After Anthony Bourdain and Sean Brock finish many, many, many rounds of drinks, they visit the best/only choice for late-night dining in Charleston, the Waffle House, an irony free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts; where everybody regardless of race, creed color or degree of inebriation, is welcomed. Its warm yellow glow a beacon of hope and salvation, inviting the hungry the lost the seriously hammered all across the south to come inside.
In a surprising episode of the CNN culinary show Parts Unknown, Chef Sean Brock accompanied a rather skeptical Anthony Bourdain on his very first visit to a Waffle House. Brock was very familiar with the menu, as he grew up in southwest Virginia and had a singular recommendation for Bourdain – the pecan waffle. Bourdain complied with Brock’s suggestion and was happily surprised with the taste and quality of the food as well as the odd romance of the environment.
it’s really just a fucking magical place. the one thing I will say that I really love and thing that the south/midwest US does really well that I cherish from growing up there is that middle of the night diner experience. no frills. but it has that wonderful safe feeling about it… you can sit down, and suddenly nothing matters. nobody will hassle you, and you can just eat some good, cheap food. it’s not fancy, no… but it’s probably got a lot of grease, syrup, butter, and it will bring you back from the edge of death after a night of heavy drinking.
ive also enjoyed some of my best group meal experiences in diners like this. you meet new people while at a house party or at the bars with classmates from your degree program who you don’t normally hang out with… after a night of drinking, you find yourself jammed around a table in a waffle house, surrounded by people that you’ve just met that night, perhaps a cute girl you hadn’t spoken to thus far. everybody is instantly lifelong friends as long as you’re around that table. and then you leave and life goes on. but every so often, somebody suggests a pilgrimage… and once heard, few can resist that siren song.