‘It’s Not A Sandwich’ And Other Gems From Anthony Bourdain’s Latest Reddit AMA


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Look, by this point Anthony Bourdain is almost a known entity (he’ll be more known when we drop our Uproxx interview later this week). Already, we’ve run so many pieces on the dude that we need a designated topic page. Can you blame us? He’s a cool guy who does cool sh*t in a cool way — half the pieces we run are out of insane jealousy.

Still, Bourdain has things to say and his takes are generally worth listening to. He says things that we were all thinking, peppers in some curses, and presents the info in a cultural context. His interviews are often the “Hit ’em Up” of the travel/food TV biz.

Last night, the legend went back to Reddit for another AMA and threw some fun haymakers. We’ve compiled a few here, but there are a lot more over at Reddit — especially if you want to read about Yo Gabba Gabba or Jiu Jitsu.

ON WHAT’S WHACK:

I would like to see the pumpkin spice craze drowned in its own blood. Quickly.

PLUS:

Anyone who would insist on putting BBQ in a Nori roll, kind of offends me.

AND:

There is a restaurant in Vegas, I think it’s called The Heart Attack Grill, where if you are over 350lbs you eat for free. I think that should be pretty much a war crime.

ALSO:

Juice–I don’t understand the juice cleanse. I mean, if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, the doctor gives you something that will cleanse you right quick, so I don’t really understand juice cleanses.

DONT FORGET:

I believe celiac disease is a very serious ailment, and if you’re diagnosed with it, I’m pleased that there are now gluten-free options, but these people who are treating gluten as, you know, an equivalent of Al Qaeda are worrying to me. So, I’m uneasy about that.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:

Also, overuse of the word “artisanal”. You know, an artisanal potato chip? What does that mean other than it’s an expensive potato chip?

FINE, ONE MORE:

Oh, I’m also no big fan of the judgmental barista and beer nerds. I mean, I like a good craft, but don’t make me feel bad about my beer choices. You know what kind of beer I like? I like cold beer.


Anthony Bourdain/Twitter


ON HIS FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT:

It’s a tough question. I used to think Vietnam for a long time but lately… I’m leaning very much toward Italy! I like it there! I like the food. All those carbs are dangerous but Italy’s a pretty nice place.

ON HIS DREAM GUEST:

You know the show I haven’t been able to make yet, I’d like to do a show with Keith Richards. I’m working on it. He’s an enthusiast and a voracious reader. He’s very interested in British naval history. Maybe visiting the site of great British naval battles with Keith Richards, eat bangers and mash, cooking steak and pie together would be really fun. That’s something I’d really love to do.

ON EATING THE FOOD IN FRONT OF HIM:

I think it’s my duty as a guest to always accept when my host is offering a good thing. When people are expressing themselves by what they offer, I feel it’s my duty to if necessary take one for the team. It’s what I call a “grandma rule”; I may not like grandma’s turkey, but I’m in grandma’s house, I’m gonna eat it. And I’m gonna smile and say I like it. I think that’s just good manners.

ON THE FOOD HE DOES REFUSE:

If you treat me like an idiot though and serve me crap with utter contempt. I can spiral into a serious depression for days and I will not be nice about it. This means you, Johnny Rockets.

ON HOW HE TRANSLATES TO TV:

I don’t know that I translate well on television at all. I don’t know, and to be honest, I kinda don’t really take myself that seriously, so I don’t really care. I mean, anytime you put a lens on somebody, it has a distorting and changing effect. But I never really worry about that. & I’m not afraid to look like an idiot on TV; it happens a lot. We don’t have hair or makeup, for instance.

…AND HOW HE INTENDS TO REMEDY THAT:

It would be interesting to show up on a show with like a Trumpian Cheeto tan. Actually, I should try that.

CBS


ON HIS GUILTIEST GUILTY PLEASURE

I have an unholy and guilty attraction to fast-food macaroni and cheese. During the morning I get these horrendous cravings for Popeye’s mac and cheese, and, uh, I will often disguise myself to try to slip into Popeyes. Or in a pinch, I will even go to the Colonel. There, I admit it. And I’m always recognized.

I hate Twitter, because immediately they take a picture of me holding the evidence in my hand. It’s like getting caught coming out of a porn shop with a video in your arms. Very embarrassing.

