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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Miami. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 22, 2015 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:19] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Miami sneaks up on you. Or do we change and find ourselves sneaking up, washing up, ending up in Miami?
BOURDAIN: Miami, it's a big place. Bigger and more multifaceted than it's given credit for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miami, where you at?
BOURDAIN: We tend over the years to focus on Miami's -- how shall I put this -- party zone.
BOURDAIN: It's the kind of place we say, "That could never be me," and then it is.
BOURDAIN: It's a temptation that's almost irresistible, the seductions of flash, of palm trees, balmy nights, deco architecture, the manufactured dreams of many television shows made real.
But across the causeway a few miles down the way there are other worlds, older ones. I think it's safe to say better ones.
BOURDAIN: Way out west, 20 miles from the airport, tucked in yet another strip mall, is Islas Canarias. And you go there because, well, you need coffee, and because Cuba, respect, and because Michelle Bernstein is there.
(on camera): It was a long time getting here.
MICHELLE BERNSTEIN, CHEF: You need a car in Miami. And yes, this is like the heart of Miami.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Michelle is one of my Miami's most iconic influential chefs, born and bred her.
(on camera): When people say where did you grow up, you say --
BERNSTEIN: Miami. This is out west. You can't get much further west than this.
BOURDAIN: What's beyond here?
BOURDAIN: Ah, body disposal?
BERNSTEIN: Well, you can say that. I can. This restaurant, we would actually come here for the seafood and it would be elegant.
BOURDAIN: Well, you have the waiters in the little bolero jacket-type things or a bow tie.
BERNSTEIN: You should get a bow tie. Yeah, and there's still some Cuban places in Miami that still have that.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): This is how you drink coffee in Miami.
BERNSTEIN: In the real places give you the milk first and then the coffee.
BOURDAIN (on camera): What do they call this again, those tiny little --
BERNSTEIN: Colada. It's a big cup with little cups.
BOURDAIN: It is basically like the coffee version, the caffeine version of a one-hitter. You're basically, so I'd have one of those. At the next place, I'd have another. And I increasingly get jangling as I head towards work or whatever my final destination.
[23:05:11] BERNSTEIN: I grew up on the colada. At 4, I had my first, I think, colada. We all give our babies coffee. They put their finger in it to taste it and they all grow up loving coffee.
BOURDAIN: That's good.
So this is a nonjudgmental land, Miami?
BERNSTEIN: It is. You can pretty much get away with almost anything.
BOURDAIN: It's good coffee.
BERNSTEIN: I'm so glad you like it because a lot of people don't like it.
BERNSTEIN: Well, because they think it is too sweet.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): And many of you watching who are generally aware of Miami and this sandwich thing they call a Cubano, that you may or may not have had before, you're thinking, yes, a Cubano sandwich, but you'd be wrong. This is not a Cubano sandwich, strictly speaking. This, my friends, is a megalochick (ph). Close, a cousin. Like a Cubano, it has roast port, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, a little mustard, and like a Cubano it is pressed until hot and runny inside.
BERNSTEIN: You see the bread. It's sweeter.
BOURDAIN (on camera): Right.
BERNSTEIN: So you have a real contrast with the salty pickle and the port and the bread. See how juicy that is? That's the telling of a sandwich.
BOURDAIN: It pisses me off. You know people try to improve on this.
BERNSTEIN: A lot of people try to improve on it.
BERNSTEIN: How is it? Is it yummy?
A lot of thought is given to the structure of the sandwich.
BERNSTEIN: It is all about the layers.
This is the perfect breakfast, right?
BERNSTEIN: It's good, yeah. I always go for the salty, never the sweet.
BOURDAIN: I don't care about sweet things. If I have to give up one course of the meal, it's the dessert. You know how it's --
BERNSTEIN: Of course.
BOURDAIN: Cheese over dessert any day.
BERNSTEIN: Yes. I'd rather have steak over dessert, but maybe that's because my mother is from Argentina.
MATT KLEIN, OWNER CLUB DEUCE: This is my world away from the world. To me, it's my little king's domain.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): There's one place I keep coming back to. It's a place where, if you look deep enough, ask the right Questions, you can get a whole history of Miami from one man, this man, Matt Klein.
