Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Top Chef has a turning point,Sleepy Hollow's demonic sister act and the Anna situation at Downton Abbey

For the Quickfire challenge on this week's episode of Top Chef, food truck master Roy Choi came in to judge the quality of the personalized po'boys(a NOLA classic sandwich) each culinary contender was tasked to make.

Roy wound up talking to them like a real truck driver,as he was sorely disappointed with how the food turned out and simply said "you guys f--d up"(which was quite a change of pace from the usual guest judge commentary and a tad refreshing, I might add).

However,he did like Shirley's po'boy enough to give her the win and what may be the last immunity left here.

 She sauteed the catfish served between "two pillows"(as Padma called the bread) and had ginger,mirin and garlic for the glaze with a crunchy cabbage slaw that gave it a nice texture. Shirley has been quite the superstar this season and I am strongly rooting for her to make it into the TC finale.

Then Jon Favreau showed up to deliver the Elimination challenge and after teasing the chefs about dumpster diving,told them that they had to make a dish that reflected a turning point in their culinary lives.

Favreau,who is making a movie about chefs,also informed them that their food was to be served at Cafe Reconcile,which is a teaching restaurant for young people. Apparently Emeril is a big sponsor of the place and it would've been nice if the chefs had to work with one of the culinary apprentices there as well, in my opinion.

Nina had to change her meal plan in midstream,as the heat of the kitchen at Cafe Reconcile made her pasta too chewy for her intended dish.

She went with fettuccine with charred calamari and crab meat,going for simplicity as her turning point inspiration Scott Conant( a regular judge on Chopped among other achievements) taught her.

Nina learned that lesson well since everyone at judges' table adored it to no end. I thought she might be the winner of this challenge but fortunately, she was second only to another great competitor.

Shirley pulled off a two-for-two as she won this round,for a seared snapper with a crustacean broth that the judges were literally lapping up.

Carlos did well enough with his pork belly and sweet potato puree to join the ladies in the Final Four,which left it down to Brian and Nicholas as to who would be sent to Last Chance Kitchen.

Nicholas looked like a sure bet to be tapped out,as his ahi tuna was rather bland and even if the toasted quinoa that was to be added hadn't burnt before plating, it still wouldn't been great.

Part of the problem was the various preparations of carrots created for the dish,including a plain slice of carrot on top of the fish which did not impress anyone. Nina's right when she says that he over thinks his food-sometimes,less is more!

However, Brian's chicken anticucho with twice done potatoes and walnut pesto earned the full ire of the judges instead. Granted, Emeril did have a few underdone potatoes on his plate but the real offense seemed to be that Brian chose skinless,boneless chicken breast as his protein.

I for one prefer skinless chicken breast(bones are an either/or with me) but the judges,particularly Judge Tom, found that choice to be uncreative and insulting,much like the Razzies with an Adam Sandler movie. So, we have a Final Four for the moment and soon enough,the LCK contender will join them to fight til the finish in the finale set in Hawaii. Good luck,gang!

Speaking of a gang in need of luck,the crew at Sleepy Hollow faced quite a tricky nemesis this week with a body jumping demon.

 That unholy creature demanded Washington's bible in exchange for sparing Captain Irving's daughter from it's wrath and it turned out that this particular demon was no stranger to Jennifer,as she had been possessed by it several years ago.

A good portion of this next to last episode for the season had much to do with the relationship between the Mills sisters and I'm glad that this broken bond appears to be repairing itself for now.

The two part finale airs next Monday,with Season Two in production as we speak. Despite the early misgivings many had about this show, Sleepy Hollow has become a lively pop culture phenomenon that demonstrates the power of steady story telling and solid world building,something that a few other shows could learn from(yes,AHS: Coven, I mean you! Like what you've done with the place but seriously, a few plot point touch ups are in order):

Now,we have a very sad situation to discuss concerning Downton Abbey and what happened to Anna this week.

During a house party where an opera singer was performing for both staff and guests, Anna was sexually assaulted by a manservant who works for a potential suitor of Mary's. The scene was shown as discreetly as possible yet viewers in America are just as upset about this as were the DW watchers in England were when this first aired.

While Downton is considered by some to be a delightful getaway from the harsh realities of life, part of it's appeal is in reflecting some of the harsh realities of that time period and even on great estates both in England and elsewhere, such terrible events did and still do occur.

Being such a beloved character on a show like this means that a lot of suffering is sent that person's way in order to heighten the dramatic impact and while I hope this plot development doesn't cause anyone's emotional wounds to be opened unintentionally, trusting the cast and writers to carry this off respectably for all involved is the best solution.

 Those of you interested in Mary's upcoming romances will get plenty of that as well, I'm sure. In the mean time, let us take the DA folk at their word as to how the Anna situation will be resolved:


GAME OF THRONES: Season Four is due to arrive in April and oh,what a time that will be! Get ready for some major game changes here(I will spoil nothing) and a few welcome surprises:

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