This is it folks. The pinnacle of food offerings Top Chef threw at us last night. Yes, it's Richard's Quickfire Jicama Tacos. No meat, no corn, totally what Rick Bayless was looking for when he said he wanted to take the taco into the fine dining realm. It's not often the Quickfire is the high point of the show. Low point, yes. We've had some low points in past Quickfires. Usually they involve nasty tasting food but Erik provides us with another one when in the one on one he tells Guest Judge Rick Bayless to "go screw himself". Not to his face mind you because that would take some balls. What was the rest of the show about?
Making sure these cars were seen. Outside shots, interior shots, driving, parked, loading the ample trunk. We got it all last night. No shopping at Whole Foods this time, not when we've got the Highlander to pimp. Was there any other explanation for this monkey turd of an episode?
Let's face it. Besides pimping the car this was an exercise in thinning the herd. What a big, fat, bloated herd it is. When faced with foraging from the neighborhood pantries and producing "the best block party food ever" our little sheep produce nothing more exciting than Upscale Block Party (Blue Team) and Classic Americana (Red Team).
Both teams fell far short of what we'd like to see these chefs produce. Crusty, dry mac and cheese, soft Paella, flaccid corn dogs, soggy Waldorf salad and pasta salad with no pop. Where's the imagination, the creativity, the pushing of the culinary envelope? Hell, where's the damn common sense that says frying something only to let it sit in a hot box for two hours generally doesn't work? What's wrong with your palate when you let that pasta salad taste worse than what you could buy in a grocery store? Tom and the rest of the judges were right to bring the hammer down on the Muttonheaded Herd. Let's just hope it won't take too many more episodes of watching Tom teach Culinary Classics 101.
A little bird told us that Chef Carlos has signed a deal with 7-Up, and will be going on tour to promote its 100% natural flavors. Stops on the tour will include Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Dallas and Houston, where he'll re-create four of the seven recipes from the 7-Up recipe booklet. (We bet Chef Carlos had a lot of fun designing entrees with 7-Up instead of the usual dessert or beverage!)
The tour is from May to August, and will end on Cada Dia (Telemundo) with Carlos judging a $70,000 giveaway for the best consumer 7-Up recipe! (We'll be sure to post the entry form when we get it!)
In the meantime, we're trying to figure out how to smuggle the life sized Chef Carlos cutout out of the store...
Céad míle fáilte romhat! Today is Saint Patrick's Day. The modern secular holiday is based on the original Christian saint's feast day also thought to be the date of the saint's death. In 1737, Irish immigrants to the United States began observing the holiday publicly in Boston and the first St. Patrick's Day Parade was held in New York City around 1762.For me, of course, it's all about the food. And being an Irish lass through and through, I love having one day dedicated to celebrating the culinary heritage of my people. It's also a celebration day for Mr. Junkie, but for different reasons. In a house where breakfast usually consists of fruit and bran cereal with a coffee chaser, this man of German descent patiently awaits the St. Patrick's Day "full Irish fry-up" like kids wait for Christmas morning. Fresh eggs with soft (but not too soft) yolks, sausage, Irish bacon, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and black and whitepuddings, and potato farls. On the side is Irish brown bread served with sweet Irish butter and preserves. (No baked beans, please...those are for Englishmen!!)No, we're not having corned beef and cabbage for dinner - that's an American tradition, and virtually unknown in Ireland (though bacon and cabbage is a popular dish). Lamb stew is on our table, along with parsnips and brussels sprouts. (Irish fare is simple, and all about what's fresh and in season.) There will also be creamy, buttery champ with scallions......And soda bread ( Soda bread was introduced in the 1840's, when bicarbonate of soda was found to be a good leavening agent for the "soft" wheat grown in Ireland.) with yes...more of that sweet Irish butter. (Bonus points if you know why an "X" is sliced into the top of the soda bread!) For dessert, it's apples baked in pastry, served up with Cashel blue (not an old tradition, but Irish through and through!) and a drizzle of cream.You won't find green beer at my house...that "tradition" alledgedly began in Canada. My preferred pint is Guinness (but Beamish and Murphy's are also in the running). Mr. Junkie's palate requires something a little lighter, so there are a couple of bottles of Harp Lager stashed away...with any luck, it will be just enough to hold him over until Ocktoberfest!
I wish you all a Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!
