Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday leftovers

I'm at home until after New Year's, but it doesn't matter anyway because there's no new episode of "Top Chef" this week. Instead they're showing that "Holiday Special" and carefully not telling anyone that it's the same special as last year. Which is fun because I already recapped it. So enjoy, and happy holidays! Clicky clicky

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top Chef 12/17/08--"12 Days of Christmas" summary

Previously on Top Chef: the infamous tasting challenge had contestants tasting sauces and naming different ingredients. Sadly they were allowed to name things like salt. In spite of that, Hosea won himself immunity with his tongue (dirty!). The elimination challenge forced everyone to cater Gail’s wedding shower, and also to use the themes of “old”, “new”, “borrowed”, and “blue” just for our amusement. I thought the best use of the theme was the “old” team, who used heirloom tomatoes to make a trio of classic dishes: terrene, gazpacho, and carpaccio. But the “borrowed” team won because they made Indian food that was spiced just right, and Ariane did nothing but cook the meat and she still won. I get that the meat was perfect, and Jamie’s tantrum wasn’t very flattering, but it still seemed odd. Team “blue” was too boring, but the “new” team had very odd food that was unexplained, and everything Daniel did (like add mushrooms to Carla’s salad without her knowledge) made the dish worse. Then he refused to admit the dish was terrible, so the judges sent him home. Oh, and apparently Hosea and Leah are dating in real life, so that would explain the producers adding in Hosea last week saying that they are both involved and are just friends. (click for more)

You know, I just noticed this episode is called “12 Days of Christmas” but there are only 11 chefs left. What’s up with that, Bravo? You could have had another challenge like the 7 deadly sins dinner. Which I am totally doing when I get a bunch of money to hire awesome caterers. (Kmanpat: “As am I.”)

Ariane is feeling awesome because she’s won the past two challenges and she’s going to keep it simple. Eugene tells us he’s self taught and he knows how close he was to going home. Fabio and Stefan interview together about how they are “The Euros” and Stefan jokes about how he found a shoe up his ass this morning--is it Tom’s or Padma’s? Wasn’t Stefan on a winning team? Fabio wants to do better. He and Stefan are going to beat everyone else and then duke it out. Stefan carves a face in a watermelon. Hosea calls his sister and to ask about his dad, who was diagnosed with cancer right before he went on the show. Dad is doing OK. He wants to do well because this is something positive in his life.

The Top Chef kitchen is decorated for Christmas, despite people being in shorts and the fact that there is fruit everywhere so you know it’s the summertime. Padma greets everyone with “Happy Holidays!” and I think I detect eye-rolling. She tries to make them feel bad for the home cook who is trying to make a feast, etc. The Quickfire today is to make one of those feasts that can be cooked in one pot. Interesting. Radhika tells us she usually uses 10 pots to make one dish. The guest judge today is someone that knows something about one pot cooking oh and then MARTHA STEWART walks in! Woo! I mean, I knew she was going to be on, but still. And how many people feared for Rachel Ray right then? If anyone was going to make Christmas dinner in one pot, it’d be her. I would have had to throw the laptop at the TV. Leah describes her as “bad-ass”. “Bad-ass”? She tells them to make it simple but not too simple and she also loves one pot things.

Everyone gets 45 minutes to cook. Jamie is making scallops. Hosea is going to make paella. Jeff says some people are cooking something, then taking it out of the pot and making something else. He’s going to make potato risotto? I’m not sure. Ariane tells us that she makes cauliflower puree and let’s kids think it’s mashed potatoes. She and Jamie talk about how they are totally friends and Jamie doesn’t hate Ariane for winning last week. Jamie doesn’t even really say anything except that she thinks she’s more innovative than Ariane. Fabio was a bad boy when he was 6 (hee) so his grandmother made him stir polenta for hours to keep him out of trouble. Hee. Eugene has stew. See, to me “one pot” says that one pot gets dirty. Otherwise, why didn’t I just use multiple pans and cook everything at once? Stew, soup, something like that. Or a casserole.

Eugene: spicy Korean stew with pork and mushrooms, cilantro sour cream and won ton chips. Martha kind of is aloof. Stefan: veal Celtic goulash with potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms. He and Martha discuss mushrooms. This was really one pot. Hosea: paella with seafood, chicken and chorizo. Yum. It appears the chefs have to display their one pot next to their dish. Melissa: pork tenderloin with braised cabbage, apple, bacon, and orange and fennel salad. That sounds good but not one pot. Jeff: potato risotto with crispy pork and sautéed brussel sprouts. Lots of vinegar. The potatoes are cut small, like Arborio rice, which is why he called it “risotto“. Jamie: potato and kale stew with scallops and fried sage. Jamie pretends that scallops say “winter” for her and Martha starts talking about diving for scallops in Maine in January? I hope she is kidding and messing with Jamie. Ariane: cauliflower puree with herb rubbed filet mignon. She says you can make the puree beforehand. Carla: brined turkey breast with apple and dried cherry stuffing. Fabio: roasted mushroom polenta with seared duck breast. Yummy.

Martha calls out Jeff for having heavy starchy “risotto”, and also Eugene’s stew because it wasn’t as good as she wanted it to be and she didn’t like that he used cornstarch to thicken it. He didn’t have time to do it properly, though. And isn’t risotto starchy by definition? Fabio’s polenta was grayish and she didn’t like it either. He’s not happy. The paella was really one pot and tasted good, Jamie’s scallop was perfect (I guess Martha wasn’t kidding) and Ariane’s beef was cooked well and the puree was smooth and rich tasting. Winner gets an autographed copy of one of her books, and she presents it to Ariane. Jamie pouts again. I…just don’t get why they love her. I mean, I don’t think she is horrid, but I don’t get why she’s always winning.

Elimination challenge! Martha leaves so I guess she won’t be guest judge. Sad. The contestants will be catering a dinner for amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Hors d’oeuvres for 300 guests. Padma is calling in help, which appears as the Harlem Gospel Choir. Kick ass. The looks on the contestants’ faces are hilarious, because everyone is like, WTF? Except Carla. They have to draw knives for the theme. Stefan draws “12” and one of the gospel singers sings “12 drummers drumming” and Stefan is like, um…OK. No. No, they are not. Are they? Did I totally call the theme? As each person draws a knife someone sings the corresponding line from the song. I did call the theme. So which one is missing? How can you do this theme and leave out one line of the song?!?!?! Natasha Richardson and Michelle Bernstein will be guest judging. They’ll have 3 hours to prep. Carla cannot compute.

HAHAHAHA the Top Chef video game. (Kmanpat: “Don’t you own the Hell’s Kitchen game?” Me: ”…Only because I thought Ramsey would curse at me. Also, shut up.”)

They’ve got $800 for shopping. Carla (2) kind of freaks out. Hosea (11) is walking around in shorts so I know it’s not winter in New York. He’s smoking something. Protein, I mean, not smoking other substances. Jeff (10) wants to find frog legs but he’s having trouble doing it. Somehow he’s doing cheese or something. I believe it’s Greek cheeses and he’s thinking island hopping. Stefan (12) wants to do chicken pot pie? For 12 drummers drumming? His first Christmas in America he had pot pie, so that’s what he associates with Christmas. Leah (3) is keeping it safe with seared hens. Fabio (9) can’t think of what to do with ladies dancing that is somehow food related and his thought process is dancingàlegsàcrab. Ariane (6) also has it easy, like Leah, so she’s thinking of deviled eggs with 6 different toppings.

