Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Top Chef New York episode two: Restaurant Wars! But without the wars! And with only one restaurant! And they aren't actually creating the restaurant because it already exists. But, other than that, it's just like restaurant wars!

Last week we lost two members of the CIA. This week the FBI will get involved, with agents Mulder and Scully investigating the mysterious disappearances:

Scully: "These heels are killing me."

Mulder: "I enjoy looking at porn."

Well, OK, so apparently they have more important issues to address.

We start this episode with Fabio talking about dragons:

Fabio: "Yeah, dragons are super cool! They, like, breath fire and shit!"

So that's not really what he said but, honestly, I have no idea what he was talking about.

Stefan says that Fabio is his biggest competition and then Fabio says that if Stefan were a princess he would totally rescue him from a dragon and then they kiss. No, really. Serious bromance going on here.

Donatalla Versace is the judge for the quickfire:

Donatella: "Padma, your outfit is very Isaac Mizrahi . . . for Target."

I never get tired of that joke.

Padma: "For the quickfire, you have to make a hot dog. Of course, the actual definition of a hot dog is pretty vague so you are pretty much free to screw this up any way you want."

This was a weird challenge. A hot dog can be described as a specific type of sausage that is ground to a very fine, smooth texture and pre-cooked. Or a hot dog can be described as serving any type of sausage in a bun. So when you are instructed to "make a hot dog" it could mean you are supposed to make a very specific type of sausage or you are supposed to put a pre-made sausage in a bun and choose the condiments. I wasn't sure what Padma wanted them to do. I can tell you, however, that wrapping a pre-made sausage like sushi in no way fulfills the instructions of "making a hot dog."

Most of the chefs make their own sausage. The judges like Radhika's and she wins immunity! Congratulations, Radhika!

Stefan: "There is nothing wrong with my wiener."

Fabio: "I'll be the judge of that."

Jeez, get a room!

Angelina of Nathan's hot dog stand is supposedly competing against the chefs. She takes out a pre-made hot dog and puts it in a bun and Padma acts like it's a major accomplishment. She declares Angelina the winner. I'm telling you, this challenge made no sense.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs will be cooking at a restaurant. Specifically, Tom's restaurant. Of course, Tom's not going to let them cook for his real customers:

Tom: "New Yorkers are really critical. In fact, they are a bunch of whining losers. I just want to punch them in the face."

How are those anger management classes going, Tom?

So, the chefs have to split into groups doing appetizers, entrees, and desserts. For some reason, it seems like everyone wants to do dessert. That's weird. I guess the contestants finally got the memo about learning how to make dessert.

Fabio buys olives. Then he grinds up the olives and make them into new and improved olives. Yeah, he made olives. Who does he think he is? God?

God: "Seriously! I spent a lot of time creating olives and he thinks he can make better olives? Oh, who am I kidding? I created the whole world in six days so I didn't really spend that much time on olives. But I still called them good and that should be enough for you people. Having said that, I kind of want to try those new ones."

Yeah, get in line, God. Since God doesn't live in Los Angeles (trust me) he will probably have an easier time finding spherical olives than I will. For some reason, we do not have much in the way of molecular gastronomy here on the West Coast. Yeah, apparently I can go to Beverly Hills and have Marcel serve me some foam but to get the full experience I need to go to Chicago or London.

Jill buys ostrich eggs and then scrambles them so that there is no way to tell they are ostrich eggs. Other than the terrible flavor.

Hosea can't get the fresh crab meat he needs so he gets canned crab meat, since you won't be able to tell the difference. Other than the terrible flavor.

Fabio is still talking about dragons:

Fabio: "I just love dragons. I could talk about dragons all day. Hey, remember that movie where Sean Connery played a dragon? That was awesome! Who else likes dragons?"

Seriously, why does he keep talking about dragons?

Eugene tries to make a joke about the long flight back to Europe, forgetting that the flight back to Hawaii is even longer:

Eugene: "Oh, yeah."

During the commercial break, Leah falls in love with Hosea because he happens to be sitting next to her. They get married and live happily ever after:

Hosea: "What the hell just happened?"

The chefs are serving dinner to a bunch of Top Chef rejects who think they are better than everyone else:

Tom: "God, they're worse than regular New Yorkers."

Jamie made a cold corn soup and the judges love it.

Hosea made a disgusting and slimy crab salad that is universally reviled. He thinks he might have won the challenge.

Leah's scallops were OK but the presentation was totally 80s:

Padma: "I felt like I was on the set of the Golden Girls."

The judges love Fabio's reconstructed salad.

Melissa made an avocado and apricot salad that is pretty boring.

Jill's quiche is bad. She should have used regular eggs and then called it "mock ostrich egg quiche," which could be served while asking the question, "wouldn't it be cool if this were made with ostrich eggs? Fortunately, it isn't; but try to imagine how interesting it would be if it were!"

The judges don't like Eugene's presentation of his meat loaf. That's a long flight back to Hawaii, Eugene.

Eugene: "Oh, shut up."

Stefan's halibut is good.

