Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tracey: "I think I made some good lemonade." Um, honey, you're grilling meat.

I had another Special Viewing Buddy for an episode. My friend, Risa Mickenberg came to town for a sleep over!
Risa is a writer, director and leader of the band Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen The Apocalypse.
She doesn’t own a teevee (she insisted that my new one wasn’t a television at all, it was like “being in the movies!” Shout out to Colucci and Ellie Lee (TechPals™ for life!)) but being a tremendously good cook herself and the having gifted me a Mark Bittman cookbook, she was a much better sport than my niece.

The ep began with Amanda brushing her teeth and saying how the other chefs (um, and me. Me too, sherry jus) thought she should have gone home in the last Elimination Challenge. Kenny received a greeting card from his girlfriend (who signed her name Juicy) that could have very well been an illustration of Ziggy giving us the Q sign. [Oh snap! A line of Frat Greeting Cards! That’s mine, don’t bite!]

Meanwhile, Dusthead Angelo, sat outside on the curb eating a bowl of cereal the way he does every morning after he barely survives falling in a K Hole. He reflected on what Kenny said in judging the day prior (the truth, Dusty, it was the truth) and said it “put a damper in his mind.” Similar to the way you dampen the cotton ball in the spoon with hot heron so you can get all of it into the syringe?
Dusty said Kenny’s talk made him isolate himself. No, it wasn’t the remnants of the resin Dusty sucked from the one-hitter he had sewn into the lining of his suitcase. It was Kenny. But hold on to your butane-blackened paraphernalia it’s the Quickfire Elimination Challenge!

Monticules introduced pastry god Johnny Iuzzini (who, from the looks of his pompadour, I thought was there to tell us about GREASE 3) and Gail Simons (What up Gail? Still looking good, kudos to your stylist this season thus far) as the hosts of the next Bravo juggernaut: Top Chef Desserts!
The chefs clapped waaaay too long for Johnny and Gail.
Hey, know what would have been really funny? If Gail was dressed like Sandy from the final scene in GREASE with the tight pants and the heels- “Tell me about it, Stud.” But maybe then Johnny would have taken the opportunity to smash a deliciously baked pie into a producer’s face.
Speaking of pies- the chefs each had to make one SNAP!
Tiffany (in a voice that would have made Jackée Harry on 227 go limp) “…desserts, Noooooooo!”
The winner gets…immunity!

Alex (sporting a new pair of glasses (eyewear count: 2) to camera) made a tapioca pie with an almond crust. Risa wisely pointed out that tapioca looks like pus. I told her I never ate it because I tried it once and it was like eating coagulated yellow blood with chunky platelets.

Ed made a pie that had celery in it. Uh huh. Stephen made a curry apple whiskey date with saffron glaze. He thought he had a shot. Huh? Dusty told Tracey her hideous blueberry almond pie she made without measuring anything that tasted like butter was on the verge of being burnt. Um hm. She scrapped the disaster and started over again.

Kenny Q Sign made a bananas foster pie with Chinese Five Spice. Droooooool. If you’ve never had bananas foster- bananas flambéd in brandy and poured over vanilla ice cream, I will say this: it was the only reason to endure the gluttonous Norwegian cruise I took my Mama on two decades ago. You know, aside from the adventure and the great company. Hi, Mama! Hi!

Amanda made a apple pie with rosemary, bourbon and vanilla. She said to the judges that she thought she did a good job given the fact that she’s not a pastry chef. Grease 3 said that was a cop out.

Indie Film Star Kelly made a spiced raspberry and chocolate Grenache tart. Dusty never cooked a pie in his life (just drugs.) So he ‘tricked his brain’ made a sweet potato curry concoction. Tiffany made peach cobbler. 51 (51 years old! Older than anyone else!) cooked, stretched and cooked her way into a mango pie with a basil crust.
Gail: “Did you ever make that crust before with the basil?”
No, 51 answered.
Alex ended up with a white chocolate tapioca pie with an almond crust. Grease 3 asked if there was egg in it? Yup.
Grease 3: “So it’s really like a quiche.”
Then he, Monticules and Gail smirked and spun on their heels away from his car wreck pie at the exact same time. Grease is the word.

