Thursday, February 23, 2012
Top Chef TX plays with fire and ice,Downton Abbey's merry Maggie moments and TAR's first big send-off
The next to last leg of this season's Top Chef Texas gave the remaining chefs an opportunity to showcase their kitchen skills with some of the best in the field. Each one of them was paired up with a former Top Chef Master contender to make an Asian dish in a local restaurant.
The cooking was done in tag team style,with the elder chefs starting off and the younger ones responsible for the end result.
The winner here would get twenty grand for their trouble(they're really just giving out cash prizes by the handful this season seriously. Not that I mind a whole lot,for the competitors' sake,but this is getting to be a bit much at this point).
Sarah won the QF,for a crab soup that she made with Floyd Cardoz,who ironically enough,never managed to win that part of the challenge during his Top Chef Masters run.
For the Elimination Challenge,the Final Three had to make enough food for 160 people to be served at a fire and ice themed party. Each dish had to have elements of hot and cold,plus a cocktail to accompany it.
Paul made a "Pan Am" cocktail that had lime,rum and sugar,along side of a King crab plate with lemon snow. His food went over well for the most part but Judge Tom had a real issue with the arugula as a garnish. Paul thought it would be a nice little spicy kick to the dish but Judge Tom insisted that it seemed like more of an afterthought there.
Despite that quibble,Paul was proclaimed the winner of the challenge and will be competing in the finale for the top prize. Considering the enormous amount of money that he's already won so far on the show,some folks are bound not to want him to claim the ultimate victory. I,however,find Paul to be a nice guy and a good competitor so I hope that he wins next week.
He'll be going up against Sarah,whose spiced sformato mousse on her five green stuffed pasta was frozen so hard that it was tricky to eat. The judges weren't all that crazy about her Agrumi drink of gin,mango and kumquats either. Nonetheless,her dish had enough good points about it to take her to the Final Two.
I've been on and off in my feelings towards Sarah(with a lot of sympathy during that heat exhaustion incident during the BBQ episode)but her attitude towards Beverly truly killed my appetite.
Lindsay had to pack her knives and go,due to her last minute approach to the ice portion of her dish. The halibut with spicy celery root salad didn't seem to click with the tomato ice that was added on far late in the proceedings. Also,her "Ecendido" cocktail was pretty much a Bloody Mary rip-off.
This probably won't be the last we see of Lindsay,as the Finale is coming up and usually former competitors are on call to help out the Top Two. While I wish it was Grayson or Beverly facing off against Paul here,it will be nice to find out if their assistance is required for this last run.
Speaking of last runs,Downton Abbey finished up their second season with the much heralded Christmas episode. While leaving poor Mr. Bates in the lurch like that is one hell of a cliffhanger,it was good to see a few other loose ends tied up such as Lady Edith's new chance at romance(go for it,girl!)and Daisy finally listening to reason about the whole William thing.
The biggest knot to be bound was the Matthew and Mary situation. After some much needed disclosure,Mary had the good sense to break things off with Sir Richard(who has a gig on Game of Thrones to return to)and accepted Matthew's marriage proposal. That didn't come with out a nifty fistfight in the drawing room,of course,and a couple of great Countess Violet lines as the cherry on top of that kickass sundae:
What I will miss the most about Downton Abbey until next year(which is said to be the last season)are those marvelous Maggie Smith scenes.
You just know that she'll be having her share of the conversation at any given moment and no matter how abrupt her opinions are,she will always have something to say that is worth listening to,a rare trait in any character. Too bad there aren't any plans in the works for a Countess Violet spin-off:
The twentieth season of The Amazing Race went off without too much of a hitch as the eleven teams headed to Argentina for a sky diving Road Block and an empanada making challenge. It's early in the game but the team that I'm rooting for here is David and Cherie,a married couple who are professional clowns for Ringling Brothers circus.
Granted,there are teams that appear to have more advantages from the outset,like the pair of Federal agents or the two country mouse couplings,but my spider sense is telling me that there's more to this clown act than meets the eye:
The first team to be eliminated on the first leg made an error that even surprised host Phil,who has seen just about everything at this stage of the game.
Misa and Maiya's first mistake was leaving their backpacks behind while completing the empanada task,which meant they lost a good amount of time going back for them once they were done,and then,they walked right past Phil and company at the Pit Stop!
Phil,who saw them approaching,was stunned when those two gals went off in the complete opposite direction at precisely the wrong time. Hopefully,that will be the worst mistake anyone makes on TAR this season,but I wouldn't count on it:
SAVORING HARLEM: Friday night,Food Network will be airing a special about the rise of new eateries and the revival of classic ones in one of the most prominent sections of NYC. Hosted by renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson,this is a foodie delight that you won't want to pass up on:
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