Synopsis: Bourdain heads to the Emerald City for some primo legal green and a brief but memorable interlude with the lovely ladies of virtual reality porn. It’s not all unadulterated adult enchantments in Seattle, though. To get to that Sweet Kush, Bourdain must first elbow his way past the insufferable Starbucks-swilling “tech bros,” typically identifiable by their blue badges and soulless eyes.They’re building a Whole Foods in the once-gritty gayborhood of Capitol Hill in what amounts to a symbol of incessant gentrification. Here it’s called “facade-omy.” As the yuppies wreak havoc on the city, bleeding it of its long-cherished character, Bourdain must dodge an estimated 75 serial killers in the Washington-state area—addled by the long, dreary winters, locals say. Will he make it out alive? Tune in to find out.  

Beware the tech-bro

The newsletter you need Get more Bourdain in your inbox. This week: Mexico.

Seattle, a city with a collective identity, constantly in flux. Always changing. But what it’s always been and continues to be is a magnet for creators to come experiment.

  • “Seattle has always been a place where you can go to reinvent yourself. … Whether outfitting prospectors during the Alaskan Gold Rush or looking for some kind of cred from the music scene, it’s always boom or bust. Now it’s a new kind of boom: Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Expedia, and Amazon are the big dogs in town. A flood of them—tech-industry workers, mostly male, derisively referred to as ‘tech boys’ or ‘tech bros’—are rapidly changing the DNA of the city, rewiring it to satisfy their newly empowered nerdly appetites. Meet our new apple martini–drinking overlords.”
  • “Capitol Hill is Seattle’s established gayborhood, going back to the mid-1960s. Old-school cool. But with every passing day, change. The Hill has become the new weekend stomping ground of breeders from the tech companies. And the locals are displeased.”
  • [On the construction of a Whole Foods in Capitol Hill] “Oh no— That’s a sign of the apocalypse. That’s the official indicator that the neighborhood is f*cked.”

Bourdain’s world-famous broad strokes

“In a lot of ways, I mean, this was always a company town. You know, Boeing. Before Boeing, it was a Lockheed town. The new company is tech, and it is flooding money into the place. I look out my hotel window and there are cranes as far as the eye can see.”

  • “Everybody in Seattle is a musician, a serial killer, a chef, as far as I’m concerned.”
  • “Weed, smoke, ganja, reefer— Call it what you will. It’s marijuana. Oh, I could go on all day. Long story short, Washington state legalized weed in 2012. And I plan to make the most of it while scrupulously adhering to the letter of the law—like I always do.”
  • “Why do people Instagram pictures of food? To share their wonderful eating experience? No! It’s to make other people feel bad about what they’re eating. It’s like, ‘Look, I’m eating all these incredible crabs and you’re sitting at home in some dirty underwear eating Doritos.’”
  • “It is perhaps unfair to suggest that the Pacific Northwest and Seattle area have been home to a disproportionately large number of serial killers. But I’ll do it anyway.”
  • [On the Seattle area’s many serial killers] “All you’ve gotta do is put on a clown suit and already you’re a suspect.”

A stepmom sort of town

  • “Do you know the No. 1 search term on porn websites for the Seattle area? ‘Stepmom.’ Who wants to f*ck their stepmom?”
  • [While trying out some virtual reality porn] “Oh my God… Now should I look behind me? ’Cause I don’t wanna get spit-roasted here. … Yeah, they’re kind of scary. … It’s good!”

Bourdainian miscellany

Few things are more mysterious and unknowable than the bagel. Can one, perhaps, create the perfect bagel and with toppings that don’t fall off? As a New Yorker, I’m inclined to say no, but now I’m not sure.

  • “Next to making a proper omelet or, like, wiping your own ass, knowing how to roll a joint is an essential life skill for any self-respecting member of society in my view. Pay attention, people.”
  • “People like me—someone who’s cooked his whole life—I live in terror of bread. And anything that rises, in fact, like a horse senses my fear and insecurity and misbehaves.”
  • [To the chef behind Modernist Cuisine] “Aren’t you afraid that in some way you’re doing Satan’s work here by quantifying magic? Food is a very romantic thing. It’s usually experienced, at best, in an emotional way.”
  • “Is Seattle a teeming hive of serial killers? Or am I just an idiot with a morbidly overactive imagination and an attraction to the dark, ugly side of life?”
  • “How many working serial killers do you think are out there now in the Washington-state area?” [Answer: Probably around 75]