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tv   Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown  CNN  November 16, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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so who's crazy now? ♪ detroit's the city of champions. the whole world knows that detroit is the american city whose products have revolutionized our way of living. and only in michigan will you find the men and women whose talent made us the arsenal of
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democracy in wartime and the economic pacesetter in peacetime. ♪ ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha-la-la-la ♪ sha-la-la-la ♪ sha-la-la-la ♪ sha-la-la-la it's where nearly everything
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american and great came from. the things the whole world wanted, made here. the heart, the soul, the beat of an industrial cultural super power. a magnet for everyone with a dream of a better future. from eastern europe to the deep south. american dream? you came here. >> the one straight ahead with the green roof? >> the rococo building, completely empty. >> unbelievable. >> the white one is being rehabbed.
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there's money coming in. the one on the right is completely empty. the great pyramid with the spire on top sold for $5 million. >> $5 million for that? you can't buy a garage in the hamptons for that. >> $5 million for a skyscraper. >> it is post-apocalyptic. i mean, it's like a science fiction film. what the hell happened here? >> well, it is post-apocalyptic.
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except for the fact there are several hundred thousand people living here. 2 used to be 2 million people. that was rubber. that guy was steel. that guy was a doctor. this was what made america. the road started here. the automobile. frozen peas started here. credit on a mass scale started here. >> what was this like just before this? 20 years before? >> it was insane. in this one it was like twice as many people here. this is a consequence because all the whites went. they took their money. they took their factories. the black middle class maintained for a while. then it got too rough for them. so there's little pockets of feral hippies, older black folks, a couple of white folks and arabs. but this is 14 square miles. you're going to get tall grass. it's back to the wild.
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>> it is one of the most beautiful cities in america. it speaks of those industrial-age dreams of an endlessly glorious future. the people who built these structures, they were thinking big. >> they were. >> they were looking at a new rome and they built it, actually. it's awesome here. ♪ ♪ >> maybe the worm started to turn here. the packard automotive plant. opened in 1903, it was considered the most advanced facility of its kind anywhere in the world. huge. epically proportioned. i mean 3.5 million square feet. now, one man lives here. al hill. >> my name's alan hill. welcome to my home. this room here is the forge room. it was a former packard motor car company. i started living here about seven years ago. at that time, semi-apprehensive
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about the place and the goings-on around here. turned out it's about peaceful as the north woods. not having a credit card or a mortgage payment or a car payment is a real blessing. there's still nails here. >> yep. >> what's happened here in detroit is unfortunate. but, you know, it's a sign of the times. we find out that not only does it take a village to raise an individual, it takes an entire world to support one city. one city's suffering or one community's suffering, the entire world should pitch in and help elevate it instead of sit there and stare at it.
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people lost a lot of faith in a lot of things. probably had to do with the faith they had in detroit. it was once the industrial city of the entire world. >> it's enormous. >> yeah, it is. it's about a mile long. maybe a quarter mile wide. got a pretty good view from up here. >> yep. how many people worked here at its peak? >> well, during the war there was like 33,000 people working here. it went out of business in '56. they brought studebaker in as a partner and studebaker pulled them down. >> this has been abandoned since the '50s? >> well, actually, what happened, in 1956 they rented out to various entrepreneurs. shoe warehouse, trucking companies, guys restoring cars. >> how long has it been like this, though? >> most of this damage happened within tive years. >> within the last five years? >> yeah. >> wow. >> china had this olympia effort. scrap metal went to a high price and people came and scrapped it. took the windows out and just destroyed everything. >> the place is pretty much open to anybody who wants to come in. >> sure. urban explorers. people shooting music videos, taking pictures. oftentimes you see a wedding party come here. they use this as a background for their wedding. take pictures, videos. >> wow. you want to take pictures here. the place, like so much of detroit, invites it. urban exploring as they call it, sifting through the remains of detroit's great american ongoing tragedy, photographing them, posing in front of them is something of an irresistible
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impulse. detroiters hate it. all the visitors like us, i should point out, wallowing in a ruined porn. >> what is this part of the factory? where are we standing? >> this right here is where the assembly line was. this was a paint booth right here, they'd paint the cars. you can see in the floor where they have the wash for the overspray. something that ended 35, 40 feet over here. there's bridges here between the main building and the assembly lines actually came across the bridges. you'd get the possibility of an assembly line three quarters of a mile long. >> you're talking hundreds if not thousands of people all working on the process. >> yeah. >> this is sort of kind of a -- it's not a perfect model for detroit but it's a perfect model when a big factory goes down, it's not just 33,000 people. that's 33,000 families who are going to be eating dinner out less. >> you've got a point there on that. >> most people i would guess have no idea what a packard even was. we're talking about one of the great luxury cars in the world, yes? >> yeah, it was the kind of car
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that everybody would love to have. kings and queens and every president wanted to ride in one. popes. indian chiefs. a luxury carmaker went out of business, you know. and little did they realize that was a trend that started here in detroit and it affected detroit, it affected the entire world. because it followed everybody home. 50, 60 years later. but it started here. and then everybody else gets to experience the same problem that we're having. in another 20 years this place probably won't be here and people won't have any idea what went on over here. >> it's hard to look away from the ruin. to not find beauty in the decay. comparisons to angkor wat, machu picchu, ancient rome, are inevitable. magnificent structures representing the boundless dreams of the day left to rot. yet unlike those places, people still live here. we forget that.
