Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TAR15, Recap Leg 2, 9/27/09

Welcome to Leg 2! Last time, on Ret’s Pray Sushi Roulette! WA-SA-BI!, teams raced from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Japan. (Toyouke: *smacks Kmanpat*) The Yoga instructors were knocked out of the running in the surprise starting line task, and the remaining eleven teams played Japanese game shows and led a group of Japanese tourists around Japan. Tiffany and Maria found themselves in last place with a two hour penalty due to losing two tourists, but it was the first non-elimination leg, so they are around to race another day. Who will be eliminated. . . next? (click for more)

Arrival at the pit stop last episode:
1st – Meghan/Cheyne, The Preschool Sweethearts, arrived at 12:19 PM
2nd – Zev/Justin, Team Aspergers, arrived at 12:36 PM
3rd – Lance/Keri, Team Street Lawyer, arrived at 12:40 PM
4th – Marcy/Ron, The Oldsters, arrived at 12:41 PM
5th – Flight Time/Big Easy, The Globetrotters, arrived at 12:42 PM
6th – Brian/Ericka, Yin-Yang, arrived at 12:44 PM
7th – Gary/Matt, Pinky and the Brain, arrived at 12:45 PM
8th – Garrett/Jessica, The Waffles, arrived at 12:51 PM
9th – Sam/Dan, The Hot Boys, arrived at 12:54 PM
10th – Mika/Canaan, Team Bathtub, arrived at 1:03 PM
11th – Maria/Tiffany, Team Poker, arrived at 3:22 PM

Konno Hachimangu Shrine, Tokyo, Japan

12:19 AM Meghan/Cheyne (1st)
Clue: Fly from Tokyo to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam! Once you arrive, find the Xemien Tay Bus Station and book tickets on a bus to Cai Bei, Vietnam. Once there, race on foot to the Bên Tàn Du Lich Boat Dock to get your next clue. You have $444 for this leg of the race.

Meghan and Cheyne decide to have their taxi take them directly to the airport to book a flight.

12:36 AM Zev/Justin (2nd) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight. They find the earliest direct flight to Vietnam at 10:35 AM. (Toyouke: “Wow, how convenient that they are using Travelocity!”)

12:40 AM Lance/Keri (3rd) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight. Keri: “We’re going to Ho Cho Man City!” (Toyouke: How do you misprounounce "Ho Chi Minh"? I mean, "Minh", OK, but "Ho" and "Chi" are pretty easy.”)

12:41 AM Marcy/Ron (4th) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight. Ron: “I’m going to Vietnam, where are you going?”

12:42 AM Flight Time/Big Easy (5th) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight. I sense a pattern here.
12:44 AM Brian/Ericka (6th) – who drive to the airport. And we hear the Rattlesnakes of Discontent.
12:45 AM Gary/Matt (7th) – who also drive directly to the airport.
12:51 AM Garrett/Jessica (8th) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight.
12:54 AM Sam/Dan (9th) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight.
1:03 AM Mika/Canaan (10th) – who go back to the hotel’s internet café to book a flight. Mika talks about how wonderful her boyfriend is for not having sex with her yet. (Toyouke: “Shouldn't your boyfriend WANT to have sex with you? I mean, if you don't want him I'll take him.” Kmanpat: “Agreed. Looks like another Millie/Chuck, and you remember how much fun they were.”)
3:22 AM Maria/Tiffany (11th) – who basically go to the airport because they are so far behind. Tiffany: “I’m the brawn. Maria is the brains. And the boobs.” Hee.

Teams arrive at Narita International Airport.

The four teams that didn’t book ahead find themselves at the airline counter. However, there are no more economy seats, thanks to the quick thinking of the other eight teams. (Toyouke: “And that is why you book tickets in advance.”) Yin-Yang pleads for them to pay economy but sit in business (which I haven’t heard teams do in a long time). The airline finally relents, and then the other teams call Yin-Yang shady and manipulative. Really? They just got you all seats on the same flight. So, hush you.

So, teams arrive in Ho Chi Minh City in the following order:

1- Sam/Dan – who are in the same cab as . . .
2- Maria/Tiffany – who get spotted at the airport and caught in their little lie of who they really are. (Toyouke: “The lie only lasted one episode. Both the poker lie and the gay lie.”)
3- Flight Time/Big Easy
4- Mika/Canaan
5- Marcy/Ron
6- Zev/Justin
7- Gary/Matt
8- Garrett/Jessica
9- Brian/Ericka
10- Lance/Keri
11- Meghan/Cheyne

Teams then take cabs to Xemien Tay Bus Depot. However, the streets are fairly full of water. (Toyouke: “This flooding is crazy.”) So teams arrive at the bus station in the following order:

1- Maria/Tiffany
2- Sam/Dan
3- Flight Time/Big Easy
4- Mika/Canaan
5- Marcy/Ron
6- Zev/Justin
7- Gary/Matt
8- Garrett/Jessica
9- Brian/Ericka
10- Lance/Keri
– Lance can’t seem to understand Vietnamese culture. (Toyouke: “Shut up Lance.”)
11- Meghan/Cheyne

Teams get on busses in the following order:

Bus 1, leaves at 3:30 PM
1- Maria/Tiffany
2- Sam/Dan
3- Flight Time/Big Easy
4- Mika/Canaan
5- Marcy/Ron

Bus 2, leaves at 4:45 PM
1- Zev/Justin
2- Gary/Matt
3- Garrett/Jessica
4- Brian/Ericka
5- Lance/Keri
6- Meghan/Cheyne

We find out that busses can leave as soon as they are full. So the teams on Bus 2 decide to buy up the remaining seats so that the bus can leave before 4:45. Which, is a really good idea. (Toyouke: “Interesting...Not really bribery but willingness to pay for the rest of the tickets so they don't lose any money.”) Teams then arrive in Cai Bei and run to the Bên Tàn Du Lich Boat Dock . . . which is closed until 7 am. So much for leaving early. So, teams hang around and eat Vietnamese street food and camp out on folding chairs.

At 7 am, the dock opens and teams rush in. Teams arrive at the clue box in the following order:

1- Gary/Matt
2- Meghan/Cheyne
3- Brian/Ericka
4- Marcy/Ron
5- Zev/Justin
6- Flight Time/Big Easy
7- Mika/Canaan
– and Mika informs us of her fear of water. (Toyouke: “Not another hydrophobe.”)
8- Garrett/Jessica
9- Lance/Keri
10- Sam/Dan
11- Maria/Tiffany

However, once they arrive, Maria and Tiffany find 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 first of three speed bumps on this race, teams must travel to a soup stand, where the vendor will give them all of the ingredients for Pho. Teams then take the ingredients back to the dockmaster, for whom they prepare the Pho to order. Once they are done, they may get their next clue.