For some reason a lot of people have bought flowers, so I guess they had to get decorations too. 3 hours to prep and get everything ready. Jamie (7) is making scallops. Melissa (8) has toast points, steak, and cheese. Radhika (1) has duck instead of partridge. And chutney. Eugene (5) is making ceviche, Tahitian style, on top of pineapple rings. He thinks he’ll go home if he doesn’t do a good job. Hosea smokes up the kitchen with his pork because there’s a lot of marinade. Jeff has a lot of steps and prep work, so he feels superior. There are a lot of people working and shoving things in the fridge. Hosea notes that a lot of people are putting hot food in the refrigerators, which you’re not supposed to do but because of the time crunch they’re all doing it. That sounds ominous.

In case you were wondering, the day that is missing is day 4, calling birds. Which is an easy one, because you can get some quail. I can’t decide if eliminating an easy one is sad or not. One week earlier, Bravo. Way to screw that up.

In the morning Fabio is writing a story about his dish, and Hosea teases him about it. Hosea is pretty confident. Once they get to the kitchen, cursing ensues because one of the fridges has been left open overnight. Hosea has to throw out his pork, which is 70 degrees. All of Radhika’s duck is bad too. Damn. Jamie promises to help Radhika, who is freaking out and crying. Melissa’s cheese melted, but that’s all she had in there, and she’s found some more. Carla and Eugene are determined to help Hosea and Radhika, who are finding other meat from the kitchens and scrambling. Jamie talks about the “Christmas spirit”. Even Stefan helps, because that’s what you do in a kitchen and he doesn’t want to beat people because the fridge broke. That was nice of everyone. Good thing the Top Chef pantry was well stocked.

The poll this week is: Who would you want to get caught under the mistletoe with? Ariane, Fabio, Leah, or Jeff. OK, so I don’t see two very important answers, which are Tom and Padma, because you know there are a lot of people who want to answer one of those right now. I personally will answer Hosea. (Kmanpat: *singing* “Long have I waited for your coming home to me...”)

Everyone gets to the venue and starts setting up and cooking on hot plates. Radhika is relieved that her duck is cooked. People start to appear and schmooze. Stefan lusts after the judges. Natasha Richardson says a few words and then asks everyone to pin their red ribbons by their favorite dish.

Stefan: creamy chicken pot pie with English peas, white asparagus, thyme and parsley. It looks like the filling on a plate, with a round biscuit of puff pastry on top as the drum. With drumsticks inside, har har. Actually that’s not a bad interpretation of that theme. Everyone likes it. Radhika: braised duck leg with toasted brioche, pear chutney and toasted pistachios. Radhika likes this dish, and a lot of other people seem to like it too. Carla: braised chicken with duxelles and a mushroom cap. She says the mushroom cap is like the back of the turtle. It’s kind of salty and one note. Carla notices Kenneth Cole and jokes about shoes. Note to future contestants: mushroom duxelles doesn’t usually go over well. Eugene: poisson cru (the Tahitian ceviche) with a pineapple ring and a gold Yukon potato chip. He’s got a whole story about people sailing the islands and that being called “the golden ring”. The judges complain that it’s very sweet and they doubt that he tasted it. Fabio: sweet corn and roasted pepper crab cake, with chipotle and lime aioli and coleslaw. He tells the judges that the female crabs dance around their eggs to bury them in sand. They think it’s greasy and dense. Jamie: crudo (raw salad) of sea scallops “swimming” in vichyssoise with lemon agrumato (olive oil), leeks, and micro greens. Oo, it’s raw and not cold. Someone calls it slimy.

Melissa: gorgonzola and NY strip steak on sourdough crostini with cranberry vinaigrette. All you can taste is the cheese. Leah: braised guinea hen with butternut squash puree over puff pastry. The puff pastry is too dry and it drags it down. Ariane: deviled eggs 6 ways. Crab salad, smoked salmon and dill, roasted pepper, balsamic and basil, crispy caper, and traditional. I think those are the six; she read them off pretty fast. They are good, but Tom and Padma are confused and kind of insulted that she’d try to win with deviled eggs. Hosea: smoked pork loin with chipotle mashed potatoes and apple brandy jus. Everyone really likes it. People are pinning ribbons all over the board and table and Hosea’s sleeves. Leah is jealous. Jeff: seared halloumi and kasseri cheeses with roasted beets, pears, mint, and spices. There is a big line and it seems to be just as popular as Hosea’s. everyone discusses their favorites. The judges do acknowledge that the chefs had a hard time, with the time constraint and not working in teams. Everyone has some champagne and toasts “Merry Christmas“.

Padma comes to collect Hosea, Radhika, Jeff, and Stefan. Interesting that the two people most screwed by the warm fridge are among the best. Radhika lets the judges in on the situation this morning. Her duck legs were juicy enough to stand up to the toast. Stefan’s pot pie was done well, without mushy vegetables, although it might have been a little better with sausage or something. Jeff’s table got a lot of ribbons. He might have used less cheese, but the mixture of spices and nuts was memorable. Hosea was less pleased with the pork loin he had to use, but he was still happy with it. Natasha announces that the person who got the most ribbons, and the judges’ choice, is Hosea. Yay! He’s very pleased to have come back from disaster. He wins Michelle Bernstein’s new book, although, since everyone pitched in to help him and Radhika, she’s giving her new book to everyone. He says he couldn’t have done it without everyone else.

The Loser Gong brings in Eugene, Melissa, and Jamie. Jamie liked her dish, although her scallops were lukewarm. Everything was, and since the scallop was supposed to be raw, it needed to be ice cold. Jamie scrambles and says she was in the weeds, and thought everything was on ice for long enough. Michelle tells her that if she had seared her scallop, it would have been a nice contrasting texture and not as slimy. Tom thinks she should have done ceviche. Melissa’s dish only tasted like cheese, not steak nor cranberry, and it was also room temperature so it just coated your tongue. Melissa said she had lots of people come back for seconds and thirds, but Padma tells her that she had one of the lowest numbers of ribbons. Eugene’s dish was very sweet, and you could only taste coconut and sweet. He responds that he didn’t even put sugar into the batch that the judges got, and that it tasted tart to him. Tom retorts that with the coconut and the pineapple, the fish never had a chance. Eugene still keeps on about how he stands behind his dish 1000%, but then we find that he only got 8 ribbons (out of 300 guests). Maybe possibly something is wrong. He needed to fix it if people didn’t like it.

Michelle really didn’t like Jamie’s scallop. She should have seared it. Eugene refuses to see that his dish wasn’t good, and refuses to try to fix it. And we know that Daniel went home for that last week. Melissa’s dish was all cheese, although her cranberry sauce was a good idea. It just wasn’t made well. Sadly all the food was kind of sub-par and Tom didn’t think any of the dishes were worth seconds. He wants to talk to everyone so the people who didn’t get called out will also know what’s going on. Natasha reminds everyone that they all stepped up to help Hosea and Radhika, so that would be something to keep in mind.

