Synopsis: Bourdain explores the many ways that New Mexico represents American culture and the myth of the American West. He takes to the open road, shares a meal with members of the Zia tribe, tries a Frito pie, and hunts for aliens.

On looking for tacos late at night:

“Does anyone else on CNN do this? Like, drive around like 10:15 at night looking for tacos? Yeah, probably.”

“Come for the vistas. Stay for the tacos.”

On shooting guns:

“Do you think people who don’t like the idea of guns—? If they had a day out here shooting targets, I expect some of them would at least temper their views somewhat.”

[After shooting a beer can] “When the zombie apocalypse comes, I’ll be ready—as long as they’re holding beers.”  

On Frito pie:

“I’m opposed to everything this dish stands for, and yet it is also delicious.”

“Neither the Frito nor the Frito Pie are indigenous to New Mexico. They are actually Texan. New Mexico, you have many wonderful things. I think let Texas have this one.”  

On a matanza (pig roast):

“Well, since the beginnings of civilization I think one of the first things any society learned to do was dig a hole, throw an animal in it, and cook it.”

Final thoughts on New Mexico:

“If you’re an Easterner and you come out to New Mexico, you start to see metaphors in everything. But if you were to stretch a little bit, you could say that New Mexico is a perfect metaphor for America. It is a total mutation. It’s got Spanish, Mexican, original American, and add a tinge of radioactivity. This is what America really is to one degree or another. We are an immigrant culture; we are a gun culture. The expression of American power and identity has always been the lone cowboy with a gun—that goes deep. This is the heart of the American dream. Love it or hate it. This is it.”

Guests weigh in:

Jessie (gun owner): “I was shooting a BB gun when I was 5 years old, and I knew at that time it wasn’t a toy, it was a weapon. And I was very well educated by my father on the responsible use of that piece of equipment, and that’s what’s critical to me.”

David Manzanares (music producer): “It wasn’t until my early 20s that I even knew who Georgia O’Keeffe was. Grew up with her being like a grandmother. It took me going out to LA, and going into a gallery out there I saw all these paintings and, like an idiot, I said, ‘Why do you got pictures of my house?’ And she said, ‘Please take a step back. That’s Georgia O’Keeffe’s.’”

Ivan Pino (on Native Americans’ place in modern America): “We continue to be outdoorsmen, and we are survivors. I have dealt with the elements—the rain and the hail—but it made a better person out of me. We are who we are. We’re still gonna be here.”