Anthony Bourdain paced the stage last night at D.A.R. Constitution Hall, sometimes walking stiffly, like a wounded prey animal (or a wounded prey animal in a nice black jacket). But the chef, cable program host, cooking show judge, writer, book publisher and (the horror!) James Beard Award winner did most of the stalking, scoping out his favorite targets and piercing their bloated public persona with his poison-dart satire.
Bourdain was in fine form during the final night of his "Guts and Glory" North American tour, which got him out of the house for 20 more dates this spring. In front of an estimated crowd of 3,600, he delivered a show that was part multi-media performance, part stand-up comedy, part behind-the-scenes outtakes and part Bourdain greatest hits package.
In no random order, here are the 10 best moments from the show. (Or, perhaps, more to the point for a family newspaper or family blog or whatever we call this general-interest stuff that we throw online at alarming rates: Here are the best 10 moments that we can print.)
• "She has a mattress line, I hope they're reinforced mattresses. I assume so." — on Paula Deen's Serta line.
• "Thirteen years ago, I was standing next to a deep fryer, dunking french fries, with absolutely no expectation in the world that life was going to be any different than that in my future ... I never paid my rent on time. I hadn't filed with the I.R.S. in 10 years, which is worrying ... On the basis of one obnoxious, overly testosterone book, suddenly the world was my oyster. It was like I had screwed up in every possible way that a human being could screw up. Everything my mother told ever me not to do, I did that. I did absolutely everything a human being could do wrong, and now I'm on CNN, [expletive]!"
• "If you're on our show and something bad happens to you — like funny, like you hit your head or you piss yourself — the other cameras are going to turn on you." — Bourdain, explaining how his travel shows are different from the others.
• "Do they even grow olives in a garden? I don't think they do!" — on Olive Garden and the terrible Italian food found in mainstream America.
• "He turns on the old tube and watches Adam Richman [from "Man v. Food"], shoving more animal protein into his face in nine minutes than this guy's family gets to eat in two years." — Explaining why a fictional goat herder along the Pakistan border may want to join Al-Qaeda.
• "Even with vegetarian options, more often than not, they'll be happy to say, 'Of course, no problem, I'm sure we can find something for you to eat, but it's $35 a carrot for you.'" — On high-end restaurants catering to vegetarians.
• "I'm close to an animal activist, much closer to an animal activist than you might think ...[For instance,] animal testing on cosmetics. Testing cosmetics on monkeys to see ... How can we do that with all these Kardashians around?"
• "We're not alcoholics. We're television [expletive] professionals. We will keep drinking ... We'll keep up until we get the quality television we require." — On the crew ingratiating itself into the local culture, even when the local culture is a hardcore drinking one.
• "We agree on just about nothing ... He thinks that everybody, every American, should have free and unlimited access to as many automatic weapons as they want. I believe that just Ted and me should have that right." — On his unlikely friendship with Ted Nugent.
• "It was a typical night out for the Bourdains. It was me, my wife, my daughter, Eric Ripert, sitting in Paris." — Explaining that his daughter is exposed to foods not common to most American children.