Everyone is hanging out in the Stew Room when Tom walks in. Everyone looks freaked out. He sits down and says that no one’s food was inspiring and everyone has to step up. Cook the food that you think will make you win. Leah tells him that although not amazing, no one’s food sucked. Except that Tom wants them to make amazing food, not throwaway dishes. Leah responds, “Like mine?” and Tom says, basically, yeah. Everyone needs to focus on what will get them the win. Because everyone pulled together to help Hosea and Radhika out, and “in the spirit of the holidays”, no one is going home. There is no reaction, which I think just shows how exhausted everyone is.

Next week: Tom comes into the apartments and tells them no limit today: cook whatever you want. Gail is gone and the new judge is pretty harsh. Jamie makes scallops and someone mocks her for always making scallops, but they obviously never watched the Miami season.

Clicky clicky

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top Chef 12/10/08--"Gail's Bridal Shower" summary

Previously on Top Chef: Breakfast is not the strong suit of many of the chefs. Neither is amuse bouche. Leah wins the Quickfire breakfast amuse bouche challenge, and then the chefs have to make up presentations suitable for live television, because image is important. And it’s not like they’re on a popular basic cable program or anything. Ariane wins this one, with a nice salad. She’s chosen by the hosts of the Today Show. Some people think it was a cop-out, that she should have done something more complicated, but Rocco did tell them to do something simple. I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Rocco. Alex tried to make crème brulee in an hour, which did not happen, and ended up out. He didn’t care as much as the other people, because he went home and got married. (click for more)

Melissa is contemplating her wake-up call of being in the bottom. Ariane is regaining her confidence. Stefan seems to have made Jamie a present, consisting of shorts for a stuffed animal of hers that he made out of a dishtowel. She wonders if he understands the word “lesbian”.

Padma greets everyone alone today. She explains that the contestants will be the ones doing the tasting today. Radhika’s eyes bug out. Why is that so disturbing, that you will be doing the tasting? Padma starts talking about palate, which clues us in that this will be the blind taste test Quickfire. Jamie is confident in her palate. Everyone draws knives, but suddenly Hosea draws the same number as Daniel. Huh? Stefan gets paired with Jamie…ugh. So each pair will taste a sauce, and then go head-to-head to identify ingredients. Last chef standing wins.

They have 15 seconds to taste the sauce, and then Hosea (because he won the coin toss) will tell Padma how many ingredients he thinks he can identify. A chyron tells us this is shrimp and lobster bouillabaisse. Hosea says 4, but then Daniel says 4 also. Padma tells him he has to go one higher, so he calls Hosea’s bluff. So this is like Name That Tune? Hosea names onion, shrimp, lemon, and carrot. All are correct, so Hosea wins. Ariane and Jeff are up next, with the same sauce. However, he names crab so he loses. Ariane tells us there are 30 ingredients. Wow. Jamie vs. Stefan. She thinks he is a button pusher. Sadly he wins that challenge. In interview he makes disturbing whipping noises and talks about ass whupping. Eugene thinks there is fish sauce so Leah beats him. Fabio lets Radhika get away with only naming 3 ingredients, which of course she can do. Carla vs. Melissa (in a backwards trucker hat). Carla wins easily.

Round 2: Thai green curry. Yum. Hosea vs. Ariane. She makes him name 7 ingredients which he has absolutely no trouble doing. Stefan vs. Leah. He says he is always confident. Stefan goes for 8, and gets them, and smirks. Leah is pissed. Carla vs. Radhika. Radhika goes for 7 but names chili powder so she’s out.

Round 3 is Carla vs. Stefan vs. Hosea. They’ll all taste the sauce and then take turns naming ingredients until they can’t anymore. This is like an old game show I used to watch, where you first answered food trivia questions, and then the last two people tasted a dish and took turns naming ingredients. But I can’t remember the name! (Kmanpat: *shrugs*) the sauce is Mexican mole sauce. Carla is up first and names peanut butter. Sigh. Stefan and Hosea go back and forth for a while until Stefan names tomato paste which is also wrong. Hosea names one more ingredient and wins! Yay! He talks about how Stefan is a tough competitor. (P.S., I agree with Lee Anne that allowing the contestants to name things like salt and oil was lame.)

Now it is time for the elimination challenge. Everyone starts drawing knives--which say “old”, “new”, “borrowed”, and “blue”. HAHA! Awesome. Ariane thinks it might be a wedding. Radhika would rather be on Satan’s team than Stefan’s team. Hee. Padma is throwing a bridal shower…for Gail. HA again! Not only does everyone have to satisfy Gail, but they have to follow the silly theme! (Side note: we extended this idea to “Project Runway”. Designers, you must make an outfit for Nina Garcia. Wouldn’t that be the best episode ever?) Gail lets them know it’s 40 women, who love to eat, and also that she doesn’t really like veal or black beans. They’d better not make her eggs either. Girl is picky about her eggs. She wants to impress her friends, because many of them are from the magazine. So, no pressure. See, I knew they’d have to cook for Gail, and that was awesome then. The themes make it doubly awesome.

Ariane, Radhika, and Jamie are Team Borrowed. Jamie’s decided they’ll do something Indian that Radhika “borrowed” from her mother and Jamie “borrowed” from another chef she knows. She’s brought some excellent secret ingredients. Radhika is worried the judges will get bored with her Indian cooking, and she wants to use her ingredients in a new way. Um…so “borrow” some Indian ingredients for another culture’s dish. Team Blue is Melissa, Fabio, and Leah. Leah wonders if figs are blue. Fabio knows this is the hardest category, so instead of thinking blue foods he’s thinking blue theme for the dish. Daniel, Carla, and Eugene, Team Something New, are going with pickles, because Daniel is insisting that Gail loves pickles. Carla asks if pickles are new. That is not new. Eugene wants to put a new spin on sushi, with tempura shrimp and filet mignon. Interesting. Carla is nervous. She’s doubting everyone’s ideas but she hasn’t clearly stated what she thinks is “new”, and she knows it. The last team is Jeff, Hosea, and Stefan, who are Team Something Old. They are talking heirloom tomato salad, carpaccio, and fried green tomatoes. Wow. That’s actually a really good idea. Someone suggests sorbet, which Stefan immediately shoots down on account of he’s a caterer and knows not to do sorbet. While some would see this as a good thing, Hosea is annoyed that Stefan is bossing everyone around. Jeff says that Stefan causes major issues whenever he’s on a team. Jeff still wants to do sorbet, and promises Stefan that if his sorbet melts he’ll take the flack.

Shopping time! They have 30 minutes and $800. People buy various things. Carla explains her “Hootie-hoo” call that she and her husband use to find each other. Kind of like Marco Polo. She’s shouting “Hootie” in the store but I’m not sure she told the rest of her team about that. Stefan is trying to run the show but Hosea is being stubborn. Stefan feels the pressure of Hosea’s immunity. They argue about tomatoes and whether Hosea can make soup out of them.

