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Not His Best: 5 Episodes Of ‘Parts Unknown’ Where Anthony Bourdain Needed To Chill And Save Money For A Bit So He Cooked Eggs In His Hotel Room 

As a host and writer, Anthony Bourdain was often able to transcend the boundaries of the travel and food genres and create genuinely compelling, poetic television which was about much more than the food. Occasionally, though, he wasn’t really able to deliver. Here are five episodes of Parts Unknown where Anthony clearly needed to chill and save money for a bit so he cooked eggs in his hotel room.

1. S3 E4: Cleveland Motel 6

Bourdain’s signature narration opens this notoriously underwhelming episode with, “Cleveland. Home of many eggs. There’s something so simple and yet so satisfying about microwaving four eggs that you stole from a gas station in a disposable coffee cup for dinner while watching HGTV in standard definition on a hotel room television. Someday soon my check from CNN will hit my account and I’ll be able to fly off to Morocco to share pastilla with a tribal leader, but for now, I’m keeping an eye on my eggs in the microwave to make sure they don’t bubble up out of the cup, because I only have a few left.” For the remainder of the episode, Bourdain is silent, and the footage is mostly made up of him watching Shark Tank and putting hot towels on his face while groaning. Even the most diehard fans of Bourdain struggled to find anything enjoyable about this episode.

2. S3 E5: Eggs in Cleveland Again

Clearly shot back-to-back with S3 E4, this was another episode that lacked Bourdain’s usual iconoclastic wisdom and instead focused mostly on Bourdain attempting to cook eggs in the hotel’s coffee maker while lamenting having spent all of his money on some really nice caviar in St. Petersburg a few weeks prior. “The lowly chicken egg,” he narrates over footage of him cracking eggs into the coffee filter basket of the four-cup coffee maker in his dimly lit hotel room. “Never the centerpiece of an extravagant dish, but often the backbone that holds it all together. But with a little Sweet ‘N Low sprinkled on top and washed down with a glass of room temperature Cleveland city water, no one can deny the simple comforts of an all-egg midnight lunch.” The episode then cuts to Bourdain arguing with a producer, saying, “I’m just trying to watch my spending right now. Everything doesn’t have to be some big trip to Laos to eat scorpions or whatever. We’re doing eggs this week, OK? What do you have against eggs? Eggs are fine.” Once again, definitely not his best work.

3. S5 E8: Vietnam (Hotel ONLY)

Parts Unknown fans were definitely bummed out by this episode in season five, where Bourdain is able to make it out of the U.S., but he still spends the entire hour holed up in his hotel room to “save a few bucks.” “If I got out tonight,” he explains to the camera, “That’s like $70 right there I’m gonna spend on drinks and food. And that’s money I’m never getting back. But check this out.” He then reveals that he has packed a hot plate in his luggage along with four cartons of eggs from Trader Joe’s. “Gonna boil these bad boys up and hit the hay early tonight. A little financial discipline.” At the episode’s close, his voiceover explains, “Vietnam is a beautiful place even if you never leave your hotel because you’re trying to save up to buy a couch. I can only imagine what it’s like outside these walls. Maybe next time.”

4. S6 E6: New York

Although he never explicitly says so, Bourdain must have been trying to cut costs and save some cash when he shot this episode, where he and his best friend, Eric Ripert, share a plate of burnt scrambled eggs in Bourdain’s cramped New York City apartment. “The egg is a symbol of motherhood,” Bourdain begins to explain before being cut off by Ripert, who says, “No, not really. It’s just an egg. Not everything is a symbol of something. And wouldn’t it be a symbol of childhood? Eggs are kind of gross if you think about what they are. But they’re cheap.” The two chefs then spend the remainder of the episode playing Duck Hunt on Bourdain’s Nintendo, with Ripert winning every round.

5. S8 E4: Hotel

For this episode, Bourdain didn’t even bother announcing what city he was in, instead generically referring to the location as “hotel.” The episode opens with him immediately polishing off a single raw egg that he removes from the pocket of his denim jacket. His narration explains, “How many meals can be fit into a pocket, encased in their own protective packaging? Imagine doing this with a casserole or a lobster. In many ways, a single raw egg eaten alone in a hotel room is the perfect meal. It’s affordable, it’s inexpensive, and it’s cheap. The three things I look for in a meal when I’m trying to keep my expenses down so I can make a dent in my student loans.” Like all of the other episodes of Parts Unknown where Anthony Bourdain eats eggs in a hotel room, this one is mostly forgotten by his many fans.