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you tell people you go to detroit and chances are somebody from the home team is going to say, "be sure to get a coney." i never really understood that. i'm 30 minutes from a place called coney island where presumably they know something about freaking hot dogs, right? maybe the early greeks or macedonians who first experienced that golden land by the shore then took what they saw with them to florida, michigan, and beyond. maybe they knew something. they've been done coneys at duly's over 90 years. that's almost as long as the hot dog's been around. i can't tell you how deep this creation runs here. deep dish of chicago, cheese steak of philadelphia, you'll find some ambivalence. not here. >> how are you, sir? >> good. if i were from detroit would i be eating this with my hands or
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a fork? >> probably with your hands. >> all right. i'll do my best. logistical problems. mm, that's delicious. this is the best of my only three coney experiences. you're open 24 hours. >> yes, sir, 24/7. >> watching seriously drunk people trying to eat this. >> oh, yeah, we have a fun time. >> is it a skill you learn over time? >> yeah, it takes practice. >> like kung fu, you practice and practice. >> exactly. practice makes perfect. >> that was good. i think i better have another one of these. >> yeah, you should. >> i'll be better at it the next time around. >> one coney up, everything. >> it seems like a simple thing. hot dog, chili, raw onion, mustard, steamed bun. but the delicate interplay between these ingredients, when done right, is symphonic. ♪
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detroit's problems are well documented. a lot of attention has been paid to a history of spectacular mismanagement and corruption. detroit is hardly alone in this.
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koch era in new york, we forget too soon, was a cesspit of mob influence and corruption. chicago, boston, machine politics, they wrote the book. but detroit differs in that its scandals seem so comically lurid, so surrealistically squalid. the last mayor, kwame kilpatrick is currently serving time in the junk for some of his hilariously bent behaviors. through it all, one man seems to be going on. adolf mago. he's seen it all. >> i know what i'm having but i'd love a beer. >> miller, miller lite? >> it is a discounted place, man. i thought you drank, man are you drinking beer? >> what are you drinking? >> i'm drinking vodka. >> i'll have -- i'll have what
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he -- fold under pressure. then i'll think about it a burger down the way. you having something to eat? >> i'm eating. >> all right, i'll hold back. i will stick with this -- >> i'll get you your drink and you can decide. >> thank you. >> i have to ask, you're born and raised in the detroit area? >> right. >> an academic star, marine corps, journalism. why did you never run for office? >> you have to be crazy. you know what? they don't want straightforward politicians. they don't last. you have to be real cold-blooded. being an elected official is like working for the drug cartel. you can't give anybody any mercy. >> it seems like whatever might be in your heart and however pure you might be when you finally arrive in office, somebody brings you a big case, opens it up, says mr. president, mr. mayor, mr. governor, this is the real situation. at which point it's an, oh -- try to start making some serious accommodations.
