Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Top Chef Masters take on Restaurant Wars,True Blood's far-out finale and a fourth hand needed Under The Dome

There was no bothering with a Quickfire Challenge this week on Top Chef Masters, as the Elimination round was all about Restaurant Wars!

The chefs whose sous did well in the Battle of the Sous Chefs made up the Red  team(Neal,Lynn,Bryan and Jennifer) and as a reward,got two hours of prep time with their secondary chefs.

 The rest(Sang,David,Douglas and Sue) formed the Blue Team and all were informed by special guest,actress Busy Phillips,that the theme of each restaurant should be L.A.cuisine.

The Blue Team's restaurant was called 72 & Sunny(a pretty friendly name there) and David Burke ran the front of the house,giving off a very pleasant easy going vibe to the whole process.

David also made a dessert and everyone adored his tangerine spiced honey panna cotta topped with a strawberry champagne gelee. I think the gelee could've been applied a bit more gracefully(just looks like lines of clay or paint,in my opinion!) but no doubt the taste was spot on.

Sue also won praise for her twist on the s'more. Her chocolate malt semi freddo with graham cracker and marshmallow was perceived as a childhood treat taken to the next level.

72 & Sunny were declared the winner but one chef's dish was singled out for the big win,plus a donation of ten grand to their particular charity.

 Sang's take on beef and broccoli(served with a black bean ghee that charmed guest judge Ruth Reichl) earned him the win here,but if the judges had seen some of his back of the house manner,it would've killed their appetites.

 He wasn't an out and out bully but it's clear that he does have some control issues. Sang kept fussing at the wait staff and bugging David Burke so much that he nearly lost his cool. Sang is a great chef but I wouldn't want to work for him.

The Red Team's restaurant was named Artisan yet most of the food wasn't inspiring to say the least. Jennifer ran the front of the house in a rather rushed manner and one of her dishes,a cauliflower tahini soup, seemed more like a sauce for a main course than an appetizer.

The judges weren't thrilled with her citrus salad either,saying it was pretty basic and not a quintessential LA dish. I thought she was in real danger of being sent home here.

Neal had immunity,however everyone was less than impressed with his New York steak with fingerling potatoes. His dessert,an olive oil cake,was alright yet if he didn't have immunity.....

The only plate that everybody enjoyed was Bryan's revamp of a cobb salad. He used salmon instead,plus dehydrated bacon and horseradish show(a foam,I believe). While I've never had a cobb salad,this did appear to be a nifty update on it.

The chef who had to pack her knives and go was Lynn,due to her chocolate brownie sundae being overly sweet. Personally, I don't think a brownie can ever be too sweet but that's just me.

I do agree with judge Gail Simmons that it did look more like a brownie ala mode. Also, the roasted banana ice cream had a burnt taste and was more like a yogurt in texture. Sorry,Lynn,better luck next time!

One sad note;Douglas Keane's sous chef will no longer be competing in the Battle of the Sous portion of the show,due to a personal matter. I hope that his situation is not too serious and let's send some good thoughts out to him and his family there.

The sixth season finale of True Blood wrapped up a few loose ends,as Sookie was saved from being Warlow's fairy vampire bride by Bill and company. That didn't stop the determined son of a bitch for long and fortunately,Warlow was staked good and proper,thanks to Jason(along with a special appearance by fairy grandpa Niall).

However,that staking deactivated the sunlight protection in his blood which caused Eric to get one hell of a sunburn out in the snowy wilds of Sweden. Don't despair,Eric fans;my best guess is that Pam found him in time and is nursing him back to his former bad ass self as we speak.

Then,a six month time jump occurred,which showed us a world where Sookie and Alcide are now a couple,Sam is the mayor and Arlene now owns Merlotte's(renamed Bellefleur,of course). Sam and the local clergy announced a new policy to protect the locals from the roaming hordes of vamps seeking Hep V free blood-form a mutual bond with a neighboring vampire. How well that's all going to turn out should be interesting to see next year and I for one am looking forward to that:

Big Jim and Barbie discovered they had a mutual friend Under The Dome with them;Maxine, the sly lady hustler behind the drug making ring that Big Jim is a part(and which all that propane was being hoarded for! Whew,so glad to finally let that cat out of the bag!).

Maxine also knows what really happened to Julia's husband and is not shy about blackmailing Barbie into going along with her schemes to manipulate the town for her own criminal purposes. Granted, her showing up like this is very convenient but a new fly in the isolated ointment could stir things up nicely:

Meanwhile,the young folk of Chester's Mill are forming an unholy alliance of their own as Joe,Norrie and now Angie are agreed to keep the mini Dome's new location a secret.

They have also realized that their connection to the mini Dome requires a fourth member and I sincerely hope that Junior is not meant to be part of this mix, weird prophecy painting or not. Angie,wake up a little there and look out for your baby brother,seriously!:


CUTTHROAT KITCHEN: I've seen the first two episodes of this new Food Network competition series and so far,it really does live up to it's name. Don't know if it'll be as popular as Chopped but CTK is worth while watching,that's for sure:

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