Ultratravel U.S.

Spring 2014

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How do you feel about airports? I see them as something to be endured...I went out of my way to do the Global Entry program, which has been a big improvement in my life. What are your flying strategies? I wear easy shoes like no-lace Converse or Clarks desert boots. I don't wear a belt. I travel with a pullover lightweight down jacket, which is good if it gets chilly on the plane and also useful as a pillow. I love my iPad for books––I'm currently re-reading Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia"––or TV shows like "Justified." I always check luggage. I don't want to be the guy struggling to cram my carry-on into the overhead while everybody waits. How many miles do you log each year in airplane travel? I'm on my fifth passport in a decade. What is your favorite airline? Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. Both have great planes, comfortable seats and great service. Do you have a favorite airport? Singapore is a terrific airport. The food options are really good as are the airport massages. Terminal 4 at JFK has improved enormously because it has a Shake Shack. Generally speaking, it's the worst having to eat in an airport, so I try not to. Do you bring food with you? I'd feel guilty if I was sitting there eating some delicious BBQ and smelling up the plane while others are eating plane gruel. I don't want to do that to my fellow passengers, so I'll just knock myself out and sleep through. What is your craziest travel experience to date? Probably trying to cook coq au vin on a boat in the Congo with nothing but a dull knife and some live, scrawny chickens. Do you have a travel bucket list? I'm hoping to go to Iran this year for the show. I'm interested in visiting a place that very few Westerners have seen. I'm not there to report hard news, but I think it's useful to see how people live, what they eat and what makes them happy. What was your best off-the-beaten-path trip? Uruguay is terrific for its food, unless you're a vegetarian, in which case you're in real trouble. Francis Mallmann's El Garzón is a fantastic middle-of-nowhere hotel restaurant. Ensenada in Baja, Mexico, is also a wonderland of good food. There's a street cart called La Guerrerense, where they make crispy homemade tostadas with multi-textured, marinated seafood combinations. It's some of the best food I've ever had, just as good as some Michelin-star restaurants I've been to. All-time favorite vacation spot? The line between vacation and work for me is so narrow. I'm in these idyllic places all the time for work, which basically means eating and drinking. I love Southeast Asia and Vietnam for its mountains, alpine climates, jungles, beaches and villages. That said, I also love San Sebastián in Spain to hang out, eat and bounce from place to place. Do you have a hotel of choice? I like places I can walk barefoot. Old World tropical spots that make me feel like I'm in another time. I stay in so many hotels that I love to wake up and know where I am. I'm a huge fan of old Colonial-era hotels that have been restored, like the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor in Siem Reap or the Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi. Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince is a hotel with history. You can feel it in the walls. I will never stay anywhere else but the Chateau Marmont in L.A. In Miami, it's always the Raleigh Hotel. Can you talk about your New York City food market? I'm hoping to do something like the Singaporean model and take traditional street eats from around the world and put them in a clean, accessible space so we can enjoy the same kind of fast and cheap delicious food. Is there a name or location in mind? Not yet! It's very much up in the air. We're looking all around. The planning should take at least a year. Your wife is a mixed martial arts fighter. Do you train together? Ottavia competes internationally in jiujitsu tournaments and hopes to teach at some point. She's terrifyingly good. She could easily submit me in seconds. I train as well, but not as seriously as her. My daughter is also pretty advanced at this point and loves it. We're very much becoming a jiujitsu family. Does your daughter like to travel? She first got on a plane at three months old and she's never cried on a plane or in a restaurant. It's important to be able to show your child that not everyone lives like you. She loved Japan. We'll probably go to Paris this year. In your book, "Kitchen Confidential," you say that good eating is all about risk. It's a willingness to eat out of your comfort zone and try new things. We're designed to eat dirt and germs. Science tells us so. You are far more likely to get ill from eating at a major chain hotel than from street food where there's a line of locals waiting. Street food vendors are not in the business of poisoning their neighbors. Has celebrity chefdom reached its peak? I think it's here to stay and will normalize somewhat and get less silly over time. I hope it's sticking around because it's a pretty great gig. BOURDAIN'S UNIVERSE Anthony Bourdain has made a name for himself traveling the world in search of truly authentic taste experiences. As he embarks on his latest culinary endeavor a little closer to home, we caught up with the food, travel and television star to talk street eats, flight strategies and what it's like to cook coq au vin on a boat in the Congo. BY RACHEL SHELASKY 64 ultratravel QA & IMAGE COURTESY OF ZERO POINT PRODUCTIONS INC

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