Teams complete the Speed Bump in the following order:

1- Maria/Tiffany

So, Maria and Tiffany prepare Pho, get their clue, and try to catch up with everyone.

Now, if a team didn’t have to do the Speed Bump, teams choose a sampan and travel across the river to a mud dock filled with nutrient mud. Once teams arrive, they choose a tree and fill pans full of mud to cover the entire root system of the tree up to a marking. (Toyouke: “That doesn't look like covering. That looks like smearing mud.”) Once the roots are covered, the farmers will give them the next clue. (Toyouke: “I enjoy the locals laughing at people...although that male farmer looks pretty white.”)

Teams complete the task in the following order:

1- Meghan/Cheyne
2- Garrett/Jessica
3- Brian/Ericka
4- Gary/Matt
5- Flight Time/Big Easy
6- Sam/Dan
7- Marcy/Ron
8- Lance/Keri
9- Zev/Justin
10- Mika/Canaan
11- Maria/Tiffany

Once teams finish with the mud, they are instructed to head back in their sampan to the dock. Once there, teams travel on foot to Cai Bei field to get their next clue.

Teams arrive at the dock in the following order:

1- Meghan/Cheyne
2- Garrett/Jessica
3- Brian/Ericka
4- Gary/Matt
5- Flight Time/Big Easy
6- Sam/Dan
7- Lance/Keri
8- Marcy/Ron
9- Mika/Canaan
10- Zev/Justin
– who had dropped their clue in the water when Justin had fallen in.
11- Maria/Tiffany

Teams then race to the field and arrive in the following order:

1- Meghan/Cheyne
2- Garrett/Jessica
3- Brian/Ericka
4- Gary/Matt
5- Flight Time/Big Easy
6- Sam/Dan
7- Lance/Keri
8- Marcy/Ron
9- Mika/Canaan
10- Zev/Justin
11- Maria/Tiffany

And teams come to the second roadblock.

Who’s feeling just ducky?

In this roadblock, one team member must perform duck herding. (Toyouke: “Hee...herding ducks. “) They have 10 minutes to herd 150 ducks using a pair of flags across a bridge to the other side, back again, and into the pen. If teams are unable to complete in ten minutes, they return to the back of the line and wait for an open course before trying again. Once completed, teams get their next clue.

The following team members complete the Roadblock.

1- Meghan
2- Jessica
3- Ericka
– who gives us a lovely view of her bright yellow thong. (Auburnium513: “Clearly Miss America wears a thong.”)
4- Matt
5- Flight Time
6- Sam
7- Keri
8- Marcy
9- Mika
10- Zev
– who is apparently the duck whisperer. Zev: “I didn’t even know.”
11- Tiffany

After much duck herding, teams complete the Roadblock in the following order:

1- Sam/Dan
2- Gary/Matt
3- Flight Time/Big Easy
4- Lance/Keri
5- Zev/Justin
6- Maria/Tiffany
7- Meghan/Cheyne
8- Mika/Canaan
9- Marcy/Ron
10- Brian/Ericka
11- Garrett/Jessica

Teams get their clue and find that they must now travel on foot to Cho Cai Bei and find the Bassac III, a Vietnamese riverboat and the PIT STOP of the second leg of this racearoundtheworld. (Toyouke: “Oo! They're using the yellow-and-white flags again!” Kmanpat: “Well, they are in Vietnam. They have to.”) The last team to arrive MAY be eliminated!

1- Gary/Matt – who each win a kayak.
2- Flight Time/Big Easy
3- Sam/Dan
4- Lance/Keri
5- Zev/Justin
6- Meghan/Cheyne
7- Maria/Tiffany
8- Mika/Canaan
9- Marcy/Ron
10- Brian/Ericka
11- Garrett/Jessica

And Garrett and Jessica are gone. Just as Garrett’s temper flared up. Jessica lets us know that they are a stronger team than they showed. Oh well, maybe your ducks were just broken.

1st – Gary/Matt
2nd – Flight Time/Big Easy
3rd – Sam/Dan
4th – Lance/Keri
5th – Zev/Justin
6th – Meghan/Cheyne
7th – Maria/Tiffany
8th – Mika/Canaan
9th – Marcy/Ron
10th – Brian/Ericka

Next week: Teams travel back to Ho Chi Minh City. Zev breaks a giraffe. And Lance destroys things. Until next time!
Clicky clicky

Monday, September 28, 2009

TAR15, Recap Leg 1, 9/27/09

Welcome to Leg 1! We’re back to TAR after a hiatus, which, in my opinion, was a bit too long. But it’s the same old, same old, as we have careening! Los Angeles! Cop Cars! And all sorts of teams in brightly colored shirts coming out of the sewers! Who are they, the Ninja Turtles or something? Anyway, we’re back, and this time with more teams. The twelve teams are: (click for more)

Brian and Ericka, AKA Yin-Yang, are married fro two years from Tennessee. And Ericka was Miss America 2004. They are the race’s first interracial couple, so you can plan on hearing about that for the next ten weeks. (Toyouke: “I knew Brian and Ericka would irritate me.”)

Lance and Keri, AKA Team Street Lawyer are engaged from Salem Massachusetts. Lance claims that his team is a powerhouse both physically and mentally. And what does Keri have to say about that? Keri: “He’s smahhht.” (Toyouke: “Not wicked smahht?”)

Maria and Tiffany, AKA Team Poker, are professional poker players, but their MO for a while will be that they are counselors for homeless kids in LA. OR at least until the first poker fan spots them and gives away their secret. Oh and they are competitive.

Zev and Justin, AKA Team Apsergers, are best friends from LA. Justin: “Zev isn’t afraid to speak his mind.” Zev: “Aw, That’s nice. *tear!*” Hee. Sound bite whore? Oh yes. I hope so.

Mika and Canaan, AKA Team Bathtub, are YDCs from Tennessee. Canaan is a songwriter. Mika: “Being Christian will probably help us win the Race.” And how, pray tell, is THAT going to help. (God: “The Amazing Race is on. I’m in the tub. No prayers will be answered for the duration of the race.”)

