Friday, January 30, 2009

Top Chef New York, episode 10: Grain Drain (that's an oat reference)!

OK, so I'm not going to talk about that other Wednesday night show this week, although I do have to admit that I didn't watch this week's Top Chef until Thursday night because there was something else on television Wednesday. I won't say what it was but I can say that it rhymes with Schlost.

Last week Radhika was sent home and Josea and Leah did NOT hook up. I repeat: they did NOT hook up:

Leah: "We did NOT hook up!"

I just said that. So what happened?

Leah: "I don't think it's a secret that Josea and I are attracted to each other."

Mostly it isn't a secret because YOU KEEP TELLING US!"

Leah: "Well, anyway, one minute we are innocently snuggling on the sofa and the next thing you know I guess we are kissing."

That's so weird. So you had no control over what happened?

Leah: "Nope."

So, yeah, Josea and Leah are sitting in a tree K I S S I don't give a crap.

Padma: "This week we are celebrating the Super Bowl!"

What did the NFL have to give you for such an honor?

Padma: "Two tickets to a football game!"


Padma: "I know, right? I negotiated that deal myself!"

I can't tell you how excited I am.

Padma: "Well, calm down. We have to sell some oatmeal."


Padma: "You know. Superbowl? Oatmeal? What part don't you understand?"

Well, for some reason the chefs are making dishes with Quaker oats and the ingredients were supposed to be chosen using the patented Football Method. Let me explain: first you draw a grid on a chalk board, then you write ingredients down one side and you write "oats" over and over across the top, and then you just tell everyone that they are cooking with oats and you have a good laugh over how much time you just wasted. This is exactly why I don't watch football.

Fabio creates a pretty cool-looking dish of rolled, fried eggplant that the guest judge laughs at. Fabio does not take criticism well:

Fabio: "Nobody mocks the Fabio!"

Carla is worried about Jeff's creative monkeys:

Carla: "Those monkeys are out of control. I really wish he would do something about them because they are becoming a major distraction."

Chef Hung: "Hey, that's my monkey!"

Stefan wins the quickfire with his banana mousse. He doesn't win immunity. He wins the usual terrible advantage that will backfire on him.

This week the chefs will be sort of competing against some previous Top Chef contestants:

Padma: "And by competing we mean that it won't make any difference because one of you will be out whether you win or not."

The previous Top Chef contestants are being called "All Stars":

Padma: "And by 'All Stars' we mean 'losers.'"

The losers, I mean All Stars are:

Andrew - season 4
Josie - season 2
Andrea - season 1
Spike - season 4
Camille - I don't believe she was ever actually on Top Chef
Nikki - season 4
Miguel - possibly the worst Top Chef contestants ever

Jeff will be going head to head against Josie cooking dolphin.
Fabio and Spike will be packing for Green Bay.
Josea and Miguel will be cooking hawk.
Leah will be going head to head against Nikki cooking giant food.
Jamie and Camille will be cooking food for the San Francisco 69ers.
Carla will be going head to head against Andrew cooking for the New Orleans Saints.

The chefs start cooking. Jamie is going crazy:

Carla: "Now she knows what it's like to be me!"

Fabio is making monkey ass stuffed with fried banana:

Chef Hung: "Hey, that's my monkey!"

Andrew says something wacky that I couldn't quite make out. He's going to be peeing on your butt, or something like that. It doesn't really matter.

Andrea reveals that she was just playing a part on Top Chef:

Andrea: "Top Chef needed a vegetarian so I pretended to be one. I also pretended to be a really terrible cook because they needed to kick someone off the show."

Stefan picked Andrea because he thought she would be easy to beat. But he isn't taking any chances and tries to get her drunk. He also pretends that he is falling madly in love with her so he won't look like such a jerk. Needless to say, none of his plans work.

Fabio tells us why he needs to win Top Chef:

Fabio: "I need to win so I can afford to buy medicine for my sick momma."

Dude. So if the judges don't make you the Top Chef winner it will be like they are killing your mother? I feel terrible that your mother is sick but you can't say that.

Carla is meditating:

Stefan: "Hey, Carla, what are you doing, meditating?"

Carla: "Yeah, I'm meditating."

Stefan: "Because you look like you're meditating."

Carla: "Yeah, that's because I'm meditating."

