To know Action Bronson is to love his vibe. The dude has an infectious energy, which he applies to just about everything he does, but most famously rapping, eating, getting stoned, traveling, and drinking (order those passions any way you want). While Bronson’s mountain man beard and body full of tats paint one picture (for the purveyor of lazy stereotypes), his bright eyes and natural politeness flip any “tough guy” perceptions on their head.
In the culinary world, the Flushing, Queens kid is Bourdain for the internet age. It’s not just food and drink and weed that he celebrates, it’s experiences. It’s this passion for experience over hype that prompted Olmeca Altos Tequila to hire him to kick off their six-city pop-up event series, The J. Hernandez and Sons Bodega. The tour/ roadshow is crossing the nation through the spring and summer — with Bronson hosting the LA event last week and the NYC stop in June.
After the LA pop up, we spoke with Action about his local Bodega man, scored a delectable Granita recipe, and he slipped us an exclusive for the title of his next cookbook.
So this pop up series is centered around setting up bodegas. Growing up in Queens, you’re no stranger to a good bodega…How important is that sense of community and connection?
I know my guys…first names. My soon-to-be wife has gone skydiving with her local bodega guy. My local bodega man is East Korean, Mr. Lee. He knew me throughout my entire life and called me “Onion” because he couldn’t say my name, Arian. I met hundreds of amazing people in the bodega. I’ve bought countless amounts of ridiculous things I shouldn’t have, sugary items, candies, all types of goods … I’ve hung out in bodegas half my life. Played Mortal Kombat II in them.
Did you hear about that startup last year called ‘Bodega‘? It was kind of like a robot pantry.
That’s ridiculous. I actually saw one in my neighborhood because I live in bougie-ass Brooklyn right now and they had people lined up outside of a building pressing buttons like it was fucking Pepsi, ordering groceries. Like I saw some person get celery in a machine. I was like, what the fuck is this? Get me out of here!
It’s super dystopian!
So, what makes Olmeca Altos Tequila’s a good fit for you? What about them mixes with what you’re into?
I love everything “Hecho en Mexico.” I don’t know, I just feel like this is a good brand. They have a lot of good qualities to them and theories behind it, and so do I… Sometimes opposites attract and sometimes the ugly man at the party gets the most beautiful woman. Vice versa. So I just think that it’s one of those relationships that’s building.
Do you have any favorite tequila-based drinks?
I mean, I love a good old neat tequila with margaritas frozen always work. I like to add tequila into a granita actually. I like to do a concord grape granita and add tequila into it to make it a little bit kicked up adult style, you know?…put a little mint…You get a little crazy! Use a little condensed milk… I’d like to make that for you one day.
That sounds good, getting complex with it!
Yeah. Well, that’s what I’m about… Now you take the concord grapes, you throw them in the blender. You use some concord juice also, put it into… not a deep Pyrex okay? You mix the tequila in… Crush some mint, throw into the freezer. Every so often you want to stir so you make sure it doesn’t freeze into a solid block. Agitating the ice so it becomes this unbelievable slushy type of thing…Then once it’s all slushy, you put that into a glass, add a little bit of condensed milk, a little crushed Amaretti cookie on top. You want to talk about getting silly?!
How do you see the interplay between music and food? Your rhymes are so full of imagery, a lot of the times food imagery, and I think about…how we’re obsessed with Instagramming our meals.