Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top Chef New York Finale Part Two: The Finale!

Padma: "Welcome to the finale of Top Chef New York in New Orleans, which will be taking place in New Mexico with a little excursion to New Delhi! This show has so much newness it just couldn't be contained in one new city! This season the chefs faced relentless competition, a small troll named Toby, and, of course, the polar bears."

To demonstrate the level of excitement this season, we are shown a montage sequence featuring scenes of young chefs falling in love, sheep, and possibly young chefs falling in love with sheep, although the images go by too quickly to be sure.

Last time Fabio was out and we are left with the three finalists:

Stefan, who really messed up a couple of times but was out in front through most of the season.

Carla, who really impressed us for the past few weeks.

And Hosea, who, let's be honest, is just there by default. He was consistently not quite the worst through the entire competition.

Now it is the time in the recap for the chefs to say something stupid:

Carla: "If I can keep winning, I think I can win!"

Hosea: "The finale is a really important challenge."

Stefan: "I'm too sexy for this shirt."


Padma: "For the quickfire, two chefs will be eliminated, leaving one chef to go on to the elimination challenge. Just kidding; there's no quickfire challenge."

For the final challenge the chefs have to create a three-course tasting menu.

Stefan: "Bleepity bleep bleep Fabio bleeping pleepers Jamie bleep bleep bleeping sheep."

Seriously, I have no idea what Stefan said during this entire episode because there was so much bleeping. I guess I'll have to watch the uncensored version of Top Chef After Dark on Showtime.*

*(Showtime has yet to get back to me about this programming idea.)

Padma: "You will be cooking at Commander's Palace, one of the most famous restaurants in the world that nobody has ever heard of! And you will have help making your travel arrangements: it's the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Oh, wait, that's just Toby. Never mind."

The chefs do get help in the kitchen. They will have three seasons of runners up: Marcel, Casey, and Richard! Fun! Well, that's certainly less random than the "all-stars" that we had earlier in the season.

They draw knives to pick their sous chefs: Hosea picks Richard, Stefan picks Marcel, and Carla has her dreams shattered, er, I mean, she gets Casey.

They start cooking.

Stefan gets upset because Hosea is using all the foie gras.

Stefan gets upset because Richard is using all the caviar.

Stefan gets upset because Carla is using all the love.

The chefs are visited by a fortune teller:

Fortune Teller: "Carla, I see people judging you. Does that mean anything to you?"

Carla: "Yes! That would be the judges!"

Fortune Teller: "OK, well, I see that they really like what you do."

Carla: "That's right! I should keep making food the way I want to do it!"

Fortune Teller: "Oh, wait, I see a dark presence in your life. A woman who is supposed to be helping you is going to suggest you do things differently and this will be bad."

Carla: "How mysterious! I wonder what it could mean!"

The next day there is an announcement:

Tim Gunn: "Gather 'round, chefs! You will need to make a thirteenth dish using only some left-over chiffon and an alligator."

Stefan: "Whatever."

Tim Gunn: "I don't care for your attitude, missy."

Hosea's first dish was a trio of sashimi. His second dish was scallops and foie gras. And his third dish was venison with wild mushrooms. Richard's contribution was to dip everything in formaldehyde and carbonate the blackberries.

Stefan's first dish was halibut and salmon carpaccio. His second dish was squab with braised red cabbage and Fahrvergnügen. And his third dish was ice cream and chocolate mousse with vanilla syrup and lollipops. Marcel's contribution was the foam.

Carla's first dish was seared snapper with saffron aioli and crouton. Her second dish was new york strip steak and potato with Merlot sauce. And her third dish was a cheese tart with apple coins and marmalade. Casey's contribution was to completely fuck everything up:

Carla: ". . . so that's my menu."

Casey: "Uh huh, uh huh. That sounds great. I have an idea: let's take your ingredients and cook them in a completely different way than you were planning. Trust me, you can't go wrong with sous-vide steak. Who doesn't love meat boiled in a plastic bag?"

Carla: "Hmm. It seems like someone was trying to warn me about this. But I don't want to be rude, so OK."

Padma: "I'd like to introduce you to a bunch of famous chefs and, for some reason, Branford Marsalis!"

For the appetizer, Stefan made alligator soup, Hosea made a fish pancake, and Carla made some crab thingy. The judges liked all three.