Stefan: "Oh, well, I guess that would explain why you look like you're meditating."

Carla: "Yep, that's what I'm doing. Meditating."

Stefan: "OK, then."

The chefs cook head to head in rounds that are scored by the judges and by fans in a totally confusing method:

Padma: "First you win a touchdown with votes from the judges, unless it's tied, and then some members of the audience will be tasting and give you a field goal and possibly make the decision on the touchdown so you could get three points, seven points, or ten points and, oh, my head hurts."

In round one Leah gets the seven point touchdown and Nikki gets the three point field goal.
In round two Josea wins all ten points over the talentless Miguel.
In round three Carla gets seven points and Andrew gets three points from the stupid fans.
In round four Andrea gets all ten points from the fans over Stefan in a split decision from the judges.
In round five Jamie gets all ten points from the fans over Camille in a split decision from the judges.
In round five Josie wins all ten points over Jeff.
In round six Spike gets seven points but Fabio gets the three point field goal from the fans.

Season Five barely wins! Congratulations, Season Five!

At Judges' Table Carla wins!

Toby: "I tasted the love this time!"

Oh, my God, Toby, that was so sweet! Seriously, I'm crying a little bit I'm so happy for Carla!

Fabio is very defensive and claims that his medium-rare venison managed to cook to well-done by sitting for a couple of minutes on hot cabbage before the judges tasted it:

Fabio: "You have to eat my food within thirty seconds or it's ruined. You have a problem with that?"

I thought Fabio was going to be out for acting like such a jerk but he's safe.

Jeff is out. Sorry Jeff! We'll miss your magic tricks, your out-of-control monkeys, and your gorgeous head of thinning, blond hair. Have a safe trip back to the Dildo Beach Club in Miami.

Jeff: "It's Dilido."

I've heard it both ways.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Top Chef New York, Episode 9: Who Cares? Lost is back!

Morris Day: "What time is it?"

Well, we are either in the past or in the future.

Previously on Lost/Top Chef:

Andy Cohen went down into a cave and turned a big wheel and moved the Top Chef kitchen to New York.

The chefs are stranded in a deserted tropical kitchen in a vaguely Polynesian or possibly south-east Asian location where they are greeted by the judges:

Padma: "Mariska Hargitay! That means hello, goodbye, and also love!"

The chefs try to survive by gathering food in the Top Chef kitchen but they are eliminated one by one. Ariane is gone. Or is she? Maybe she managed to jump off the ship right before it blew up. You never know, right?

This week the Top Chef Four -- Radhika, Jamie, Carla, and Jeff -- fight against The Others -- Stefan, Josea, Fabio, and Leah -- in a little something called Restaurant Wars.

Restaurant Wars! It's the only way to protect the Top Chef kitchen from the executives at Lifetime Television, who will stop at nothing to get the power of Bravo programming for their own evil reasons.

Tom Colicchio: "You have to lie. It's the only way to protect the Top Chef kitchen."

It's just a kitchen, Tom! It doesn't need to be protected!

Tom: "It's not a kitchen. It's a place where magic happens."

Jeff: "Ooh, who wants to see a magic trick?"

OK, fine, I guess magic really does happen in that kitchen. What do I have to do, Tom?

Tom: "You have to lie. It's the only way. Lifetime can't know about the kitchen. They've been searching for the kitchen for years, they planted a fake kitchen at the bottom of the ocean, and they sent people here to kill everyone in the kitchen just so they could have it for themselves."

Wait, so they already know all about the kitchen? Then what the hell good will it do to lie about the fact that we've been in the kitchen? That's not going to keep them from knowing it exists."

Tom: "I haven't really thought it through that carefully. Trust me, this will keep the plot moving forward. Soon there will be time travel and all kinds of shit and you won't care about the fact that it doesn't make sense."

Leah is caught in a love triangle between Jack and Sawyer:

Leah: "I'm so attracted to bad boy Sawyer but I know that Jack is the total asshole I'm meant to be with."

Sawyer: "I really regret what happened with Leah. She has a boyfriend and I have a girlfriend. We made out for two hours. Two hours of foreplay and no sex. I really regret that."

The chefs drive around in the sponsored cars again, showing off the amazing technology, like the button you have to push every 108 minutes to keep the universe from ending.