Their favorites were: Indie Film Star Kelly’s and Stephen’s (shocking!) the winner- Kenny! Oh snap they tricked us!
A rivalry born!
Kenny Q Sign: “Once I get into a groove it’s over, it’s done.”
As Dusty bit his fist and mopped up the blood to burn it down and smoke it later, Monticules told them The Elimination Challenge:
Each Chef was tasked with having to cookout at the annual summer picnic for the 150 interns of Capitol Hill.

While shopping we learned that Amanda had…a problem with pills (!!!) “and eventually anything she could get her hands on”!!!!!
Say word?! (No wonder she wanted to chef up sherry jus to the youts!)

Arnold made lamb meatballs and dreamt of having a sous chef. Dusty’s concept: an Asian picnic with Vietnamese beef. Tracey told herself to put her back into it. Yes. To make up for her lame attempt at a meal she spoke to herself saying “sugar snap peas” a lot and trying to laugh away an oncoming heart attack. Meanwhile Ed from Boston worked on a Spiced tuna loin sandwich.
Special Viewing Buddy Risa: Tuna has loins!?

Alex and Amanda argued over an oven as Colicchio entered to check in. Amanda said she labeled the oven- prison rules. Colicchio said he had never been to prison he didn’t know the rules.
Amanda: “Neither have I chef.”
Yah right, Pilly.

That night at the TC DC house, everyone questioned Amanda’s dish. She didn’t steam her pork. She seared it and braised it.
Stephen: “Did you pull the bones out?”
Amanda: “No.”
Then Dusty, Tracey and Stephen gave her the “What you talkin’ ‘bout, Pilly?” look. (RIP Gary Coleman!)
Dusty said to Camera that Amanda was a good chef but asked:
Could Amanda beat him? No.

On the lawn the chefs ran to the grills and, from a distance, Arnold basically copied everything Kenny did. Copy Cat!
Arnie made a sesame lamb meatball kabob with roasted gazpacho.
Tim helped some of the ladies figure out their grills as Tracey asked how you turn the grill down.
She asked how you turn down an open fire. Jesus take the grill.
Dusty created an Asian taco with “clean sexy flavors.” Tamesha made fennel citrus salad and skirt steak. Alex made his favorite thing to cook, pork butt. He actually said he has the winning dish and he’d “wanna eat the a** out of this pig all day.” Maybe his next pair of glasses Alex wears will be those plastic Groucho Marx ones…

Hold up, Top Chef Master in the house! Jonathan Waxman (the man who taught Bobby Flay how to grill) ponied up to the table with Arnie, Tamesha, Alex and Dusty’s offerings. The verdict? Arnie was talented. Tamesha’s flank steak was overcooked and Alex’s sauce was boring. He thought Dusty’s dish was magazine worthy.

Timothy made pork two ways (dried and wet) and as he served the judges a goose flew overhead and shat on his table. Terribly telling as Monticules shunned his side dishes said maybe the bird knew something we didn’t. Indie Film Star Kelly made a bison burger. She went simple, too simple, the judges thought it was bland. Pilly did dry rub baby back ribs and grilled asparagus with lemon-smoked bacon. Gail said she liked Pilly’s rib better than Tim’s and Waxman said grilled asparagus gets his heartstrings. Huh?
If I could just speak to you for a moment, Mr. Waxman?
I don’t doubt that with all the meat you’ve consumed in your lifetime, that your heart has strings but this is NOT a grilled veggie challenge. Kevin made flank steak and rice and beans. It was deemed poor texture and bland. Ouch.

