Thursday, March 27, 2008
Top Chef's block party,American Idol says it's your birthday and South Park goes Heavy Metal
The Quickfire challenge on Top Chef this week was to create a fine dining version of a taco,to be judged by Rick Bayless(who would also add that dish to the menu of his high end Mexican restaurant,Topolobambo). Most of the chefs wound up making the usual "street food" type of taco,including Spike and Erik,who snorted off camera that he didn't give a *bleep* about what Bayless thought. Not a good sign of things to come there,buddy!
Richard won the QF(which gave him immunity)for making a taco with jicama slices as the wrap instead of the usual tortilla. I must confess that I've never eaten a taco before or even any real Mexican food(spicy is not my thing)but that does sound like a pretty smart way to blend fine dining with such a hearty cuisine to me.
For the Elimination challenge,the chefs split up into two teams(Red & Blue)and each one had to make enough food for a block party,using only those ingredients that the neighbor residents were willing to "donate" to them. Richard lead the Blue team halfheartedly and they went for more of a fancy menu,with paella and a "sexy" drink(I don't see how adding lavender makes it sexy. Lavender is more associated with calm and soothing,from what I understand).
Since there were to be expected a large number of kids,Nikki whipped up some mac and cheese,using a huge hunk of Velveeta. She not only wondered if she could get the Velveeta to melt into a sauce(are you kidding me? Does McDonalds have fries on the menu?)but if her dish would dry out during transit to the party,which ,of course,it did!
I don't understand these chefs,sometimes-hey,Nikki,didn't it ever occur to you that you should bake the mac & cheese instead of the regular mix with the boiled method? That way,it would hold up better during travel,perhaps you could even make a nice crust on top for your dish?
I know that most of these chefs work in big time restaurants but unless the lot of them grew up living like the Rockefeller's,it stands to reason that a basic American meal like macaroni and cheese is something they would've been exposed to at some point and could handle without too much difficulty.
The Red Team decided to "cook for the neighborhood" and some of their ideas looked very good,such as setting up a dipping bar,serving sliders and having s'mores on a stick(the mini torch used to make the marshmellows melty was cool).
However,they also had their fair share of screw-ups,like the Waldorf salad made mayonnaise less that turned watery and a pathetic pasta salad that Zoi didn't want to make in the first place and it clearly showed. Hon,no one was forcing you at gun point here,okay?
What really did the Red Team in was Erik's corn dogs that were served up despite being soggy from the transport(again,with the not figuring out how to handle the transit problem! I don't get it,guys,I really don't.) The attitude that Team Red gave to the judges was amazing,they acted like punky kids who expected to be praised just for making an appearance to this event. Spike was the worst,with his"You'd had to have security guards drag me out of here...I'm not ready to leave,this is MY house!"
Earth to Spike,this is NOT YOUR HOUSE,BUDDY BOY! It's Judge Tom,Padma,Gail and Ted Allen's house(not to mention Bravo)and you are lucky enough to be a guest here. Granted,the judges get way too picky at times(Judge Tom gripping over whether the paella was more of a pilaf didn't sit well with me)but that's to be expected! I would love to see you try that crap with Gordon Ramsey just once(he'd chew you up and spit you out before you could blink). Spike,watch some Hell's Kitchen and be thankful for being where you are.
As Erik packed his knives to go,Stephanie was able to celebrate her second win for making a dessert good enough to earn Team Blue a win(just barely,according to Judge Tom).
She created a nice fruit crumble that everyone enjoyed and could agree on. Congrats,Stephanie! Two for two there,way to go!
This is for the American Idol judges;what have you guys got against Carly? This is mainly directed at Randy and Simon,(since Paula's critical analysis is about as cogent as a five year old's after eating a jar of glitter paste)due to nearly every week,you find some fault with her. Occasionally,you toss her a compliment but very begrudgingly.
Is it that you don't want her to win? Fellas,if Carly was not hitting the right notes or picked a song that was all wrong for her,I would give you the benefit of the doubt but she's been the most savvy singer here. I'm sick of you guys always telling her that she "chose the wrong song" when she clearly hasn't. And Simon,saying that Carly was "too intense" during Total Eclipse of the Heart is ridiculous! That song is intense to the tenth power,have you heard it lately?
KEEP HEART,CARLY-PLENTY OF US APPRECIATE YOU
Speaking of Heart,the Sanjaya award this week goes to Ramiele,for her lackluster attempt to sing "Alone" which Carly had knocked out of the ball park during Hollywood Week. I'm not buying the "she was sick" excuse either. Ramiele does not have the vocal range to sing any tune from the Heart catalog with that reedy little voice of hers.
Ramiele was spared from being in the bottom three this week(so long,Chikezie!)but with sorry numbers like this,she'll definitely have a very short shelf life on this show,hopefully sooner rather than later:
LEAVE HEART SONGS ALONE,RAMIELE!
YOU HOPE IT WON'T END,THO,FOR THIS SONG
While I was mistaken about Andrew Lloyd Webber being up this week,Dolly Parton was announced as the mentor for the next round and should mean that country is the theme. Before I wrap Idol up here,I have to talk about David Cook's rendition of "Billie Jean",which is a cover of a cover(Chris Cornell redid it recently,I believe, for the anniversary tribute to Thriller). At first,I admit that my reaction was "What the..what?!" I didn't even recognize the song until he started singing it.
After giving it another listen to,I have to say that it's not as bad as I originally thought it was. The arrangement is not to my taste but he did deliver it with emotion and sincere passion and that does go a long way:
The first two South Park episodes of the season didn't click with me but after last night's tribute to the movie Heavy Metal,with Kenny having "cheesed out" visions inspired by that film,I'm back in happy mode here:
Those guys must've watched that movie a lot,since they got so many of the best details from it right(even if their focus was on the boobage). I also liked the little Eliot Spitzer riff as Gerald confessed his cheesing past in a press conference. Thank you,South Park,for making me laugh comfortably again and giving tribute to my favorite character in Heavy Metal,Taarna:
Smallville: Tonight,Clark gets some flying lessons from Kara(like he has no clue how to do that by now!)in order to get ready to face off on Brainiac. Should be fun:
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