Radhika's restaurant is called Sahana. Sahana means "watch out for polar bears" in Sanskrit.

Leah's restaurant is called Sunset Lounge. Sunset Lounge means "Dude, I am so wasted" in douche.

Radhika and Fabio are taking the front of the house. Fabio looks fantastic in his suit. He really cleans up well. Radhika looks like the mother of the bride. I'm sure we could find a more flattering dress for her.

Radhika is terrible running the front of the house and she lacked any leadership in the kitchen. She also is not around when the judges leave:

Judges: "Let's dine and dash!"

The judges liked all the food at Sahana except Carla's terrible desserts:

Carla: "I couldn't do anything about the terrible desserts but I sent them out with love."

Tom: "We didn't want your love! We wanted decent dessert!"

Carla: "OK, Tom, calm the fuck down. I know the dessert was terrible. All I said is that I tried to send out positive energy with it. I understand that you think that's new age bullshit but, seriously, it didn't make the food any worse than it already was, so what's the point in getting all bent out of shape about it?"

Fabio is great at the front of the house. He's very charming and attentive. It's almost as though he had interacted with other humans before.

Most of the food at Sunset Lounge is boring and the fish is inedible, but Stefan's desserts were the best part of the night.

Stefan wins a suite of GE appliance, just like the one's everyone has been complaining about all night.

Padma: "Oh, they weren't working on GE appliance today. We decided to make them suffer and use Kenmore."

That's just evil.

The judges really wanted to send home Leah but her restaurant got slightly higher reviews from the patrons so they have to choose between Carla and Radhika. Radhika is sent away.

For the quickfire challenge, Padma tells the chefs to just make something, she doesn't really care what it is. Two chefs will be picked to be the chef owners of two competing restaurants but they won't have immunity:

Padma: "What's going on? We just finished the elimination challenge and all of a sudden we are back at the quickfire. And what was that weird noise and that blinding white light?"

That Annoying Physicist Guy: "I don't have time to explain it to you. We need to get to some high quality GE appliances right away, before it happens again. It's very complicated and, if I can't explain it to a bunch of other equally annoying physicists, I certainly won't be able to explain it to you."

Padma: "Listen, asshole, I was married to Salman Rushdie and I'm not as dumb as I look. Just tell me what's going on!"

Physicist Guy: "OK, imagine there is a record spinning and the needle is skipping. The record represents the earth, we are the music, and the needle is representing time. No, wait, the record represents time and the needle is supposed to be us. No, that's not right either ..."

Padma: "Oh, for crying out loud, we're moving around in time! Why didn't you just say that? It's not that complicated!"

Next time on Lost/Top Chef:

Ben Linus finally gets the eliminated chefs to go back to the kitchen. Because the kitchen wants them to come back and what the kitchen wants the kitchen gets.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Top Chef New York, Episode 8: Animal Farm (duh)!

Last week Melissa and Eugene were sent home:

Eugene: "When the booze is gone it's time to move on.

What's your point?

Eugene: "My point is there is still plenty of booze."

You still have to leave.

We start the episode with the usual sexy scenes of the chefs getting dressed, drying their hair, and covering the entire apartment in Glad wrap so that if the building falls over nothing will spill.

For no particular reason, chef Hung is the guest judge for the quickfire. Apparently he won season three. I have a hard time remembering who won.

Fabio: "Hung is a little fish. I think there is an aquarium under that blanket and Hung is going to dive in and swim around in it. Guaranteed."

Well, that's what it sounded like to me. Anyway, it turns out to be a table full of canned and packaged food. Padma tells the chefs they have to make something good from the garbage they have to work with:

Padma: "And because Hung is the shortest Top Chef winner, you will have a very short amount of time to cook. That's how we worked him into the challenge."

Stephanie: "Hey, I'm shorter!"

I think she's right. So the chefs spend the entire 15 minutes complaining about how they are only used to the finest, freshest ingredients and they don't know how to used a can opener. Stefan reminds us what a smart guy he is, as he opens a can of meat with a sledge hammer.

Stefan wins the quickfire:

Josea: "Obviously he won because I gave him some SPAM."

Actually, I think it was the Velveeta that put him over the top.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs draw knives and split into three teams of three:

Josea, Leah and Ariane are Team Lamb
Carla, Jamie, and Stefan are Team Chicken
Fabio, Jeff and Radhika and Team Pig

Jamie and Stefan are fighting over the menu:

Stefan: "We already decided on the menu and now it is the time for the smoking of the cigarettes."