KLEIN: You're going to have to remember you're speaking to 100-year- old man.
BOURDAIN: I know. You look good.
KLEIN: Raise your voice a little bit.
BOURDAIN: You look good. If I look that good when I'm 60, I'll be happy.
KLEIN: You know what the amazing thing about being 100 is? Last year, I was 99. Nobody paid attention to me. Didn't care. I became 100, my God.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Matt Klein, the owner, proprietor and regular bartender at Matt's Club Deuce, turned 100 years old this year. Yes, 100. He's still here. The cigarette smoke and dark, dank atmosphere, pretty good for a guy that's seen it all.
KLEIN: That's 73 years ago, Fort Benning, Georgia. I was the 2nd Armored Division.
BOURDAIN: Matt Klein came to Miami in 1945 from New York's lower east side by way of the battle of Normandy.
KLEIN: I came here because I was wounded and the warm weather was much better for me.
BOURDAIN (on camera): But there was a lot of G.I.s during the war here, right?
KLEIN: The Lord made Miami Beach for the simple reason that people were station here and, all of a sudden, they saw a world that they didn't believe.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): During World War II, Miami saw a massive influx of military personnel. Hotels, which had seen a sharp drop in business, made a deal with the government to house troops at the empty resorts.
KLEIN: They told their parents about it, the parents came down, sons came down. They opened businesses here, and they were basically Jewish at the time and that's how it started.
BOURDAIN: By the fall of 1942, more than 78,000 troops were living in more than 300 hotels in Miami and Miami Beach.
(on camera): How long have you been running the Deuce?
KLEIN: I took over in 1964. Half of my life I've spent here. Miami Beach has turned over at least six times since I've been here. All that neon is "Miami Vice." They put it in here.
KLEIN: This was their favorite bar.
BOURDAIN: It makes sense, too.
[23:10:13] KLEIN: Still, it was very flattering. The same as how flattering it is to have you here.
BOURDAIN: I love this place. I mean I love it. It's my favorite bar in Miami.
To many more.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): The dreamers, the visionaries, crooks and con men who built Miami envisioned many different kinds of paradise, a New Jerusalem in the seemingly infinitely expanding real estate. Just fill in where there's water and you've got property, or as in Coral Gables, build a new Venice, complete with a tabloidish (ph) fantasy architecture and grand canals. Gondolas to ferry the new seekers to their palazzos in the sun. The dream was as expandable as the space. Where there was water, there was now magically terra-sort-of-firma.
And in the '80s, where there was decline, a vacuum, suddenly, there was a new and vibrant economy, one that raised all boats, filled Miami with new buildings shiny cars, swanky nightclubs, floods of cash, and a new reputation for murder and criminality to go with it. Cocaine. Say what you will, cocaine altered the skyline of Miami forever. It made, for better or worse, Miami sexy again.
[23:15:11] (on camera): Going back to the very beginning, was Miami always a criminal enterprise?
But I mean that in a good way. Outlaw culturalism, a very deep part of American culture.
BILLY CORBEN, MOVIE PRODUCER: Nicole Highason (ph) says, in Florida, we don't produce or manufacture anything but oranges or handguns. There is no indigenous industry. We sell sunshine.
ALFRED SPELLMAN, MOVIE PRODUCER: We sell you a dream
CORBEN: The only jobs we have are in hospitality or in restaurants.
SPELLMAN: Real estate.
CORBEN: Real estate. It is all to sell the dream to the next people.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): In 1981 the FBI called Miami the most violent city in America. The drug industry brought in an estimated $7 to $12 billion a year and that was of 1981 money. That is a lot of trickle down. One of the most successful documentaries in the history of film is
"Cocaine Cowboys," which tells that story. The film made by these guys, Alfred Spellman and Billy Corben.
(on camera): So things were in decline. Cocaine sort of saved the city?
SPELLMAN: Well --
CORBEN: We'd say so.
Am I going to get in trouble? Am I going to get in trouble for it? Yes.
SPELLMAN: But by 1981, you had a murder rate here 365 homicides here. 25 percent of those bodies had automatic weapons bullets.
