tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN August 28, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
versus them and all over this part of america, people are learning there is no them. there is only us. and we're going to have to figure this out together. >> one of our roles here has always been to take away excess money from people who don't know what to do with it, or who can't think of a better idea how to spend their money. in the old days of doing that, we just throw it on a table. put that into a context of throwing away a bottle of 7-up in a club, that's slightly more honest about it. >> you're talking crass commercialism? >> in the very best sense of the word, this is it. >> is this the cultural center of the country? we may not what want to think
that it is, but is it? >> i don't know. whatever that place is, they all leave and come here. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha la la la ♪ sha la la la la ♪ sha la la la la la la
>> i can go to the desert, but i am not going to get there by accident. but that's part of the whole experience of the desert. it ain't friendly, it ain't nice, it ain't good, you know. you're out here, you know, a half a mile, doesn't matter if you're a half a mile out or 20 miles out, there's no reason to walk a mile further. you're already in infinite desolation. sin city was true, it was real. part of moving out here, you were never going to see the family again. i'm moving to vegas and i ain't coming to see you and you ain't coming to see me. that's the character of the city. it really was the pit of america. it wasn't somebody came out here and make a million bucks, it was i'm going to come out here and survive and you all ain't going to bug me at all back home. in vegas, there's winners and losers.
god knows i've been both. in a place like this, where you can lose your shirt on the unlucky turn of a card, you need a friend. and for my sins, i got ruhlman. currently evading prosecution in just about every jurisdiction from his hometown cleveland to grand forks, wanted for bail-jumping, usury, misuse of livestock, assault, grand theft
auto, and the author of the french cookbook and soul of a chef. he washed up in vegas at just the right time. vegas was always the most unlikely of dreams. the longest of long shots, in the middle of the desert. a real, but imaginary space that keeps expanding, creeping ever larger across the waste land. 100,000 became 300,000, became 500,000, then a million, then two. but it doesn't matter if it was five years ago or 50, the town has always ended like this. an abrupt cut from the desert wrapped on the horizon. but there are comfortable, dark places too. where a man can have a drink, meet like-minded sophisticados of the open west.
places like this. ♪ ♪ >> it's the good stuff. it's jameis & black. >> tavern, where those who have to live it, see it, the things that men do day after day, night after night, in a town where people are encouraged to do their worst. where they can drink the stain away. >> this is the side of vegas i like. >> yeah, because people here are like, really cynical. >> really? >> they have a dim world view,
even more dim than me. >> that's hard. >> you know what this whole show is about? you know there's a theme. >> no. >> this is about people who live here. you know, when all the meatheads come and go, they're still here. these people have seen every variety of horrifying human behavior. the whole business model is come to vegas and behave really, really badly. >> i think it's encouraged people to be their worst. they are expected to do that. kind of makes my skin crawl. >> really? >> not here, i'm comfortable here. >> is this an easy town to make a living? or a hard town to make a living? >> depends what you do. 25 years tending a bar here, you see some shit. >> you were born and bred here? >> she's third generation. >> are you an optimist or pessimist? do you think the human race are basically good people? >> i'd say roughly half of them.