The judges loved Carla's first dish but her other two dishes were disasters, thanks to Casey, otherwise known as the "Black Hammer."

Antonia: "No, I'm the Black Hammer!"

They loved Hosea's scallop dish and his third dish was good but his sashimi dish was boring and he didn't make dessert. Toby wanted dessert but Tom is adamant that they didn't have to make dessert so that shouldn't be a factor in the judging.

Stefan's carpaccio dish wasn't very good but they loved his second dish and some of the judges appreciated that he made dessert, although they didn't think the dessert was very inspired.

Wow, there really isn't an obvious winner. It could be either Hosea or Stefan. Obviously, the only way to pick a winner is to ask the chefs why they should be Top Chef:

Hosea: "I should be Top Chef because I'm not the worst."

Stefan: "I should be Top Chef because I'm so adorable."

Carla: "I shouldn't be Top Chef. Come on; you were all thinking it."

Hosea wins! I'm completely shocked and not entirely convinced by this result. Congratulations, Hosea! I guess.

Toby: "Well, I just have to say that I appreciated that Stefan made dessert."

Tom: "I have some dessert for you, Toby. How would you like a knuckle sandwich?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top Chef New York Finale Part 1: Tonight we eat in Hell!

OK, I just had a baby sleeping on my shoulder for half an hour at Disneyland. So cute! We went on Alice in Wonderland and I just have to say that ride is some freaky-ass shit. The poor baby woke up in the middle of the ride and he thought he was having an acid flashback. I think he'll be OK, though.

So, sorry I wasn't able to spend much time on this post but I had a birthday party today, I have out-of-town guests, the College Art Association annual convention is in Los Angeles this week, the Academy Awards are on, the dog ate my recap, and, oh yeah, this episode really wasn't very exciting.

Now, I know this episode of Top Chef was supposed to be part one of the finale but it was really just the challenge before the finale. The only difference between this and any other challenge was that they were in New Orleans.

So, last time Fabio won and Leah was finally eliminated:

Fabio: "Tonight we eat in hell!"

Leah: "Yeah, I was going to suggest you all go there."

It's down to the final four. Or is it?

The chefs spend several months picking out new hairstyles and then meet in New Orleans:

Fabio: "Tonight we get our hair styled in hell!"

Emeril is guest judge for the quick fire:

Emeril: "Your challenge is to create a new flavor for tooth paste. BAM!"

Jamie, Leah, and Jeff come back to compete for a second chance to go to the final.

Jeff wins the quickfire but to get to the final he has to win the elimination challenge.

Emeril has a book to sell. What a surprise.

The chefs have dinner at Emeril's restaurant and then the next day they go to a warehouse full of Mardi Gras floats.

Fabio: "Tonight we look at floats in hell!"

For the elimination challenge they have to create two dishes and one cocktail for the Krewe of Orpheus masquerade ball at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Oh, and one more incentive: the winner gets a Toyota Venza. I'm pretty sure they just made up that car.

Fabio: "Tonight we drive a Toyota in hell!"

That's enough.

Tom goes into the kitchen to be his completely useless self:

Tom: "Carla should have steamed those oysters. Too bad nobody said anything to her."

OK, I know I've asked this before but WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF HAVING TOM IN THE KITCHEN? He does nothing!

Also, Hosea's roux isn't dark enough. It looks pretty damn dark to me but I guess it's not dark enough.

Carla is doing a non-alcoholic cocktail, which is a pretty big risk at a Mardi Gras party.

Gail is back! Yay!

Gail: "I heard there were cocktails!"

We go to the ball, where everyone is wearing a mask:

Fabio: "This reminds me of porn."

What terrible porn is Fabio watching?

Jeff made fried oysters, crawfish pot de creme, and a cucumber mojito.

Stefan made gumbo with grits, an apple beignet with pecan brittle, and a rum and black cherry cocktail.

Fabio made a sausage and rabbit maque choux with grits, pasta with crawfish, and a trinitini (bell pepper with rum).

Carla made a shrimp beignet, oyster stew, and a cranberry and lime spritzer.

Hosea made gumbo with cornbread, catfish with sweet potatoes, and a hurricane.

The judges liked all of jeff's dishes. They loved his fried oyster and his cucumber drink was everyone's favorite cocktail. Too bad it doesn't do him any good.

They thought Fabio's cocktail was too sweet and his dish wasn't spicy enough. However, they liked his freshly-made pasta and they liked his cocktail in theory, though not in execution.