Flight Time and Big Easy, AKA The Globetrotters, are Harlem Globetrotters. Enough said. (Toyouke: “OMG I LOVE THE GLOBETROTTER MUSIC! I love that they cut that in.”)

Sam and Dan, AKA The Hot Guys, are brothers from Missouri. And they’re hot. And smart. And gay! WOOT! (Toyouke: “Mm, hot brothers.”)

Gary and Matt, AKA Pinky and The Brain, are father and son from Montana. Dad hasn’t gotten much time with his son while he was growing up. Good reason to run the race dad.

Eric and Lisa, AKA Team Yoga, are married yoga instructors and former drug addicts. Allow me to describe the team in Eric’s words: “We are what you call yoga in the hood, and we’re going to be numero frickin’ uno.” Not according to my sources, yoga man.

Garrett and Jessica, AKA The Waffles, have been dating on and off for years. Garrett has never had to deal with women, and Jessica is Colombian. The country, not the city. And apparently, Colombian women are strong willed.

Marcy and Ron, AKA The Oldsters, are dating from San Francisco. They met on the internet. Marcy is high energy for a 60 year old. Marcy: “I’ve never dated a bald man before!” (Toyouke: “Woo old people! With bow and arrows! Oh, and Ron just grabbed her butt.”)
Meghan and Cheyne, AKA Preschool Sweethearts, have been friends since they met when they were three. Meghan is convinced that Cheyne (pronounced Shane . . . we need to have a talk with those parents) is going to marry her. And with Cheyne’s shock at this statement, I’m not sure she isn’t delusional.

The camera careens to the tarmac where the teams are standing where Phil gives his standard speech. There will be “a number of legs” where each team will get a “small amount of cash”. But in a new twist, the teams have to complete a challenge before they get their plane tickets and only eleven teams will get tickets. We have our first eyebrow pop, and Phil tells them that their first clue is on their bags. They are to run to their bags, solve the clue to get their tickets, and then to drive themselves to the airport, and the first team to finish will win ONE MILLION DOLLARS (US$1000000)! Then oh so sexy Phil does his standard patter: “Ready? The world is waiting for you. Good luck, travel safe. GO!” Who will be eliminated . . . tonight?

Los Angeles, California

Clue: Travel to Tokyo, Japan! You may take one of two flights: American, which departs at 12:45 pm, or United, departing at 1:15 pm. To get tickets on a flight, teams must search the fence of over 1000 license plates and find one of eleven with the symbol for the Shinegawa District of Tokyo, which is where Tokyo Tower, their next destination, is located.

(Toyouke: “I think there are other Japanese license plates, just to make it harder. Which I approve of.”) So, teams race to the fence. At first, people just rip off license plates, until they realize that the clue to which plate to grab is on the clue. Teams grab plates and eventually finish in the following order:

1- Maria/Tiffany
2- Marcy/Ron
3- Meghan/Cheyne
4- Flight Time/Big Easy
5- Gary/Matt
6- Zev/Justin
7- Sam/Dan
8- Mika/Canaan
9- Garrett/Jessica
10- Brian/Ericka
11- Lance/Keri
12 – Eric/Lisa

And Eric and Lisa get eliminated. That is. . . actually wonderful, because now I don’t have to deal with the yoga teachers. Eric: “It’s a shame, but the pain is gone for everyone else now, we’re just happy to set everyone free of their suffering!” Um. . . right. (Toyouke: “Seriously? Well, that's the last of that.”)

1st – Maria/Tiffany
2nd – Marcy/Ron
3rd – Meghan/Cheyne
4th – Flight Time/Big Easy
5th – Gary/Matt
6th – Zev/Justin
7th – Sam/Dan
8th – Mika/Canaan
9th – Garrett/Jessica
10th – Brian/Ericka
11th – Lance/Keri

Teams get in their cars and drive in order to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport. I don’t know the order, but it doesn’t really matter, since Phil handed out tickets at the fake mat. So, the first six teams are on the American Flight, and the remaining five are on the United.

Thus, the flights shake down like this:

Flight 1: American, departs 12:45 pm
1) Maria/Tiffany
2) Marcy/Ron
3) Meghan/Cheyne
4) Flight Time/Big Easy
5) Gary/Matt
6) Zev/Justin

Flight 2: United, departs 1:15 pm
1) Sam/Dan
2) Mika/Canaan
3) Garrett/Jessica
4) Brian/Ericka
5) Lance/Keri

The Amazing Red and Green Lines take us from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

And we get a new topographic map to look at. So, teams arrive in Tokyo, and grab taxis. Team Poker blows up at each other because they miss the first shuttle. And the United Flight that was a half hour behind arrived in Japan a bit early, so all the teams are pretty much neck and neck.

Teams are now to travel by taxi to the TV Studio at Tokyo Tower in the Shinegawa District. Teams arrive in the following order:

1- Mika/Canaan
2- Sam/Dan
3- Meghan/Cheyne
4- Marcy/Ron
5- Gary/Matt
6- Flight Time/Big Easy
7- Brian/Ericka
8- Garrett/Jessica
9- Maria/Tiffany
10- Zev/Justin
11- Lance/Keri

Once they arrive, they walk in and find themselves at the first roadblock. Which is not any Roadblock . . it’s Sushi Roulette! And it’s a Japanese gameshow! With graphics! And there’s lots of cheering as we wait for all eleven teams. (Toyouke: “Is that everyone? Intentional bunching?”)


(question not shown)?

In this roadblock, one team member must participate in Sushi Roulette. On the wheel are nine pieces of sushi and two wasabi bombs. If you get a piece of sushi, you must eat it. If you get a wasabi bomb, you have 2 minutes to consume it, and when you do, you get your next clue. (Toyouke: “Good thing the vegans are gone already.”)

The following team members complete the Roadblock. (Toyouke: “Dude. Stop the descriptions and watch. This graphic is like...what was that game show where you could call in? It was a Japanese game show and they had like, shopping cart jousting and Mr. Shake Hands Man...Banzai! This is like "Banzai" and it is awesome.)

