Thursday, November 29, 2012

"It was just so much salt in my mouth."


I am struggling with a cold and just fell out of a Homeland K-hole!
Hey, I'm a runny nosed, thick-headed mess with a giant cable package- I should use it, right?
I dove into Newsroom on Sunday cause there was no Pats (Woot! Turkey Day win!) and burned through the first season. (I give it an "Okay." Great characters, strong writing but SUPAdramatic. Overly. You can feel the hand, you know? The only time I like feeling a hand is on me, not while I'm watching a show, nawmean?)

I have to admit, after that the On Demand addiction hit me pretty hard.
I was trying to fast forward through Live TV, shocked that the next episode of The Mindy Project wasn't immediately available.
So I saddled up to Homeland and got hooked. Sure there are glaring story missteps that would NEVER happen in a super secret/high priority/gubment situation but-
(I know, Colucci, I still have your Lost; Samurai Champloo; Freaks & Geeks; Undeclared; Arrested Development and Burn Notice DVDs. But what is Burn Notice, really? I promise to get to one of those once the Homeland monkey is off my back. Actually that would mean I'm still sick so I hope I won't NEED to watch those DVDs anytime soon. Hmm, I should redact some of this a la Homeland. I might wrap these DVDs up for you and LB as a wedding gift. Hey, you want them. It's the gift that keeps on giving.)

Speaking of Colucci, he was one of two who just happened to volunteer how he made his Top Chef picks this season. He went with:
"team smiles. People I like who seem nice."
Q picked the two cutest people. The "cutest people who look like they like to eat cheese!" (Q loves cheese.)
Me? I went with experience. Well, maybe not, because of Kuniko. I just love underdogs. Especially the cartoon!

Now let's pick up in the Stew Room where we left off last week.
As you recall, Kuniko just packed her knives. Most Hated just told CJ he's "full of shit" and was being Most Hated. Valentine: "There's a thing called tact!"
"And you don't have any."

Most Hated: "And obviously Oklahoma has a lot of tact."
Homeboy is calling out Valentine's home state? An entire state?!
You don't fuck with a state on national cable TV, Dood.
You might want produce or protein from there one day!

Valentine: "Don't fucking say another word to me, there's a reason you're the Most Hated chef. It's because you're a prick."
Josie nods.
Most Hated says he's "truthful."
Ah, that's the kind of truth that gets you punched in the face. Eyeglasses or not.
Valentine then asks how many restaurants he walked away from, events he "didn't show up at..." Most Hated says Valentine is making shit up like a blogger (HEY NOW YOU'RE INSULTING ME!?) and doesn't know what he's talking about and doesn't have balls.
CJ jumps in and says Most Hated doesn't know what he says sometimes. Most Hated: "I know what I say all the time. You don't know what You say. Happy Thanksgiving."
Even with the tag team I, reluctantly, have to give this one to Most Hated. Yuck!

Next day (to CAMERA) Most Hated calls Valentine a redneck (Jesus!) and presses CJ's buttons in the kitchen about a quesadilla he made. Some Chefs go to the terrace to escape from the tension. Out there, Model Boston tells Stefan his eyebrows look "phenomenal." He credits an Asian lady. (Really?) Model Boston asks for a foot rub and...gets one!
She says there's nothing else to do and flirting is harmless and fun.
First off, feet are gross. I think I've made this clear in the past but just in case I haven't. I hate feet! I don't even like my own! If, by some miracle of miracles, I ever touch your feet voluntarily, I am in love with you.
Second, you're getting a foot massage, Model Boston. That's BEYOND flirting!
We've seen PULP FICTION we know what Marcellus Wallace did to the guy who gave his wife a foot massage!

In the TC Kitchen Pads wears a pirate shirt and stands with-

Hey, it's James Beard Award Winner, TC Master and owner of Beast in Portland, Oregon, Naomi Pomeroy. I think we all recall her from one of the Top Chef Master Pools.
Yes, Naomi likes to butcher her own meats and then caress their carcasses before she serves them. Speaking of carcasses, Pads morphs into Vanna White and reveals-

The Quickfire Challenge for immunity?