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yes. >> kwame kilpatrick. what went wrong there? >> greed. >> just old school? >> greedy. he was greedy. i didn't support him in the beginning. and when he was -- and i was one of his biggest critics. but when he got in trouble, who did he call? he called me. >> called you. >> i should have listened to my wife. she said, don't be messing with them. >> are there good guys out there who could presumably run for office and win? >> there's a lot of guys, yes, but they don't want to run. there's a lot of people -- >> why won't they run? >> you've got to take the bad that come along with it. you got to take the garbage. >> why should a bright young guy out of -- fresh out of law school start thinking about running for anything in the city of detroit? >> sooner or later, it's going to be all right. it's going to come -- it's going to be all right.
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it's a tough town. >> is detroit going to turn things around? i could lie and tell you, yes. but you know what? this city's screwed. only place i've ever been that looks anything like detroit does now? chernobyl. i'm not being funny. that's the truth. >> abandoned, abandoned, abandoned. >> but you have to admire the bold, proud, ferociously enterprising survivors who have decided to hang on hang in, and figure out a way to not only survive but do something extraordinary. there's tyree giton's heidelberg project, a delightfully looney outdoor community project that began in 1986 and now attracts 35,000 visitors per year from around the world. >> i love detroit. >> you know they got this field mowed last summer, the neighborhood. lit it on fire. >> another block and more decay. and a liquor store. for this neighborhood, the only
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store for miles. >> just be right back. >> how you doing? >> how are you? >> god bless you. >> hi, how are you? >> all right. >> can't nobody do it like you. >> see you later. >> cheers. >> cheers, man. yep. you want one? >> that's benefit of a college education right there. >> people seem to like you in this town. who hates you in this town? >> who hates me in this town? >> nobody. >> politicians. >> i'm guessing there are a number of politicians and former public employees who are not too happy with you. >> i don't know, you know. yeah. >> yeah, but let's face it, a whole lot of people out there who just could be perfectly happy with just letting detroit go. >> it already went.
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>> it's gone. >> look at this. see those lilies there? >> uh-huh. >> i call those the ghost gardens. like they're all over. like the houses that used to be the gardens still come up. ♪ ♪ >> off the main drag -- >> you wearing the hat and
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everything! >> a backyard. >> thanks for coming. i never had such a good time. >> a well-tended home surrounded by many neglected ones. an example of detroit-style entrepreneurship. greedy greg's, a do it yourself barbecue joint, started by these two, michelle and greg. >> i'm gritty greg. >> on the menu, absolutely delicious straight from the grill ribs and rib tips. but the really good stuff is inside. superb smoked pork loaded collards and mac and the cheese. >> thank you so much. this is perfect. >> it's good. >> i'm going to use a spoon here. >> unbelievably good. >> what, the mac? >> the greens are incredible. >> oh, those are good. >> the greens, is that like smoked ham hock? >> i can't tell you my secret. >> i'll tell you this is some of the best greens i ever had, no doubt about it. >> this dude's been everywhere. >> come on. >> i've been all over the south, i've had a lot of greens, and those are some -- they're not
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just delicious, they're luxurious. big hunks of you won't tell me what in there. >> i can't give my secret. >> will this kind of entrepreneurship lead detroit out of its sink hole? probably not. >> i can't believe there's not a line of cars around the corner. that was good. >> but it's no longer about winning, is it. it's about surviving. >> sandwiches! rib tips. sirloin! sirloin, sandwiches! but he's not. ♪ he's an architect with two kids and a mortgage. luckily, he found someone who gave him a fresh perspective on his portfolio. and with some planning and effort, hopefully bob can retire at a more appropriate age. it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade.
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there are approximately 80,000 abandoned buildings within detroit's 140 square mile city limits. what that translates to, unfortunately, is about 14 acts of arson a day. nearly 5,000 a year.