The judges liked Stefan's grits but, other than that, they pretty much hated everything. And, on top of that, they think he's a total asshole:

Tom: "You seem a little over-confident."

Stefan: "Whatever."

Tom: "Wrong answer."

They liked Hosea's food. He comes in third, which means he'll be going on to part two of the finale, which is actually the finale.

They love everything about Carla's dishes. They even liked her nonalcoholic cocktail:

Gail: "I didn't mind that the cocktail was non-alcoholic. I thought it was so refreshing. Of course, I was already totally wasted when I drank it."

Seriously, if I had already had a few drinks, I wouldn't mind having a soft drink, either. But if I went to a party and all they had was soft drinks, I would be pissed off.

Carla wins! Congratulations, Carla! She wins a car! Wow, Carla is a real surprise; earlier this season I never would have predicted she would make it to the final! She's such a surprise, she could actually win the whole thing!

It's the end of team Europe. Either Fabio or Stefan will be out. And by the judges' reactions, it's pretty clear that Stefan's dishes and attitude were worse. I can't believe Stefan is going to be out! This is a shocking development! I thought Stefan would be this season's top chef and now he's not even going to make it to the finale. But the judges don't have any choice; Stefan was obviously the worst in this challenge.

Padma: "Fabio, please pack your knives and go."


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Top Chef New York, episode twelve: Da Top Chefi Code!

Last time the weener was Stefan:

Stefan: "There is something very special about me. I think it will be revealed in this episode."

Last time Jamie was eliminated. Her body was found in one of the galleries of the Louvre covered in symbols:

Padma: "It's a Fibonacci number sequence! Da Vinci!"

OH MY GOD! There's the evil masochistic albino monk who murdered her! Oh, wait, that's just Toby. Never mind.

So, in this episode the chefs have to solve the mysteries left in the work of Leonardo da Vinci. (By the way, his name was Leonardo and not "Da Vinci." Vinci was his home town, not his last name. Sorry; a little pet peeve). The chefs are being hunted down by Opus Dei because one of them holds the secret that has been protected by the Knights Templar for almost two thousand years.

But before we get to that, lets check in with the chefs:

Leah has always wanted to cook. That's the only thing she does well. Which would be fine if she actually did that well.

Carla used to be a model and that's how she started buying cookbooks. I guess that makes sense. To Carla.

Wylie Dufresne, the famous molecular symbologist, will be decoding the entries this week:

Wylie: "I like eggs because they symbolise the resurrection of Christ."

No, this challenge doesn't have anything to do with Easter.

Wylie: "Fine. I just like eggs."

OK, so they have to make clever egg dishes. Stefan makes a pretty cool pannacotta with mango goo in the middle so that it looked just like a soft-boiled egg. Fabio does basically the same thing but not as good. Shockingly, Carla wins with green eggs and ham, which seemed like the worst idea ever. Seriously, I'm sure it tasted fine but that just really isn't very interesting unless maybe you are a child.

The chefs pick knives with the names of death row inmates and they have to prepare their last meals. God, this is so depressing:

Fabio: "I would want my grandma to make my last meal. Because there is nothing a woman enjoys more than to cook a meal before burying her own grandson."

Carla's big advantage is that she gets to switch inmates but, of course, there's no point so she doesn't.

After dinner at chef Harold's restaurant, Perilla, the chefs get to work.

Tom gives the chefs advice:

Tom: "Job 38:11. 'Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.'"

Thanks, Tom. That's a big help.

Tom: "OK, fine. The holy grail 'neath ancient Roslin waits. The blade and chalice guarding o'er her gates. Adorned in masters' loving art, she lies. She rests at last beneath the starry skys."

That's more like it.

Padma: "What does it mean?"

Obviously it refers to the fact that Mary Magdalene is buried under Capitale, the exclusive events venue in lower Manhattan.

Padma: "Oh, right."

The chefs get to work cooking:

Tom: "You will not succeed. Only the worthy can unlock the stone."

Give it a rest, Tom.

Fabio is struggling with the albino and ends up with a broken finger:

Padma: "It's a cryptex. Da Vinci's design."

What the hell are you talking about, Padma?"

Padma: "I just felt like saying a line from the movie. Was it not relevant? Sorry."

Tom enters the cockpit:

Tom: "Don't embarrass me. We're all counting on you."