Safety first- no more than two chefs cutting on a side of beef at once time.
Knives and meat fly and and Carla and Josie take almost 10 minutes just to get the beef on the table.

CJ is going for a tartare and actually eats a piece of raw beef. UGH.
Model Boston cuts herself but keeps going. Non-existent Tyler is flustered coming off the bottom last week and decides to make a crudo. Lizzie doesn't like pressure cookers, she got a lesson just before she left, but uses it anyway.
Danyele "hopefully" grabbed the flank steak. (Good God, she doesn't know headless fish or meat.) Stefan needs an aspirin from working so close to Carla.

Dry Eye did a flank steak with asparagus and cherries. Most Hated's ox tails w/gnocchi has Naomi surprised at its tenderness. CJ does his version of the gas face.

Valentine ground the shoulder and added polenta and pickled shallots. Sheldon did a fennel salad on top of Kalbi round. Naomi is quite vocal all the way through, even cutting Pads off. (Naomi, this will be your last time on the show.)
Brooke did grilled hangar steak over cauliflower but is' a tiny bit on the "rare side" for Naomi who is now coming off as a Meat Princess.
Model Boston did top sirloin which they both liked. Stefan braised top round in a pasta. They get to CJ's top round tartare. He shakes Naomi's hand and she says kissing up is okay. (Well, hello!) They taste Chrissy's hangar steak with butter and radish and Lizzie's shank with roasted turnips which Naomi says could have benefited from a little more pressure cooking. Uh oh.

Negativos: Lizzie, Dry Eye and Non-Existent Tyler who hung his head.
Postivos: CJs tartare, Most Hated's ox tail gnocchi and Valentine's meatball with polenta. WOW! The two people who hate Most Hated most up against Most Hated!
And the winner...
Most Hated?
Man if looks could kill...
Or mustaches...
Hey! That would be cool if mustaches could kill. Easy too, they'd just jump down your throat and choke you and then crawl out like Whatevs! And use your credit cards at expensive eateries.

The Elimination Challenge!
For 62 years some place called Canlis has been boss. To explain two brothers fresh off THE HOBBIT set
enter the TC kitchen and explain their grandfather had a vision that became the birthplace of NW cuisine. They have, in their hands, the original menu. Oh crap. And for one night only...

Stefan likes the idea. There's no "fru fru, no frah frah, no bullshit" in food from the 50s. I'm imagining a lottttta of butter and meat and overcooked veggies.

Hey, the winner gets 10k! Oh and TWO CHEFS ARE GOING HOME.
The fight over who will get what begins!
Carla gets squab and isn't pleased; Chrissy gets a salad that's the ONLY dish STILL on the menu from the 1950s. Most Hated is going to expedite because he has immunity.
CJ: "as he'll tell you he's opened like 96 restaurants, he can do anything..."
Most Hated tells Valentine he made french onion soup in the 70s BLAH BLAH BLAH
The End! I'm so over you right now!!!

Most Hated says he knows a lot about food from the 1950s because his father was a foodie and knew everything and saved the world once by changing the spin of the earth- oh wait, he was just saving Most Hated's Mother who jumped out of a moving car once she realized her son was going to grow up to be Most Hated.

Valentine preps French Onion soup; Stefan, liver. He describes it to Vandaele Industries from a copper lined prison.

Wait, it's almost time for...
Carla is starting to freak out! She has no idea whether she should take the rib cages out of the birds. Also-
Carla: "The squab has to be grill. They have a little grill room. Only Sheldon and Bart" (Vandaele Industries) "can get in there. But I can't cook my dish and it's gonna be double elimination."
She has time to have the boys test grill something but, um, how come, if only two people can work the grill and your squab is important, you didn't prep your birds and then lobby to grill everything coming out of the kitchen?

Danyele wears too much eyeliner and makes vanilla ice cream; CJ decides to sous vide his lamb before he sends it out because he's not getting the char he wants. Most Hated yells: "Please no yelling at each other."
Okay, Jazz Patch, you mentioned on the first ep you "have the drive, the hunger, the thirst for blood." Drink Most Hated's blood. Now!