2 ½ hours tonight to prep. Jamie says they’re going third, so I guess they’re using the saying to set the order. Team Borrowed is making lamb, carrots, and kale, all with an Indian flair. Radhika seems determined to make Indian food that doesn’t scream “Indian food”. Carla makes fried wonton bowls for salad. Team New is making Asian food. Daniel is making BBQ sauce, but they didn’t say what it’s going on top of. Eugene’s rice cooker makes noises when it’s done. Hee. The Blue team is making sea bass, corn puree, and swiss chard. Which…is supposed to reference the ocean, with the sea bass. I guess. I don’t really get it. Old Team is making terrines with tomato, carpaccio, and gazpacho. Hosea wants to win, but he’s taking a back seat because he’s got immunity. Eugene starts cursing because his rice is too sticky, because it’s an unfamiliar rice cooker. Oops.

Right on cue Tom shows up to bother everyone. He goes to Fabio and Melissa first, to point out to them that truly blue food does not exist in nature. Thanks, Tom. The sea bass is crusted with blue corn flour, so that’s something anyway. Jamie says “flava”. Sigh. Ariane is making the lamb, and she’s going to stand by the oven and watch it cook if that‘s what it takes. She‘s actually not making the sauce or marinade for the lamb, just making sure it‘s cooked right. The New team describes their dishes and in the background is Seinfeld-style music. It lends an air of incompetence. Stefan reveals that he was married twice. To the same woman. Somehow I’m not surprised. Tom tells all of us that the Blue team is boring and New team is out there and will either be spectacular or horrible.

Eugene has salvaged his rice by making it “chili pepper sticky rice”. How does that keep it from being too sticky? Melissa knows her team’s dish has no pizzazz. Hosea is worried that Stefan’s terrene won’t turn out, because they can’t taste it before they serve it.

Back at the apartments, Eugene is describing his latest idea, which is to have the guests build their own sushi rolls. Curiously, Daniel is lifting dumbbells, in his chef’s jacket, while he talks to Eugene. Daniel likes Eugene‘s idea. This seems like a lot of work and messy for something as fancy as bridal showers tend to be. Stefan appears to poke holes in Eugene’s idea, and I realized I agreed with him but then he said that women don’t want to make their own food, and he doesn’t even like to do that. A very interesting statement coming from A CHEF. Eugene (rightly) tells him not to worry about his dish.

Another commercial clip. Stefan bugs Jamie and Carla. Jamie harasses him about having the hots for a lesbian while Stefan tries to get her to kiss him. Ew. That just makes him look like the worst kind of jerk.

In the morning Leah flirts with Hosea. He says they’re just friends since they’re both involved with other people. Uh, that’s not what she said a few weeks ago. Fabio wants to do well so as not to piss off the bride. Pretty much everyone is talking about their own weddings/spouses and how important this is.

The venue is huge and opulent, with one giant long table for all 40 guests. Personally I hate putting a big group at a long table, because you can’t talk to or hear everyone, and someone always ends up stuck in between conversations and left out. Team Old rushes to get set up. Hosea hopes they impress everyone. Padma makes a great toast to Gail about how they all love her. Tom shows up to the kitchen and lets everyone know that as a man, he got sent to the kitchen. Hee. Fabio likens it to being a priest with the Pope there. Stefan snits about the sorbet. As Hosea comes out to serve, he’s shaking so bad his mike picks up the shot glass rattling on the plate. He’s impressed he didn’t drop anything. Padma introduces Dana Cowin, who is Editor-In-Chief of Food and Wine Magazine, and the guest judge. Jeff: sliced Purple Cherokee tomato with tomato sorbet, Hosea: gazpacho with mint and cucumber salsa, Stefan: terrene with tomato and basil and eggplant around the outside. Everything looks good, except that the eggplant is kind of a muddy brown color. Someone likes the sorbet. Hee. Tom eats the whole thing, and Stefan calls it “my plate”. Gail’s favorite was the sorbet.

Team New preps their DIY sushi and salad. Daniel is soaking mushrooms, because he thinks it’ll be nice surprise in the bottom of the wonton salad bowl. He hasn’t told Carla about it, so when she sees him she’s annoyed. But she doesn’t stop him. There are a lot of things going on. Daniel thinks this is new, and I guess it is if you’re looking at the idea of grazing, but then he uses the word “splooge” so I must deduct points. Because, ew. Daniel then thinks the women will be so excited they’ll take off their clothes. Eugene: explains the idea that sushi can be cooked, and talks about the shrimp. Daniel: beef skewers with peach-miso barbeque sauce. Daniel also explains the yuzu sorbet, and how a sorbet is used to cleanse your palate. Which I’m sure everyone here already knows. Carla doesn’t get to talk about her salad. Eugene realizes he never explained how to eat the dish. Yeah…that will be a problem. He basically says the same thing in confessional. A lot of people try to eat the salad by hand, by picking up the wonton bowl and crunching it. The shrimp was cold and there’s nothing sushi-ish here. Someone tells Gail they hope she has a better new venture.

Jamie is still frustrated that she’s never won anything. Ariane tries to plan how much time it will take to cook her lamb, and she can’t count up the time, I guess, and it ends up too rare. Both Jamie and Radhika freak out, and they try to start plating before the lamb is out, but everyone actually chips in and helps them put an assembly line together to get everything out in time. That was sweet. Ariane: Indian spiced lamb, Jamie: vadouvan-scented carrot puree, Radhika: cucumber raita (sauce) and the marinade for the lamb. It sounds great. Dana is happy it’s well cooked. Everyone loves all of it. All the parts of the dish went together and Gail is happy.

Melissa knows her fate if Gail doesn’t like their food. Leah thinks the fish needs seasoning but then she says she trusts Fabio. It’s not very exciting. Fabio lets us know that the girls on his team told him to talk so he’d charm everyone, so of course he starts out by telling everyone how beautiful they are. Hee. Roasted corn with swiss chard and on top, Chilean sea bass with a blue corn crust. He claims that green and yellow “in the light spectrum” come out blue, which is so not true. Gail tells everyone that Chilean sea bass isn’t very politically correct. Someone calls it old people food. Not very bold flavors. Gail thanks everyone for coming.

Padma calls out Team Old and Team Borrowed as the top teams. Everyone praises Jeff for the sorbet while Stefan looks pissed. The carrots were subtle but very tasty, so good for Jamie. Ariane admits that there was some pressure about the lamb being cooked, but it turned out really well. Dana does the usual suspense-building pause, talking about how the winner was the person who was responsible for the most flavorful thing that evening. The editors cut in a shot of Jamie right here, whispering to Ariane that she really wants this win. I hope she didn’t say that in front of Dana Cowin while she’s announcing the winner. And that winner is…Ariane? She’s just as shocked as I am. She wins some Calphalon cookware and gadgetry, but she says she’s upset that Jamie didn’t win. In the Stew Room, Ariane asks Jamie not to be mad at her. Jamie says she’s not mad, but then claims that everyone expected her to win. I doubt that, if only because Stefan wouldn’t think so.