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that's just arson. that doesn't include the thousands of other types of fires and medical emergencies the detroit fire department responds to every day. with an ever-lower valued housing market where you can buy a home for as little as $500, many houses are burned down for the insurance. many because angry neighbors, desperate to hang on, see abandoned structures taken over by crackheads or drug gangs. with law enforcement stretched ridiculously thin, they resort to burning them out. they won't say it. i will. the detroit fire department is underfunded, underequipped, often badly and incompetently led, and up against what seems like a never-ending war. a city on fire. their safety equipment, their boots, their clothes, are often moldering and shambolic. but they fight on. this is the second time they've been to this house. if it happens to be arson, chances are no one will ever know for sure. given the ever-shrinking resources available to the department, most fires can't even be investigated. this fire is out within an hour. and after the fire, dinner. the cliche that is firemen are great cooks. in this case, the cliche is
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true. lieutenant mike devins and the boys of squad 3 are cooking up a family meal. is every firefighter expected to cook reasonably well? >> if they don't, they catch hell. >> really? >> yeah. >> it's almost a perfect society in that sense. because in a perfect society, i believe, everybody should be able to feed themselves and their friends or their family, at least reasonably well. in that if they're not able to do that, they should be shunned and demonized and marginalized. >> agreed. most of the firemen are known for their cooking. we cook some outstanding meals. we've learned to shop, we've learned to shop with less to feed more. you don't want to be a belly-robber. you better bring some food back for the boys. >> firefighters in my experience are a lot like the marines i've met over the years. no matter how badly led, ridiculously underequipped, underappreciated, no matter how doomed their mission, they take
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a bizarre and quite beautiful pride in at least being screwed more than anybody else. and doing it with style. they seem to do what they do for themselves. it's not a job. it's a calling. >> this is where the guys store their gear. as you can see, the gear is very weathered. >> how old? >> this gear's only a couple years old. >> but it gets beat up quick? >> yeah, yeah. one new coat hanging in there there's a lucky guy that's got a new coat. but that gear's seen a lot of action. >> where's the fire pole, dude? >> they took them. >> oh, man. >> in the late '90s management took the poles out. >> what does every little boy from my age, it was all about sparking the fire dog and the poles. >> i used to love sliding the pole. headquarters was three stories. when you had to slide that thing you had to really hold on because you were going for a ride. the old running board we put up here, we don't use the running board. but this is how many companies we used to have. >> what percentage of that
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number are active now? >> less than half. and we're fighting a lot more fires. >> you know, i got to say, the kitchen's looking pretty good. >> that's one of the best kitchens in the city. >> tonight's meal is being cooked by paul. he's squad 3's best, they say. >> look at this. >> he's reading the can. that's a good start. >> tonight's menu, crab cakes with a mix of actual crab, and this stuff. sea leg. maybe you know it from such beloved menu items as california roll. hey, firefighters can't afford 100% jumbo lump crab meat, okay? >> what down what this stuff is by the way this. >> this, it? pollock? >> it's a miracle fish. beef fat or beef fat-like substance. >> it should be pointed out that every meal is paid for by the
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crew on duty. they pool their money and shop as a unit. >> what's the firehouse favorite by consensus? >> oh, steaks, man. >> steaks? if i were the regular cook here, the pole firehouse would be in totally open rebellion. >> why? >> first of all, i'd be making stews because they're cheap. and i think they're delicious. plus i'd be trying out like tripe and guts on you guys and i don't know how that would go. >> that would not go. >> you'd be eating like italian peasants every day if i was the cook here. a big bowl of stew with a big hunk of bread and that would be about it. i'd be pocketing the difference, yeah. >> lamb chops seared in the pan then finished over the grill. then caesar salad with chicken. >> ever find out how are the other firefighters eating around the city? >> you know, what are you guys having for chow? >> you ever get tempted? oh, yeah, we had foie gras with truffles. all the time. >> we'll be eating lobster in a minute. >> lobster again! i keep telling the guys, no more lobster, i just can't take it. we're free to eat.
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>> yes. >> nice job on the crab cakes. >> yeah. >> full of meat. >> very tasty. >> so if it's not good, you're not diplomatic about it? >> no, not at all. >> no. >> no. >> tell them, nice try. >> a lot of cooks, they look at that kitchen, there's a lot of room. and there's always a lot of spices. our staples are always loaded. you can pretty much make anything in there. it's a good place to be a cook. nice job, there, paulie. >> thanks. >> yes, well done, sir. >> generally speaking, you eat fast. because you never know. in all likelihood, you are not going to get to finish that meal. >> well, obviously tony's not doing any dishes. >> i'll do all the dishes. >> no, hell no. no way. >> wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last. >> no way, no way. the patient'sd before we even picked him up. it found out the doctor we needed was at st. anne's. wiggle your toes.