>> half are going? >> half are going. >> there are probably more knucklehead per square foot in the vegas strip than anywhere in america. >> i'm not hanging with those people. there will be a few high-end meals while we're here. we will be sampling the other side, but there's a price. >> there's always a price with you. ♪ >> there are places in vegas where the available rooms are not listed on any website. places reserved for the whales,
the high rollers, the 10 million a night gamblers who arrive by private plane. ♪ >> can you imagine who lives like this all the time? >> it could go dark. it could get very dark here. i honestly never would have thought it would come to this. >> well, i was dunking fries 14 years ago. >> you've made some steps up. >> you make me feel better about all of this luxury looking back at all that? >> yeah, you deserve this. >> you're right. entering my golden years era. they don't show this in the viagra commercials. always running down the beach with a tennis racket, never sitting here. go out and kill some young
people. [ laughter ] throw another poor person in there. getting cold. to victory, victory in our time. you always try to comfort yourself in situations like this, thinking, i'm sure people who are really wealthy, they're probably miserable. they don't know the ups and downs of happiness, the contrast, the passion that i have. we don't know, do we? like they think every day is wonderful. >> lovely. >> foie gras. >> thank you. >> delicious. >> perfect, perfect. ♪ ♪ >> the habian villa at caesars palace, the little pad they give
you if your credit line runs into the eight figures. how did i get it? i told the casino that wolf blitzer was coming, that he was expected any minute. i suggested that wolf might be hungry. and they sent up geese savoi fortunately he doesn't watch a lot of television and i plan to live large until they figure out that wolf ain't coming. i'll deal with the fall-out later. but for now, we live. >> gentleman, this dish is caviar. everything is in layers. bottom of the layers, a caviar vinaigrette, with cream of caviar, then a puree of caviar, and we shall finish the dish with caviar savigon. >> ah, beautiful. look at that. >> it's rare that i say it's too beautiful to eat. >> i was just thinking that.
speaking of fantastically luxurious -- >> this is a specialty, the artichoke soup with fresh black truffle and shavings of parmesan cheese. >> oh, man. that's truffle. >> a combination of peasant, white rabbit, duck, foie gras, cabbage and white mushrooms. >> wow, look at this. that is beautiful. do you feel guilty eating this well? >> i do. >> i do. >> i'm feeling guilty now, but it will pass. >> i'll follow you then. >> wow. ever seen anything like this? >> i don't think i've ever seen anything like this anywhere. >> yeah, me either. >> and the thing is, you can see
the main pool from the window here. >> i was thinking about inviting them all up to our crib for a party. >> don't you dare do that. >> no. >> don't they deserve a good time? i don't know. maybe not. >> not gonna happen. >> we're heading back to guilt. do you feel enlightened and inspired by this? >> what are you asking? what are you getting at here? you're trying to get at something. >> trying to make sure i feel better. trying to make sure that i'm down with the people. >> this guilt keeps coming back. you keep bringing up the guilt. >> you're right. i feel guilty. >> then don't use the showers. what are you doing here if you feel so guilty about it? >> i feel guilty about not feeling guilty about it. >> that's more to the point. now you're being honest with yourself. >> right. ♪ thinking about what to avoid, where to go...
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♪ >> so i come out here because it's the land of opportunity. that's really great. but if you're not here, why else are you here? good old wreck your life scenario, that's always popular, but if you change your mind about wrecking your life, now what do i do? there's a lot less self reflection about why people are here than there is about most other places. what a lost opportunity that is. >> sinatra and the mob are gone, but there remains a sentimental attachment to the way things used to be. there were rules then, a way that things were done. and when they weren't done, there was always the desert and a hole in the ground. also, there were lounges and rug joints and places where a man could get a proper plate of italian american meatballs and spaghetti.
thankfully, there still are such places. places like this, the bootlegger. it's a family operation. mama maria's family has been running it for 41 years. you got your veal parm, your fettucine alfredo, steaks and shrimps, the iceberg wedge with the blue cheese, which believe me, you want. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the bootlegger. >> thank you very much. this is charl schafer my esteemed father. my name and lauren schafer and we're your entertainment for the evening. ♪ i've got the blues ♪ i feel so lonely ♪ i get the world ♪ if only to make him understand ♪ ♪ oh that surely would be grand ♪ >> the bootlegger has a
reputation for being a locals joint, and it is. but there's a lot of out-of-towners too, sentimental fools like me, who if they don't miss frank sinatra, miss louie primo and keelie smith. >> when i was 19, i got my first show on the strip, and it was a small casino, which is not there anymore now, it's been imploded for something newer, bigger, and better. ♪ baby won't you please come home ♪ >> what i do, anyway, it's part jazz, part nostalgia. obviously i do it with a heavy dose of nostalgia, because i'm creating the whole look, not just singing the old songs, which is what makes it fun for me. ♪
♪ when you left you broke my heart ♪ >> pick one, dean martin or frank sinatra, you get to see one of them live in a small room like this? >> frank sinatra. >> going with dino. >> i like dino as a person better because i've never heard anybody say anything bad about him. >> whereas sinatra you'd have a hard time hearing something good. there does seem to be a soundtrack to old vegas. >> a soundtrack. >> does that help? >> knowing me or the other entertainers? >> an affection for the classics. an expectation that while i'm here i should hear some standards. >> i don't know if there's a certain place that people say we're sentimental about las vegas, because there are very few hotels now that were there in the old days. they've all been imploded. >> they recreated ancient rome sort of, and the coast of paris.
