The final episode of Anthony Bourdain's television series Parts Unknown, which takes place in New York City's Lower East Side, is about so much more than food. As the program revisits the grit and glam that made the neighborhood a magnet for drugs and music in the '70s, the viewer gets a truly visceral sense of what the LES meant to Bourdain.
He candidly admitted that he went there in the '70s for heroin and music, and he recognizes most of the old dope bags that a local historian has saved from the era. Then, instead of visiting the trendy and fancy new restaurants that currently clutter the LES, he went along with guest stars like Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie, rap Renaissance man Fab 5 Freddy, and punk icon Lydia Lunch to visit some of the everyday institutions that have endured the test of time (well, and one fancy new spot). The next time you're in the neighborhood, here's where to raise an egg cream or plate of spaghetti to Bourdain's memory:
Ray's Candy Store
Get an egg cream like Anthony did, or make your toast with your choice of a seemingly infinite amount of milkshake flavors.
This tradtional Ukranian diner, which opened in 1954, is open 24 hours, meaning you can grab Ukranian delicacies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack.
Bourdain's one concession to fancier food on this episode was to eat at Public Kitchen, which is chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's casual spot for organic and sustainable eating.
No visit to the Lower East Side for food is complete without hitting up a Jewish deli, and the tiny counter at B&H Dairy was his place of choice.
El Castillo de Jagua
While Anthony praised his guest Fab 5 Freddy for bringing hip-hop to the world via the LES, Freddy praised the consistency of the food at this legendary Dominican diner.
Check out this old-school joint where the chef is still trying new things. This burrata right here? Sign us up!
John's of 12th Street
Visit this classic joint for a hearty plate of pasta or parm and a heavy dose of Italian red sauce ambience — even if you're actually having linguine and clams with white sauce.
And if you're not in the vicinity of NYC and you'd like to pay your tributes to the late chef, you could recreate his surprisingly simple last meal on Parts Unknown, which you can easily make at home in a few minutes. Eat well in his honor!
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