Loser gong! Eugene finally explains his dish, and admits that he forgot to do that during the shower. He also explains how he tried to use the rice that didn’t turn out, and Dana tells him that his added ingredients didn’t hide the mushy rice. Oops. Padma then asks Carla if she was happy with the dish her team sent out, which seems an odd and terribly pointed question. She admits she wasn’t really, and Eugene says he wasn’t, but Daniel liked it. Padma asks about the mushrooms, and Daniel speaks up and claims them. Eventually they get it straightened out that Carla made the salad, but Daniel put the mushrooms on it, and Carla didn’t taste them (which shocks everyone, oo) but Daniel did. Tom tells him they sucked and do you still like the dish? And Daniel says he does. Thankfully we move on to Team Blue. Leah thinks they were creative about working in the theme, but the dish lacked texture and was all kind of mushy. Tom says it was blue because it made him sad. It’s the opposite of Team New, who tried to do something all weird and failed. This team played it safe, even though Fabio thinks cooking fish perfectly for 40 people is tricky. Tom rolls his eyes because Chilean sea bass is pretty forgiving. Fabio starts to argue but decides against it.

Team Blue was too simple, and Tom asks if you would put that dish on your new restaurant’s menu. But Team New was indefensible, and all of them made big mistakes. Carla’s salad was the (very brief) highlight of the dish, which is pretty sad. Gail could tell she was stewing and wanted to speak up but was worried about the integrity of the team. Of course they all think she should have spoken up. Daniel did tiny things that all failed and on top of that, he actually liked the dish. Eugene made so many mistakes it worries the judges, and also Gail points out she doesn’t want to eat bad rice, no matter how many things you put in it.

Tom knows the judges were harsh, but this was personal. Team Blue was boring, and if they continue this way, they’re going to be out. Tom dismisses them. Team New had poor conception and poor execution. Eugene overcooked both the rice and the shrimp, Carla knew things were going wrong and didn’t speak up, Daniel contributed a lot of useless things and wasted his time. Tom tells them flat out that he wanted to send all three of them home, but in the end only Daniel goes home. He of course thinks he shouldn’t have been sent home at all because the judges don’t get him. He also offers that he could have thrown people under the bus he could have stuck around longer. Who were you going to throw under the bus? Then there is a football analogy, about when the refs don’t call a penalty that all the fans saw, or something. I guess what he’s trying to say is, it’s someone else’s fault I’m going home but I’m not going to say who.

Next week: MARTHA STEWART TIME!!!!!!! Someone’s food gets ruined, I’m not sure why, but it looks like Hosea and Radhika which worries me a lot. Bravo makes everyone pretend it’s Christmas 6 months early.

Clicky clicky


There was a "cable related issue in my area". I don't remember the exact wording, which is unfortunate because it was entertaining double-speak. This means I missed the first half of "Pushing Daisies" which is sad because, CANCELLED! Such a fun snuggly...bastards. We should send ABC pie. It worked for "Jericho". At least we can comfort ourselves with the fact that 2 half seasons makes a very nice DVD. Clicky clicky

Monday, December 8, 2008

TAR13, Recap Leg 11, 12/7/08

Welcome to Leg 11! Last time, on The Adventures of an Amazing Fanny Pack, teams raced from around the city of Moscow, where Dandrew danced their way into the final three when Dallas left the passports in a cab. And now, after all the craziness of the race, we have three teams, consisting of the Evans family and Dandrew. Woot. This is going to be anti-climactic. Anyway, who will win the Amazing Race 13? (click for more)

Arrival at the pit stop last episode:
1st – Nick/Starr, Team HSM! *jazz hands*
2nd – Andrew/Dan, Team Superbad
3rd – Ken/Tina, Team Mom and Dad Evans

Nazkuchny Sad Park, Moscow, Russia

10:56 PM Nick/Starr (1st)
Clue: Fly 5000 miles to your final destination city, Portland, Oregon, USA! Then, take a taxi to Tilikum Adventure Camp to get your next clue.

2:28 AM Dan/Andrew (2nd) – Dan: “We deserve to be here.” On what planet? I mean, really. The team that has finished next to last on just about every leg DESERVES to be in the final three? Not quite.
3:30 AM Ken/Tina (3rd)

Teams arrive at the airport in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Andrew/Dan
3- Ken/Tina

Teams are now on the Amazing Yellow Line (Frankfurt: BOING!) as teams all get on the 7:05 departure to Portland though Frankfurt. Teams then arrive in Portland in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Dan/Andrew
– who get a taxi driver who has no clue where he’s going. Great. And then there were two.

Teams now taxi to Tilikum and get the next clue in the following order:

1- Ken/Tina
2- Nick/Starr
3- Dan/Andrew

And now, we get the last Detour Clue.

High and Dry OR Low and Slow

*High and Dry: Teams must climb 30 feet up a tree, one at a time, and then climb out a log 40 feet long to jump to a trapeze that has one-half of the clue. Once the team members retrieve both halves, they can get their next clue.
*Low and Slow: Teams must cross a floating log bridge 850 feet long to get their next clue.

1-Ken/Tina choose High and Dry
2-Nick/Starr choose High and Dry
3-Andrew/Dan choose High and Dry

Teams complete the detour in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan

Teams are now instructed to take a taxi to the Bridge of the Gods and take a 2000 foot zip line to an island to get their next clue. Teams arrive and find the clue in the following order:

1- Ken/Tina
2- Nick/Starr
3- Andrew/Dan

It’s now time for the FINAL TASK. This time, each team gets a game board arranged in a pyramid format:
8(PS) 9(RI)
5(RB) 6(RI) 7(D)
1(RI) 2(D) 3(RB) 4(PS) (...Yeah...pretend it's a pyramid. -Toyouke)

Teams must open panels one at a time and discover whether they need to find the Route Info (RI), Detour (D), Roadblock (RB) or Pit Stop (PS) for the corresponding leg. In order to find this information, they must search a field of 150 Route Marker boxes to find the picture that corresponds to each event. Once each one is matched, they may move on to the next one. Once all ten are matched, they may go find the clue box with their next clue. The order is as follows:

1) Salvador, Brazil: Route Info, Vending Cart to Praça da Sé
2) Fortaleza, Brazil: Detour, Beach It
3) La Paz, Bolivia: Roadblock, The Fighting Cholitas
4) Auckland, New Zealand: Pit Stop, Phil’s Dad at Summerhill
5) Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Roadblock, Angkor Wat
6) New Dehli, India: Route Info, Doorman of Ambassador Hotel
7) Old Dehli, India: Detour, Bleary Eyed
8) Almaty, Kazakhstan: Pit Stop, Old Square
9) Moscow, Russia: Route Info, Monastery
10) Moscow, Russia: Roadblock, Park Iskusstv

And teams complete the fun in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan

Teams now take a taxi downtown to the Portland Building and find the green dinosaur in the Standard Plaza for their next clue. Teams find the dinosaur in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan

Teams now travel on foot to Alder Street Food Cart Park and find the cart representing the previous leg, ie, the Russian Food Cart (which, incidentally, is decked out in the race colors).

Teams find the cart in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan

Teams are now instructed to find the “magic is in the hole”, which refers to Voodoo Donuts, to get their next clue. I’ve been there, the donuts are fantastic. Teams get their clue in the following order:
1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan

Teams are now instructed to go to the finish line, Pittock Mansion.

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan

Nick and Starr, after 23 days, 5 continents and 40000, you are the winners of The Amazing Race 13! YAY! And Ken and Tina finish second, but Ken pulls out their wedding rings and asks Tina to get back together with him. AW!