Jamie: "So you're calling me a douche? You're saying I can't cook?"

Did he say that?

Josea is worried that his team's meal isn't seasonal enough:

Ariane: "Well, we could do it as a barbecue."

Josea and Leah: "No, it has to be roasted. You have to do it the way we tell you but you have to take full responsibility for it."

Ariane: "Fair enough."

The chefs are taken out into the country, where nobody will be able to hear their screams. They demonstrate all the special features in the sponsored car, like the cup holders, the sun shades, and the secret compartment for storing the bodies.

Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Farms tells the chefs about how they will be visiting the adorable animals and then hunting and slaughtering them:

Padma: "To make it a real challenge the animals will all be heavily armed and will also be hunting you! Good luck!"

OH, MY GOD! It's a bloodbath! I can't look!

What, I can look? Oh, I seem to have misunderstood. It turns out they don't actually have to kill the animals. They just get to have a nice little visit with the animals and then someone else will kill them. The animals, that it; not the chefs. I know; confusing, right? So, the animals are killed off screen:

Mark Wahlberg: "Hello, goat. How you doin'? I have to slaughter you now. Say hi to your mother for me."

During our regularly-scheduled programming break during the commercials, we get a scene of Jamie and Stefan with the chickens:

Stefan: "The chickens don't like Jamie. But who doesn't?"

Apparently the chickens don't. You just said so.

Stefan tests the sensors:

Stefan: "I'm the only pussy in the hen house. I'm a giant pussy. Pussy, pussy, pussy."

Is he allowed to say that?

The meals are served.

Although Stefan's soup isn't appreciated on a hot day, the chicken team is the favorite. The cutlets are good and Carla's tart is the favorite dessert.

The judges didn't like the meals made by Team Lamb or Team Pig.

Toby makes some stupid comments about lamb dressed as mutton and pesto being the pig bad wolf that blew down the pig dish. OK, fine, the lamb dressed as mutton comment was pretty good; it's just that everything he says sounds so scripted.

All three chefs on Team Chicken win the challenge. They go tell the other chefs:

Jamie: "We all won! And when I say that I'm not including the rest of you."

The other six chefs all lost. Just kidding. Only one chef is out. Obviously, it's Ariane. Sorry, Ariane, you were really screwed on that one.

So Toby wants to have unprotected sex with a pig. Sounds like Tom Cruise is getting lucky!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Top Chef New York, Episode Seven: Look out girls, there's a new bitch in town!

Seriously, that new judge is bitchy:

Carla: "GAAAAAYYYY . . . "

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. But that doesn't explain why he is so bitchy.

Carla: "No, you didn't let me finish; I was calling for Gail to please come back."

Oh, yeah, I totally second that emotion. Does Gail really need a permanent honeymoon? Please, Gail, you voluptuous, sexy goddess, come back and save us from this evil queen!

So, anyway, I have to start by apologizing for being such a lame-ass and not posting for so long. It's been weeks! And I could have posted a recap of the repeat of last year's holiday special. But I didn't. Other Eric told me I should recap it again and then compare it to my recap from last year:

Other Eric: "You should pay me for these brilliant ideas."

Me: "Oh, you'll receive remuneration, if you know what I mean."

Other Eric: "Ooh!"

OK, it's actually not that sexy here at the Eric household. Anyway, I decided that I didn't need to recap the same show twice so I just forgot about it. But guess what? It turns out I didn't even recap the holiday special last year! When I went and looked at my post the other day, what I found was a post saying:

"Congratulations, Tiffani!"

That was about it. What a lame-ass. Well, in my defense, It was Project Runway season and I was busy. The point is, it turns out I could have done a recap of the holiday special. And it would have been hilarious! I can just imagine how hilarious it would have been . . .

. . . Yeah, that was hilarious! Too bad I didn't write it.

So, the reason I didn't have time to write a recap of the rerun of last year's holiday special is that we were replacing the old light switches and outlets in our house. One minor explosion and an expensive new electrical panel later, our switches and outlets look fabulous. In fact, the only way they could be better is if they actually worked. I'm just kidding; most of them work.