louie prima, 3:00 a.m., have breakfast and go out and watch a bomb explode in the distance. >> that sounds like a good time. >> i would like to live here. >> was it better before, is it better now? different? >> it's better to talk about before. people loved having their mob stories and there's that weird romance of bad people. >> yeah. >> i don't think it actually was better. i think it was really good if you were sinatra. >> penn jillette, another cog in the entertainment machine, though at a somewhat more elevated level. of the live acts left in vegas, his might be the biggest draw. i suggested this place because raku, off the strip is where every chef i know, who knows this town said i should go. it's known as one of the best places to eat in vegas, casual, but pricey.
pricey because the ingredients, many from around the world. sea urchin from santa barbara, not too far, but good, tuna from spain where with it is best. the fresh river crab from japan. >> that was good, right? >> yeah, delicious. >> i didn't know oysters came that big. >> oh, yeah. the saki sashimi, saki belly, juicy deep fried chicken and one of my favorites, fish collar where all the best, tastiest, moistest, meatiest bits hide their favorites. penn has been living here and performing here for over 20 years. he knows. >> the thing about magic is, you cannot see it electronically. many people come to vegas are people that see one or two live shows a year, and if you see one or two live shows, you might as well see something that you can only see live, that you can
never, ever see a magician but live. >> these days, live performers are being squeezed out in favor of edm, electronic dance music. it's a deejay's world. where once they used to say cocaine was god's way of telling you you had too much money, now maybe edm is. >> we get invited to all the openings of the new clubs, but i don't understand it. and i'm embarrassed i don't understand it. >> are we just old? >> i think that might be it. >> or are we non-douchey? >> i don't know. if you want to spin it the latter, i'm afraid it might be the former. >> danny gans was huge here, wayne newton. they were gods. but what's the big money draw now? this. ♪ come ye lords and princedoms of douchedom, hear my clarion call.
anointeth thyself with gel and heavenly body paint, let there be sign of devil horns with hands. let there be high-fiving and hugging from many bros for this is the kingdom and power. now frolic, and maketh it to rain. >> it's crazy. >> just touch a button and people respond. >> they do, man. >> wednesday night at the marquee. deejay jason lima works for the house. tonight at marquee and other clubs like it around vegas, somewhere between 8 and 10,000 people are going to stop by and drop a whole boat load of cash. >> i mean, it's not just coming in here and getting bottles, sitting there drinking it. you are getting a full-on group experience. >> the new money, the new vegas, where the take at the big
nightclubs is outpacing the take from gambling and slots. where everybody for the right price and with enough sparkles and the right mix, can be a winner. >> after you finish work, how long does it take for your adrenaline to level off? >> at least an hour. >> what are your dreams like, man? >> i'm not going to lie. sometimes i close my eyes and still see the strobes. ears are ringing. still got like flashing. ♪ ♪ love
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♪ >> las vegas is an adult playland. that's what we intend to be. if people want to see mickey mouse, they can go 175 miles down the road. if they want to see bugsy siegel under a rock, they stay here. >> is this a mr. vegas, like elvis, or wayne newton, or bugsy siegel used to be? if there is, it would probably be this guy. former mayor oscar goodman, a man who knows, allegedly and to
