recognize Diane and Tracey from the Paris crew
I got this accompanying message from Diane:
"This pic was taken while we were sequestered in our hotel for the week...but we had convinced Discovery to PLEASE allow us to leave the premises after going stir crazy for 5 days in the hotel. (at that time, that surrounding area was very safe...there has since been bombing there) We drove to a lovely restaurant with outdoor tables, where the picture was taken.
The restaurant was called "Al Balad" (I have their magnet)...there is (was?) a location in Beirut, and one in Jounieh (like a suburb of Beirut). I grew to love these restaurants with the shisha (hookah). We first arrived at the restaurant at around 8 pm, and it was empty -- I thought it was so sad that they had no business. By the time we left, around 10 pm, the place was packed -- of course! I had forgotten...even during wartime, Beirutis like to eat late."
They escaped shortly thereafter unscathed - physically at least.
I'd like to note that all evacuees were limited to a mere 30 pounds of baggage per person - which means the crew left behind valuable equipment and treasured personal effects - yet somehow Diane managed to keep the restaurant's magnet. Don't you just love her?
The Beirut footage will air in a one hour special Anthony Bourdain in Beirut on the Travel Channel August 21.
Here's another photo of Diane - when they first arrived in Beirut. If you can try to see beyond her dazzling smile, you'll get a glimpse of life as it once was, just about a month ago.