1st – Nick/Starr
2nd – Ken/Tina
3rd – Andrew/Dan
4th – Toni/Dallas
5th – Terence/Sarah
6th – Kelly/Christy
7th – Aja/Ty
8th – Marisa/Brooke
9th – Mark/Bill
10th – Anthony/Stephanie
11th – Anita/Arthur

And that’s it for this season! We’ll see you next time on the Amazing Race!

Clicky clicky

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Top Chef 12/3/08--"Today Show" summary

Previously on Top Chef: There was a “Thanksgiving” challenge that I’m sure took place in June or something. But before that it was a Quickfire that encouraged everyone to use the Top Chef Cookbook. Initially I laughed because I own that cookbook and I’m pretty sure you can’t make anything in there in only an hour. The best part is where they stopped everyone and the guest judge said, “I feel like soup,” in a totally non-chalant offhand way that was hilarious. Better than if they made Padma present the twist all serious. The only way it would be better is if they had the judge say, “We would prefer soup” with the royal “we”. The elimination challenge wasn’t that interesting (except that the Foo Fighters are actually, in real life, huge “Top Chef“ fans), although when I saw the outdoor “kitchen” I immediately shouted “Dinner: Impossible!” Robert Irvine would have been all over that. Adriane redeemed herself with her turkey but Richard’s banana s’mores weren’t very good so he was sent home. I personally always burn my marshmallows until they are totally black when I make s’mores, so I understand completely. Sorry there was no recap last week but I was at home eating comfort food. Oh, also I believe there was the coining of a new word: “parfail”. I’m pretty sure that came up. (click for more)

Ariane is pretty pleased to have redeemed herself and she’s hoping to keep it that way. Alex is missing his roommate Richard. Richard left him a note, which he reads aloud to Jamie and Carla. Everyone cries. The note consists of promising that Richard is his friend and also eff everyone else. Jamie has made a rainbow bracelet in honor of Team Rainbow, which no longer exists except for her.

The first thing I see when everyone arrives for the Quickfire is that bastard Rocco DiSpirito. He is like, a Jeff-Lewis-on-“Top-Design” level of annoying famewhore. Fabio makes me love him by reminding us that Rocco isn’t really Italian. The implication is that Fabio is inherently better. Padma kisses his ass as she introduces him. Then she says it’s time for breakfast, which makes me think of CJ and crepes. (Kmanpat: “CJ…*sigh*”) Jamie never eats breakfast and is mentioning Chef Boyardee. Never? Never ever? Their task is to make a breakfast amuse bouche. Actually, that’s pretty cool. They have 30 minutes and then Rocco will pick the winner. He says he loves bacon, and Padma says that everyone loves bacon. Yes they do.

Stefan says something but I can’t understand him at all. He’s taking the tops off quail eggs so I guess that’s what he was talking about. Jeff thinks this will be the only breakfast challenge they’ll have so he’s trying to do as much as he can. That…isn’t the point of an amuse bouche. Daniel has zucchini flowers and cornflakes, which is probably tasty but doesn’t make me think of breakfast. Ariane has stuffed French toast. Fabio says he loves brioche, fruit, and cappuccino for breakfast. That would be a good breakfast. Especially with Fabio. (Kmanpat: “Oo, Fabio can make brioche and CJ can make crepes!“) Melissa breaks her yolk. It looks like Carla doesn’t finish.

Melissa: French toast with eggs, strawberries, and bacon. Rocco loves it. Stefan: huevos rancheros, served in a quail egg. It looks cool. Radhika: potato cake with a poached egg and hollandaise. They don’t even put up a chyron. Daniel: the zucchini flower has potato bacon hash inside, with cornflake crust. The cornflakes are too sweet. Ariane: stuffed French toast, which is a pretty big piece for an amuse bouche. But it tastes good. Jamie: bacon, lettuce, and tomato breakfast sandwich with a poached egg. Rocco loves the layers. Leah complains that an amuse is supposed to be one bite and some people (like Jamie) have bigger portions. Jamie even has two bites! Gasp! Seriously, it’s not like Clay and the apple. Leah: bacon, quail egg, and cheese, with grilled bread. Padma says it’s the perfect size, and Leah brown-noses, all, well you said it was an amuse so I tried to make it one bite. That’s not going to make you friends, correct as it is. Fabio: brioche with bruleed banana and espresso cream. He says that too much bacon weighs you down, but the espresso cream is heavy, retorts Padma. Jeff: twice baked potato with bacon, and also yogurt sorbet. Rocco clarifies that these are two dishes, and Jeff is all…um…yes. He interviews that each one separately is one bite but together it’s too much.

Rocco of course lords it over everyone and says only a few people got both breakfast and amuse bouche together. Daniel’s cornflakes were overpowering. Fabio’s dish was too sweet, and Fabio knows he should have listened to the clue of “everyone loves bacon.” He says next time he’ll make some toast and put some BS with bacon and some eggs and he’ll probably be in the top 3. Stefan’s was more than one bite but the egg was perfect. Leah had the perfect bite. Padma leads him and asks if there is anyone else, and eventually Rocco says that Jamie’s was delicious also. He tells everyone that if he could pick two, he’d pick Jamie and Leah, but since he has to pick one he picks Leah. Somehow she wins a present, but it’s only a copy of his book so whatever. Jamie is pissed not to win, while Leah doesn’t want to embarrass herself.

Padma reminds everyone that they need to let people know about themselves, so that more people are aware of them and come try their food. Their Elimination challenge, therefore, is to show how they’d like to introduce themselves and their food to millions of television viewers. Oh, you mean like being on a competition reality show on a cable network? I know what’s coming, but seriously, that was the most irrelevant lead-in to this challenge. They must make a 2 ½ minute presentation, suitable for a live television spot. They’ll do their presentation one at a time for the judges in the kitchen. Winning has new major advantages. The recipe should be easy, so home cooks can make it, and they’ll be judged both on presentation and flavors. Fabio is understandably nervous.

Their budget is $100. Fabio heads straight for the tuna, and he somehow finangles his way behind the counter to cut it himself. Eugene is headed for an easy sushi recipe, and he also gets behind the counter to cut up fish. Hosea follows him. Can you do that? I mean, in real life, not when you’re being followed around by cameras and sound guys. Alex is proud of himself because he’s doing dessert, and he thinks he might almost get a free pass, simply because there’s no one to compare him to.

1 hour for prep. That’s all? Melissa is wondering if she has enough time to actually cook in her spot. Jeff has shrimp…something, I didn’t understand him. These guys have to make swap out dishes and I’m not sure they know how. Fabio doesn’t think Alex has enough time in an hour to make his crème brulee. Jamie’s been on TV before so she’s making the same thing she did before: frisee salad with a poached egg. She ominously says that the most important thing is to make sure that the egg gets cooked completely in her 2.5 minutes. Leah’s at a loss, but she’s making seared duck breast with blueberries. Radhika has shrimp, and she’s thinking a lot about her personality. Carla’s cooking soup. Ariane is making salad with tomatoes and watermelon, nice and simple. Daniel’s dreams are like Bobby Flay’s dreams. He’s making steak. If his goal is to be like Bobby Flay then why isn’t he on “Next Food Network Star”?

