Synopsis: Anthony Bourdain heads to Uruguay, a place that is much more than a “tiny, underappreciated South American country tucked between Argentina and Brazil.” He is immersed in a meat-obsessed country whose hearty cuisine is indebted equally to Spain and Italy. While hanging out with locals, Tony tries to make sense of a nation that went from hard-line authoritarianism to progressive politics within just one generation.

On Uruguay’s love affair with meat:

  • “Last time I was here I have to admit that after about six days I would’ve killed someone for a vegetable.”
  • [On morcilla] “Look, when they kill me, that’s how I wanna go. Keep the heart beating, pump the blood into the bucket, let the village women come and make sausage.”
  • [On drive-through joints that double as steakhouses] “The meat’s good. You should bring your own cutlery next time.”

On Montevideo’s chill vibes:

I’m permitted to smoke on camera now. I’m observing local customs.

  • “Proceed to smoke weed. It’s cool—everyone’s doing it! Someone call the elfin Jeff Sessions! He’ll shit himself!”
  • “I love this country. I mean, there’s a vibe here that is just unlike any other place on the continent. It’s the opposite of New York in a lot of ways.”

On Uruguay’s transformation into a progressive Camelot:

“The emergence of the radical national-liberation movement, known as the Tupamaros, was cause for alarm at the CIA.”

  • “With covert and overt support by our country, a state of emergency was declared and a right-wing dictatorship grabbed hold of the instruments of power, launching a period of oppression that lasted from 1973 to 1985.”
  • “In the mid-1980s, the people of Uruguay had enough. Massive demonstrations and strikes finally forced the government to hold elections, and the military was swept from power.”
  • Things to know about Uruguay: It’s progressive. Weed is legal. Abortions are easily accessible. Gay marriage, universal healthcare, free education (including college) … And democracy is no joke here.”

On the Argentina Complex:

  • “When people think of this often-overlooked little country, if they think of it at all, they tend to think of it patronizingly as Argentina’s little brother. Not so. And that attitude pushes people here to think of themselves in many ways as existentially in opposition to their bigger, louder neighbor.”

Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Mattos: “It’s a sin here. To be flashy is a sin.”

The most quotable of guests:

  • Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Mattos: “Uruguay is a pretty chill and relaxed place where you can just disconnect from everything. It’s a melting pot; it’s mostly Spanish and Italian immigrant food.”
  • Lucía Soria: “You cannot have happiness all the time.” Anthony Bourdain: “Happiness all the time is fascism.”
  • Carina Novarese: “We have troubles. We are in Latin America! We like to believe that we are a European country, but we are not.” Anthony Bourdain: “Are you optimistic?” Novarese: “I am.”
  • Nacho Mattos: “The way we were raised was very liberal but also conservative.”
  • Nacho Mattos: “I don’t think quinoa exists here.”