Hey, how did an Airplane reference get in there? We're doing the Da Vinci Code, people!

So, let's see what the chefs made for the death row inmates:

Leah made eggs Benedict for Wylie Dufresne, who is on death row for running a molecular meth lab. The judges think the dish is OK but the hollandaise sauce is too runny.

Stefan made salmon with spinach and roasted potatoes for Marcus Samuelsson, who is on death row for murdering nurses. The judges all think the salmon was overcooked.

Hosea made shrimp scampi with tomatoes Provençal for the noted pedophile Susan Ungaro. The chefs thought the scampi was good but the tomatoes were not great.

Fabio made roasted chicken with herb-roasted potatoes and caramelized cipollini for someone named Lidia, who is on death row for general crimes against humanity. The judges love it!

Carla made squab for Jaques Papin, who would never hurt a fly. What is he doing on death row! This is tragic! He was obviously framed!

Jaques Papin: "It's OK. Now that I've had Carla's squab I can die happy."

Some of the judges think the squab was overcooked:

Tom: "The young chefs think it was overcooked and the old chefs thought it was perfect."

Lidia: "Did you just call me old?"

The Last Judges' Table in New York:

The judges decide that Fabio made an airline salad and then Tom and Toby get into a fight:

Toby: "Should we take Fabio's broken finger into account?"

Tom: "Well, what do you think, dumb-ass?"

Toby: "I actually liked Leah's hollandaise sauce."

Tom: "I just want to punch you in the face."

Leah is out. Stefan's dish was probably worse but obviously they couldn't send him home.

So the judges recreated Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, which gives us the answer to the mystery of the Holy Grail:

Sir Ian McKellen: "The Holy Grail is a vessel carrying the blood of Christ. But it isn't a wine glass, it's a person!"

Well, duh.

Sir Ian McKellen: "OK, wiseguy, let's look at Leonardo's painting: if Padma switches places with Toby you can see it proves that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene got married and had children."

Oh, wow, I never noticed that before.

Sir Ian McKellen: "Fabio wins! He is a direct descendant of Jesus! Congratulations, Fabio, here's a big bottle of the blood of Christ, er, I mean, wine. I always get those confused."

Stefan: "It can't be Fabio! I thought I was the second coming of Christ!"

Yeah, we know.

(I would like to thank IMDB for information on the Da Vinci Code because I hated that stupid movie and don't actually remember anything about it.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Top Chef New York, Episode Eleven: I think I'm gonna barf!

Jeff is out:

Jeff: "The problem is that I'm just so amazing the judges couldn't handle it. I should have given them a little less Jeff."


This week there will be eel skinning in the Top Chef kitchen. Oh, I'm going to be sick. Hold my hair.

Stefan pretends to have human emotions:

Stefan: "I feel so lucky to be here. I know I was so close to being sent home."

Wow, that was some amazing acting.

Fabio is speaking Italian to his wife:

Fabio: "Thatsa one spicey meata balla. Ciao."

Josea is the last American virgin. I mean male chef.

Carla is misunderestimated.

Eric Ripert is the guest judge and he is legen-wait- for-it-dary.

For the quickfire they will have three rounds to test precision and speed of technique.

First they have to clean and butterfly sardines in five minutes.

Fabio, Leah, Stefan, Fabio, and Josea were the best so they move on to the next challenge with salmon.

Leah is pouting:

Leah: "I am so cute when I pout. All the boys say so."

Josea and Stefan win that round and have to prepare eel. The eels are still moving around, even though they are supposed to be dead. How exactly do we know they are dead? They certainly show more signs of life than Padma does:

Padma: "I have a pulse. We checked."

If you say so. Stefan nails the eel onto the board with a nail through its head and skins it:

Josea: "Oh, that's what the hammer and nails were doing on the counter. I just assumed Toby was going to nail himself to a cross."

Stefan wins!

Padma: "You don't get immunity but I'm sure you'll get a really useful advantage in the elimination challenge."

I bet you won't!

Padma: "Well, you know what? You're usually right about that but not this time."

Elimination challenge! AAAAHHHHHH! (I just felt like screaming for no reason. Just ignore me.)

Padma: "OK, Chefs, time to get all dressed up and pretend like we are going to do something fun! Suckers!"

