Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Top Chef Seattle's Finale Part I,TAR's Express Pass Plotting and Downton Abbey says farewell to Matthew

The season finale of Top Chef Seattle began with revealing the winner of Last Chance Kitchen,Kristen! After the shock and surprise wore off,the main challenge to determine which two would make to the second half of the final showdown was laid out before them.

All three of them(Sheldon,Brooke and Kristen) were to take over the kitchen of Judge Tom's premiere LA restaurant Craft. Each one had to make an appetizer,entree and dessert for the incoming guests and the judges. Judge Tom was back there with them,expediting the service and tasting their food from the back of the house.

Kristen's opening course of duck rillette and chestnut veloute shined but a couple of judges were divided about the flavors of her entree.

She served an ahi tuna with veal mustard jus and Meyer lemon puree. The lemon was purposely burnt,to add a bitter note to the dish but some of the judges felt that note didn't ring right with the rest of the plate.

 What disappointed Kristen herself was how her dessert turned out. It was a nice bowl of curry chocolate with cashews,which was fine with everyone but a tad too simple for someone of her skill level.

Her overall food performance was good enough to send her to the Final Two,leaving it down to Brooke and Sheldon.

Brooke's approach to the meal was scattershot due to her not being able to decide quickly on what to make. We've seen this before  from her and while she does manage to recover well,it is a bad habit that could easily clock her out of the competition.

 For her appetizer,she went with veal sweetbreads in a crispy salad with kumquat and beets. Hugh Acheson thought that she needed to clean the sweetbreads better and most of the judges agreed that a shot of acid would've enhanced the flavors.

However,the braised short ribs that she made for the entree course redeemed her fully. The Parmesan sauce that accompanied it on top of the nettle puree also won praise.

The judges loved her dessert, as well,a brown butter cake with fruit and goat cheese that Brooke hadn't made in some time. Turns out that recipe was as easy as riding a bike for her.

 Sheldon started off  with a bang,as his sashimi spot prawns with court bouillon appetizer was well received by the judges. The diners were also singing the praises of this dish,making it look like a real home run for Sheldon.

However,he decided to deviate from his regular norm for the rest of the meal,which threw the judges for a loop and not in the good way. I don't blame the guy for taking a chance by going outside of his comfort zone but perhaps this wasn't the best time to do that.

Sheldon chose quail as his protein for the entree,serving it roasted with a pine nut puree. The food was okay,yet the judges felt that this was not the best display of his talents.

Sheldon's dessert is what did him in,in my opinion. The white chocolate mousse was good but the fennel that was paired with the apple on the plate completely overwhelmed it.

So,Sheldon is out and it's Kristen and Brooke who are going head to head next week in Part Two of the TCS finale.Congrats,ladies and as RuPaul would say,may the best woman win!

 Ru would also remind them to not f*** it up,which Brooke may need to heed to. Keep your focus as sharp as your knives,if you want the win! I would also be happy if Kristen won,btw. It's nice when two such worthy and worthwhile opponents are facing off like this,a rare treat on reality TV indeed.

A new season of The Amazing Race started this weekend,with a new incentive for the first team to reach the Pit Stop. Not only would that team get one Express Pass(which allows them to skip a challenge during the race) but a second one to be given to another team would also be theirs.

The first five groups out of the airport made a pact that which ever team won the Express Pass package would hand over the other pass to the second pair amongst them. That seemed to be a fair way to go about it,yet it looks as if John and Jessica are going to renege on that deal. Not a good way to make friends and allies,guys! You never know who you'll need to help you along the way,especially when those Double U-Turns show up:

Meanwhile,the last three teams at the Sandcastle Roadblock were so frustrated at the seeming impossibility of finding the clue that they all decided to take the four hour penalty(which would delay them at the start of the next leg)and head for the Pit Stop. That plan didn't work out so well for Team Firefighter(Matt and Daniel),who had trouble with their canoe and wound up being the first team eliminated. Too bad,fellas,better luck next time:

  A lot of things happened on the third season finale of Downton Abbey,but the big one that everyone is talking about is the death of Matthew. Fresh from seeing his newborn son,Matthew meet his untimely end in a car accident,which will cause quite an upheaval as the promised fourth season begins next year.

 Apparently,Dan Stevens(who plays Matthew)wanted off the show and word is that he'll be appearing in a miniseries version of P.D. James' Pride and Prejudice themed mystery,Death Comes to Pemberley. That's good for him, I suppose,although a shame that we won't see him make those necessary improvements at Downton that Matthew was planning to keep the estate going. Let's hope that brother-in-law Branson will take up that mantle and keep things afloat for the Crawley crew there.

Granted,I wasn't a big fan of the whole Matthew & Mary love story(care a bit more about Edith,who deserves better than a Jane Eyre retread romance,if you ask me) but it was sad to consider the effect this tragic loss will have on Mary. Fare thee well, Matthew,you will be missed:


 THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: Chaos is breaking out all over,as Silas has risen and Jeremy may be truly down for the count this time. Hopefully,Elena can get a grip before things get even worse and yes,they will get worse way before we see any sign of better:

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