On last night's episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain celebrated the non-denominational season in the grand tradition of holiday specials: with lots of famous people. Mario Batali! David Chang! "Uncle" Ted Nugent! Marky Ramone! All were enlisted in the preparation (or at least consumption) of a variety of beef cuts from butcher Pat LaFrieda, and food writer Michael Ruhlman was on hand to assist. There was also, perhaps blessedly, significantly less sock puppet than we had been led to believe. On to the Quotable Bourdain — feel free to add your picks in the comments below.
1: On the nature of his offensiveness: "Well, if I am offensive, it will be in a non-denominational, generic way."
2: On the holiday season: "See, I think of the department store Santa, and how when I sat on his lap, he smelled of urine and alcohol. But no matter!"
3: On Pat LaFrieda: "A good butcher is like an artist. Or Jesus, actually. And I mean that in a totally respectful, secular way."
4: On Pat LaFrieda butchering beef cheeks: "Looking at this, one can't help but reflect on poor Heidi Montag."
5: On why chimichurri is a necessary component of a dish: "Just in case Gwyneth Paltrow stops by, she'll have something to eat."
6: On Michael Ruhlman forgetting to soak wooden skewers, which subsequently caught on fire under a broiler: "Oh Jesus, Ruhlman, it's like Dresden."
7: On Ruhlman's marinated beef hearts: "Who wouldn't love this? Terrorists wouldn't like this. In fact, if you don't learn to love this, the terrorists win."
8: On Ruhlman not wanting to add butter to beef tenderloin: "He said no butter. That's how they do things in Cleveland. Let the online debates begin." (Bourdain clearly adds butter anyhow.)
9: On his role in the kitchen: "At this point we've both been hitting the eggnog and ether pretty hard, so I figure supervise. Brown those mushrooms, monkey boy."
10: On Tyler Florence: "Say what you will about Tyler, but he did a really great job at Applebee's."
11: On bone marrow: "I tell you, if I were squeezing my fat ass down one chimney after another, I'd want this waiting for me at the other end. Conversely, if I was sitting at the bottom of the chimney with a cut down, 12 gauge Mossberg waiting for intruders, I'd want to be snacking on this. Because let's face it, if you shot Santa Claus, you'd be pretty much within your rights."
12: On David Chang's oxtail dish: "Fuck your turkey, Grandma. This is what I want for my holiday dinner."
13: On drinking Mai Tais: "I want to escape the cold and ugliness of squalor and life, be transported aloft on the wings of Hawaiian shirted angels. Or at least get mightily fucked up on a bathtub-sized flaming drink with a good friend. Or Ruhlman, he'll do."
14: On what he wants for Christmas: "I want a tiki bar in my apartment. With tiki torches. And a little chaise lounge and with like some sand on the ground."
15: On finally sitting down to feast: "Friends and family and all the people who promised us saying they'd come to our party but then dropped us like radioactive lepers recede from consciousness. We're going to have the best holiday meal ever."
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