Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top Chef whips up a freshman feast and a Very Special Sheldon Christmas from The Big Bang Theory

On this just before the holidays episode,Top Chef had quite a special guest judge this week for the Quickfire Challenge.

Questlove,who happens to be a restaurant owner as well as an award winning musician, tasked the chefs to do something creative with drumsticks in thirty minutes. There was more than chicken legs up for grabs,as the culinary contenders had their choice of goose,squab,quail and turkey to grab up.

Despite Brian being creative enough to use his legs for a soup,Carrie won the challenge and immunity for her offering of squab with juniper and thyme. Good thing that she earned immunity here as she really fell down in the Elimination challenge there.

For the Elim,the chefs had to cook a lunch item to serve to the freshman class of Louisiana State University. They had to make enough food to feed 500 and to use what was available in the school dining hall for ingredients and service.

Before the judges showed up with the students,there was a bit of back of the house drama as Carlos managed to manipulate Shirley into giving up the stove top she had wanted to use(she did claim it first).

Then,during service,Nicholas was using his oven not only to cook but to keep his plates warm and Carlos insisted that he needed that particular one-dude,you already swiped one station! Nicholas stood his ground and later on, Carlos whined to the judges how Nicholas "stole" his oven. Not cool,Carlos!

Carlos did wind up in the Top Three,due to his tilapia with Mexican cole slaw turning out great. If he had just stayed focused on his food,which took long to serve due to poor planning, he would have been fine.

Instead,he lost points with the judges over his bad timing and blaming Nicholas for his problems. He did backtrack his statements but now he has someone who could turn into a real enemy for his as the competition goes on. So not smart!

Meanwhile,Brian was up for the win as well,thanks to his very popular shrimp cake. The freshman loved it,there was a long line in the dining hall that came close to reaching Terre Haute(couldn't resist making A Christmas Story ref,guys!).

The judges felt that the spinach salad served on top of the cake was a nice choice,as it accented the flavors plus offered an off-set for spicy chipotle aoli on the plate. I really thought he was going to win for this one but was pleasantly surprised by a victory from another corner.

Shirley's win was extra sweet,since she had had to change her meal plan due to Carlos' station hogging ways. Instead of the fried rice that she wanted to make, Shirley served up some roast beef with potato puree and a fire roasted tomato relish that everyone adored.

The relish was prepared in the wood burning pizza oven that Shirley got stuck with after Carlos yanked her station out from under her. Talk about turning a minus into a plus! She also received a car as a prize,which she plans to give to her mom. Sometimes,nice people do finish first!

In the Bottom was Stephanie,who had a good concept for a college kid's lunch with a grilled cheese and tomato soup. However,she combined a number of odd cheese choices that didn't all meld well together(pimento with cottage cheese?).

Also,while Stephanie meant well by serving the sandwich right inside the bowl of soup,the density of the grilled cheese was enhanced by the hot liquid.

Next to her was Nina,whose corn puree for the fried chicken she served came out late and a mess.

 Her big problem was that the only blender on hand in the kitchen was a dinky one that made the whole puree a chunky glop on the plate.

Judge Tom hated it so much that he insisted that his portion had "49 shades of grey-one more and it would've been a novel!" Nina is one of the better chefs here,so I was hoping that this misfire wouldn't send her home.

Justin was sent off to pack his knives instead. He had thought that his marinated shrimp with garlic puree might have been too upscale for the students but it was the bland favors that really did him in.

I have to give a dishonorable mention to Carrie who,if not for her immunity,should have gone right to Last Chance Kitchen.
Making a veggie option was a good idea but Carrie's broccoli salad with yogurt and pita bread was more phoned in than a life line on the old school version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

I don't think anyone other than the judges ate any of her food and she had the nerve to snark that "it's not my fault if these kids are dumb and won't eat their vegetables." Well,with a poorly prepared portion like this, can you blame them? I think not!

With all of my other shows now officially on break until after New Year's(Top Chef will return on January 1st),this will be my last TV Thursday round up for the year. I hope that all of you who do check this feature out have enjoyed it and look forward to it's arrival in 2014.

To round out this post,we have a Christmas compilation of Big Bang Theory clips,featuring the wacky holiday antics of Sheldon Cooper.

Sheldon's take on the Christmas season is just as oddly offbeat as most of his notions about the world are and a good place to start off is when Penny first mentioned having gifts for him and Leonard. Sheldon's dismay at being obligated to return the favor sets the stage for humor nicely here:

After preparing for whatever Penny had for him with a plethora of gift baskets, Sheldon was beyond prepared for what was actually in the gift box-a rare Star Trek surprise. The sheer bliss of getting such a present made for some very awesome amusement:

Sheldon's grinchy attitude towards Christmas never truly died out,however, and the reasons why showed up one season during a holiday themed bout of Dungeons and Dragons. His take down of Santa(based upon a wish that was not possible to be fulfilled) is both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time:

In the end,Santa did get the last say. Granted,it was in Sheldon's dream but still...:

This year's episode had Sheldon go home to Texas for the holidays(and the birth of his nephew) but even as the gang rejoiced at his absence, he was all they could talk about. Sheldon did make an online appearance and expressed his appreciation for them having a party without him,which is about the only happy moment he seemed to be having:

There will be a few other posts between now and New Year's here at LRG,so please stay tuned and I wish you all a very happy holiday in front of your television for the rest of the season:

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