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[ driver ] and it got his okay on treatment from miles away. it even pulled strings with the stoplights. my ambulance talks with smoke alarms and pilots and stadiums. but, of course, it's a good listener too. [ female announcer ] today cisco is connecting the internet of everything. so everything works like never before.
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nthat's why they deserve... aer today canbrake dance.ting the internet of everything. get 50% off new brake pads and shoes. at this point you may be asking, what about all the cool stuff i hear about detroit? that's what you're thinking. the vibrant do it yourself culture of urban renaissance. young entrepreneurs, artists transforming the city, one block at a time. where's that? well, that is happening. young, idealistic, true-believing, hard-working, creative people are indeed doing their best to bring light and hope and beauty to this greatest of cities. you've got to start with the deeply felt and absolute belief
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that detroit is indeed a great city and that it is worth saving. as utterly screwed as detroit may be, you have to be a twisted, unpatriotic freak to not believe that. behold the future. >> what, like cooking in a back alley? >> yes. >> all right. >> chef craig lightfield has done what many would call a very unwise thing. after working at gotham grill in manhattan, instead of staying where the money inarguably was, he returned to detroit. he's been working to get a brick and mortar establishment going by first doing regular popups here at guns and butter. tucked into the back room of an art gallery under an overpass in downtown detroit. do you have like a really weird attitude towards food in general? >> yeah. >> what's that? >> you got liquor, you got cigarettes, you got coffee. >> we're going to eat well. >> charlie rudolph may have a
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pulitzer prize. but his appreciation of fine food and dining is, shall we say -- >> that cheese? >> lacking. simply put, he's a philistine. warm egg yolk with a generous helping of smelt roe on top? egg with eggs? yes, please. he scarves his like he's at ruby tuesday's. >> you've got all these kids. they're flooding into detroit. which is good. how is that going to play out? will there be political leadership in place to manage that fairly? >> it will be fine.
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everybody likes a nice, you know, thing in an egg shell with caviar on top, everybody. it's just all about keeping cool. >> it won't be fine, dude. it will not be fine. if there's not political leadership, it will not. >> well, you know, sometimes political leadership grows up out of what's happening. and we don't have any political leadership. and this is happening. >> are you an optimist? >> i'm an optimist. >> you're an optimist. >> i'm here in this garage with you. >> chilled summer soup with melon in a tomato lemon verbena broth. >> summer soup, all the melon's from the market. the blossoms we picked from a farm in detroit. >> beautiful, thank you. >> thank you. >> it's good, isn't it? >> mm. >> i would describe that, may i, chef? as a light, airy gazpacho. >> delicious. i won't even go that far. >> he sees an opportunity to make a melon gimlet. >> a little gin in it. >> a little gin in your soup? >> it's delicious, let me try it as a drink. >> you're on your own, dude. >> mmm-mmm. >> if i was a chef and you'd poured gin in my soup i would have stabbed you in the neck with a fork. i'm dying inside. you're the worst-case scenario customer. [ muted ]. >> next up, smoked mussels in a lightly steamed white wine,
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aromatics and butter. served in a lobster broth with fried onions, honey and uzu. quite delicious. baby greek salad with beets, tomato and feta. all sourced locally. a tribute to the greek diners where craig grew up eating with his family. >> you could be running a 300-seat restaurant in vegas. here he is in detroit. >> guess what? >> that's a heroic thing. >> the headaches are less. you're appreciated here. >> no, just -- no, this is -- >> yeah. >> this is what could considered a foolhardy venture in the chef world. >> guess what? we like good food too. we're not space aliens. people say -- they often say, thank you. we just moved back from chicago, we lived in chicago the last six years, lived in l.a. six years, thank you, this is exactly what we've wanted. what you've done is counter intuitive. there is sort of a conventional career path for chefs. >> right. >> instead, you decide to go to detroit. >> yeah. not detroit, come back home.