1- Canaan
2- Dan
– (Toyouke: “Damn...go Dan. I really want to come up with a dirty comment about swallowing but I can't think of one.”)
3- Cheyne
4- Ron
5- Gary
6- Big Easy
– “Tastes like money!”
7- Brian – who ends up having to eat two for not opening his mouth in time.
8- Garrett
9- Maria
– who ends up having to eat two IN A ROW for not opening her mouth in time.
10- Justin
11- Lance

After much sushi and wasabi eating (Toyouke: seems like you would root for the wasabi, because once you eat it you can leave.), teams complete the Roadblock in the following order:

1- Meghan/Cheyne
2- Marcy/Ron
3- Zev/Justin
4- Garrett/Jessica
5- Maria/Tiffany
6- Flight Time/Big Easy
7- Lance/Keri
8- Mika/Canaan
9- Gary/Matt
10- Sam/Dan
11- Brian/Ericka

Once the roadblock is completed, teams are given a colored flag to match with the colors of visors of 20 Japanese tourists in the audience. Teams have to be tour guides and take them through the Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest in Japan, to the Konno Hachimangu Shrine.

Teams start their journeys in the following order:

1- Meghan/Cheyne (RED)
2- Marcy/Ron (BLUE)
– (Toyouke: “Marcy is a crazy person.”)
3- Zev/Justin (YELLOW) - Zev: “It would be nice if this lady’s shoe worked.”
4- Garrett/Jessica (GREEN)
5- Maria/Tiffany (LAVENDER)
– who somehow lose 2 people in Shibuya Crossing.
6- Flight Time/Big Easy (AQUA) – Flight Time: “It’s like Godzilla walking through the street here.”
7- Lance/Keri (FUSCHIA)
8- Mika/Canaan (ORANGE)
– (Toyouke: “And another team is destroyed by a potty break. Maybe.”)
9- Gary/Matt (PURPLE)
10- Sam/Dan (LIME)
11- Brian/Ericka (PINK)
– Ericka: “You can throw up later, we have a task to do.

Teams must now get themselves to the PIT STOP, the Konno Hachimangu Shrine. Teams must have all of their tourists to check in. This is the first pit stop in a racearoundtheworld. The last team to arrive MAY be eliminated! (Kmanpat: “Oh? It’s early for that. . .)

1- Meghan/Cheyne – They win a trip for 2 to Aspen and Vail. A pretty trip for pretty people.
2- Zev/Justin
3- Lance/Keri
4- Marcy/Ron
5- Flight Time/Big Easy
6- Brian/Ericka
7- Gary/Matt
8- Garrett/Jessica
9- Sam/Dan
– Sam: “That’s horrible, but we’ll take it.”
10- Mika/Canaan – who lose one of their tourists as they walked to the pit stop. They found her though, unlike. . .
11- Maria/Tiffany

And Maria and Tiffany get. . .not eliminated! Oh, shades of TAR Asia 1, when Allan told Joe Jer and Zabrina that they were safe and ended up winning. Phil informs them that this is the first of three non-elimination legs on the race. However, because they were last, they will have to complete a Speed Bump on the next leg of the race. At least the Poker Players are still around!

1st – Meghan/Cheyne
2nd – Zev/Justin
3rd – Lance/Keri
4th – Marcy/Ron
5th – Flight Time/Big Easy
6th – Brian/Ericka
7th – Gary/Matt
8th – Garrett/Jessica
9th – Sam/Dan
10th – Mika/Canaan
11th – Maria/Tiffany

Next week: We’re headed to Vietnam, where the Race flags are a different color, the streets are flooded and the mud is thick. And the ducks are wacky! Until next time . . .
Clicky clicky

Sunday, September 27, 2009

TAR15, Recap Leg 0, 9/27/09

Welcome back to the Amazing Race! Miss me? I thought so. So, before we hunker down for the first episode, I thought we could talk a wee bit about the teams. Toyouke and her sister Kyoko are on hand to provide a little bit of excitement (as if my predictions weren’t exciting enough). This year we start with twelve teams. However, in a little bit of a twist, there are only eleven tickets to the first destination city, Tokyo. So one team won’t even make it out of Los Angeles. Which? Sucks to be them. So I hope it isn’t a team that I like already. The twelve teams are: (click for more)

Brian and Ericka, are a married couple from Nashville Tennessee. Ericka is the former Miss America, but wants to become a country music artist. Ah, following in the footsteps of Darius Rucker, I see. (Toyouke: “How many black country music artists can you name?”) They are also the first inter-racial couple ever on the Amazing Race. And I feel that they are going to harp on it incessantly. (Toyouke: “I really want to like them...but their goal is to show that true love is colorblind? And ‘Our slogan is 'the yin-yang symbol' is possibly the stupidest slogan ever.” Kyoko: “No bitches, you're black and white, but personality wise you seem exactly the same. “) Prediction: Fifth Place.

Eric and Lisa, are vegan yoga instructors and former drug addicts from California, via Michigan. It’s like BJ, Tyler, Tyler and James, all rolled into one married couple! WACKY! Lucky for us, I don’t really see them in photos past the license plate game, so that’s good. (Toyouke: “God they seem annoying. Neither of you are the ones we want to see naked.”) Prediction: Twelfth Place.

Garrett and Jessica, are on again, off again daters from California. And Garrett is HOT. So I’m rooting for him. (Toyouke: He doesn't look like enough of a nerd to have an engineering degree from Stanford. A MASTER'S degree. However he is hot.”) And yet, I’m not going to care if they go away. Prediction: Eighth Place.

Gary and Matt, are father and son from Montana. And their last name is Tomljenovich. (Toyouke: “First of all, that last name is some crazy stuff. Second of all--"I'm a PC! I'm a Mac! I like Coke! I like Pepsi! But we make a great team! It's wacky!" *sigh*”) I agree. I feel like their wackiness is going to get old. Prediction: Tenth Place.

Herbert and Nathaniel, are from the south (Arkansas and Louisiana). But what makes them cool is that they are basketball teammates. Not any teammates. HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS. Hee. They will be fun. (Toyouke: “Globetrotters, people. Their nicknames are "Flight Time" and "The Big Easy". And it seems like their only worry is that they will have to eat weird things. They are so much fun. Win.”) I agree. Prediction: Winners, TAR15. And that would be nice since I don’t think we’ve had African American winners since Chip and Kim.

Lance and Keri, are an engaged couple from Masseschusetts. Lance says he has a street persona. (Toyouke: “No one named Lance has a "street persona". Is that why he has a bandana tied around his arm? Maybe he'll get shot by a rival gang as they're leaving L.A.”) I get the feeling that they are going to be Jonathan and Victoria, or Colin and Christie, or any other couple that we love to hate. Prediction: Fourth Place.

Marcy and Ron, are our oldsters this time, and they are dating from San Fransisco. They look like they could take the youngsters, and I like their vibe. Hopefully they won’t make a Brad and Victoria mistake. Prediction: Seventh Place.

