So we saw Anthony Bourdain speak last night at Royce Hall thanks to extraordinarily good luck, good connections and good friends. He was witty, charming, full of smart spite for the celebrity “foodie” culture, grateful for this bonus round of living he’s getting to do. We all acknowledge that he’s got the best job in the world, the best life most of us could wish for, even if he does occasionally have to eat disgusting things under the guise of being a good guest.
He said a few things that struck me as essential: that being a good guest always trumps food politics; that you need to be brave, be bold, risk a little discomfort in favor of discover; that cooking is control, eating is submission.
But he also has yet to really try LA food culture. Yes, I know, the truck culture is cool, a genius combo of LA iconography - meals on wheels, the roach coach elevated, car culture taken to the extreme. And yes, I understand that In n’ Out is a fucking icon. Whatever. Ethnic food? Yeah, we do that super well by virtue of our far-reaching neighborhoods, populations, and travelers.
But here’s the thing, we also embrace food, embrace the new: pop up restaurants, chilis and spices, sushi and sauerkraut, molecular cuisine and the overwhelming abundance of a city that benefits from great produce all year round. We rock our fresh cocktails, we have killer Mexican food, we have know our cheese, we know our greens, and we know what it means to take pleasure in what we eat. So Tony, come back to LA and eat somewhere new! Eat at Grace, at Animal, at Pure Luck, at Scoops. Drink at the Roosevelt and Copa D’Oro, get Oysters at the Hungry Cat or Blue Plate Oysterette, eat brunch at Square One, and if you have to have a hamburger, for the love of all that is holy, try some of our other beloved places. In N’ Out will survive without you.