(voice-over): We talk about the uncomfortable reality of where a lot of the modern Miami came from over something you just have to hit hard when in Miami in season -- stone crabs.
CORBEN: The Federal Reserve branch in Miami had a $5 billion cash surplus, mostly $50s and $100 dollar bills, all of which had trace elements of cocaine on them.
SPELLMAN: And the guys in cocaine trafficking in the '70s and '80s who got busted and went to prison got out, and are now big Medicare fraudsters.
CORBEN: We're whispering because they're probably here.
BOURDAIN: So where's the money now? How's business in general in Miami and where is that business coming from?
SPELLMAN: Remarkably the rebound from the great recession, the people thought it would take a decade for all the condo inventory to get absorbed, and it seemed to happen almost overnight. By 2010, 2011, things were turned around here. We're in the middle of another huge boom. Who is buying? It's wealthy foreigners, a lot of flight capital from overseas, from Latin, South American, Russians.
BOURDAIN: If it is money looted from another country, do we care? Trickle down.
SPELLMAN: It has propped up Miami once again with another inflated bubble and the Question is, how long will it last?
BOURDAIN (voice-over): There's history and there's the more immediate needs of the present. I need food presently and perhaps some fine bourbon. And when I need good food in a city not my own, more and more these days, I call somebody who, if they weren't good at enough things already, has become something of an expert on food around the world.
(on camera): Every time I check Instagram, you're eating with one of my culinary heroes. You've eaten had gyros --
BOURDAIN: He seems to like you much better than me.
(voice-over): Ahmir Khalib Thompson, known to most as Questlove.
(on camera): You've been to this place before?
AHMIR KHALIB THOMPSON, QUESTLOVE: I live at this place.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Yard Bird quickly became a Miami favorite, serving over-the-top Southern classics to well-heeled bonveva (ph) like, well, us.
(on camera): The old joke was that James Brown was the hardest working man in show business. You make him look lazy. Let's review, band leader, producer, a teacher --
BOURDAIN: -- a deejay.
THOMPSON: Technically, I have 16 jobs right now.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Devilled eggs with fresh dill and trout roll will be so over next year, but right now, I want 10 more. Delicious. Fried green tomatoes with pork belly, this is the perfect thing for a guy looking to squeeze into a size 28 Speedo tomorrow and hit the beach.
(on camera): How often are you in Miami?
THOMPSON: Three to five times a year.
BOURDAIN: What makes the Miami sound different from the Detroit sound, the Philadelphia sound, the New York sound, whatever?
THOMPSON: You can't say something specific like, well, Philadelphia has strings in their arrangement whereas Stacks Records had organ in theirs. But I do consider the sound of Miami to be the beginning of really great dance music.
BOURDAIN: Once called 77 Elvis pancakes? Chocolate chip pancakes, bourbon maple syrup, banana compote and peanut butter. Even if you're not the king, you'll want to die on the toilet like he did after this carbo load.
(on camera): If I really want to do the Elvis experience, I should be eating a fistful of Percodan with that.
[23:20:14] (voice-over): Yard Bird's signature fried chicken comes with spiced watermelon and cheddar cheese waffles. Here, they brine the chicken for a day, 27 hours to be exact, in a spicy bath that includes cayenne and black pepper, garlic and onion. Tender inside and perfectly crispy on the outside.
(on camera): To me, I like waffles and I like chicken, but I don't understand waffles and chicken together.
THOMPSON: You still don't understand?
BOURDAIN: No, look, I understand people deeply love them and I do like waffles and I do like fried chicken. Put them on separate plates and I'm OK.
THOMPSON: You don't want your food integrated?
BOURDAIN: Shrimp and grits, a southern classic made with Florida shrimp, Virginia ham, and South Carolina stone-ground grits.
(on camera): On the other subject, I was reading your book. Is it Curtis Mayfield you have bad associations with?
THOMPSON: Whenever I hear Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," just as a kid, that particular structure always frightened me.
BOURDAIN: "Aqualung," Jethro Tull, I whipped into a murderous rage right away.
THOMPSON: Even now?
