During the 10th season of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” which debuted on CNN on Oct. 1, he’ll visit Singapore, the French Alps, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Sri Lanka, Pittsburgh, southern Italy and Lagos, Nigeria.
But there’s no place like home. Bourdain spoke with Variety to discuss some of his New York staples — fare he has to have whenever he wraps his travels and gets to spend some time in the city.
“When I’m away a long time,” he says, “no matter how delicious the food, there are certain things that are unique to New York that I have to have right away.”
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“The first thing I get when I’m back in New York is a pastrami sandwich. Pastrami Queen (1125 Lexington Ave.) is a really good pastrami sandwich — if not the best, among the very best. Just a good, nice mix of fat and lean. It’s the real deal, served warm on fresh, soft rye bread with the right kind of mustard. Good pickles. And they deliver — very happy with that. I get a cream soda. It’s a quintessential New York meal for me.”
“Chances are I haven’t had a good burger if I’ve been out of the country. No matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to get it right. For a good utility burger, Shake Shack (various locations) makes me very happy. Or the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien (119 W. 56th St.). That will do just fine. As a default I’ll go to Porter House (10 Columbus Circle), which is convenient to both work and where I live.”
“If I’m meeting friends, chances are they are chefs, and they don’t want a fancy dining experience. It’s a good chance to go for some Korean barbecue in K-Town.
Or some yakitori. Torishin (362 W. 53rd St.) is very, very good yakitori, as is Yakitori Totto (251 W. 55th St.). Those are two places regularly on my cycle of places to visit. Mission Chinese (171 E. Broadway) is delicious — a good mix of eccentric, mixed-bag Chinese, faux Chinese and whatever else they feel like doing that day. I love it — always very tasty and good. And too much alcohol.”
“For home, you know, some crappy breakfast cereal. Or bagels. Or bialy, even better. That’s pretty much all I need.”
“I don’t like hipster, artisan coffee. I make Chock Full o’Nuts out of these huge cans. I make it on a Mr. Coffee. I pour it for myself in the cardboard cup because cardboard gives me that bodega taste that I’ve come to value. With a good hit of heavy cream in there. And that tastes like New York to me. Regular coffee, as we call it. None of that Mumford & Sons cold brew.”
“I’ll get a dirty-water hot dog now and again, if I’m in the mood. That always makes me happy.”