Maria and Tiffany, are professional poker players from California. They are our only all-girl team this season, but they are also the only team with an Asian on it, which could help immensely in an Asian packed top of the race. (Toyouke: “If ever there was a team that truly was underestimated, I think it would be a team of hot female poker players.) And for that reason, I’m going to give them a chance. Prediction: Second Place.

Meghan and Cheyne, are a dating couple from San Diego. And I’m pretty sure that his name is supposed to be “Shane”, but his parents are a little off. I’m not getting much of a vibe off of them, proving once again that casting pretty people does not a race make. Prediction: Eleventh Place.

Mika and Canaan, are dating from Nashville Tennessee. And Canaan is adorable. I wish I could go to the land of Canaan. (Toyouke: “And so it begins.”) And once again, they’re a pretty team, but I feel their downfall is going to be a bad decision. Prediction: Ninth Place.

Sam and Dan, are so awesome it hurts to talk about it. Gay. Brothers. From MISSOURI. How AWESOME is that? And they’re pretty fit too. I’ll just watch them all day, provided that they stay on my television screen. (Toyouke: “Dan will admit to modeling himself after Rob and Amber so that is points from me. They seem like Reichen and Chip in levels of flaminess. OK the older one is hot. OK, they are hilarious.”) Prediction: Third Place.

Zev and Justin, are friends from California. And Zev has Aspergers. I think they are going to be interesting to watch. But it’s another team with something to prove. And I just think it’s goin g to be the Rain Man team. (Toyouke: “I would like to point you to this sentence from the bio: "Aside from occasional trips to Vegas (where Justin took Zev to lose his virginity)" That is all. Going on the race was Zev's idea? The person who has trouble with crowds and large groups of people?” Kyoko: “Wouldn't you think that people with Aspergers DON'T want to be on tv? “) Prediciton: Sixth Place.

And there it is. Don’t forget to tune in Sunday, September 27 at approximately 7 pm CDT (after football) for a two-hour premiere. This should be legs 1 and 2, just to make my life more difficult during homecoming week. See you with the first recap soon!
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Project Runway 9/24/09--"Lights, Camera, Sew!" summary

Previously on Project Runway: finally we had an interesting challenge and everyone had to make clothes out of paper. There was much flailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Especially from Johnny, because Tim told him his dress was bad so he threw it away. Then he told everyone that the steamer had ruined it. And when I say “everyone”, I mean EVERYONE: his model, other designers, the judges. Someone tried to interview him, and he claimed that he had been talking about the SECOND dress, to explain why it looked like crap. But then like, three questions down, he says something like “I couldn’t send it out like that, so I had to make a new dress”. The judges were tired of it and sent him home. I know he’s a liar, but there have been bigger liars. I’m unimpressed. Nicolas spent an inordinate amount of time making fun of Johnny, and ended up in the bottom himself. He probably won’t learn his lesson. Oh, and Irina won. I still think her coat looked like a bathrobe. Also I would like to point out that the gimmicky puns and episode titles were sorely lacking. “Fashion Headliners”? TWoP came up with both “Stop the Dresses” and “Ripped From the Headlines”. Both are superior. (click for more)

Ra’Mon is kind of glad Johnny’s gone because it makes the competition more serious. Nicolas becomes a cliché and says he’s not here to make friends. I just watched this video where someone cut and pasted like 3 minutes worth of reality show contestants saying “I’m not here to make friends.” It’s hilarious.

Heidi reminds us Irina has immunity. She tells everyone that it’s time to get them out of the sewing room. Haven’t they had three field trips already this season? Anyways, today’s challenge is about moviemaking. Probably not really.

Tim meets everyone on “a real Hollywood sound stage” along with Collier Strong. Everyone will select a film genre (probably from the velvet bag) and they will have to invent a character who lives in that genre. Ooooo. The choices are: action/adventure, film noir, sci-fi, period piece, and Western. Oh, I like this challenge. I like the thought of what they’ll come up with. I just hope they come through for me.

Nicolas freaks about possibly getting “Western”. Gordana feels at a disadvantage because she’s not American. Irina goes with film noir. Everyone else will get their name drawn and they can pick what they want if it’s left. Logan picks action/adventure. Carol Hannah, action/adventure; Ra’Mon, sci-fi. Ra’Mon then tells us he grew up on science fiction and watched Star Wars and Star Trek and all of that. Ra’Mon’s a nerd?!?!?! Wha? Kick ass. Louise, film noir (duh); Althea, film noir; Gordana, period piece; Nicolas, sci-fi; Chris, period piece. That means Shirin and Epperson get stuck with Western. They are not pleased.

Everyone gets a dossier on their genre and 30 minutes to sketch, then they’ll get $150 at Mood. And they’ll have the rest of today to sew. Lots of gasping about the short time limit. Epperson starts sketching, but Shirin is mostly lost. Eventually she starts sketching a saloon girl costume. She starts to say she doesn’t want it to be costumey, until she realizes that it’s a costume. Hee. Carol Hannah is thinking “sexy assassin”. Logan goes over to compare notes since they have the same category. They flirt for a while, and Logan is straight, so it’s not pointless. Plus he’s hot. Nicolas says he mixes costumes and ready-to-wear. Whatever. Ra’Mon proves his nerdiness by writing “BORG” in caps on his sketch. Woo! Irina gets cocky and says she doesn’t need immunity. Chris is doing something weird. You can tell because he says the judges might not get it.

Shopping time! Chris can’t afford the brocade he wants. There’s a lot of talk about prices today. Nicolas buys feathers.

Epperson wanted period piece, but he’s just going to design Western as a period piece. Oo, good idea. His character’s husband went off to war and she has to take care of the farm or whatever. Gordana is going for the 1920’s. Nicolas starts talking about queens who take care of the universe. And live on Orion’s belt. So of course his character wants to take over the other two. Ra’Mon goes for a jumpsuit. Louise thinks someone took her bobbin. Things are tense. Everyone else seems to be laughing but Louise isn’t freaking out yet. She also hasn’t thought about her story. Nicolas, who apparently has a ton of spare time, is worried about Louise and how she hasn’t thought about her clients. Nicolas is nervous about his garment. Gordana knows she has to be confident about what she’s doing.

