Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Top Chef's cowboy cuisine,True Blood closes up shop for Season Two and the winner of Design Star is...

For the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef this week,a rather odd main ingredient was chosen by viewer text messaging(too bad there wasn't an online vote as well;perhaps I missed it) and it was cactus. Mike Isabella won for his tuna ceviche and got a high stakes prize of $15,000 but alas,no immunity.

The Elimination challenge had the chefs going out to a ranch run by guest judge Tim Love(who was recently on TC Masters)and making a high end meal for him and the ranch hands. Everyone had to camp out overnight in tents and cook over fire pits the next day. Not too many people were thrilled with the accommodations,but,hey,you gotta roll with the punches on a show like this.

Laurine did very well this week-she not only made the Top Three in the QF,her sauteed arctic char with grilled potato was good enough to land her in the winner's circle. The potato was a really smart choice,given that she at least knew the venue where she'd be cooking at(the fire pits and other rustic prep areas were a surprise).

Ashley also did a great job with her halibut and avocado mousse with bacon and braised romaine,which Judge Gail declared the best food offering that Ashley's done so far in this competition. Ashley's flavor profile here was to suggest a fancy club sandwich and the ranch hands picked up on that right off the bat.

Score another win for the Brothers Voltaggio;Bryan beat out Michael this round with his pork loin on corn polenta with glazed rutabaga. Those fellas are really cleaning up the floor with their competitors at the moment but I wouldn't count out folks like Jennifer C and Kevin just yet.

Stinking up the Bottom Three was Robin,whose grilled salad with chicken sausage and "drunken" prawns made the judges literally gag. The prawns must've gone bad before service since their taste was compared to chlorine-yick! The greens were soggy as well but at least Robin realized that she screwed up and wasn't shocked at being on the chopping block here.

Ron's coconut lime tuna ceviche was actually pretty good but the drink he made along side it was bad enough to get him in the loser's ring. I'm worried about Ron,he seems like a nice guy but his cooking hasn't made much of an impression so far(not a good one,anyway). He did admit that the mojito was just a way for him to not waste the extra coconut milk,which I think helped his cause out.

That left Mattin,whose fish for his three way ceviche was so raw that Judge Tom had to get up from the table and spit it out-not of the good there,folks! I don't know why so many of the chefs chose fish plates in the first place. Dry heat doesn't appear to be a location where fish would be tempting to the palate,in my opinion.

Mattin didn't seem to pick up on his error until it was too late,so he went off to pack his knives. Next week,Penn and Teller show up and it looks like some fancy food technology is going to be the headliner for this round. We shall see and savor.

True Blood's second season finale was quite the wild ride. Kudos to the show for going right for the Maryann showdown and what a showdown it was!

Sookie got to use some of her extra special abilities(which freaked her out in a significant way) and while I had a strong feeling that Sam would be the one to take her down in a Chronicles of Narnia fashion(think Aslan and the White Witch towards the end of the Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe),what happened was way more gruesomer than I expected:

Even with Maryann gone for good,the mess left behind her still needs to be cleaned up around Bon Temps. While I do think that Hoyt leaving his mother's house is long overdue and a positive move(for negative reasons),his relationship with Jessica may be heading for more than emotional damage with her new found taste for slaughtering truckers on the sly.

What happened to Eggs was sad and his unfortunate death/cover-up will definitely have major repercussions next season for Jason and Tara. Hopefully,Tara will be able to get over it without opening herself up to more devious manipulators looking for fresh prey,supernatural or otherwise. Andy's going to have a few issues with this,too but something tells me that he'll bounce back just fine.

The major cliffhanger,of course,is what happened to Bill after Sookie went into the ladies' room to consider his proposal of marriage. Some might take Eric's visit to the Queen as a big fat hint about Bill's kidnapping but just keep in mind that the writers are allowed to go off on different paths than the ones the books have laid out.

Normally I ignore any of the actor's behind the scenes details,but it is hard to overlook the fact that Paquin and Moyer are a real life romantic couple with these scenes and no doubt that I'm not the only one there who's keeping her fingers crossed for their future together to work out well. See you two lovebirds next year!:

Congratulations to Antonio,for being the winner of HGTV's latest season of Design Star. His down to earth approach and instinctual choices in design selection will be a real breath of fresh air for the network.

Dan was a nice guy,but way too bland for my taste(plus,his major mistake in that backyard challenge never sat well with me).

The finale challenge was for each of them to design an entire house and while they both did a good job,Antonio's work was better. Dan had a lot of mirrors all over the place,while some of the things that Antonio did will actually add to the value of the house for years to come. A great ending to another good season:


Season Five premieres tonight and the growing popularity of this insane in the membrane series has lead to a tour of their demented musical,The Nightman Cometh,hitting the small theater circuit. Now,that's a show I'd like to see them pull off on Broadway:

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