Despite the sunshine, the slow pace of the sidewalk crowds, and all that sprawl, Anthony Bourdain always kept a little love in his heart for Los Angeles. The iconic chef, writer, television host, traveler, and beloved-by-everyone media figure died this morning in France at the age of 61.
Below, Eater has compiled a few kind recollections that Bourdain shared about his time in Los Angeles, from staying at the Chateau Marmont to eating at his favorite fast-food restaurant.
He really did love In-N-Out: It’s no secret that Bourdain had a thing for In-N-Out. In fact, he often described it as among the only fast food he would eat, period, and certainly at the top of his list. Here he is in 2015 describing just how wonderful those burgers are.
And LA’s Mexican food: Last year, Bourdain sat down with chef Eduardo Ruiz of the shuttered Corazon y Miel to discuss modern Mexican food in Los Angeles. The group dined happily at Ray Garcia’s Broken Spanish in Downtown, discussing the flavors of Los Angeles and what makes Mexican food so vibrant.
On the same show, Bourdain managed to take in large swaths of LA’s immigrant communities. The Parts Unknown season premiere from 2017 offered a ton of gorgeous pull quotes, but one sums it up most succinctly:
Los Angeles, like much of California, used to be part of Mexico. Now Mexico, or a whole lot of Mexicans, are a vital part of us.
That includes the small spots: Perhaps no Los Angeles restaurant has been better helped by Anthony Bourdain’s mere presence than Tacos Villa Corona in Atwater Village. The tiny takeaway window almost immediately became nationally known after Bourdain showed up for a sidewalk burrito way back in 2012.
Respecting immigrant workers in the kitchens and the fields: Bourdain was never one to hold his tongue, particularly in the wake of the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. In an Eater interview given just before Trump officially took office, Bourdain had this to say about the now-president’s racist policies toward immigrants:
But if I can convince people to look around, and see who’s actually doing a lot of the work in this country — picking vegetables, it’s all immigrant labor — and then ask themselves, truly, whether they under any circumstances would take that job?
Koreatown was a favorite haunt: Koreatown feels almost tailor-made for a man like Anthony Bourdain. Filled with warrens of hidden restaurants and all-night dining and drinking dens, the LA neighborhood quickly became one of the TV personality’s favorite places to take his cameras. That might mean Dan Sung Sa one night, and Koreatown Plaza the next day.
And most recently, he ate everywhere else in LA: Just last month, Bourdain and the Parts Unknown crew dropped a series of Los Angeles-based vignettes. The small episodes were meant to capture the lesser-known immigrant communities of Los Angeles, from Little Armenia to the LASA guys cooking Filipino food in Chinatown. To the end, Bourdain kept a lot of love for (and gave a lot of life-changing screen time to) Los Angeles.
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