All the judges appear and hover around Ariane to stare at her. She stumbles over her introduction, and she doesn’t make that much eye contact. Her beefsteak tomato salad with watermelon and feta looks delicious though. Jamie: bitter greens salad with a poached duck egg, bacon lardoons, and caviar. She takes her egg out and realizes it’s not quite set up around the yolk. Her choices are to take it out now or go over her time limit so she takes the egg out of the pan. Judges have to scrape off the uncooked part. Oops. Alex: rose infused crème brulee. He fumbles a lot and runs out of time. As they taste the judges are shaking their heads, since it’s not set. Jeff: malfouf roll with shrimp and muhammara sauce. Everyone pretends like they have no idea what he’s talking about. Basically it looks like a lettuce leaf with shrimp inside and a red sauce. Fabio points out that you are supposed to aim for the TV audience, which you can assume doesn’t have any idea what muhammara sauce is. He makes tuna with roasted carrots and asparagus salad. Adorably he tells Padma he is “fresh out of the boat.“

Daniel: ginger soy skirt steak with cabbage salad. The pan is so hot and there is so much smoke Tom offers to call the fire department. There is a selection of Jersey boy catchphrases to end his segment. Stefan: minestrone soup with pancetta and herbs. He doesn’t talk at all. Hosea: crispy ahi tuna roll with wasabi peas. Interesting. Eugene: tuna sashimi and pea shoot salad. Rocco quizzes him on the difference between sushi and sashimi and Eugene fumbles with “Sushi…it all depends on what kind of sushi you like.” (In case you were wondering, sushi always has vinegared rice, while sashimi is served alone. I think he says “riceless“ at first, when asked if he‘s serving sushi or sashimi.) Melissa: blackened habanero shrimp. She admits they’re hot, and Tom has to spit it out. Even Padma says they‘re hot, and I nearly died from making a chutney recipe from her cookbook. Carla: tortilla soup, but she runs out of time. Radhika: sweet shrimp and cucumber salad. She runs out of time too. Leah: duck breast with corn and blueberry hash. Padma points out to her that if this had really been live TV, they would have only had corn and blueberry salad to eat. I guess they were allowed to finish the dishes for the judges. Leah admits she’d never want to do live television, and both Tom and Padma reply, “Uh…you may have to.” Leah’s head immediately snaps up and she looks on the judges in horror as she gasps, “We’re doing live television!?!?” OK, not really, but that was pretty obvious on the judges’ part. Especially with the twists they get on this show.

Jamie was disappointing, because the egg was raw, not even runny. Leah’s immunity is saving her butt right now. Alex made a silly choice and it didn’t work. Carla made Rocco uncomfortable in some way but her dish was good. Daniel was kind of a mess but he was personable and the dish was tasty. Tom didn’t like his mugging for the camera. Cut to Daniel mugging for the camera in the Stew Room. Everyone is back there talking about who finished, who didn’t finish, etc. Stefan did OK, and even had a swap out, but his personality was not there. Melissa’s shrimp were very spicy and likely wouldn’t be asked back. Jeff’s dish was pulled together and he was on time. Everyone loves Fabio, who made fun of his accent. Ariane was perfect, according to Tom. The judges reach some agreement, which they are purposely vague about.

Padma announces the bottom 3 to the group: Melissa, Alex, and Jamie. The top 3 are Jeff, Fabio, and Ariane. Then Padma says she’ll see them at Judges’ Table tomorrow, since it’s late. NO ONE QUESTIONS THIS. OK, seriously? Is everyone brain dead? Because you KNOW they always do judging that same night, even if it’s 3am and everyone is slap-happy. OH this bugs me.

Back at the apartment Jamie goes right to bed to cry herself to sleep. No really, that’s what she says she did. Alex defends himself by asking the room “Should I have pussied out and done a salad?” Mind you, there are salad makers listening to him. He’s quite proud of his risk taking. Ariane rolls her eyes and says she was smart and she doesn’t care anyway because her food was good. Someone points out that Alex seems happy to leave because he’s going home to get married, and he agrees, saying that this competition isn’t his life. Leah doesn’t think his head is in the game. She tells Melissa to fight for herself, since Alex doesn’t seem to care as much. Melissa interviews that “the scariest thing about failing is failing.” Yep.

At 2am Tom ventures into the apartments to wake people up. Sadly he does not use pots to do so, because he is only waking up Ariane, Jeff, and Fabio. The latter two sleep shirtless so as to provide us with our eye candy for the day. These three come into the kitchen, where Tom tells them the hosts of the Today Show will be judging their dishes and choosing a winner. Everyone is quite pleased (where did Ariane get coffee?) and Tom informs them they’re headed to NBC studios to cook, and then the winner will be chosen live on the air.

So a 3am these three are the Sea Grill restaurant which is right next to the studios, and they get to work. Jeff is pissed off because he has to serve “a Middle Eastern flavored roll, to a bunch of ladies, with unsophisticated palates, at 6:37am.” Wah. Where did they get more ingredients? Ariane interviews that the old lady is coming. The food stylist for the Today Show comes to collect everyone.

Meanwhile everyone in the apartment is waking up to find some contestants missing. Thoughtfully they’ve set up a TV in the living room for everyone. In the green room the top 3 are watching the show and getting more nervous by the moment. Tom gets to be on the show, explaining the set up and whatnot. This is how they kept a lid on spoilers: only Tom is actually on TV. Meredith hates watermelon, so I guess she just eats tomatoes. No one says much of anything. Fabio is up next, and he doesn’t know what is going on, but it seems good. Jeff’s dish starts out good, but then Kathy Lee starts making faces and then goes over to the sink to spit it out. Oh, that’s bad. The hosts huddle up as if they aren’t all miked, and eventually they pick Ariane’s dish. She’s jumping up and down all excited, even though the boys aren’t terribly thrilled, she thinks because she took the “easy” route with a salad. Hey, Rocco said to do something easy.

For no apparent reason, the top 3 have to show up at judging so that everyone can give them praise. Rocco gifts Ariane with around 2 dozen tools and gadgets from Rocco, and she also finds out that tomorrow, she’ll be cooking a dish live on the Today Show. She had to wait of course, because of the spoilers.

The bottom 3 come in to face the judges. How many people thought the bottom three would be the ones thrown into the fire on live TV? I did too. Melissa knows her shrimp might have been too spicy, but she insists she tasted it. Rocco tells her it was inedible, and Gail doesn’t think home cooks should be messing with habaneros. Jamie got frazzled, and chose finishing on time over cooking the egg. Tom gives her the solution: flip the egg. Jamie kind of interrupts them to tell them she knows what she did wrong, and Rocco gets on her case about her closed body language. Whatever. Alex thought the easiest way to get to the top would be to do something different, but he chose the wrong dish. He wanted to push himself, and he thinks that’s the point of the competition, but Tom fires back that the point is to win. He set himself up for failure by trying something new. Padma asks if anyone has anything to add, and Melissa pipes up that she wants to be here more than anything. Padma asks her if that’s why she shouldn’t go home. Uh, duh. She’s only ever wanted to be here, and Tom asks if that means that someone else doesn’t want to be here. But she hedges that she’s only talking about herself. Alex says he’s better than what he’s shown them, and he’s a good cook. Jamie doesn’t get to talk.

