Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Top Chef's culinary culture clash,the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and how the Crawley girls cope on Downton Abbey

Top Chef had a number of renowned culinary masters on deck this round,starting with the legendary Jacques Pepin at the Quickfire Challenge. He gave a demo of a fish dish(Dover sole with artichoke and asparagus) that they each had to reproduce.

Nicholas won immunity for his version,which lead to a rather dramatic conclusion as we soon shall see.

Once that was done,Padma announced the Elimination challenge and it was a team one that invoked the infamous TC knife pull. One team would cook five French dishes and the other Spanish,going head to head and including certain ingredients such as almonds,olives and chicken.

Each team had a mentor,with the French one being Dominique Crenn and for the Spanish side,Julian Serrano. They did a good job for their groups but did get a little feisty during the sit-down dinner with the judges and other special guests.

Team Spain,with Carlos,Brian and Nina, won this round and demonstrated some pretty good teamwork there.

All of the dishes turned out well and the arroz con pollo(chicken with rice) that both Brian and Carlos collaborated on pleased most of the diners but Dominique did insist that the chicken tasted dry.

She was the only one with that opinion,however,but Julian had something to say about a chicken dish she suggested to her team that ruffled quite a few feathers there.

Mean while, Nina was declared the overall winner of her team. She had some serious doubts about her opening course, a potato salad with olives but everyone adored the perfect simplicity of the dish.

She also did well with a later course of ajo blanco that had almonds and cherries with shrimp. Nina was delightfully relieved that her food came out better than she expected.

The downfall of the French team was due to Nicholas,whose two courses were utter failures. Bad enough that his almond flan was tasteless but his chocolate chicken with a corn silk nest(suggested by Dominique but it was clear before service that the nest was a mess) was so bad it caused a fight at the table.

Julian Serrano was disgusted by the very notion of chocolate with chicken and sniped at Dominique about it. That was somewhat petty but it didn't help matters that the whole plate was overwhelmed by chocolate and that Judge Tom compared the corn silk nest to hair clogged in a drain.

The judges broadly suggested to Nicholas that he bow out of the competition,since his team mates Shirley and Stephanie didn't make any major missteps with their food.

Even the dish both ladies worked together on, a chicken mousse with a roasted chicken broth, was a particular favorite of the meal. However, Nicholas refused to fall on his sword so it was Stephanie who had to pack her knives for Last Chance Kitchen here. I hope she gets a chance to come back into the competition and Nick,buddy, you just bought yourself a bag of bad karma for your pantry. Good luck with that!

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned this week and I was quite shook up when Coulson caught a major memory glimpse at the procedures used to bring him back from the dead. His team pulling together to find him was nicely done as well(liked Skye going solo) but the big twist was in ripping the mental facade of his time in Tahiti,which is so not a magical place for him anymore, away.

That whole exposed brain being jump started by an alien robot device that had the man pleading for the sweet release of death was more than I expected for a network show and Clark Gregg's most moving scene of the season thus far. Top that with an end credit reveal of a character thought to be dead but in deep trouble and I'm still watching this show. I know some are still not satisfied but hey, grab yourselves a Snickers while the rest of us keep tuning in:

The long awaited fourth season of Downton Abbey arrived, with most of the family and staff doing what they could to recover from Matthew's death. Mary was still stuck in deep mourning for most of the two hour premiere but with the aid of brother-in-law Branson and the ever resilient Countess Violet, she began to perk up and start taking an interest in the world again.

A good deal of that revival is due to discovering a letter that Matthew wrote before he died that expressed his wishes for Mary to be the heir of the estate,something that dear old daddy Grantham is less than thrilled about.

 Considering that the family finances are in the sad state they're in due to his financial fumbling, you'd think he would be relieved to let someone else shoulder that burden, but oh, no!  Between wrestling with her father over how to run Downton and the arrival of a couple of new love interests, Mary is certain to be a busy lady this season with no more time for sorrow:

On the other hand, younger sister Edith is finally coming into her own as a stylish and sophisticated lady. It's good to see her blossom and break out of her Jan Brady setting but I do wish that Edith would give up on her married boyfriend.

This whole "I need to become a German citizen in order to divorce my mentally incapacitated wife" idea is an alarming notion,indeed. Edith, please back out of this while you still can-that man is not worth leaving England for!:


AHS:COVEN: Stevie Nicks made her much anticipated appearance last night but that was nothing compared to what happened to Nan(fare thee well, dear) or how Madison tricked Misty into an open coffin for above ground burial. Yep, the race to be the Supreme is off and running,promising quite a body count before all is said and done:

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