Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top Chef Seattle has a berry blast,Next Iron Chef battles the buffet and Cyndi is Still So Unusual

Another familiar face arrived on the scene at Top Chef Seattle this week,as Season 4 winner Stephanie was the guest judge for the Quickfire challenge. Everyone was allowed to make whatever they wanted,using the ingredients available in the pantry.

The catch was that all of the stock was wrapped up in aluminum foil,making the selection process trickier than usual. Plus,they also had to cook their dish with foil and encouraged to be as unique as possible.

Kristen truly took the cake here,by making an almond and sponge cake which was moist and delicious. She won immunity for the next round and also didn't have to pair up with anyone else for the Elimination challenge.

The rest of the chefs had to go head to head to make berry centric dishes for a local festival. One overall winner was to be chosen by the festival goers via votes cast at the food stands,with the judges determining who would be sent home.

John and Stefan both had gooseberry as their focal point and the two of them went into combat mode as they exchanged not so pleasant rivalries.

Stefan had to use frozen tuna for his Cali crudo with radishes and spicy vinaigrette,due to another contender buying up all of the fresh tuna during grocery shopping.

John repeatedly call him out about it to anyone who would or had no choice but to listen,which was rather annoying after awhile. However,Stefan's plate was preferred by both the crowd and the judges.

John should have paid more attention to his gooseberry gazpacho,which was overpowered by the chorizo added to it.

Not even the grapes in the dish could tame that spicy sausage and someone at the festival compared it to "cheeseburger soup." Next time,less chatter,more cooking there,John!

Meanwhile,Sheldon(who had bought up that fresh tuna)was able to showcase strawberries very nicely in his ahi summer roll with ahi poke and sweet chili sauce.

It tasted refreshing and earned him victory for his bout with Micah. Sheldon's doing a good job so far in the competition and to his credit,doesn't waste a lot of time talking smack(a few others could follow his example and do better here,just saying!).

Micah did get quite creative with his strawberry special,making a fried chicken with strawberry and bacon biscuit. Smart to do sort of a chicken and waffles approach but the judges felt that they couldn't really taste the strawberry.

Also,his biscuit turned out blah,which was a shame. He did really seem to try hard with this one but the magic just wasn't happening.

The ultimate winner was Kristen,for her goat cheese custard with macerated tayberries. The judges found it to be flawless,a rare compliment given out on this show to anybody.

This was another back-to-back win for the girls,beginning with Brooke's two time win last episode and now Kristen following suit. Nice going,ladies! Maybe this season,we'll have another female TC winner to join Stephanie.

Everything wasn't coming up roses,however,for Danyele as her chicken pine nut terrine with blueberry mostarda was a total flop. Judge Tom felt that it wasn't a true mostarda(which is sort of a candied/pickled fruit mix)and the terrine had the texture of lunch meat.

She went off to pack her knives for Last Chance Kitchen but I'm not sure she has the heart for this whole thing. Danyele's a nice enough gal yet this competition kept flustering her at every step. Oh,well,best of luck to her either way!

Things are winding down on The Next Iron Chef,as the Final Four paired up to prepare dueling buffets with bacon as the highlighted ingredient. Alex and Marcel did their level best but Amanda and Nate pulled their bacon banquet off in a much more satisfying fashion.

That meant that Alex and Marcel had to face off against each other in the Secret Ingredient Showdown,which gave them Hershey's chocolates and candy to work with.

Alex was nervous,since this was her first time this season in the Bottom Two but she aced her plate nicely.

Marcel was eliminated and to his credit,seemed to be a little less immature than the last time I saw him in a competition. He still has a ways to go there but Marcel made a credible showing here and good luck to him on his future endeavors.

The finale will be airing this weekend,leaving the three remaining chefs to become two and then the final battle in Kitchen Stadium. Personally,I'm rooting for an Amanda vs. Alex scenario and while I will be happy for whichever of these ladies to be the winner,my cheers will be a bit louder for Alex:

With most of the regular shows taking a holiday break,I thought it would be good to highlight some of the new series set to air early next year.

One that caught my eye was Cyndi Lauper's Still So Unusual,which follows the iconic 80s singer around on her various entertainment and charity event functions.

This might actually be fun to watch,as Cyndi is one of those rare celebrities that seems authentically comfortable in her own skin and not in denial about her maturity. Yes,she's still a party girl in the good sense of the term and I'm looking forward to seeing her sparkle on the reality show scene this January:


THE BIG BANG THEORY: Their Christmas episode this year was a joy to watch,particularly due to the guys playing a holiday themed edition of the classic RPG,Dungeons and Dragons.

Sheldon's reluctant particpation became very amusing as he used his unexpectedly vast knowledge of Christmas traditions to achieve victory in the game. However,it wouldn't a fun time with Sheldon if he didn't take the long road home,so to speak:

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