Rocco starts off by declaring that everyone’s dishes were terrible so they all fail. Tom thinks that Jamie’s egg was pretty close to being good, but Rocco immediately disagrees. I think it was close too, in that technically you can eat raw eggs. Rocco is very adamant about how everyone sucks, like Melissa’s spice and how Jamie had bad body language. This coming from a man who had a reality show, in which his staff asked on a daily basis where he was and why he wasn’t in his own restaurant. Melissa is in the Stew Room talking about how she made it clear that other people don’t want to be here, and Alex realizes finally that she’s throwing him under the bus. But it’s too late for him to say anything. Gail knows Alex could never have made his dish in one hour. His presentation was fine, but he didn’t make crème brulee.

Over in the corner Leah and Hosea roughhouse and snuggle. Carla doesn’t think it’s serious, just a sexual chemistry. Hosea writes on Leah with a sharpie, two H‘s and a heart, I think. Again, this is a stupid commercial length clip. Are they dating now and you had cut all the clips but now you feel the need to add them back in so you hid them in the commercials?

Melissa’s dish was way too spicy, Alex chose the wrong dish to cook and didn’t complete the task, and Jamie gave them a raw egg and then was standoffish. Alex is out. He doesn’t say anything, just leaves. He only regrets not sticking with his instincts and not making crème brulee. He’s got other things to think about, and he’s not 100% present in this competition.

Next week: Gail’s bridal shower. Everyone freaks out, Fabio charms all the ladies, someone disappoints.

Clicky clicky

Monday, December 1, 2008

TAR13, Recap Leg 10, 11/30/08

Welcome to Leg 10! Last time, on I Couldn’t March My Way Out of a Paper Bag, teams raced from Kazakhstan to Moscow. Superbad bought expensive shoes and Dallas flirted with Starr. A lot. Nick and Starr have taxi issues (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog: “Oh no, the pretty team can’t speak RUSSIAN! What’s going to happen, they won’t have enough money to buy hair product?”). Toni and Dallas are the first team outside the Evans family to have a first place finish and Dandrew finishes last. . . in a nonelimination leg. OMG. Go away. Who will be eliminated. . . next? (click for more)

Arrival at the pit stop last episode:
1st – Toni/Dallas, Team Himbo
2nd – Ken/Tina, Team Mom and Dad Evans
3rd – Nick/Starr, Team HSM! *jazz hands*
4th – Andrew/Dan, Team Superbad

Nazkuchny Sad Park, Moscow, Russia

Toni/Dallas (1st)
Clue: Travel by taxi to a nearby park with a nuclear submarine and search the interior for the Sonar Room to find the officer from The Hunt For Red October to get your next clue. You have $326 for this leg of the race.

Ken/Tina (2nd)
Nick/Starr (3rd)
Andrew/Dan (4th)
– Dan: “Our track record is kinda spotty.” KINDA?!?!?

Teams arrive at the submarine and find the clue in the following order:

1- Toni/Dallas
2- Ken/Tina
3- Nick/Starr
4- Andrew/Dan

Teams are now instructed to take a taxi to Iskusstv Park, also known as the Graveyard of Fallen Monuments to get their next clue. Teams take taxis, get stuck in traffic, and Dandrew go to the wrong park. But teams arrive and grab the clue in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Toni/Dallas
3- Ken/Tina
4- Andrew/Dan

And teams come to the ninth roadblock.

Who’s good at solving mysteries literally?

In this roadblock, one team member must hang out in Iskusstv Park and count all of the statues of Lenin (6) and Stalin (2). They are given the Cyrillic spellings to help them. Once teams have found both values, they are instructed to go to a bookstore in town to get a book using the number “62” as the password. If they get the number wrong, they must wait 10 minutes before trying again. Roadblockers must then open the book to page 62 to find that they need to go to the apartment building named after the author, Mikhail Bughakov. Once there, they will find their partners waiting as well as the clue box with the next clue. Be sure and give your partner the fanny pack with the passports and the money.

The following team members complete the Roadblock.

1- Nick
2- Dallas
3- Tina
4- Andrew

After lots of looking around and an hour of incorrect numbers from Dallas, teams complete the Roadblock in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Toni/Dallas
– who are without passports and money now that Dallas has lost the fanny pack by leaving it in the cab. (Toyouke and Kmanpat: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”)
4- Andrew/Dan – Dan: “Well, this is an interesting development. *twists villain mustache*

Teams are now instructed to take a taxi to Sokol’niky Park and find the lady with the Shetland pony to get their next clue. Teams arrive and find the clue in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Ken/Tina
3- Andrew/Dan
4- Toni/Dallas
– who tried to work around the rules by taking the metro, only to find that Lady with Shetland Pony reads minds and won’t give them a clue unless they take a taxi.

However, this would be ok, if Andrew and Dan hadn’t found the Speed Bump.


A speed bump is a task that must be performed by the last place team on a non-elimination leg. Once they complete this task, they may return to the place where the speed bump occurred and continue the leg. In this, the second of two speed bumps on this race, teams must perform a traditional Russian dance in Sokol’niky Park. Teams must complete the dance to the specification of the dance instructor, and then they may get their next clue.

Teams complete the Speed Bump in the following order:

1- Andrew/Dan

So, Andrew and Dan go and dance, er, flail their way through the dance twice in order to get their next clue and return to the Lady with Shetland Pony to get their clue.

And now, we get the Detour Clue.

Ride the Rails OR Ride the Lines

*Ride the Rails: Teams must travel on foot to Sokol’niky Metro and take the train to Ulitsa 1905 to find the marked Snack Shop and pick up a Samsa from the vendor. The pastry will be wrapped in the next clue, instructing teams to metro to Kitay-Gorod station and find the statue dedicated to the men who created Cyrillic. Then, teams must find the Babushka, and hand her the samsa to get their postcard that pictures their last Detour stop, the VDNKh Park Station to get their next clue.
*Ride the Lines: Teams must travel on foot to Sokol’niky Trolley stop and take the bus to Krasnoselskaya station to find the key maker to get a key for a locker at Rizhskaya station. The teams then take the trolley bus to the station and open the locker for their postcard to their last Detour stop, the VDNKh Park Station to get their next clue.

1-Nick/Starr choose Ride the Rails
2-Ken/Tina choose Ride the Lines
– who get on the wrong bus at first.
3-Andrew/Dan choose Ride the Lines
4-Toni/Dallas choose Ride the Lines
– and have to bum money off of the very kind Russian people.

Teams complete the detour in the following order:

1- Nick/Starr
2- Andrew/Dan
3- Ken/Tina

Teams must now travel by foot and find VDNKh Park, the PIT STOP of the tenth leg of this racearoundtheworld. The last team to arrive MAY be eliminated!

1- Nick/Starr – who have their sixth win, and get a trip for two to Anguilla.
2- Andrew/Dan
3- Ken/Tina
– who missed the Detour finish and followed Dandrew to the pit stop.

And Toni and Dallas arrive at Rizhskaya Station, only to be greeted by Phil, having been relieved of his Pit Stop duties to tell Toni and Dallas that all teams have been checked in. And we have our final three!

1st – Nick/Starr
2nd – Andrew/Dan
3rd – Ken/Tina

Next week: The final leg goes to Portland Oregon! The Evans family splits ways in order to win the money and Dandrew try and win in the biggest upset ever. Tempers flair, and there seems to be a field of lots and lots of clue boxes! Until next time. . .
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