This week’s Parts Unknown hit particularly hard. We were left imagining another timeline — one where Puerto Rico wasn’t languishing in the aftermath of one of the worst hurricanes on record. That scenario, it would have been just another dope episode of the show. After all, Bourdain galavanted around the island eating great food, tying one on, and talking with artists, musicians, activists, and journalists, as he’s wont to do. But, here we are in our own skewed timeline where Puerto Ricans are almost two months into a natural disaster and an unbelievable amount of people are still without power and potable water.
Bourdain cuts straight to the chase in the episode. “It has been six weeks since the hurricane, and 70 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million American citizens are still without power. About 25 percent are without fresh drinking water—people are drinking from streams and other contaminated sources. They are burning their dead. This is, of course, unthinkable. And grotesque.” It’s hard to argue with that.
While in Puerto Rico, Bourdain visited Finca Conciencia on the island of Vieques where he ate with farmers Ana Elisa Quintero and Jorge Cora, and chef Xavier Pacheco. They talked about how they could help turn the Puerto Rican economy around if they could get the island to be interested in being more self-sustainable. We spoke with both Quintero and Pacheco after the hurricane, you can read those interviews on our website. 📸 @SugahJay Link in the bio 🇵🇷 #PartsUnknown #AnthonyBourdain #PuertoRico
It’s tough to overstate the disappointment you’re left with after watching this episode. But there it is on your screen — a country that was lush, open, and full of life. And, now, it’s struggling for no other discernible reason than a lack of support from its federal government. It kinda feels like we all need that nun from Game of Thrones with her bell proclaiming “shame” while walking behind us everywhere we go for letting Puerto Rico suffer like this.
Let’s dip into the latest episode of Parts Unknown and check out why Puerto Rico is such a magical spot. One quick note: There were a couple home visits in this episode we’ve skipped over to focus on the main attractions Bourdain hit.
@AnthonyBourdain visited Puerto Rico a few months ago before Hurricane Maria devastated the island. We will be airing it this week. Along with the food pieces you love, we also followed up with the sidekicks that he spent time with and spoke with the mayor of San Juan to see what is happening with these US citizens. 📸 @SugahJay Link in the bio 🇵🇷 #PartsUnknown #AnthonyBourdain #PuertoRico
Esquina Watusi — San Juan
Bourdain started off his journey into Puerto Rico with a few drinks at a cool looking bar in San Juan. He met up with a couple journalists to talk about the state of affairs (at the time) in Puerto Rico over said drinks and got a good introduction into the vibe of the island.
Casa Vieja — Ciales
Casa Vieja is a quintessential Puerto Rican spot. Bourdain and dining companion, teacher Liza Cordova, feasted on corn fritters with ham, plantain soup, pastel al caldero (a marinated pork and bean dish), and morcilla (blood sausage).