Last night on his CNN show Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain stayed close to home while exploring the under-appreciated borough of New York City, the Bronx. The episode winds its way through the origin stories of hip hop, subway graffiti, and the expression "the Bronx is burning." From a food perspective, Bourdain is in paradise, whether eating a "gusher of porky-goodness" at a Puerto Rican restaurant or defending his White Castle loyalty. After fully immersing himself in the borough he previously knew so little about, Bourdain concludes, "the Bronx is a magical place."
In the tradition of the Quotable Bourdain, here are the best lines from the episode. Feel free to add your favorites to the comments.
1. On how New Yorkers see the Bronx: "The Bronx is, let's face it, a big blank space in a lot of people's minds. Even people like me who live, what, ten minutes away, we don't know anything about that big area between Yankees Stadium and the Bronx Zoo."
2. On the diversity of the Bronx: "What you should know is that the Bronx is big. Really big. And that it's a patchwork of ethnic enclaves, a cross-section of the whole world. Every immigrant group you could think of."
3. On the restaurant 188 Cuchifritos: "Old school, New York Puerto-Rican good stuff. Get within 20 feet of this place and prepare to lose your freakin' mind."
4. On the food at 188 Cuchifritos: "So off-cut pig parts, deep fried, what's not to like about that?"
5. On 188 Cuchifritos' place in New York City: "This is pretty much the center of the pork universe, as I've ever seen it in New York. I don't know any place porkier than what I'm looking at ... a gusher of porky goodness."
6. On Garifuna coconut soups, one with bluefish and one neck bones: "That's officially awesome already ... An underexploited fish, one of my favorites."
7. On his view from a park in the Bronx: "How ludicrously shameful is it that I can literally see my house from here and I basically have no fucking idea where I am."
8. Podcast host Desus on Wray & Nephew, a strong white rum from Jamaica: "What water would be in any other borough is what Wray & Nephew is in the Bronx."
9. Bourdain, on Wray & Nephew: "I am happy here and I will drink more of your Wray & Nephew, regardless of what it might be doing to my brain."
10. On Caribbean restaurant Lammy's: "Lammy took over from some people who put too much cinnamon in their curried goat which, as we know, is a sin against God."
11. On the food at Lammy's: "Curried goat and stewed oxtail, with rice and peas, collards, and yes mac and cheese. I can't resist."
12. On the allure of the Bronx: "If the Bronx were a neighborhood in Manhattan, sort of shrunk down, you'd have hipsters crawling all over this place."
13. On eating seafood in City Island: "Seashore Restaurant, a massive fish factory on the water of a type I'm very familiar with, having started my cooking career in one just like it. I'm also a sentimental fool, and I love this kind of thing. Steamers, a true taste of childhood."
14. On the burger at White Castle: "Is it the best hamburger in the world? Far from it, my friends. Is it even strictly speaking, a burger? I mean, it's small and square and steamed."
15. On the consequences of eating White Castle: "It can be, especially when you eat a lot of them, as one tends to, a hate yourself in the morning experience."