Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top Chef D.C. has a secret mission meal,True Blood goes off more than one deep end and The Next Food Network Star is...

First up for the competitors on Top Chef D. C. this week was another high stakes Quickfire,giving the winner 10 grand for making a Mystery Box meal. Naturally,this wasn't going to be your typical Mystery Box assignment,as more and more ingredients arrived that had to be added to the dish in mid process.

The various food items included hominy,black garlic,squid and passion fruit,which some contenders such as Tiffany wisely chose to make a stew with. Tiffany's was considered the best of the bunch by guest judge Wylie Dufrense(good to see him here again),adding more cash to her wedding budget coffer.

For the Elimination round,the chefs chose a well known dish via knife pull and had to "disguise" it while keeping true to it's original flavor profile. The hidden agenda meals were served up at the CIA,with Leon Panetta making a dramatic departure midway through.

Ed had chicken Cordon Bleu and his twist on that dish was to wrap the roasted chicken breast in the ham and serve it with a cheese croquette and onion soubise(a bechamel sauce). While it wasn't hard for the diners to figure out what the food was,they did enjoy the taste immensely.

Kelly also made it to the winner's circle here,with her take on kung pao shrimp. She had no clue about what went into the dish but by taking a few savvy notes at the supermarket and overcoming a mishap with the rice during prep,she presented a spicy shrimp broth with tempura and peanut vegetable salad that delighted everyone.

The big winner once again was Tiffany,for her deconstructed version of a gyro. Her roast leg of lamb with smokey eggplant and pickled onions was considered very "elegant" by Eric Ripert and her prize was an all expenses paid trip to Paris,sweet! It's wonderful to see Tiffany rise to the top like this and having a honeymoon along with a nice purse to begin her married life with is extra nice.

On the other side of the savory spectrum,Angelo committed a major Top Chef no-no by using store bought puff pastry for his mini pizza version of beef Wellington. Not only was the crust terrible,the meat was too salty. Something tells me that without Kenny around as his pace car in this race,Angelo is feeling a bit rudderless right now.

No stranger to the Bottom Three,Amanda joined Angelo with her less than creative take on French onion soup. She made a simple consomme with an oxtail marmalade that was so sweet,one of the CIA folk compared it to honey-lemon cough syrup. Yuck to the tenth power,people!

Going home,finally,was Alex for his tepid take on veal Parmesan. His meat was incredibly tough and the cheese tortellini on the side truly offend Judge Tom,who said he could get better food from a street vendor-ouch!

Not sorry to see him leave,folks but I hope Amanda is next. She is beyond clueless,especially with her riffs on how great Alex was. Hey,hon-this is the guy who knew you had cartilage in your chicken galantine a couple of challenges back and chose not to tell you about it. Still think he was a nice guy?

Next week,the chefs have to run a concession stand and some fussing over how to get things done leads to a bit of fighting. Guess that old saying about too many chefs stirring the pot may be coming true there!

Congratulation are in order to Aarti as the winner of The Next Food Network Star. Kudos are also due to one of her competitors,Tom,who will also be getting a show on FN this November.

Aarti was one of my favorites from the get-go and I'm glad to see that she managed to conquer her nerves in time to take the win for this season. Her show,Aarti Paarti, is set to debut over this upcoming weekend and I'll make sure that I check it out:

There was a whole lot of story shaking going on during the latest episode of True Blood that I'm still trying to catch my breath. Now that I've gotten a second wind,let's take the biggest moments one by one,shall we?

First up is Bill taking a trip to Sookie's magic dreamland,where he runs into the mysterious Claudine. She naturally freaks outs at his sudden appearance and accuses him of taking Sookie's "light" but it's really a by-product of Bill's recent overindulging in her blood.

This leads to some lightning hand action by Claudine and demands being made by Bill for the truth about his beloved. Of course,he now knows what Sookie is and just as he starts to tell her,the scene changes to another plot line. Granted,I already know what the big secret is(thanks to the books)but the suspense is terrible and I hope it doesn't last too long:

Meanwhile,back in Bon Temps,Jason is getting way over his head with Crystal and the gang down in Hot Shot which leads to Sam taking an excuse to let out some of his recent frustrations by throwing down on Crystal's nasty piece of work dad. While Jesus and Lafayette rush Crystal and her daddy to the ER(nice to see Lafayette hook up with someone so sweet but I suspect the good times won't last for long),Franklin pops up to get some closure with Tara.

While some fans would've preferred Tara to be the one to wipe Franklin off the face of the earth,her willingness to stand up to him and face the music was all that she really needed to do. Jason's shotgun surprise was a good opportunity for redemption in the shooting of Eggs and he rose to the challenge well:

For the ultimate "I didn't see that coming" moment,hats off to Russell for his really not taking the demise of his consort Talbot well at all. From carrying around the gory remains of his lover in an ornate glass jar and talking to it while scoping out his enemies to making a rather grisly TV debut to declare war on humans and the agenda of the American Vampire League alike,Russell has truly gone by-by mentally,folks.

This is one of the reasons why allowing an adaptation of a book series to have some free reign in creative content can truly pay off. Not only is this promising to be quite the wild ride,it gives both those in the book know and the TV only fans plenty to look forward to as this season reaches the end:


DESIGN STAR: We're down to two designers,as Casey lost out during the glass room challenge(I like her work the best out of the three,actually for this one). Guess I'm rooting for Emily since Michael still annoys me,however I wish it was their design work that held my interest more than their personalities:

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