Seriously, they will probably get all dressed up and then be told they have five minutes to gather clams at the seashore and make dinner for a hundred puppies wearing adorable sweaters:

Padma: "Oh, my god, I can't believe I never thought of that."

But, shockingly, the chefs actually get to eat at Le Bernadin! They actually get to eat the food. Of course, it's about twenty courses of fish so you know something weird is going on. Not even a restaurant that specializes in seafood would give you that many fish courses.

So, they have to recreate the dishes and make them as close as they can to the dishes they just ate.

Stefan gets to pick his dish and he chooses lobster. Oh, that is totally going to backfire on him and he's going to lose:

Padma: "You're wrong this time."

Fabio made sourdough encrusted red snapper and the judges think it's pretty close.

Leah made baked mahi mahi with miso and it's not very good. She's going home.

Padma: "Wrong again, dummy!"

Stefan made the lobster and asparagus and the judges think it is very good.

Carla made escolar with potato crisps. The judges think it is one of the more difficult dishes and she did pretty well. Way to go, Carla!

Josea made the monkfish and it wasn't very good.

Jamie made the black bass with celery and the celery was over salted. Some of the chefs thought the fish was fine but Toby thought the dish was inedible:

Toby: "You may have thought the dish was unremarkable but I thought it was remarkable. Remarkably poor!"

Oh, snap!

Stefan, Fabio, and Carla are the top three.

Toby makes some comment that I listened to over and over and I still have no idea what he was talking about:

Toby: "It was so clever it just went over your head."

I'm sure that was it.

Stefan wins a book and he also gets to "follow" Eric Ripert around for a week, whatever that means. Does he literally get to walk behind Eric everywhere he goes? Even the shower? Ooh, la la! And also, he gets to travel with Eric to some food and wine fair! So, basically he gets to marry Eric Ripert! This is the best prize ever!"

Padma: "Yeah, it's totally legal now in New York for two chefs to get married."

So progressive!

Jamie, Leah, and Josea are the bottom three.

Leah really screwed up but her dish also sounds really complicated:

Leah: [pouting] "How the hell did you make that sauce?"

Eric Ripert: "Well, we start with fifteen elderly French women sitting around an open fire, we deglaze the grinder with half the reserved stock that we created when we made the krelph and then we slowly add the fish until it's crispy and screams a little bit when you poke it."

Leah: "Oh. I added butter."

Tom: "She doesn't even know the basics!"

Shockingly, Jamie is out because the judges decided her dish was inedible:

Padma: "It was shit. I would have sent it back if I could have but I thought that would be rude."

Well, I'm sorry this week's recap was a little basic but I was out all day trying to stimulate the economy at three separate Club Monaco locations. I can't do it alone, people!

Toby: "Well, everyone else may have thought your recap was unremarkable but I thought it was remarkable."

Thank you, Toby.

Toby: "Remarkably dull."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Marfa Marfa Marfa!

(image from

For my Top Chef post click here!

I'm taking the opportunity during viewing the amazingly violent, misogynistic, and bizarrely pro-crime Super Bowl commercials to write about what I did on my Martin Luther King holiday vacation.

Did I drive with my family to Walley World in an old station wagon with a dead woman in a rocking chair strapped to the roof?

Oh, so close, but no.

I went to Texas! My friend Nan is the director of the Forsyth Gallery at Texas A&M University in College Station and she invited me to judge submissions to a jurried show. So I flew to the George Bush airport in Houston, where she picked me up and drove me smack dab to middle of the state. On the way to the gallery, we passed the George Bush library and the crash site of that military helicopter that went down a few days before my trip.

For the show I looked through about 130 entries of paintings, sculpture, and decorative art pieces. Ultimately I chose what I liked but I tried not to make my selections based entirely on my personal taste. It was tough but I enjoyed it. I selected what would go into the show and then I selected my favorites for prizes.

So that was the work part of the trip. Then Nan and I spent the weekend driving across Texas to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere called Marfa. But first, we got boudin, which I had been wanting to try for years. Boudin is sausage made with meat and rice and now I can say I tried it. I can also say I will probably never try it again. I'm very sensitive to weird meat and this reminded me a little of haggis.

Marfa is a full day's drive from, well, basically from anywhere. I think the closest airport is three hours away so we just did the eight hour drive from College Station to Marfa, which is in Presidio County in south-west Texas, not too far from Mexico. It is hard to describe exactly how far into the middle of nowhere this place is. The landscape in Presidio County is really beautiful.