ON MEXICAN FOOD DESERVING MORE RESPECT:

I would like people really to pay more for top-quality Mexican food. I think it’s the most undervalued, underappreciated world cuisine with tremendous, tremendous potential. These are in many cases really complex, wonderful sauces; particularly from Oaxaca, for instance, that date back from before Europe. This is frankly a racist assumption that Mexican food or Indian food should be cheap.


ON THE BEST FOOD CITIES IN THE COUNTRY:

Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; Minneapolis, for a very long time had really good food and a lot of great chefs. I think Los Angeles is wildly underrated; it was famous for years and appreciated for its strip mall food, it’s Korean and Mexican and Latino food. But man, some of the restaurants that have been opening in the last 10 years are really really good. Everybody knows Seattle and Portland are great.

There’s never been a better time to eat in America, honestly.

TALKING SCARY MOMENTS:

Where do I begin? Every day in the DRC–the Democratic Not-So-Democratic Republic of the Congo–there were many tense moments. Libya, post-Benghazi, was again, many concerning moments where we sort of had to take regular meetings among the crew and decide for ourselves whether we would make a run for the airport or continue shooting. Beirut, 2006, got a little dodgy.

AND THE TRULY HORRIFYING:

Immediately after eating Nashville Hot Chicken, that was truly, truly terrifying. And if you’re considering going to Nashville, by the way, please notice that Nashvillians themselves don’t eat the extra-hot fried chicken. They know better. Unless you’ve got three or four days to spend in a bathroom, I really advise against that.

A FEW LAST NOTES ON DINNER WITH OBAMA:

It was like really, weirdly relaxed. He seemed very much at ease, like he was having fun. There were no secret service or staff in the room, just me, my camera people, some customers. Rarely have I seen someone enjoy drinking a beer from the bottle as much as the president. He’s really good with chopsticks. Really because of the way he is, how relaxed and comfortable, none of us on the crew were nervous while we were shooting. It was only afterward that we all kind of looked and each other and said, “Did that just happen?” It was really fun! He was generous with his time, quick to answer, and he’s funny.

CNN



BEST BETWEEN BREAD:

The sandwiches I crave most when I’m abroad are a pastrami on rye from Pastrami Queen, in New York. They do a sandwich at the restaurant at the Ace Hotel that is insanely delicious. It’s this super crispy thin Sardinian style flat bread smeared with butter, chilis, and Bottarga, which is like salted tuna or mullet eggs. Doesn’t sound so good but man it’s good, especially with a cold beer. If that doesn’t sound good to you, you’re always safe with a great pastrami sandwich. We do it best in New York.


HOW TO SPEND HIS LAST 20 BUCKS ON FOOD:

Twenty dollars?! I don’t know. It might be a dirty water hot dog. You know? A bagel, with some butter, or no! A bialy. A toasted bialy with some butter, maybe at like Barney Greengrass, and then…what, do I die after spending this $20? Is that what happens? I mean, it’s a pretty good value, maybe I’ll have two bialys for $20.

TWO MORE FOOD TRENDS HE’S NOT DOWN FOR:

Well look, do you really need pizza that’s stuffed with cheese? County faire novelty food?

COOLEST SH*T PER SQUARE INCH:

I mean the most cool sh*t per square foot is probably in Tokyo. You know, if you’re looking for cool sh*t, your statistical likelihood of finding some is gonna be in Tokyo.

THE BEST FOOD FOR YOUR BROKE ASS TO MAKE:

I would say the ultimate broke ass, dorm food, for people who don’t have a lot of money, for people aren’t good at cooking, if you only have a hotplate, is a Korean dish called Budae Jjigae, also known as Army Stew or Korean Army Stew. You can google that shit. It is an unholy mix of ramen, hot dogs (or vienna sausage), spam, beans, kimchi, and Korean spices. I know that sounds like just a horrible train wreck, it’s really delicious and you can pretty much train a reasonably intelligent doberman to make it. It’s perfect.


Shutterstock

AND FINALLY, ON THE INTERNET’S FAVORITE DEBATE:

No. I don’t think it’s a sandwich. I don’t think a hamburger is a sandwich either. The fact that it’s in between bread — the bread is a delivery system, a ballistic delivery system. It is not a classic sandwich, in my view. I mean, if you were to talk into any vendor of fine hot dogs, and ask for a hot dog sandwich, they would probably report you to the FBI. As they should.

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