Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Top Chef D.C.'s Singapore surprise,Vampire Diaries return tonight and Mad Men's Don & Peggy show

The Final Four contenders on Top Chef D.C. started off the next to last leg of the season in Singapore by checking out local street food with guest judge Seetho as their guide.

At the end of the tour,Padma announced that the last Quickfire challenge was for each of them to make their own version of Singapore street food( that had to be cooked in a wok),with the winner getting an unexpected reward of immunity(something that Top Chef hasn't done before,this late in the game).

Despite Angelo being the biggest Asian cuisine fan of the group,it was Ed who won this round for his stir fry noodles with black pepper sauce and lobster. This was quite a stunner but not the only one to crop up here.

The Elimination challenge was a team challenge,having all of them make Southeast Asian dishes for a party of eighty people hosted by Dana Cowin of Food & Wine magazine. All of the food served was to be made to order and only a hour given to set up the kitchen. During the planning stage,everyone agreed to make one dish apiece,due to the time constraints.

However,Judge Tom stopped by as the actual food prep was under away and expressed his concern that there wouldn't be enough items on the menu. He told them all to make a second dish,to which Ed replied that it was his intention to do so from the start,something that his fellow contenders were not thrilled to hear.

Even with the last minute additions they all had to whip up,there wasn't a lot of major drama in the kitchen(beyond some mix-ups in communicating with the wait staff).

Angelo made it to the Final Three,thanks to his lamb tartare with rambutan ceviche,and it's a good thing that he had two dishes since his shrimp broth with dumplings was considered to be way too salty.

Kevin will be joining him,mainly due to the 63 degree egg with pearl tapioca and radish condiment that was a runaway hit with the judges. They liked his clam chowder flavored Southeast Asian style as well,but the egg was a big risk for this round and it turned out beautifully.

Ed already had his ticket to the Final Three but he didn't slack off in his cooking for this challenge,something that the judges appreciated very much. The sweet and sour pork with rice cakes was a crowd pleaser but it was the banana fritters with chili paste that truly went over like gangbusters. The only complaint about that dish was that anyone who tasted it wanted more. Ed was the winner yet again,making Angelo not a happy camper at all.

More miserable than Angelo was Kelly,who had to pack her knives and go. While her chilled cucumber-yogurt soup and seared pawns were considered to be decent dishes,they didn't really stand out much.

She tried her best,but Kelly's food always struck me as the middle of the road cuisine so it wasn't too shocking to see her sent home at this point. Better luck next time,hon.

Congrats to the guys who made it to the Finale and it looks like Angelo is going to need some along with a big bowl of chicken soup. He takes ill just before the last challenge and may not be able to cook. Hope he gets better in time because that's the worst way to lose out on such a big opportunity.

One of the most intriguing character connections on Mad Men is the one between Don and Peggy,who have gone beyond the typical secretary/boss level into mentor/protege mode and emerging in this fourth season as competitive colleagues.

Don's still in charge but Peggy is determined to get credit for her creative contributions and tired of putting up with his harsh assessments of her skills. The two of them are very alike,personality wise,which lead to their after hours office cash this week.

Don insisted on getting their Samsonite campaign right,as a way of avoiding the news about the death of Anna(who kept his Dick Whitman secret well)while Peggy wanted nothing more than to celebrate her birthday by having a romantic dinner with her boyfriend who chose to invite her whole family along as a surprise(which is the worst thing in the world to subject her to).

That lead to Peggy breaking up with him and reluctantly joining Don back in his office. In a way,it's no surprise that with such tensions building up inside them,Don and Peggy vented their inner fury out at each other big time. It was quite the bloodsport indeed:

Things did get better from there and even when a drunken Duck showed up to cause trouble,Don attempted to defend Peggy's honor(which he really couldn't pull off,being more than four sheets to the wind at that point)and more of an amends was made between them.

While Don and Peggy are not a romantic couple(which is probably a good thing for both of them),they do appear to be soul mates of some sort. Perhaps under way different circumstances,the two of them could be an ideal match but clearly not in their lifetime. Where their relationship will end up ultimately is uncertain but one thing is for sure-Don and Peggy need each other,if only as emotional sounding boards to help make it through the night:

The second season of The Vampire Diaries starts tonight,with plenty of doppelganger hijinks as Catherine decides to make her presence known. Yes,folks,we're going with the ancient evil lookalike ex-girlfriend vs. the sweet bearing a striking resemblance current girlfriend story line here.

One of the things that I loved about this show is it's open embrace of ye olde cliches mixed with teen soap opera plot devices. Quite a few cliffhangers were introduced last season which should be resolved nicely but the main attraction is definitely going to be the Are You Elena or Catherine game? that everyone will have a chance to play-should be fun to watch,indeed!:


PROJECT RUNWAY: Congrats to Michael C for winning another challenge,which upset his design detractors yet again. While some may say that he's not as innocent as he appears to be,I'm still rooting for him. I truly don't sense anything inherently bad about Michael C(he may be a bit catty but so what?)and I don't believe Ivy's claim that he went around badmouthing her work during an open to the public viewing.

The best part about his win is just how petty his fellow designers acted about,which makes for the best revenge as their true colors are shining brightly on screen:

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