Tim time! Gordana tells Tim that her character discovers oil, is in her 30’s, and is coming out in society. Tim tells her to go lower, I guess because her skirt is short. Irina doesn’t think Gordana can compete with everyone else. Only she tries to act like she‘s nice and phrasing it nicely. Chris is thinking 1800’s Paris for his period piece, but the dress has bare arms which Tim makes faces at. Epperson gets a comment of “Annie, get your gun”. Also Tim is seduced by the ruffles. Hee. Tim warns Ra’Mon that he is either going to be sublime or a big hot mess. Louise only has the lining of the dress done. He tells her that she does beautiful work that is too subtle for the runway. Interesting. Nicolas tells Tim his story about his feathers and whatever. Tim thinks it’s too safe. Really? A white dress with feathers all over? OK then. Nicolas then tells us he’s worried about Ra’Mon because when he thinks sci-fi he thinks beautiful and not jumpsuits. What sci-fi does he watch? I bet he watches “Labyrinth“. And “Legend“. Oo, I know. “The Neverending Story”!

Collier Strong consultations! Pointless as ever! The fittings are more interesting, as Ra’Mon looks at his jumpsuit and quietly freaks out. He is now planning a dress to put over the jumpsuit. Nicolas runs around and is stressed. Everyone has a lot to do. Louise I think puts a needle through her fingernail. That’s what she says anyway. Ra’Mon wants to put up a fight since he thinks he’s going home. I think he wants to try his hardest before he’s eliminated.

In the morning everyone compares how much work they have to do. Ra’Mon specifically talks about taking it to the next level. When they all get to the workroom running about commences. There are a lot of people doing a lot of last minute work. Epperson thinks this may be a hard week for the judges. Irina says she finished last minute.

OK. Kors and Nina are gone again. What is the deal, Lifetime? Not only has this season had a lot of “make a pretty dress” challenges but our favorite judges haven’t been around for weeks. Did you just fail to plan around their schedules? If they’re gone it makes the show that much more boring and that’s not good for ratings. I’m just saying. Heidi is wearing a vest and long sleeved T-shirt, and then sequined cropped leggings. Yes. Zoë is here again, and John Varvatos, and Arianne Phillips, who is a costume designer. Irina: a fitted long dress, with Vs of black down the front, alternating with nude Vs, and a solid skirt. Over the top is a white gauzy cape. The dress is pretty film noir but the cape is so shapeless it looks like she just took leftover material and tied it. Carol Hannah: long black jacket that’s cut a little full on the bottom, and then underneath is a bustier and bottoms in vinyl. It’s pretty hot, and slightly sci-fi, and I wish I knew what she had going on there but you’ll notice I haven’t written her name once. Obviously she is safe but not in the top. It is cool though. Shirin: strapless bodice and very ruffled skirt. It’s exactly what a saloon dancer would wear. And her hair is up with a feather. The skirt is black with petticoats in raspberry. It’s cute. Chris: high necked sleeveless blouse in white, loose fitting with a small ruffle at the neck, a wide black belt that is probably supposed to be like a corset but instead is like those back support belts you see on movers, and a long pink skirt. There’s also a black overskirt, and I think a bustle in addition to lots of volume and ruffles in the pink. I have no idea what period this is. Nicolas: long white columnar dress with silver leaves painted on it. I think with a stencil. Around her shoulders there are some sheer leaves and whatnot standing up. Also on the skirt, he’s put a loop of fabric starting at one hip and going down and back up to the other hip. It’s not that exciting. Or sci-fi. However I will give him that her makeup is alien.

Althea: a fitted black sheath dress that hits just below the knee, and a white shrug with wide sleeves. The sleeves are ¾ length. Oh and a fishtail hem like Nick used to do. The shrug is part of the dress, you can see when she turns around. Ra’Mon: he’s made a dress instead of a jumpsuit. There is a little sliver of green around her boobs but most of the dress is a metallic gold scaly looking fabric. It’s wrapped around her with bulges at her hip and a high collar (or at least tall fabric around her face). Also one arm is wrapped in it. I kind of wish he had painted her face green. It’s interesting but it’s one of those things that the judges will either love to death or hate on sight. Louise: black dress with a feather which looks very flapper. It’s a plain dress with a belt. And it’s on screen for all of 10 seconds. I don’t remember Bravo being this bad about leaving people out of the entire episode. I think Louise had about two sentences and this is the first we’ve seen of her dress. Epperson: floor length dress in denim with a white layer underneath. It’s sleeveless, and there are a lot of ruffles at her neckline and her shoulders, then there is a wide leather belt, and then plenty of flounces and ruffles in the skirt. It’s very Western-inspired but is not really a costume. I really like it. Her shoulders look really huge from the ruffles though. Gordana: short gold flapper dress, with long gloves and a headband. There is a fringe of beading along the bottom hem, and lots of strings of beads. Logan: super hot leather jumpsuit with buckles and whatnot.

Logan, Carol Hannah, Shirin, Irina, and Althea are safe. Gordana describes her 1920’s time period, and the judges think it’s pretty authentic and well done, but it’s not special. They think it’s pretty typical but doesn’t show anything of Gordana herself. Nicolas talks about the queens again, only now his character is frozen or something. They think it’s fabulous and clever and bold. I think I want to disagree because I’m tired of Nicolas’s trash talking. It’s not even that funny, and he won’t own it. He’s always like, “Oh I’m worried about so-and-so.” Louise’s character is a film actress who is going to an industry costume party and had to dress in another decade. A very interesting explanation as to why you had film noir and your character is dressed like a flapper. Zoë thinks it looks cheap and she’s bored. When she says she’s bored it’s not the same as Nina bored. John tells her it doesn’t really have style and the detail is too hard to see. Not innovative enough. Chris’s character is getting married? It’s her wedding? But she’s a vampire and has to decide if she should “give it” to her husband or run away? WTF? Then the judges think it’s super fantastic. They praise the skirt, which I can understand. It’s just that I don’t think it’s “period piece”. The 1800’s weren’t really known for their sleeveless tops. I wonder if I have been disagreeing with the judges so much because it’s not Nina and Kors. Ra’Mon talks about how his character is a lizard alien, who is a slut. Really. They like his story but his dress is a hot mess. They call it “cheap” and “B-movie“ which are not good adjectives. He may have given himself too much work to do. Epperson tells the judges about his character, and the judges are already smiling. It’s modern and wearable, but still obviously “Western”.

Gordana wasn’t special enough, and could have made better, more interesting choices. Louise’s dress didn’t say anything and was forgettable. Ra’Mon’s dress was a shambles, even though he had a vision. Nicolas had a cheap-looking fabric, but they think that on camera it would look fantastic. And it’s memorable. Epperson was creative and had lots of little details. In addition this is a genre he got stuck with. Chris’s dress looks expensive and also is well done from every angle.