Finally, on to this week's recap:

Last time no one went home. It was a Christmas miracle:

Tom: "This time two people are going home! Happy New Year!"

Chefs: "What a dick."

We start this episode with Eugene being pissed off, Fabio making SPAM (did I hear that right?), and Jamie being in a bad mood. She'll wash that pot later, Arian. Seriously, Arian, she'll do it later, OK?! Stop being so passive-aggressive.

The quickfire challenge will be judged by the French pastry chef and star of the soon-to-be-not-a-hit-new-show Chef Academy, Jean-Christoff Novelli:

Jean-Christoff: "The way Padma and I keep our girlish figures is by drinking delicious and refreshing Diet Dr. Pepper!"

OK, Other Eric is pretending to do a commercial right now with the can of Diet Dr. Pepper he happens to be drinking. Seriously.

Padma wants a sweet treat that doesn't taste like it's diet:

Padma: "Now blatantly-sponsored segments of Top Chef are even more like regular segments of Top Chef!"

I don't know; it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.

Supposedly, this is a "calorie count" challenge. Except that the only rule is that the chefs can't use sugar. Some of the chefs are using honey, which I'm pretty sure has a lot of calories.

Jean-Christoff is very finicky about cream:

Jean-Christoff: "OH, MY GOD! This cream is over-whipped! I don't think I can go on living!"

For some reason Stefan suddenly turns into a Kristen Wiig character from Saturday Night Live:

Stefan: "I'm French, just kidding, no I'm not, just kidding, yes I am, just kidding, I'm actually Finnish, just kidding, no I'm not, just kidding, I'm really finished, just kidding, no I just started, just kidding, no I'm not, just kidding, just kidding, just kidding."

Seriously, what the hell?

The bottom three are Carla, Arian, and Jamie.

The top three are Radhika, Leah, and Jeff and Rahdika wins immunity in the elimination challenge! Congratulations, Radhika:

Radhika: "I almost feel bad about how much better I am than the other chefs."

Tomorrow they will be meeting the new Top Chef judge, Toby Young:

Fabio: "He's a foot critic."

I wish that actually seemed stranger than it does.

Tom tells us that the elimination challenge will be a blind tasting:

Tom: "The guest judge will be Andrea Bocelli."

Oh, Tom, that is really offensive.

Tom: "No, I'm serious."

Oh, sorry.

Tom: "Psych!"

Good one, Tom!

So, this is a really fun challenge! The chefs get to create anything they want and then half the chefs sit down with the judges and comment on the dishes of the other chefs, while the group being judged watches on television. And they judge the dishes without knowing who made it!

The chefs break into two groups to prepare a signature dish for the judges. Carla wimps out about doing a vegetarian dish, Jamie is doing fucking scallops again, and Eugene is insane.

After the food is served, Padma calls the chefs into the dining room:

Padma: "Thank you. I called you in here so I could tell you to get out."

Everyone hates Radhika's soup, Arian's skate is good, Carla's scallop has too much garlic, Fabio's lamb was undercooked but the ravioli was good, Melissa's fish tacos tasted like she wasn't confident, they liked Jamie's scallop dish, and they liked Stefan's duck dish with cabbage and dumplings.

Tom thinks the chefs are really learning something this week:

Tom: "I think they are really learning how to handle humiliation."

Arian, Jamie, and Stefan were the top three and Jamie wins! Congratulations, Jamie, you finally won! Will you please stop making fucking scallops now?

Melissa, Eugene, and Carla are the bottom three:

Melissa: "I enjoyed listening to the critiques of my dish."

Tom: "Seriously? You enjoyed listening to us rip you a new one?"

Before the eliminations are announced, Padma has one final question:

Padma: "Does anyone have anything really stupid to say?"

Melissa: "Yes, I'd like to say that I really want to be here."

Padma: "Wow. I was prepared for you to say something stupid but that still surprised me."

Eugene thinks he is so creative but his fish was flavorless and he doesn't know how to prepare daikon:

Tom: "I really believe in honoring the food and I am totally sad that a poor daikon had to give its life for that dish."

Melissa and Eugene are out.

I'll leave you with this insight into what our new judge looks for in a dish:

Toby: "I thought Jeff's avocado sorbet was as good as Tom Cruise. I think Tom Cruise is delicious!"

OK, ew.