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people think i'm crazy for going back to detroit. >> then another tribute to classic detroit. potato-filled pierogi and kielbasa simmered in white wine, thyme, and fennel seeds. finished with burnt fondue and pine nuts. followed by locally sourced lamb cooked perfectly. topped with sour cherries, mulberries, toasted pistachios, coriander and yogurt sauce. in what way does opening a fine dining restaurant in detroit benefit the majority of detroiters? >> how is it not making it better? how is sitting back not doing anything making it better? how is it buying only products in detroit, farmers in detroit, helping detroit? i'm supplying detroit. i'm hiring people in detroit. everyone here lives in detroit. >> if i ask the same question, i say i don't [ muted ]. i'm doing it well. i'm doing anytime a place i love. and i am demonstrating that yet another person gives a
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[ muted ], believes in it enough to be here. >> you're 100% right. i never really thought about it until you asked that question. it's like -- to me it's just obvious. >> what will the detroit of the future look like? whatever you may think it should look like, it will probably taste like this. with aches, fever and chills- there's no such thing as a little flu. so why treat it like it's a little cold? there's something that works differently than over-the-counter remedies. prescription tamiflu attacks the flu virus at its source. so call your doctor right away. tamiflu treats the flu in people 2 weeks and older whose flu symptoms started within the last two days. before taking tamiflu tell your doctor if you're pregnant, nursing, have serious health conditions, or take other medicines. if you develop an allergic reaction, a severe rash, or signs of unusual behavior, stop taking tamiflu and call your doctor immediately. children and adolescents in particular may be at an increased risk of seizures, confusion or abnormal behavior. the most common side effects are mild to moderate nausea and vomiting.
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so don't wait. attack the flu virus at its source. ask your doctor about tamiflu, prescription for flu. yeah. i heard about progressive's "name your price" tool? i guess you can tell them how much you want to pay and it gives you a range of options to choose from. huh? i'm looking at it right now. oh, yeah? yeah. what's the... guest room situation?
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the "name your price" tool, making the world a little more progressive.
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somewhere in this unassuming neighborhood, one can sit down for an excellent meal. but you won't find this place on
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yelp and unfortunately i cannot tell you where it is exactly. why not, you ask? it's not exactly a restaurant, you see. which means it's not strictly speaking legal. >> what is this place? >> pupusa house. i call it a pupusa house. >> it's a cultural thing. traditionally. they serve out of their houses. and it's just something that people bring over and they come. so this is about as traditional as it gets right here. >> it's just like -- >> yeah. >> this is what's called a
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pupusa house. literally, a house. this one's serving home-cooked salvadoran meals. once a living room, now the main dining area. the woman running it, we can't show her face. but she's been here for ten years serving a mostly salvadoran clientele looking for a taste of home. >> tamales. >> first up a staple done a little differently than the norm, tamales wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. mm, that's delicious. >> next the dish of the house. pupusas. tortillas stuffed with ground pork or chicharon. >> you can get pupusas in nicaragua, guatemala. for some reason salvadorian pupusas get the most respect. general consensus seems to be they're the best. >> i'd agree. >> george has been coming here with his friend joe for years. >> this is what makes it right here, boom. is this. curtido. pickled slaw. salsa. and i do this. but i don't know if you're up for this one.
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>> what are you saying? >> i don't know if you can hang, man. >> is it a manly thing? >> it's turning into it, seems like. >> mexican spicy. salvadorian, not spicy. >> that's true. they don't like it that spicy. >> chicharon? porky goodness in there. >> fried pork and ground with pepper, onion and tomato. simple. >> take the liberty of indigenous detroit beverages we've egregiously overlooked so far. that would be burners which i haven't had. >> it's a cross between ginger beer and ginger ale. not as spicy as ginger beer, not as sweet as ginger ale, it's in the middle. it's my favorite beverage in the city. >> i need this to enhance my street cred in detroit so i'll be welcome back. >> then shrimp in garlic butter. shrimp head on, thank you very much. >> this is where it's at. god lives in there. >> butter, garlic, simple, delicious. >> it's the low-fat butter. >> that's good. like a big hug. >> how do you find your way here? >> honestly, it's word of mouth. >> you have annoying foodie websites, right? but they're not coming here. >> oh, no. you walk in the door -- oh, err! >> thousands of foodies with ironic sunglasses and fedoras and they're just waiting to get in here.
