Vice Reporter Samples the Iguana Meatballs

Also on the press-preview menu: venomous lionfish.

It’s an uncommon battle cry: “If we can eat them, maybe we can defeat them.”


Those words were recently spoken by chef Gene Rurka to Munchies contributor Alex Swerdloff at a press preview of the New York Explorers Club’s annual dinner, held earlier this month. The reporters were presented with a small sampling of the extremely exotic dinner menu which, right down to the instruments used to stir drinks, is even more uncommon than the battle cry:

What else did the elites eat? “We had feral hogs and feral goats. We did a lot with organ meats. We had bull rod testicles and we had some of our fancy drinks with goat penis swivel sticks, and it went on with eyeballs stuffed with olives and onions. We had kimchi and lotus chips and then we had desserts sprinkled with insect material or seaweed or kelp. We had a great pretzel too, a nice soft pretzel. And we had a mustard that incorporated seaweed finely ground into it.”

While animal (and insect) activists might rise up in protest at what was eaten, Explorers Club member Rurka is adamant that this approach is both more attuned to the natural food-chain order of things and a way U.S. states as well as other regions of the world can fight the encroachment of wayward, invasive species. For example, iguanas are causing huge problems now in Florida and Puerto Rico.

To accommodate some 1,300 attendees, the Explorers Club, headquartered on the Upper East Side, staged the March 12 dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Read the rest of Swerdloff’s report, which includes many photos, here.

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