Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another double elim for Design Star,Top Chef begins the Restaurant Wars saga and Rock wins on Hell's Kitchen!

The Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef this week was judged by Daniel Boulud,who puts out a burger in some of his restaurants that costs $120(if they wanted that kind of money out of me for a burger,it better be served on a solid gold plate that I get to take home with me. I like burgers,folks,but come on!). The chefs were shown a Red Robin menu and asked to create a burger that would fit in with their"Adventure Burger" selection. The majority of the chefs went for seafood but Howie and CJ got props for making a somewhat more traditional burger.

CJ won the QF but instead of recieving immunity,he got to chose his own team to work with for the Elimination Challenge,which was to open up dueling restaurants. CJ picked Casey,Tre and Brian as his group,which left Howie,Hung,Sarah M and Dale to form the other team. CJ's team called their place "Restaurant April"(after one of the chef's sister) and the other bunch decided to name their eatery"The Garage". In addition to the usual judge's panel,there was a secret reviewer sent to each restaurant to aid in choosing the winner.

The secret reviewer was blogger Andrea Strong,who writes about food for The Strong Buzz and is guest blogging this week for Padma at the Bravo website. I thought that was really smart,since both restaurants would naturally try to put their best faces and food on for the judges. Also,if you were opening a restaurant in the real world,there would be a food critic attending on opening night who the staff might not recognize on the spot.

So,which place was better? Hard to say,since no one was totally horrendous but neither one seemed to knock it out of the ballpark. Restaurant April had Brian working the front of the house and he was bathed in more flop sweat than Albert Brooks was in Broadcast News. His inexperience showed as the plates on the table were dusty and there wasn't enough silverware set up. There were some food issues as well,with Tre oversmoking his potatoes for his gorgonzola encrusted steak dish which left the whole entree tasteless.

Over at The Garage,Dale ran the front much more smoothly but he did make the mistake of using vanilla scented candles in the decor. Andrea didn't like the black tablecloths that were used for the tables but Dale's explanation of having the white plates pop against a dark background like that sounded right to me(not to mention that spills and stains wouldn't show up as boldly as they would on white). The main debate amongst the judges on The Garage was the food,as Howie's mushroom risotto and Sarah's lamb shank were deemed to be rather heavy dishes for the Miami area. I don't know about that-some folks can eat heavy food anywhere at any time. Howie's risotto was cooked abit too soon and he did use alot of cream in it.

Which team won and who was sent home? The answer to both questions is "No one!" That's right,folks,everyone got a do-over here. We get to see round two of Restaurant Wars next week,which is fair because as Howie pointed out in the waiting room,every restaurant has a goof up or two on opening night. Howie was a really good team player here and I hope there's less flare ups with him as the competition goes on,but you never know how heated things can get on cooking shows.

The fire at Hell's Kitchen was put out for another season,as Rock beat Bonnie hands down to take the win. Bonnie screwed herself by not checking her supplies ahead of time and running out of food items midservice. She also wasted time by picking a needless fight with Julia.

I know some folks think that Julia was being pouty but I for one respect her showing her feelings honestly instead of Melissa's silent sabotage. All of the dishes that were sent back on Bonnie's side were the prawn plates cooked by Melissa(who also undercooked the sample dish tasted by Ramsey before dinner service)and Melissa was the one who told Bonnie that she was out of certain things at the last minute. That's who Bonnie should've been annoyed at,not Julia who was in the middle of making up dessert when Bonnie wanted her to do clean-up and asked Jen(who wasn't doing anything at the moment)to please put the goat cheese away:

In honor of Rock's victory,I would now like to introduce you all to the mother and daughter team of Madrosed,my favorite YouTube TV reviewers. They cover several reality shows,including Top Chef and So You Think You Can Dance and have a fun take on all of the wacky goodness of each show. If you like what you see here,check them out on their YouTube channel:

Design Star is just cranking out the double eliminations,with another one this week and the promise of two to go for next time. Jeez,gang,what is the rush here? We lost one of my early favorites this time out in the individual room design challenge,Adriana. The gimmick for this challenge was that each designer had to furnish their room with stuff bought at a 99 cent store(which was a pretty damn good store too,I might add. I've seen quite a few in my day and the one they had to shop at was aces in my book).

Adriana's room was said to be too "hodge podge" but it didn't look as bad as Scott's room,who said his theme was Santa Barbara in Vegas but it looked more like a garage sale. He pretty much had every single thing he bought for the room in there,bringing the clutter factor up to dangerous tacky levels. He was the first one to be sent packing there.

On the bright side,Sparkle Josh got to stay instead of Adriana(the two of them were last on the chopping block)and I don't think his room was so bad. A little shiny to be sure, but I like his use of patterns here as well as his creativity in making a picture frame out of compact mirrors. Very chic and cool,in my opinion.

Todd won the challenge,for his breaking surf motiff,which would've suited an art gallery display more than an actual living room concept. Yes,he pulled it off very well but unless you're someone who can afford to have showcase rooms in your house,Todd is not the fella you want to hire to make over your actual living space.
Let's see how he will do when a practical challenge comes along.

Random Notes:

The 4400: I know that Richard meant well by tricking Isabelle into becoming a child again but it was some scary parenting there. He really should've talked about it with her first,especially since there may be a few unexpected complications with turning back the clock for Isabelle:

Even scarier was Tess and her version of They Shoot Horses,Don't They? at the diner. I'm glad Shawn was able to help her and get the Doc on his side,especially since he wants to create a Promicin test to see who should take it or not,which is what I've been wanting someone to think of doing all season!

Who Wants to be a Superhero: Last week,two heroes were stripped of their super suits(double elimination fever must be contagious this summer!)as Miss Limelight and Mr. Mitzvah were dismissed from duty. That was fine with me,since Limelight kept acting like a Julie Brown song parody more and more by minute and as for Mr. Mitzvah,..perhaps the Hebrew Hammer could use a sidekick there.

Stan Lee also asked the potential heroes to say who amongst them would be better suited to be a sidekick than a full fledged crimefighter. The best person to judge that would be Coach Boomer from Sky High:

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