the best of my knowledge, where all the bodies are buried. some of them, equally allegedly, by some of his former clients. we meet over drinks at oscar's, the steakhouse that bears his name and boasts beef, booze, and broads. >> you had some colorful clients. who was nice, who was less fun? >> the truth about it is, all my clients were nice to me because i kept them out of prison. >> did mob guys know how to eat? >> my mother used to say, oscar's clients don't hurt anybody. they just kill each other. and she also said, oscar's clients take us to the best restaurants. >> they knew where to go? >> yeah. and always treated her right. always treated like kings and queens. >> did the feds hold it against you? you were just doing your job. >> they didn't see it that way. they thought i was the consigliere. in order to murder somebody they
had to get my permission. that's how stupid these people were. >> these were gentlemen not unknown to mayor goodman. >> a lot of people will tell you it was a better place when the mob was running it, and in many ways that was true. >> there were rules in place. when the mob ran things, there was a certain urgency to that suggestion. >> well, saw that with prince harry. a perfect example. here having a good time. in the old vegas, that would never have happened. never have been a disclosure. in today's modern age, it was all over the world in moments. >> moments. >> it says something about the town that his honor served three term s as mayor. he is an unabashed drinker of hard liquor, gambler and he was never shy about admitting it. >> i mean, it's unique.
>> vegas is unique. but you go to the airport here, everybody's smiling. when they come in, they can't wait to lose their money. when they leave, they're smiling after they lost their money. i think it is very, very special place that people can kind of take their basic instincts and let it fly. i think that's good. i have no problem with that at all. ♪ ♪ >> when you come to vegas, you see this. the lights and smoke and mirrors, the casino floors, but who manages the machine? where do they come from? beneath the floors, behind the walls, above the winking surveillance camera lenses, a whole other world, manned by thousands and thousands of waiters, maintenance people, repairmen, chefs, engineers, plumbers, and croupiers. three shifts a day, they slip in and out of the casinos almost
unseen through their own entrances, but it's these people who seen it all. seen everything, night after night. benny's been working here since caesar's opened in august of 1966. heed dealt cards to everybody. >> i dealt to diana ross, sinatra. sammy davis. >> sinatra was not supposed to be amiable at the table. >> sinatra was playing. but those were the good days. but it's nice now too. >> would you describe yourself as a degenerate gambler? >> i definitely have been. trying to move past that. we have a 2-year-old at home. so i'm working in that phase but i will always have that gambling gear, no doubt about it >> they're professional gamblers, poker players to be precise. it's routine they are for them
to sit down with a bankroll of a half million dollars. tonight slightly smaller stakes. >> benny, how do you like my chances? >> good. >> that's a trained answer. >> instead of actual poker, we're set up and dumbed down for the camera version of texas hold'em. you play against the house. the odds are stacked against you. >> oh, here's a winner. here's a winner. two pair. he's cutting up over there. see how easy it is? you got this game down. >> uh-oh, those are famous last words. >> let's put out a hundo, let's see what happens. all right. >> we have a pair of sevens. >> i want to bet. >> okay. i have trips. that's going to be pretty hard to beat. >> you're a dead man, benny. i bet again. >> two pairs. >> pair of deuces. >> pair of tens.
oh, now. pair of kings. >> benny! >> a full house. >> goodness, benny. you got a full house. >> this is unbelievable. is there a cooler standing behind us? >> all right, well, that works for me. this is what we call a learning experience. >> it was fun. we got away with our shirts. >> let's not do it again. >> yeah, let's never do it again.