Please celebrate safely! Slán agus beannacht leat!
Tommy Moloney's is a great mail order resource for traditional Irish foodstuff.
Well, well, well...Top Chef is bringing down the lesbian house for Season 4. Being a Sapphic Sister myself (or, as that wonderfully witty wag Charlus puts it "Moby Dickless"), one might think I'm doing the Ellen dance of joy. Sorry my little crack monkeys, unlike me, my dancing shoes are still in the closet.
A big chunk of the pre-show buzz has been about our three out and open gals. Last night during the eat and greet, the big announcement was that Zoi and Jen were not only a couple, but didn't know they had both been chosen for the show until the last minute. This leads me to believe that those magical Top Chef elves may fear that their show has jumped the proverbial shark. How else can one explain playing that tried and true, Howard Stern goldplated card for ratings doldrums (men ages 16 - 60) but lesbians. And not just any lesbians, but lesbians in love. Or at least in love right now. My mind is reeling with questions.Do they get to sleep together? Use the bathroom together? What about the "No Touching" Rule that is supposed to prevent the exchange of...ideas back and forth? Thanks Spike, we somehow knew that about you.
Now that we are galloping down the lady couple lane of the rainbow highway, what other announcements can we expect from our dykey duo? Don't get me wrong. I've loved all the past contestants who were lesbians. I'm sure I'll love these ladies. And all drama aside, they both appear to be talented chefs. In the end, that's what it's all about. I just wish Bravo wasn't so...gimicky. So poised for drama. Someone is going to have to explain to me what it's got to do with the food.
The highly anticipated new season of Top Chef: Chicago premiered last night. ::Yawn::
As with past seasons, hints of impending drama were introduced early on with the hope of setting the hook in the collective cheek of the audience. First up are Jen & Zoi, who announced to all that they are a couple (to quote Andy Cohen "a laaaaydeeee couple"). Next we have Andrew, who looks like he lives on the rapidly crumbling edge of a paranoid nervous breakdown - it's just a matter of time before this one comes unhinged. Mr. Andrew made it clear right off the bat that Richard is out to get him. (And I'm guessing that, if he makes it past the next episode, others shall be named in his conspiracy theory.) He's also partial to the "F" word, but then again, so is this entire group. Spike (Bravo's answer to K-Fed?) left me with an eerie feeling that Britney Spears might show up at a judging table. And sadly, I was fairly certain was that the lovely but tragically timid Nimma would be the first eliminated, knowing as I do that too much salt and/or lack thereof has felled mightier chefs than she...As for the food, well...Richard's Peach Taleggio pizza and Stephanie's Duck L'orange were, at least visually, (which is my only way of judging, of course) the standout dishes and the high point of the show. That being said, even though the bios of this group of contestants indicate strong culinary backgrounds, we saw a lot of really simple errors and lack of knowledge, including not enough and too much salt, both from the same person; thick, inedible pizza crusts, a serious lack of mayonnaise making skills, an attempt at an avant-garde Duck L'orange that was senselessly deconstructed, baffling the judges; chefs that didn't know their piccattas from their Milaneses, and a nacho "souffle" made with everyone's favorite nacho souffle ingredient - mashed potatoes...
What I liked: That the contestants were able to bring some of their favorite ingredients along, something that has in previous seasons been limited to finalists. I also liked the edgier and more wicked Rocco ("it wasn't just the gnocchi that was dense"). Of course, those close-ups of Padma shoveling huge, unwieldy chunks of food into her mouth while her eyes roll back in rapture are not without entertainment value...
What I didn't care for: The kinder, gentler Bourdain (I'm hoping that he had just flown in from somewhere exotic, and was just too tired and too full of warthog anus to be his acerbic, curmudgeonly self...) In my opinion, when all was said and done, it was just kind of boring for a premiere episode. Nothing much new, nothing terribly inventive... some recycled hawk rockin' and an incredibly NOT FIERCE Malarkey asshat double...I hope it's that it's just too early to tell what path Top Chef: Chicago will take. But if things continue on like this, it's going to be an awfully long season...
The original "Top Chef", Harold Dieterle, Chef/Owner of Perilla restaurant will appear on The Martha Stewart Show this afternoon...On the menu? Spicy duck meatballs with mint cavatelli. And speaking of Perilla, guess where The New York Post caught up with Top Chef Chicago judge Ted Allen???