BOURDAIN: Even now. I'm angry that that band ever existed. I hate that whole Englishy, old, bar minstrelly, stand-on-one-leg mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I hate that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
BOURDAIN: You never know when you play music, were they molested by a rodeo clown to that song.
BOURDAIN: And Jethro Tull is my version of that.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:25:33] BOURDAIN (voice-over): Who got here first? Who, other than, say, some early Native American tribes and Spaniards? Caribbean blacks, most of whom were Bahamian. Bahamians figured heavily in the early development of south Florida, which began in earnest with the construction of railroads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by this guy, Henry Morrison Flagler, the industrialist and tycoon largely credited with being the father of modern Florida. Flagler's dream was the Florida East Coast Railway, which would run from Jacksonville to Key West, connecting the ports of Miami to the rail system of the rest of the United States, creating along its route new towns, new cities, new places where America's rising middle class could frolic and play. He also agreed to lay the foundation for a city on both sides of the Miami River.
As more and more whites moved in, segregation took hold and much of the Bahamian community was forced into black neighborhoods like Overtown and Liberty City. So if you're looking for old Miami, original Miami, you're looking, to a great extent, for black Miami.
BOURDAIN: These days, Liberty City is mostly ignored by developers, but back in the day, it was the epicenter of the black community. A lot has happened since then.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pancakes, smoked sausage, boiled eggs.
BOURDAIN (on camera): What do you usually get?
LUTHER CAMPBELL, RAPPER & OWNER, MLK RESTAURANT: Oh, man the fishy grits. See, that's what Bahamians eat.
BOURDAIN: Your parents were Jamaican and Bahamian?
CAMPBELL: Yes, my mother was Bahamian and my father was Jamaican.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Today, I'm having fish and grits at MLK Restaurant with this guy, Luther Campbell.
(on camera): A lot of good cooking tradition in the family.
CAMPBELL: Oh, yeah. One night, we'd have rice and peas and, the other night, we'd have peas and rice.
BOURDAIN (voice-over): Otherwise known Uncle Luke or perhaps Luke Sky Walker at various times. Luther is something of a musical, political and legal legend, credited with pioneering what would be called Miami base. Maybe you know him from such hits as Two Live Crews' "Me So Horny" and "Do Wa Ditty" or the groundbreaking fair-use Supreme Court Case Campbell versus Acuff-Rose Music.
(CHEERING) (on camera): How do you end up different growing up in Miami than you would have grown up in L.A. and New York?
CAMPBELL: A lot of people would have said southern people, whatever you want to call us, in actuality, we're an island town. I mean, Miami was made up of Bahamians who really filled the city of Miami, so now you have a different culture.
BOURDAIN: South American and --
CAMPBELL: Very different.
BOURDAIN: Very, very different.
BOURDAIN: How has that mix, how has that impacted the music?
CAMPBELL: When people think about me, this guy makes bootie-shaking music. Everybody is dancing. Everybody is dancing in a sexual way. Jamaicans, they wind. The girls are standing up on you. The girls stand up on you and put your butt on you and start winding.
BOURDAIN: I've seen this on television.
CAMPBELL: It's no different than a lap dance.
BOURDAIN: Among your other accomplishments, you ran for office?
BOURDAIN: About 70 percent residents of Miami speak Spanish at home?
[23:29:52] BOURDAIN: Enormous African-American and Afro-Caribbean community. How come they keep electing conservative white guys?
CAMPBELL: Those conservative white guys, they're (INAUDIBLE), don't' say nothing. Don't energize your people. So you have a whole quiet community, you didn't get them excited about voting.
BOURDAIN: It's the opposite of get-out-the-vote program, which is don't bother to vote.
CAMPBELL: Don't bother to vote. You take the governor's election. You know African-Americans voted at 20 percent. If we would have voted at 50 percent, Charlie Crist would have won the governor's race.
BOURDAIN: If you were selling Miami to somebody, what's the best thing about Miami?
CAMPBELL: Best weather.
BOURDAIN: How do you handle the cold if you have to tour or something in Detroit or Chicago or something?
CAMPBELL: My mind-set is I don't have to deal with this every day. I'm going back to sunshine. I can go into a blizzard. I know I'm going out. You all stay.
BOURDAIN: This is really good.