Here Come The Judge! Unibrow is back in all his hirsute glory. Along with Colicchio, BAM!, Pads, Naomi and The Hobbits.
Most Hated: "We are LIVE folks!"
Seriously, calm the fuck down.

The Judges talk about the origins of the restaurant. Peter Canlis actually built the building, which is gorgeous, and lived up stairs. He opened it with 50k. Obviously it was the 50s.

Pads is pretty in pink (isn't she?) But if you notice there is someone wearing pink behind her.
She will be extracted and served for dessert.

First Course- SERVED!
Lizzie is cute as button but a tad nervous
she describes the following-
Pads thinks it's great and The Hobbits thought the crab shined.

Introed second and eaten last, this was Naomi's favorite in the first course. (And as we know, it's all about Naomi. She's gonna leave with a knife in her back if she's not careful.)

Valentine mentioned there wasn't a lot of French Onion soup in Oklahoma and it shows. Cause this is not from the 50s or even the 80s. Unibrow says there are some issues w/Valentine's soup
it's salty and cold. Naomi says there's no cheese bubbling. The Hobbits point out it's not "guest friendly" you need a spoon, a fork and a knife to cut the crouton (crouton?! It's a giant piece of bread!) and that's "too much work."

BAM! loves Most Hated's dish.
Also sticks of butter. He takes one out of his pocket and gnaws.

I can tell just by looking at this that it's overdressed. BAM! agrees. The croutons were very soggy.

Unibrow says it's "Time Life Cookbook" worthy. Quintessential. Colicchio says the seafood is nicely cooked.

The Most Hated Expediter announces that all the apps are out and it's time for the Second Course.
Carla starts to talk. Stefan: "Please there's too much talking!"
Here it comes, officially this time...
Carla's Weekly Freak Out™
Carla: "I don't care, I'm gonna start talking everybody."
Stefan: "I can't hear!"
Wow, he looks teary, huh? Almost little baby petrified.
Then Most Hated shuts down the Freak Out because the squabs start coming back from the dining room. Via servers. Not like, mad and headless on their own. Though that would be kinda great.
Carla has to give further instruction to the boys in the copper prison.
Carla: "I have three restaurants they all come out."
What comes out of these restaurants, Carla? People? Yelling and running? Because you were yelling? And they needed to yell over you so you could hear them?

Most Hated presents the next course-
Sheldon's fish is bright and fresh according to The Hobbits. Naomi says the sauce is great. Dayum this almost makes me want to eat seafood again. Colicchio found a little bloodline. Ew.

Carla's squab has a red wine reduction. Pads loves it and the sauce but Unibrow says it's difficult to eat. Colicchio adds it's not boned properly. Then Naomi shoots the bird in the neck by saying she's never seen squab cooked that much. See, shoulda worked the grill, Carla.

Vegetables. VEGETABLES? Unibrow thought the carrots and turnips were underdone and overdone, respectively; but Naomi loves the look. Excuse me? The look? So we're not eating we're just looking now? Cause everything looks pretty awesome, Dude.

Stefan and Model Boston's liver and onion rings (respectively) are nicely cooked and seasoned. BAM! says Stefan respected the product- finally "he left something alone." Oh snap! And the onion rings were perfect.

Josie's potatoes should have been hotter (har) but they're delicious. And massive! This reminds me of Mr. Papas in Cancun! They too had potatoes the size of human heads. My friend Lisa and I ate there like three times cause it was good and cheap. On the last night we splurged at an expensive place and promptly got the Bowel Boos! Booooo!

CJs meat was under seasoned and mealy. Uh oh, death knell. Colicchio calls it- he sous vide it. Everyone: "Yeeeah." The rice is soggy and has too much orzo.

Vandaele Industries steak was "okay" according to BAM! Naomi was disappointed because it was cut against the grain and that's a pet peeve of hers- her being the Meat Princess and leading purveyor of meats in general.

Model Boston's mushrooms were one of Colicchio's favorites. (It took me a long time to like mushrooms. I kept hearing they were a fungus and thinking of feet!)

