Last night's episode of No Reservations took Anthony Bourdain out to Finland at the exhortation of a man with a Facebook group. Alongside musician Sami Yaffa, Bourdain has his blood drained at a spa, drinks beer on a tram car, eats a lot of reindeer, crashes in a VW Bug while folk racing and seeks out the perfect Finnish grandmother who will cook for him. Now, on to the Quotable Bourdain — feel free to add your picks in the comments.
1) While preparing for the trip, Bourdain had but one goal: "We've gotta find a grandma. Get working on a grandma. A GILF. A Grandma I'd Like to Feed Me."
2) On a visit to the sauna: "Burns. Coma. Competitive sweats. Sounds like a recipe for a good time."
3) On having his blood drained from his back: "My turn comes for this healthy treatment and our technician gets stabby right away, sinking her sharp little hockey stick into my flesh repeatedly and without remorse.
4) After a caller into a Finnish radio show makes some creepy remarks in response to Bourdain's request for a grandma: "We're going to want documentary proof that grandma's alive. You don't want to show up at somebody's house and it's like Psycho."
5) On skipping Lapland for a restaurant named Lappi: "Finland to a lot of people means the savage splendor and natural vistas of Lapland. But I've been to Swedish Lapland and it's fucking cold. I almost asphyxiated in a freezing tent with my crew. So no Lapland this trip. Instead, Lappi for the full Lapland dining experience without all that uncomfortable camping and freezing and choking to death from fumes from your heater in an enclosed tent."
6) On the atmosphere at Lappi: "Like reindeers? I do. I like them on my plate while Santa looks on with mute horror from the chair where he's duct taped and ball gagged."
7) On Finland's size and strength: "You held off the entire Soviet Union with a quarter of the population of Manhattan? That's kind of awesome."
8) On his competition in Finnish Folk Racing: "This in a place where every schoolkid or grandmother on a corner can drive like a bat out of hell."
9) On his selection of grandmas: "Turns out her mom is everything she promised and more: party animal, great lady, fantastic cook. Every once and awhile on this show, out of the blue, everything goes right. This was one of those times."
10) On his attempt to form a traditionally lady-part-shaped Karelian pie: "It's like a trainwreck. It's Paris Hilton Monday morning."
11) While eating horse meat: "Oh Rainbow Dash, look at you now."
12) On Ron de Jeremy rum poured by the gypsys: "Apparently Ron's big in Finland. So to speak."
13) When the bartender on the tram tells Bourdain he has never seen a fight on the booze train: "There's still time."
14) While eating leftover sandwiches at a Soviet bar: "Ah so the idea was this is the worst concept ever. No one will possibly want to come here."
15) On the suitcase full of blood sausage his Facebook fan brought straight from the factory: "This is like the suitcase in Pulp Fiction."
16) On the drunk munchies: "It's that time again. Time for whatever local specialty, meat in tube form, booze mop, mutant dog, whatever it is that locals need around now when feeling, shall we say, worse for wear. Here the drinkers tend to need something a little more urgently perhaps. And they are, as a result, maybe, just maybe, a little more forgiving of what's on offer.
17) While eating a meat pie filled with everything: "Oh Jesus. And you can that meat. That's some Riker's Island shit. I taste ketchup and anal glands."
18) On Finland's late-night eats scene: "This is why you repelled the Russians so successfully. ... It puts the self-loathing back into drinking. And God knows we all need that."