If the only printed matter you associate with the VICE media empire is a book that collected all the turn-of-the-millennium hipster-fashion dos and don’ts, here’s another tome for the coffee table.
Munchies: Late-Night Meals from the World’s Best Chefs compiles dozens of recipes from chefs everywhere, and even though San Francisco isn’t the global champion in after-hours meal options, we’re quite well-represented. The logo is a sort of heraldic crest, with pizza pennants, a tower of seafood for an escutcheon, and a burger-and-shots crown. That might not scare off marauders on the field of battle, but authors JJ Goode and Helen Hollyman chose wisely.
As with most cool-kids food stuff, it all stems from some late-night carousing with David Chang of the Momofuku empire, but it branches into nearly all the cuisines discerning eaters gorge on today. Inside, you’ll find a recipe for a tongue sandwich from Gabriela Cámara (of Cala) and a fried fish sandwich from Brandon Jew (of Mister Jiu’s) who is, to date, the only chef to have had two episodes of Munchies’ series Chef’s Night Out dedicated solely to him.
Did you know that Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski wrote the original concept for State Bird Provisions — serving everything on dim-sum carts — on a vomit bag? Don’t let that rather amazing nugget of trivia get in the way of enjoying their recipe for oxtail curry with roti.
Littered throughout are helpful how-tos to burnish your gourmand credit, like How to Drink Vodka Like a Russian (Step 1 is “Order vodka by the bottle, not the shot). You can keep it even simpler than that if you want. There’s a recipe for an omelet from Iñaki Aizpitarte of Paris’ Le Chateaubriand that consists of nothing more than eggs, salt, and unsalted butter.
It’s not that this is entirely a lowbrow affair. Anthony Bourdain’s recipe for cote de boeuf for two is in here — and the odds of someone attempting that while drunk after 1 a.m. are slim — as is a Tuscan fried chicken recipe from New York’s Charlie Bird that you could take home to mama even if you still live with her and she still cooks for you.
But the very first chapter is cocktails, and the very first drink is a DIY Fernet based on herbs grown on Munchies’ own rooftop garden and transmogrified into bitters after three weeks in a mason-jar terrarium. Should you ever need definitive proof that chefs and cooks love getting obliterated in each other’s company as an excuse to convince one another of their wackier ideas, the Munchies cookbook is like a tablet hauled down from a misty mountaintop (that’s illustrated and photographed in equal proportions). Do try this at home.