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♪ ♪ >> it's easy to find people that will help you untangle a mess, but somebody's got to be the one to create the mess in the first place. that calls for untangling. >> what is our metaphor here? easy to tangle, but untangle. this has been so much fun. >> anthony is an artist and a born and bred las vegas native. after many adventures and i'm guessing some misadventures as well, he chose to live here. >> you know, to what degree am i complicit in the worst of our city by making art that glorifies the city? i don't profit directly from
what those people do, but of course, i do, because i live in this city, and that money rolls all around us. >> but how do we live with it? it's not why and where the people come from who do the grotesque things people do here, it's how do we live here, complicit in it? that's the big issue, to be able to be self-reflective about the place, or you just got to go and stay high all the time, because of the shame. i mean, which is another popular way of doing a living here. >> is vegas a friendly town? >> yeah, always friendly, because that's our job. >> but you mean, to itself? if you're a local? >> no. >> no? >> not a bit. this town doesn't have any respect for the people who just happen to live here. in the old days, we were co-conspirators. we weren't citizens.
the new authority is the new power, exactly as anonymous as the old power. no access, not a chance. >> there's been for some years an art community in vegas, art, that makes us better and makes us think. granted, vegas is a town designed to make you not think, to separate you from your money in as pleasurable a way as possible. so pleasurable that even after you limp out of town, leaking from your ass with nothing in your pockets, you want to come back and do it again. reflection, not so good. >> as a resident, what are the general rules of survival? >> don't cry about being broke. if i'm broke, more than likely, it's because i threw away my money, then too bad for me, because i didn't get lucky. >> don't cry about being broke. what about another one? >> the smile. that's local characteristic. >> it's a service industry down. >> one of our roles has always
been to take away excess money from people who don't know what to do with it, who can't think of a better idea about how to spend their money. we'll always take it. >> is that worse than before? >> the law is that there are people with that kind of income who could put it to so many other better uses and can think of nothing so crass and boring than to wave the money in the air and throw it away. for those of us who live here, is that challenge. ♪ ♪ >> best thai restaurant in vegas by far, one of the best in vegas by far. one of the best in america. >> jet has been here before. an l.a. guy, he came out here to do four years as executive chef
at encore, a wynn casino on the strip. he's a reigning authority on thai food but really everybody who loves thai food knows about this place. >> you go to the back of the menu, northern specialties. you come here and eat dragon noodles, someone should punch you in the face. it's one of those restaurants. >> saipan is the owner and chef. now get this, and it's important, you don't do pad thai here. you do what they are uniquely superb at, which is specifically the food of northern thailand. ♪ >> yeah, yeah, love it. >> literal translation, chile dip. it's more of a composed, room temperature, salad. >> a tough crispy rice salad,
with reserved sausage. >> that's good. >> jack fruit salad. this is pork, curry, brazed with garlic and ginger. >> this pork is amazing. >> isn't that great? and that's northern la. very important dish. >> oh, that looks really pretty. >> this is cow soy. this is the food my gramma made. >> that's perfection, man. >> what i love about vegas, asian food, on one street, the best sichuan province food, cantonese food, and drive down the street and you get the best thai food. it's a funky, awesome -- >> how did that happen? >> gambling. >> the high rollers? >> a dude with a $10 million credit line at wynn is going to eat a $10 chinese meal because it's the closest thing he has to home food.
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we are increasing the value of the products we are working with. we are giving you the essence. >> tonight we feast. tucked away in the back of another of jose's restaurants, they make paella over an open flame. in the center of a crowded dining room. quiet, serene, a kind of magic. this is, granted, a far cry from the $1 shrimp cocktail and the all you can eat buffets groaning under the weight of a thousand carbs. ham and bean soup with roasted garlic. come on, baby, the world's best. like from spain. nitro almond cup, a frozen shell made from a puree of alkona almonds, finished with andalusian caviar.
