Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Top Chef JD sings a sweet song,Design Star visits Nate Burkus and True Blood's supernatural warfare goes up a notch

This week's guest judge on Top Chef:Just Desserts was Margaret Braun,who challenged the contenders to make a creative treat out of lemons. Real lemons,that is-not flavoring or extract.

Out of all the lemony delights prepared,the one that won belonged to Matthew. His lemon vanilla creme with mint puree and hazelnut sable thrilled the taste buds of both judges which gave Matthew both immunity and leadership of a team for the Elimination Challenge.

Four teams were made up with each one tasked to make a cake for the opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at Walt Disney's Concert Hall. Each member of the team was responsible for one layer of the cake and all were encouraged to choose favors that would work well together. Everyone,however,was accountable for the overall look of the final product.

The cakes had to be set up outside,which lead to some troublesome melting issues. Team Black's entry,however,had enough trouble on their plate with the wonky appearance of their cake.

The layer that really stood out in the worst way was Craig's. His drum looked awful and the chocolate caramel cake,despite being allegedly his Grandma's recipe,was only so-so.

Lucky for Craig,his teammate Nelson stood by him during the judges' panel when asked if that drum should have been removed. Nice to see some positive support being given this early on in the game.

The winning cake came from the Red Team,made up of Matthew,Melissa,Chris and Megan. Not only was their design a brilliant echo of the unique architecture of the building but the flavors showcased in each slice came off in three point harmony.

While the judges enjoyed Matthew's lemon pound cake layer and Chris's chocolate sponge with praline jam,the layer they liked most of all was Melissa's. Her cardamom sponge cake with ginger cream and strawberry jam section truly hit the sweet spot.

Melissa had been chosen last for her team,due to last week's drama with Lina,so this little redemption moment was sweetly savored.

Team Green presented a very lovely cake that revealed the excellent flow of team work between Carlos,Sally and Rebecca. The various flavors and cohesive design did bode well for them but a few flaws held them back from a win.

For one thing,Judge Johnny was less than thrilled with the color of the frosting and the denseness of the top layer. Rebecca's lower layer of devil's food cake with a carmelia ganache and almond filling was deemed tasty but messy.

Considering that Rebecca had to work with only one hand(her other was injured at the TC loft)and she worked without complaint there,I think cutting her a break is reasonable here.

The cake that hit the sourest note belonged to the Blue Team. Even Katzie admitted that they overshot the mark here with the poor execution of their visual theme. The musical instrument decorations were made by Van,who did think that they were much too small-good thing Kerry Vincent wasn't on that judging panel or he really would've had the riot act read to him on that element.

In addition to the poorly made instruments,Van's layer of cake was dry and you couldn't even taste the smoked salt in the caramel. Therefore,Van had to pack his knives and go. The guy tried his best,at least.

Next week,one of the Real Housewives of NJ stops in and Craig is still stumbling around the kitchen which could mean trouble for his team. We shall see,indeed!

It's down to the Final Four on Design Star and for their camera challenge,everyone had to appear on the Nate Burkus show for a demo on re-purposing items in your home. The big challenge was to do an inexpensive makeover of a living room for a small apartment with a budget of $2,500.

Meg aced the apartment challenge and did great on the Burkus show as well. For her TV spot,she upgraded the plain gray coffee table with a simple yet elegantly painted design. She had poise and confidence while managing to engage the audience as well.

The apartment looked amazing. Meg used molding to create stripes for the wall and had small floating shelves built that filled up the spaces nicely. She won the challenge and is now in the Final Three-way to go,girl!

Karl and Mark will be joining her,as the fellas did good work here. It was Karl,however,excelled over Mark this time out. His idea of using old books for shelving is very much in the now and he really sparkled during his camera challenge.

Mark is usually more surefooted but he left a big blank wall space in his apartment and his demo for silver-leafing a lamp had him saying "tin foil" instead of the proper term for the material. Tin foil is not good for lamps at all and Judge Vern strongly warned him that giving out correct instructions is important for a DIY show.

Kellie had to go home this week,for her lack of pizazz in both her design and TV appearance. Her Nate Burkus demo was a tad on the robotic side there and despite having a couple of bright touches such as rag rug covered stools and a specially made art piece,the apartment was pretty slip shod when finished.

The curtains in particular were sloppy and showed just how much of an after thought they were for her. Also,she really scrambled to finish up another art project for the walls and wound up having to reuse the basic pictures already in the apartment. Sorry,Kellie,but we have to say goodbye. Personally,I would've sent her packing last week for the bunk bed incident but,hey,at least she wasn't Cathy!

Next time,the challenge is to design an entire house and the stakes will be high as well as surprising:

On True Blood,life goes on somewhat normally as Andy and Terry have a private intervention for Andy's V habit,Sam deals with the death of his ne'er do well brother and Alcide needs to watch his back as Debbie and her new pack master are scheming against him.

Meanwhile,we last saw Sookie screaming her head off to warn King Bill as Marnie/Antonia's vampire posse pounced on the assembled crowd at the Tolerance event. Just as Eric was about to execute Bill,Sookie unleashed some of her fairy magic and broke the spell over him. As a bonus,Eric now has his memory back and Marnie/Antonia had to make a hasty retreat:

While King Bill decides that talk time is over,Sookie forms her own pack of Scoobies to help Tara and the rest of the hostage witches break free from the Moon Goddess Emporium. Jesus volunteers to go in first,since he has more of a connection with Marnie and wants to help her cast Antonia out.

After proving himself worthy by walking painfully through the magical barrier surrounding the shop,Jesus gets Antonia to let him talk to Marnie. Only problem with that is that it's Marnie who is running the show now. Thrilled by the power and terror of their combined mystical actions,Marnie even had to convince Antonia to stay within her-puppet and puppet master changing places is not good,folks!

Marnie/Antonia soon catches on to the escape attempt being made by Tara and Holly,along with the presence of Sookie and friends. While a major showdown is brewing up inside Moon Goddess,by nightfall Bill and his band of angry allies are ready to storm their castle. People need to get their priorities straight fast and furious here,folks:


MTV VMAS: The biggest splash made at the Video Music Awards this year was courtesy of Lady GaGa,who appeared as her male counterpart Jo Calderone. While her onstage monologue was a tad overdone,it was a great piece of performance art that just goes to show how solid her versatility is:

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