Jeff's jerk chicken is good:

Jeff: "I didn't make jerk chicken."

Any chicken you make is going to be jerk chicken.

Jeff: "Oh, ha ha, very funny."

Alex made pork tenderloin and it is not good.

The judges don't like Radhika's avocado mousse dessert, which Padma describes as sweet guacamole.

They like Daniel's pound cake.

Ariane's lemon dessert is too sweet and Padma almost dies:

Padma: "That bitch tried to kill me!"

Richard makes banana bread with peanut butter but Other Eric is making so much noise about how heavenly that sounds that I have no idea what the judges thought about it.

The judges like Carla's apple tart.

Tom talks about how disappointed he was in the food. The food was so good in the first challenge that he doesn't know what went wrong. Well, first of all, the chefs obviously don't know what "new American cuisine" means. Probably because it doesn't actually mean anything. Secondly, they were only making food for four people in the first challenge and that's just not the same as preparing food for dozens of people in a restaurant. But I certainly understand his disappointment. That food was crap.

Jamie, Fabio, and Carla are the top three and Hosea, Jill, and Ariane are the bottom three.

Four salads and two desserts. The entrees were all in the middle.

Fabio starts defending his dish because he thinks he is on the bottom:

Fabio: "I don't know what's wrong with you people! Most people would love that salad! I took cheese and grated it and then I melted the grated cheese and formed it back into a block of cheese and then I sliced it very thin, sealed it in an envelope, sent it around the world by FedEx and then served it to you and you don't appreciate it? I also took the dishes and ground them into dust and then I used the dust to make clay, which I formed into new dishes using a potting wheel and a kiln. It's a lot of work but I think it's worth it. As my momma in Italy would say, 'you can all bite me!' I don't understand why you didn't like it!"

Padma: "We DID like it, you dumbass!"

Fabio: "Oh."

Fabio wins! Congratulations, Fabio!

Fabio: "Thank goodness! Now Stefan won't be embarrassed to be with me."

Padma: "Jill, you really screwed up. If we keep you on the show, how will you keep from screwing up in the next challenge?"

Jill: "Well, it was just the pressure of the challenge that made me screw up. So next time I'll be fine as long as there is no pressure."

Jill is out.

Ariane is crying because she thinks she doesn't deserve to be there:

Ariane: "You know how every time you cook you just keep tasting it over and over and over and every time you taste it it's still just as bad but you hope that if you keep tasting it it will somehow get better but it never does and you make everyone else taste it and they all tell you it's too sweet and you know it's too sweet but you just hope that the problem will magically go away? Does that ever happen to you?"


Tea said...

Donatella: "Padma, your outfit is very Isaac Mizrahi . . . for Target."

You are so awesome, Eric!

Cliff O'Neill said...

You have NO IDEA how I am still having a laughing fit over ...

Padma: "That bitch tried to kill me!"

.... Pain. Pain. Pain.

Too damn funny!

Love ya!

Blogging Top Chef said...

You are seriously one of the funniest blogger`s Ive ever read.

brooke/chef biatch

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time figuring out why Fabio won over Jaime. I can order that Carpaccio at any pizza restaurant (minus the magic olives I guess), but I think a good, cold corn soup would be harder to come by.

Or maybe it’s just that Fabio gets on my nerves.

Lurking Melissa

meg said...

I'm with Lurking Melissa. Winning for a basic carpaccio? I don't care if the olives were rolled on the thighs of Cuban virgins, it's still just a basic carpaccio.

BTW, there *is* one place in LA for the full-on mol-gast experience: Ortolan, on W. 3rd a few blocks before La Cienaga. Check it out the next time you hit the jackpot, or make Other Eric take you there for your birthday.

eric3000 said...

I agree, Melissa and Meg. Those olives were a pretty cool little treat and the salad was obviously well done but it still didn't seem like the winner for this challenge. I thought it would be the corn soup.

Meg, I had read a little about Ortolan and looked at the menu. It seems to have some of the tricks of molecular gastronomy but not the full experience like you would get at the Fat Duck or other places. Have you eaten at Ortolan? I might be willing splurge once and pay $150 for dinner if I got the real deal.

meg said...

I have, in fact -- my birthday dinner back in May. The mol-gast took me by surprise, because I was only expecting little touches. But in the nine-course tasting menu, six of the dishes were full-on, drop-dead, knock-out molecular.

The chef loves to come out and talk chemistry, too, which is a big old hoot all by itself.

eric3000 said...

Thanks, Meg! I may pick a special occasion and give Ortolan a try!

mumblesalot (Laura A) said...

Your take on Fabio's deconstructed salad was just too funny.

Ok I am voting this one the Best of 2008 Eric 2000 Recap. But I should wait, the year isn't over.

Forgive the smudges on my post. I have been painting my house all day and I have become the personification of a smudge.

shirlsd said...

i'm quite a bit late joining the comment party on this episode ... but just want to say you are just hilarious. (you have rounded out my top chef blog hunting & gathering!) looking forward to your foo-recap.