>> you know, this meal is working very well. my palette is open and intrigued. i'm growing more hungry, the desired effect is taking hold. >> if you were a famous chef and and you are allured as so many are by the rivers of green promised by vegas, it's nice if you can get yourself a play room. >> mussels, olives. >> he doesn't use the word foam. >> i would say air. it goes all over the place. it's a mess. a chef cannot do anything with these. water is not water anymore. water has a body. belongs. >> the truffle egg, truffles formed into an egg shape, with an actual yolk suspend in the center.
>> we will be feeding our truffles chicken, will their eggs become like this? >> and finished with more, lots more, shaved white truffle. >> this is crispy chicken skin. >> i'm sliding this off right into my face. >> incredible. >> this is your portion of the foie gras and brian will finish it with a clementine sauce. >> light and flavorful. >> gentlemen, this is your next course. >> awesome. >> it's the secret cut of the iberian pig, located underneath the front shoulder. >> this is an homage of the goodness of the sea, meets the goodness of the earth. you know the work that goes into creating a menu like this.
we put the work business doesn't mean it's good. when the food critics they come, and they say, the chef was not there. and i look at the food critic saying it's almost like a lack of respect. who do you think these people are? where do you think they come from? what do you think their careers are? every one of those amazing thousands of chefs, sous chefs that we have across the world are as good as the guys with the big names in neon letter. ♪ lcerative colitis, the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal.
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♪ >> there is not an acre of preserved mojave desert in the city limits of las vegas. why would you preserve this? this desolation is not nurturing. we can't be here unless there's a lot of technology supporting our presence. and so there's a sense of the city versus nature. this is not our friend. >> you'd think looking at the vast lakes, the canals, the fountains of vegas in the middle of the desert, the flush of 100,000 toilets that the casinos and what they bring would constitute an obscene waste of water, and indeed, water is an ever more desperate premium as the water levels at lake mead decrease at an alarming rate.
but it ain't the casinos that are the culprit. vegas casinos are a model of water efficiency. the main culprit, the all american lawn. a little square of green. robert kern is water police. he patrols the vegas streets looking for evidence of water violations. >> there's water in the gutter on both sides. this is not their day. we're in an area where there shouldn't be any watering, but there's water here. so that's what we do, we drive around here, look for something like that, give them an education visit. hey you are not supposed to water today. >> you don't cuff them and bring them in. >> no.
but we can go to a fee? >> how much? >> $80. and then it keeps going. >> it seems to me to be a losing battle to keep your grass green? do you need a lawn? >> everyone who came here from other areas, it was lush and green. that's what vegas was 20 years ago. it was lush and green. >> sure. >> the city assigns watering days to control usage and also encouraging a landscaping style focused on drought resistant plants and efficient irrigation. if you don't get with the program, there's a whole out there in the desert for you. okay, not really. you get a notice pinned to your door or something. >> but some people they want the lawn. >> and they can have it, just don't water on the wrong day. >> how critical is it? >> very. there's no snow on the western sierras, so we don't get any continued flow dumping into lake mead. so unless something drastic changes, there's no relief in the near future, but got to stay positive. ♪
>> for the first 34 years, you just couldn't conceive of what was ahead. what we had, whatever was the newest thing that was happening, was so spectacular and wonderful and oh, my gosh, we've reached a new eastern edge, or western, northern edge. the odds are slim to zero that we're going to extend it to yet a further horizon. it's inconceivable. so there's the thing. the desert exceeds our ambition. >> in vegas, nothing is permanent. it constantly eats itself. tears down, builds up, expands according to no known or easily understood plan. an organic thing, responding to the dark dreams of the american subconscience. come frolic, live like caesar, or make money off those who do.
drop a few moist bills in a gas station slot, see the full spectrum of human folly and commit some follies of your own. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ♪ since i was 14 years old, i always wore cowboy boots. maybe because my little boy role models were always the men in the black hats. richard boone in "have gun will travel," robert vaughn in "the magnificent seven." silent killers. men with pasts. men from somewhere else who found themselves in the great american west. a place where reinvention, a new life was always possible. as long as you were willing to kill for it. ♪ i took a ride through this