It was just getting dark when we rolled into Marfa. We actually forgot to bring directions to get to the hotel but the town was so small we just drove around a little until we found it. We stayed at the Hotel Paisano, which is one of the two hotels in town. The Paisano was built in the thirties and James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor stayed there while filming Giant. The hotel was very cool; it was recently remodeled but they preserved the historic details very well. Our room was actually two tiny rooms combined into one, which meant we had two tiny bathrooms. The bathrooms were completely original, which I thoroughly approve of but the plumbing did not work well.

(This was our actual room)

(Cute bathrooms)

We spent the entire next day on art tours. After breakfast at the hotel we drove over to the Chinati Foundation, which was started by the installation artist Donald Judd. The foundation takes up most of an old military base and it provides the kind of space for huge installations that you can't really get at art institutions in the city. The highlights of the first half of the tour were the giant buildings of Judd's boxes.

100 untitled works in mill aluminum, 1982-1986

"At the center of the Chinati Foundation's permanent collection are 100 untitled works in mill aluminum by Donald Judd installed in two former artillery sheds. The size and scale of the buildings determined the nature of the installation, and Judd adapted the buildings specifically for this purpose. He replaced derelict garage doors with long walls of continuous squared and quartered windows which flood the spaces with light. Judd also added a vaulted roof in galvanized iron on top of the original flat roof, thus doubling the buildings' height. The semi-circular ends of the roof vaults were to be made of glass.
Each of the 100 works has the same outer dimensions (41 x 51 x 72 inches), although the interior is unique in every piece. The Lippincott Company of Connecticut fabricated the works, which were installed over a four-year period from 1982 through 1986. Funding for the project was provided by the Dia Art Foundation."

After a good lunch at the Pizza Foundation we went back to the second half of the Chinati tour. The highlights of the second half of the tour were the Dan Flavin light installations taking up a group of old barracks buildings.

untitled (Marfa project), 1996.

"Dan Flavin's large-scale work in colored fluorescent light for six buildings at the Chinati Foundation was initiated in the early 1980s, although the final plans were not completed until 1996. The work was inaugurated at the museum's annual Open House in October 2000."

Then we went on a tour of the home and library of Donald Judd, which is part of the Judd Foundation. The Judd Foundation is separate from the Chinati Foundation, even though they were both founded by Donald Judd. Anyway, the Judd Foundation tour was really worth it; It was in a compound where Judd lived and there were several large spaces with many examples of his early work. Fewer people know about the Judd Foundation so we practically had a private tour.

After our day of tours we went to find a restaurant called Cochineal, which we were told was excellent. We were not prepared for quite how excellent it was. Chef Toshi used to have a restaurant in New York and just moved to Marfa last year. It was an amazing fine dining experience. I had the Cahors, which is a red wine I hadn't heard of. Then, as an appetizer, I had the wood grilled marinated quail served on a crisp of polenta with mixed baby greens and lingonbery sauce. That was one of the best things I have ever eaten. For an entree I had the handmade fettuccine with long simmered spiced pork sausage and vegetable ragu. Honestly, the pasta was just OK but I didn't care because the appetizer was so delicious. For dessert I had Toshi's baked to order date pudding with warm rum caramel sauce. Fantastic! It was as good as any restaurant I've been to in New York but it was even more pleasant because it was such a surprise to find it in the middle of nowhere. And it was very reasonably priced: about $50 for three courses and a glass of wine.

After dinner we went looking for the famous Marfa lights, which are supposed to appear south of town. We sat in the car at the observation point and waited an hour but I don't think we saw them. We did see some weird flashes of light but that's not what they are supposed to look like. Some people say the lights appear almost every night, while other reports say they only appear ten times a year on average. Well, at least we tried.

We spent the next day driving back. One day driving, one day taking tours, one day driving back. That was a lot of driving but it was worth it. The day after that we drove back to Houston. My flight wasn't until 7:00 so we were able to spend the day going to museums.

Unfortunately, the Menil Collection is closed on Tuesdays but we were able to visit the Rothko Chapel next door and that was beautiful. Then we visited the Museum of Fine Arts, which didn't have any temporary shows up but has an impressive permanent collection.

(Rothko Chapel)

And that's what I did on my Martin Luther King holiday vacation! I highly recommend making the trip to Marfa at some time in your life. It's worth the trek!