Gordana is in. Epperson is in. Nicolas is the winner. Sigh, now we’re going to have to hear about it forever. AND he gets immunity. Chris is in. Ra’Mon can’t sew and Louise was boring. Ra’Mon is out, which you could have figured out when they let us see how he was a nerd. Louise is sobbing. Tim hugs him goodbye, which he didn’t do for Johnny on account of being offended. Ra’Mon is glad for the opportunity.

Next time: teams of two, “colorful”, there is conflict. But I hear the dulcet tones of Michael Kors!!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top Chef 9/23/09--"Penn & Teller" summary

Previously on Top Chef: For some reason viewers at home wanted to see the contestants cook with cactus. I think the other two choices were proteins so I’m all for cactus. Sadly Mike is the only one who knows what he’s doing so he wins. Then everyone has to go for a camping trip, and cook “a high-end lunch for cowboys”. I would argue that people did high-end, but not so much with the lunch for cowboys part. Poor Mattin had no idea what he was doing, possibly giving everyone food poisoning with uncooked fish. Outside. In the desert. In the summertime. Yeah…that wasn’t the best plan. He went home, and the show is a little bit less pretty. Bryan won, as is becoming par for the course. At least he made pork tenderloin, and not dashi with cod as his brother did. Dashi, while delicious, is not exactly food for cowboys. Obviously the brothers have some skills, and their food must be delicious, but I don’t covet their food as I have with other chefs in the past. (click for more)

Aww! Mattin left his neckerchief on his pillow! Boy never took it off while he was there…oh dear Lord. Somehow Mike got his hands on a whole pile of red scarves and all the boys are wearing one. He says Robin should have gone home. Jen agrees. Whatever, why are we all wearing scarves, you look like morons.

Padma laughs at them and then introduces Michelle Bernstein. Kevin says she’s been at his restaurant before. Sweet. Padma says something about angels and devils, and then demands that each person make a duo about one of their personal battles. Like, being healthy vs. delicious bacon. As readers of this blog know, I am not a duo fan. This time, however, I’ll allow it as the point of the challenge is basically to make two dishes. It’s not like someone knows two ways to make duck and wants to put them both on one plate. 1 hour, and immunity to the winner.

Ash is making custard. In one hour. Eli says he’s the best, which we haven’t exactly seen, but he‘s not on the bottom all the time, so that‘s something. I guess. Robin says she had cancer and had to cut out unhealthy foods and her duo will show her struggle for balance. Bryan tries to freeze something and his brother is like, do you need some help? Hmm? Bryan tells him where to go. Ash’s coffee custard doesn’t set at all.

Michael: so they’re even listing these in the chyrons as “angel” and “devil”. That bugs me for some reason. Anyways, the “angel” is rillettes of salmon (like a pate), and the “devil” is confit of salmon and ice cream. Except that he says the devil is smoked salmon and the ice cream is not mentioned. This is supposed to be modern (confit) vs. traditional. Eh…I’m not thrilled about it. Kevin: halibut and seasonal vegetables, and deviled egg puree and bacon. Kevin always brings the bacon. Ron: Chilean sea bass, one with yucca and one with corn hash. Huh? I don’t get it. And he didn’t get all the bones out. Ashley: scallop crudo and seared scallop puttanesca. Eli: scallop with radish top pesto, and scallop with brown butter risotto. Bryan: frozen coconut, lychee, and vanilla. The devil is dark chocolate mousse. Jen: scallop crudo with olive oil, and seared scallop with butter. Ash: his “angel” custard didn’t set, so he only serves his spicy asparagus custard with pink peppercorn shortbread. Robin: arugula, apple and fennel salad, and a cardamom apple ginger crisp. I have to say, out of all the possible desserts you could pick to represent the “bad” foods you were supposed to cut out, apple crisp is kind of healthy. It does sound delicious, though. Laurine: chicken and vegetable consommé, and chicken saltimbocca (chicken wrapped in prosciutto). Mike: cucumber yogurt soup, and rack of lamb kabob style. Ha, Michelle says it’s too salty.

You know, Padma gave them the example of “healthy” vs. “not healthy” and pretty much everyone went for that. Except Bryan. Michelle says that Ash failed with his one custard, Bryan had not the best execution, and Laurine’s was not exciting. Michael had perfect food, Eli made great risotto, and Robin had simple food done very well. The editors cut in shots of everyone looking pissed off. Has her food really been that bad? Did I miss something? She’s only been in the bottom for elimination one time. So Robin wins, of course. Eli interviews that telling people you had cancer is a great way to win a Quickfire, which only makes him look like an insensitive jerk. Way to go, Eli.

For the Elimination challenge, Penn and Teller stroll in like they own the place. Oh I love them. And then they start setting up the cup-and-ball trick, first with those red solo cups, and then with clear cups so you can see what is going on. This means they have to deconstruct classic dishes! Man, that’s going to be hard to do. Generally I think deconstruction is in a class with molecular gastronomy: pretty cool but not something for all the time. And I’ve seen it go very, very, wrong on this show. They draw knives for dishes, which I’ll get later. The one that worries me is Kevin gets chicken mole negro, and knowing what Rick Bayless puts in his mole? Damn. Kevin made that last challenge and didn’t do so well. Also Toby Young is back. Bleh. I would be more worried about Penn.

Shopping time: 30 minutes and $125. Bryan is going to make tuna instead of pastrami for his Ruben. How is that “deconstructed”? Isn’t that “new twist on a classic”? (Kmanpat: “I would make a corned beef and sauerkraut salad with Thousand island dressing and a rye roll on the side.”)

2 hours for prep today. Ash and Mike call each other “sunshine” and Mike admits he has no clue what eggs Florentine is. Basically, it’s eggs Benedict with spinach instead of ham. He tries to make a joke but it fails, and then he complains about not being able to get online to figure out what he‘s supposed to be deconstructing. Um…there are 10 other chefs there. Do all of them find you as irritating as I do so they won’t help you? At least he knows there’s spinach in it. Mike has the immersion circulator going and is making bread. Bryan says he’s showing off, but…it’s bread. Kevin is confident. Jen has no idea what she’s going to do. She has meat lasagna, which to me seems easier. Get some noodles, meat, tomatoes, and cheese. This is why I’m not a chef, I guess. There are a lot of shots of people doing things, but I can’t figure out what anyone is doing. Eli brought a pressure cooker with him, but the luggage handlers banged it up. Hey, maybe he can write a song about it! It’s being held together with tape, and it appears to be blue painter’s tape, so that’s not a good sign. Ashley has to deconstruct pot roast. Isn’t pot roast just meat and flavors? How do you deconstruct that? Eli’s pressure cooker explodes. Ash points out that the Top Chef kitchen has pressure cookers that work. Robin talks to herself as Laurine shoots her dirty looks. Robin asks her pull her pancetta from the oven, which Laurine does for some reason. I mean, she was complaining a lot about Robin so it sounded like there might be a blow-up but only the pressure cooker blows up.

