Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top Chef looks to see who will be the cooking captain,TAR's Express Pass play and Skye's secret mission on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Once again,there was no Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef this week as Emeril and guest judge Eddie Huang paid an early morning visit to announce that the theme for the Elimination round was Vietnamese food.

Apparently,this particular Asian cuisine is very popular in New Orleans,especially since shrimp is a major menu item which goes hand in hand with the local fishing community.

Teams were formed to make full course meals and shrimp had to be in at least one dish. The chefs were then given a tour of Vietnamese eateries,including a bakery and a fishery loaded to the gills with,of course, shrimp.

Some teams felt more advantaged than others,due to some of their members having prior experience with Asian food in general, with a couple of folks having more direct connections to Vietnam like Travis,who visited the country with his boyfriend. At one point, Travis earned the nickname "Captain Vietnam" due to his constant insistence that he knew best in all food related decisions here. That didn't work out as well as he wanted it to.

For one,his Green team wasn't up for the win. That honor went to Team Red,who seemed to be the only group that completely nailed the challenge.

The dish that won outright belonged to Shirley,who was smart enough to ask the fisher wives how they cooked shrimp and the butter mixed with Creole spice livened up her barbecue shrimp nicely.

 Travis's team,on the other hand,crashed and burned mostly due to his advice. The dish that he made, a pork sausage lettuce wrap with a side of pineapple shrimp paste sauce, suffered from a lack of lemongrass.

 That ingredient is a key essential in Vietnamese cooking but it was "lost in translation",according to Travis, during the shopping trip they made beforehand. Basically, it was taken in and out of the grocery cart by mistake and no one realized it until it was prep time.

 The guest judge even joked about it during a pre-presentation inspection with him but in an aside, Travis displayed his lack of a sense of humor and some nasty nit-picking observations about that judge's ethnic background in regards to his expertise on the food. Not cool,dude,so not cool!

The person who had to pack their knives and go, however, was Janine for serving twice fried shrimp that wasn't saved by the ginger tomato sauce covering it.

Bene made that sauce,particularly because Travis swore up and down that it was authentic Vietnamese style but Judge Tom wasn't buying that-he compared it to trying to claim McDonalds as French food just because you ate at one in Paris. He did have a point there.

Regardless of that, the shrimp was a a complete mess and Janine had to head off to Last Chance Kitchen,where with any luck she'll get another chance to re-enter the competition. Too bad Travis didn't join her but if his attitude keeps getting worse, he might be there sooner than expected.

Speaking of bad attitudes, Tim and Marie's(mainly Marie) strategy on The Amazing Race thus far has been to demand favors in exchange for the possibility of being awarded their extra Express Pass.

It wouldn't be so bad if Marie's notion of "being nice to everyone" didn't involve her ordering people around like children and acting like a playground bully when things don't go her way. One of the Detour tasks on this leg in Norway was to stack up fish heads in bundles and take them outside to dry on wooden racks. She and Tim were supposed to use a rack marked with a Race flag but didn't, which delayed them considerably.

Marie kept on getting agitated and even barked at one team,a pair of buddies I call the Beard Boys(they wouldn't look out of place on Duck Dynasty), to tell her what went wrong since she had the EP. Those guys didn't take her guff and rightly so:

Eventually,the genius queen figured it out,making her and Tim fall a bit behind there. As they struggled to find their next stop, Nicole and Travis(who would have originally won the EPs,if not for a simple mistake) ran into them.

Marie hit them up for help but Nicole insisted that the extra Express Pass be handed over first. Since this leg is one of the extended ones, we''ll find out this weekend if she did give to Nicole but to me, it's perfectly fair to want to get paid up front first in this game. Marie, if you're going to play hardball, someone is bound to call you on it.

 It's been obvious for some time now on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D that Skye has a hidden agenda for being on the team and this week, her plans were flushed into the open during their latest mission.

While the team tracked the Rising Tide member who leaked info about a man with fire powers to the same evil scientist types involved in creating Centipede serum, Skye found a way to hook up with him before they did.

 Turns out, he's her somewhat current boyfriend who talks a good game about freedom of information but is willing to cash in on his tech skills with no questions asked:

Skye wasn't happy with her man about his eagerness to sell out but that didn't change the fact that what trust she had managed to build up with the group was shattered.

Coulson had no choice but to ask Skye to put her cards on the table. Her mission happens to be a personal one; she's looking for information about her long lost parents and the main clue is a redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. document. 

That earned her a slight reprieve but it'll be some time before Skye has free reign at the computers,not to mention any friendship points with her S.O. Grant,who was starting to warm up to her. With the next episode not arriving until Nov. 5(gotta store up those fresh shows for the sweeps!), we have plenty of time to develop theories about Skye's mom and dad.

My best guess is that they were freelancers who were hired by S.H.I.E.L.D for a mission that went horribly awry. We shall see soon enough, I'm sure:


DRACULA:  Just in time for Halloween, the newest take on the classic bloodsucker arrives with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in tow as it's lethal leading man. Hopefully, this series will offer more than a pretty face and flashy sets to the horror icon's image:


Thaddeus said...

I've heard a lot of people trash SHIELD so far, but I don't quite know what to make of it. The big problem is that a lot of scenes don't play as well as they're meant to.

Moments seem like they should be intense, but the scene feels low-key. Character scenes seem dialed down. It's like everyone is on Ambien, and that will not serve the program well, I think.

Why do I not care more about anyone but Coulson?

lady t said...

I think we need to give this show some time to develop both the plot lines and characters before throwing in the towel.

Whedon shows do tend to take their time about things but when they deliver, it's always worth the wait.

Thaddeus said...

I agree on both counts. I hope this show finds its proper tone and rights the ship soon!