But hold up! Danyele is wearing too much eye liner (again!) and has made two desserts!
The Hobbits liked the hit of salt from the peanut brittle in the vanilla ice cream which was welcomed because also for dessert, her sugary sweet-

Naomi said the marshmallows made it.

and Dry Eye's
One Hobbit agreed it was very 50s and very sugary. Then his teeth fell out.

Doods WTF is up with things being called "Hawaiian" in the 50s?
Unibrow: "fine, it was good." Colicchio agreed it was fine. Hm, so fine cuts it now, huh?

Suddenly the dinner table turns into Judges' Table (nice work, Bravo Producers, everyone gets in on the critique) as they rip apart the worst-
Unibrow: "The 'Canlis' Special Salad' was not special." Hobbits: "That's our namesake."
Namesake = Don't Fuck With.
Naomi proclaimed Carla's squab almost unforgivable but Pads says CJs lamb was worse. Colicchio adds: wet, not seasoning, tough, mushy, not grilled well. Poorly executed. Whoa!
Pads: "I had a real problem with" Valentine's "onion soup. It was just so much salt in my mouth." Naomi wanted cheese strings going everywhere. BAM!: "Exactly." Then he pulls a handful of Mini Babybel Laughing Cow cheese wheels from his pocket and eats them without removing the red plastic shells.

In the Stew Room which is the Canlis' Kitchen, Pads asks to see-
Non-Existent Tyler, Lizzie, Model Boston and Stefan.
When she tells them they served the best dishes-- THIS happens!
See, Model Boston? Foot massage!
Compliments abound and then Unibrow announces the winner...
Model Boston won 10k for making mushrooms and onion strings!?
Her side dishes beat Lizzie's herring, Non-Existant Tyler's crab salad and Stefan's liver! Stefan is DEFINITELY gonna try to pork you tonight.
Model Boston: "I guess in the end as long as I do it well, I don't have to over think it."
Stefan: "I'm super happy for her."
Then he hands her a bill for his $2,000 foot massage.

They are asked to send back FOUR chefs...

Remember TWO of them are jetting! Which, quite frankly, must be a relief to the Judges, I mean, that's a lot food to have to eat. It's a relief to me, I mean, that's a lot of food to photograph/describe!

Pads slaps Valentine by telling him his soup was so salty, on the verge of being inedible.
Colicchio: "Mine was cold."
Valentine: "The soup was cold?!"
Colicchio: "Yes!"
Unibrow asks how expediting went and Valentine says Most Hated was "a monkey."
"He thought he had a plan but his plan failed."
Unibrow: "Okay." This seems to be accepted. Hmm.

Colicchio says Chrissy's salad spoke of lemon and mint in the description but it wasn't there. BAM!: Overdressed! Unibrow had a naked tomato. Shouldn't a naked vegetable be welcomed in an overdressed salad?

Carla: "I got to try the last squab it was overcooked."
Everyone: "Wait, wait, wait..."
She gets the: It's your job as a chef to taste your food because other people are cooking your food speech.

Colicchio asks CJ why he sous vide- it's the 50s- wtf?
CJ: "In hindsight I shouldn't have sous vide it at all." BAM! "I really didn't get the lemons or herbs, I really didn't want to eat it." OMJ, CJ- did you hear that? You made something BAM! DIDN'T WANT TO EAT. CRIMINAL. (Also one would think, impossible.)
CJ: "I made a mistake with the sous vide, I shouldn't have done that. But that dish shouldn't send me home."
Ahh, the power play.
Valentine says he feels the same way, cold soup is an expediting issue.

Chrissy says not knowing "what the dressing was supposed to taste like, she did it to what she thought it should taste like and her interpretation wasn't what they saw."
Yeah Tom, me too!

Carla:"It doesn't matter what I say, it's gonna be what it's gonna be so I hope for the best, that's all I have to say."
Good for you, Carla! Take it like a Chef!

Before we find out who gets sent home, we learn Bravo held a vote on the very important question-
Is Most Hated the chef to beat? 70% said...
NO! Yeah, We hate you Most Hated!