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>> we don't want to place -- i get mad at him when he starts to bring different people. >> really? you'd hate a line of people outside, two-hour wait to get in here? >> yes. yes. >> i don't want to wait for my food. >> who hates money? >> with her it's not about the money, it's about keeping the tradition alive. >> what happens when a city goes bankrupt? when it's at the point that it's actually considering selling what's left of itself in chunks? in detroit, city services are reduced or cut out completely. fewer buses. fewer cops. fewer firefighters. answer, they turn to each other for help. or figure out how to do it for themselves. detroit has a reputation as a tough town. but that toughness is about resilience too. the insistence on sticking with it no matter what. on not giving up in the face of the utter failure of leadership year after year. if the city abandons its parks and leaves them to become overgrown, eaten, like so much of the rest of the city by tall grass and weeds, then somebody has got to do something, right?
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meet the mower gang. started by this guy, tom nordone, with a simple mission of doing what they can to keep detroit's abandoned parks maintained. who are you guys and what are you doing here? >> we are the detroit mower gang. and we clean up the abandoned parks and playgrounds in this town. >> why would you do that? >> kids need a place to play. i don't care who you are. if you're under 10 years old, i think you deserve some justice in this world, don't you think? >> yeah. >> yeah. >> how did this thing start? >> i guess i started it. i bought a lawn tractor when the city announced they were closing 72 parks. what's the difference between open and closed? do they stop maintaining it? >> that's it. >> or physically shut it up? >> they don't physically shut it up. take the trash barrels away and stop mowing. >> crazy. >> it's -- a strange place, detroit. when we're done here, it will not look like a nice park. >> but still, a playable park.
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>> yeah. and a visible park. so if you had kids you could see what they're doing in this park. it's safer. >> all right. well, let's cut some grass. >> yeah, come on, you'll like it, it's fun. ♪ ♪ >> there's grass in my beer.
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in detroit, approximately 40 square miles have been reverted to basically unused green space. in many cities so-called urban farming may be looked upon by cynics like me as an affectation. here in detroit, it's not. with nature taking back the landscape block by block, the urban farm is really the last line of defense. d-town sits on the western border of detroit. >> where are we when the largest park in the city which is called rouge park. >> did you just come in and start digging or did you have permission to come in? >> we have permission. >> was that difficult? >> very difficult. we negotiated with the city for two years. part of the difficulty is they didn't know what hook to hang our request on. they're used to developers
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saying, i want to build a strip mall, i want to build a parking structure. they're not used to people saying, we want land to build a model organic farm. >> malik started the farm with a goal of providing greater access to fresh produce in areas that grocery stores have completely abandoned. that's basically all of detroit's inner city. >> other than whole foods, who just came in -- >> yes. >> not a single national food chain. >> no. no, in 2007, farmer jack closed its last stores in detroit. and that was kind of the end of the big chains in detroit. >> this is subsistence farming, not cash crop. you're not going to be selling -- anticipating selling outside of detroit? >> there's greater demand in detroit than all of the farmers locally can supply. first we're going to supply that local demand in the city of detroit. >> to what degree do you think that this model can be replicated in and around the city? >> clearly we think urban agriculture has great potential.
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and one of the things that we have in detroit is access to huge amounts of land. if we're able to produce even a small percentage of the food which is consumed in detroit and circulate the revenues from that food within our community, then we're able to create a more vibrant, healthy, economically strong community. so we think it has tremendous potential. ♪ >> who will live in the detroit of the future? there's no question, is there, that detroit will come back? in one form or another, a city this magnificent, this storied, this american -- cannot, will not ever disappear into the weeds. there are too few places this beautiful for it to be allowed to crumble like angkor or rome.
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someone will live in a smaller, tighter, no doubt hipper, much contracted, new detroit. but who will that be? will it be the people who stuck it out here? who fought block by block to keep their city from burning? who struggle to defend their homes, keep up appearances, as all around them their neighborhoods emptied? what will detroit look like in 20 years? or 50? that's not just a detroit question. that's an america question.
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hi. we're live smack in the middle of shooting new episodes but taking a break here at atomic liquors in las vegas to look back at the filth, the fury, the weirdness, and deliciousness of season two. including our disturbing psycho-classic tokyo. we're talking about issues raised and maybe looking forward a bit to what's next. [ cheers and applause ] >> from the crowded multi-layered pinball streets of tokyo. >> it was the greatest show in the history of entertainment. >> to the overgrown lots and factories of detroit, this season has been a wild ride.


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