Up next?
51 did leg of lamb with zucchini spaghetti with cheese that Monticules said felt heavy even though it looked light. Kenny did a harissa marinated pork loin and quinoa salad which was deemed well cooked.
Special Viewing Buddy Risa said harissa is a middle eastern spice that’s spicy indeed. She also touted the virtues of Tiam near her place in NYC.
Tracey (who couldn’t work the meat grinder and make her own sausage the day prior) ended up serving Italian sausage and fennel sliders. Waxman said “it ain’t no slider.” It was too big and a little undercooked. (No make analogies necessary.)

Tiffany did wild salmon and Israeli couscous. Bland. Waxman said to have a glaze with flavor is sad.

Bad Perm did spicy root beer glazed skirt steak that they thought tasted too sweet. Stephen did sea bass wrapped in bacon (“to keep it moist” ew.) on top of ratatouille and couscous. Gail said it was stringy and tough. Double jeopardy! Ed did spicy grill tuna loin with lentil hummus. He said he was confident and his father was an executive chef and we saw a photo- WHOA that’s where all that eyebrow hair comes from!
Ed said, nonchalantly, his father told him years ago that he had already surpassed him.
Wow. When you finish up at the BBQ, just make your Dad’s coffin in front of us, Ed? But, true to his Dad’s predictions, they loved Ed’s food.

Dusty tried Pilly’s ribs and his eyes rolled back like it was an eight ball. He said it was the best thing he tasted that day. To camera he said it was better than his and implored everyone else to try it.
Does anyone else think Dusty and Pilly are gonna end up being the couple on the murderous rampage in the movie THE PERFECT GETAWAY?
(btw it was actually not that bad of a flick until…MINOR-SPOILER ALERT: the mountainous flashbacks towards the end of the second half.)

During the bump we learned that Tracey is 85% psychic. Correction: clairvoyant. Huh? She told Bad Perm that her husband was “going in a new direction.” And Bad Perm’s vein popped out and she put her head in her hand. Sooooo, Bad Perm’s husband is gay? Let’s hope we get a follow up on that.

In the Stew Room Tracey said everybody’s food was good and Stephen told everyone that he thinks he nailed it. Blank stares ACTIVATE!
Then Monticules asked for Arnie, Pilly, Dusty (that addict continues to hit a vein. Pun intended) and Ed from Boston- the winning dishes!
Waxman told Pilly: “You killed me with the asparagus”
Mr. Waxman, excuse me, at this point in your life asparagus won’t kill you. I know you’re just making an analogy here but I really want you to eat more roughage, okay? (Your wife asked me to tell you.)
The winner: ARNIE!

The bottom four:
Tim (surprised), Stephen (eyes teary) and Tracey and Kevin.

Gail said Stephen’s bass didn’t come together. Colicchio said the bacon had no char and he needed to spend more time on the grill and his couscous was greasy.
Tim’s food was called unseasoned and Waxman said he didn’t push any limits.

Monitcules: “Kevin, I’m gonna say your dish was the safest Puerto Rican food I’ve ever had.”
Special Viewing Buddy Risa: Ever!? Come on, Monticules!
Kevin defended himself and said the Puerto Rican people he’s familiar with? That’s the food they would do.
Gail: “Are they chefs?”
Kevin: “No.”
Gail: “Exactly. You are. So show us food that a great Puerto Rican chef would make. Step it up!”
(Risa and I both agreed they said “Puerto Rican” a lot.)

They said Tracey used too much fennel and Gail told her her patty was raw. Colicchio said “…if that’s what you call Italian food it’s almost insulting to Italians. Me being one.”

When they returned to the Stew Room, Tracey asked who was going to miss her the most. No one answered.
In the end, Waxman said his ten-year old son could have done better than Tracey’s dish. So I guess Tracey IS clairvoyant, she was asked to pack her knives and go.
Colicchio: “all and all it wasn’t a good day for American chefs.”
Special Viewing Buddy Risa: Yeah, you let America down.

Next week, a double elimination!
Until then Happy Fourth, Pool Pals.

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