As if further evidence were needed, an article in Wednesday’s Washington Post demonstrates why New Jersey remains the coolest place on Earth. The piece profiles Bobby Egan, Garden State restaurateur (Cubby’s BBQ) and diplomat without portfolio. He developed personal relationships with the ambassadors for North Korea and Iraq, and has carried out extensive diplomacy of a sort with both. Given current geopolitics, his current activities focus on North Korea. His tale includes fishing trips with North Korean and Vietnamese diplomats, undergoing a chemical interrogation in North Korea, and “saving North Korea from an American invasion and maybe … the world from a nuclear war”.
Why is he suited to this role?
“You couldn’t put Condoleezza Rice or Madeleine Albright on a level with me in dealing with the Koreans,” he says. “They’ve never even been in a fistfight. I’ve been in fistfights — including with the Koreans. These are tough guys. Condoleezza Rice is a piano p layer.”
My favorite part of the article was when Egan hides the reporter in a back room in his restaurant so that he can observe a meeting between Egan and the North Korean ambassador in the main part of the barbeque joint. Egan brings some food to the reporter, saying:
“Eat these [bleeping] ribs,” he says, “then tell me about [bleeping] Texas!”