After the jump, Pads asks...
Chrissy and Carla to pack their knives and go.
Carla says it's a game and she's no good at playing games.
"I don't even play cards."
Well, it wasn't really a game my fellow talk to herself-er. You were supposed to cook and you blew it. You shoulda pulled the rib cages outta your birds (ew) and sat in copper prison and made sure they were cooked properly.

Chrissy says it's bullshit to go home for making a salad.
You know what? It is, Chrissy. It's awful.
Because you're a Chef THAT CAN'T MAKE A SALAD. As someone who rocked a spinach leaf, falafel, hummus and cherry tomato salad with a honey, grapefruit, mandarin orange and sautéed shallot dressing DURING the broadcast in about 8 minutes, I cannot salute thee.
Chrissy: "Bye new friends."
Yeah By- Oh WAIT! Ellie Lee was right! (She usually is.)


JJ looks a little tan but on the whole everyone is tired because, let's face it. Carla is there and talking up a storm.
I know Chrissy is dying inside having to travel with her at this point and now probably be her roommate. Shoulda made a better salad, Chriss.

JJ sees "someone bald" through the door. Bruce Willis? Naw- COLICCHIO.
He tells them they get another chance being Top Chef if they're the last chef standing.
And Carla starts to yell and jump up and down and pierce eardrums with her shrieking. When they get to the TC Kitchen, however, she "goes blank." She yelled so much she rendered herself brain dead!

Colicchio tells the chefs to lift their cloches (sounds durty) and they have, in front of them, the same ones that got them kicked out of the competition.
Nice work, Bravo Producers!
Colicchio: "It's GROUNDHOG DAY."
They can make the same dish or a different dish- they have 30 minutes- GO!

Kuniko makes something new, an Asian style chowder. JJ does something different with the fish- with the intention of Not overcooking it this time; Chrissy makes the same salad as before. Meanwhile it takes Carla 12 minutes "just to debone that bitch."
Carla: "people should not have to cook anything in half hour, it's just miserable!"
YAY another episode of:
Carla's Weekly Freak Out™

Chrissy's salad is lighter and much better. Carla's squab is rare. Colicchio takes one bite and walks away without saying a word. Kuniko made a lemongrass cream chowder. JJs fish and definitely better than "the one that got you kicked off."

Everyone did well and if they cooked like "this" they'd probably "still be on Top Chef with the exception one person..."



Carla (to CAMERA, still Freaking Out™): "WTF I been cooking for long time. I know what season, what not season! Everybody knows I'm not so good Quickfire but I have a great reputation, is not cause I sucks."

Um, you kinda do. Esp cause then Colicchio says: "Everybody else, nice work."
DAYUM. Expensive sea salt in wound.

Coliccho: "The person who redeemed themselves the"

Kuniko is back in this bitch, yo!

Oh wait, Carla wants to yell something, you guys.
Carla: "Gimmie the time, gimme the kitchen! I give you the best squab you ever taste in your life!"
You forgot to tell us to bring ear plugs.

Next Week- please welcome the wonder and glory of Guest Blogger, CC!

Oh and this time- Colicchio walks into the Stew Room!
Colicchio: It was "a pretty poor showing" and "an entire team..."
I 'll leave that to CC.
Until then, Poolers!

STRIPES Jazz Patch
GBG Brooke and Sheldon
JET Model Boston and Sheldon
MO Most Hated and Sheldon
LUCY Valentine and Brooke
LB Most Hated and Kuniko
TRIPP Sheldon and Kuniko
CC Vandaele Industries and Jazz Patch
Q Lizzie and Sheldon
KAT Most Hated
KEITH Model Boston and Jazz Patch
JENNA Valentine and Brooke
MARI Stefan and Jazz Patch
KAREN E. LOGUE Lizzie and Sheldon
MERIDEN Lizzie and Brooke
GRACE Most Hated and Sheldon
COLUCCI Sheldon and Josie
DAISY Model Boston
HOLLY CJ and Kuniko
ELLIE Most Hated and CJ
ME Brooke and Kuniko