Tom time! Ash talks about shepherd’s pie while Tom makes faces and eventually calls him on having no idea about what he‘s doing. Jen interviews that she has no time to talk to Tom so she’s running away from him. Ron tries to ask questions but gets nothing out of Tom. He eventually catches Jen and she admits she’s out of her comfort zone. He just kind of leaves her.

Back at the house Ron complains about paella, because they think Michelle makes it in her
restaurant, and Eli tells him about how the bottom of paella gets crispy if you make it right. Ron is very confused. Kevin warns him that his dish might be too close to actual paella. Eli and Kevin give him advice. Laurine complains about how Robin winning sent her over the edge and she won’t shut up and whatever. At least she says that tomorrow she needs to concentrate on her own food.

Commercial interlude: apparently Mike did go ask people what his dish was made of. Mostly people laugh at him. But Ron and Laurine are more helpful.

Everyone gets one hour to get their food ready, and they’ll serve two at a time. Mike and Michael are up first. Michael: deconstructed Caesar salad. Chicken wing, parmesan jelly, and brioche. The jelly is in a blob on top of a cylinder of lettuce, I think. The plate looks cool. Oh, the dressing is the blob and the jelly is spread on top of the brioche? Something like that. Mike: eggs Florentine. Braised kale roll, which is a little cylinder of dark green, and egg emulsion, and some phyllo. Toby doesn’t like the eggs, calling it a reinvention instead of a deconstruction. No one really likes it that much. Of course they like Michael’s salad. Penn makes fun of Michael’s description of the dressing (Michael said it would explode onto the lettuce) by saying that if he and Teller said something would explode, by golly it’s going to explode. Hee.

Laurine’s chips are soggy, so she put them in the oven and now they’re burnt. Bryan worries about his small plate, as he thinks Penn will smash him. He had a deconstructed Ruben. Tuna, warm mayo, Thousand island “flavors”, rye, and gruyere cheese. The quotes are mine. Laurine: fish and chips. Halibut poached in oil, zucchini relish, tomato confit, and potato chips with parsley inside. Laurine overcooked her fish and she made chips and not fries, which is not the same. Padma asks Teller if he liked the fish, and he makes a face. Of course Bryan’s dish is well liked, except by Penn and Teller. Penn does point out that he ate it all anyway.

Ash leaves out his parsnip puree, because it’s gummy. Jen thinks she might go home. Ash is especially nervous to serve shepherd’s pie to Toby. He serves lamb chops, leeks, glazed carrots, pea puree and Madeira jus. I have to say it looks delicious and not overly fancy. You know when dishes are pretty but you can tell there isn’t much food there? Yeah. Jen: meat lasagna. Flatiron steak, mascarpone béchamel, tomato sauce, and a parmesan crisp. Yum. Jen actually did match her flavors up well. Ash’s lamb is inconsistent, and the lack of potatoes is going to hurt him. Too much “reinterpreting”.

Ron is kind of flailing. He serves what looks like actual paella: rice with meat on top. The chyron doesn’t know what to do either. It just reads “seafood paella--lemon and herb oil, chayote, and peas”. Eli: sweet and sour pork. Pork rillettes, broccoli puree, raw broccoli salad, and sweet and sour sauce. Supposedly the rillette (remember that’s like pate) is a tempura-style fritter. However it just looks like two sad meatballs. They don’t look crispy, they don’t have that golden brown coating of batter…they look like Swedish meatballs with no sauce. Also I have never once had broccoli in my sweet and sour pork. The paella is dry without being crispy, and isn’t really deconstructed. Tom likes the “pork balls” as he calls them, but Toby feels the presentation is lacking. He thinks they look like bull’s testicles. Padma has to chime in with “Believe it or not I’ve had bull’s testicles” and Penn interrupts to say “I’ll bet.” Tom tries desperately not to laugh. She finishes by saying these are too big. Hee. Penn thinks the unhealthiness of sweet and sour pork comes through.

Kevin says he and Ashley are plating together because they both have heavier foods. It seems they could choose their order. Ashley says something about plating and how important it is. She had to deconstruct pot roast. Seared strip loin, potato puree, crispy shallots, a little celery salad, and carrot foam. Kevin: chicken mole negro. Chicken croquette, Mexican coffee fig jam, and pumpkin seen romesco, and crushed unsweetened cocoa beans. It sounds fantastic but looks like several brown lumps (which, to be fair, Kevin is well aware of). Penn doesn’t want to eat any other mole ever again. Tom jokes that Teller might actually talk about it. Ashley nailed her dish too. It did look tasty except for the part where there was foam.

Robin has to serve by herself. She had clam chowder. Fennel flan with potato crusted clams and crushed bacon. Cool. However Padma is reminded of cream of celery soup, and Toby says the texture reminds him of soup that’s congealed from being left out all night. Teller works some slight of hand pretending to eat some of the poor food. Sad, that sounded fantastic.

No one is really happy in the Stew Room. Padma collects Ashley, Michael, Kevin, and Jen for the top group. Michael used his chemicals well. Ashley had wonderful pot roast. Kevin’s dish made perfect sense. Jen had confidence to keep it simple. This sounds short because they said one sentence about everyone, except Jen, who gets an extra sentence about how she seemed frantic yesterday. Michelle gives Kevin the win. Yay! He also wins a set of nonstick cookware. He thinks that the times he has been in the bottom were the times he didn’t trust his instincts.

Ash says that from now on he’s making salads and crisps, because that’s what got Robin her Quickfire win. Thankfully it sounds like he’s joking, not like he’s bitter. Laurine, Ron, and Ash are greeted by the Loser Gong. Ash explains about his potato parsnip puree. Then he admits he’s only eaten his own shepherd’s pie so he wasn’t confident about the flavors. Tom asks him about the uneven cooking on the chops, and Ash kind of flails before admitting he thought they were all even. Oh, not good. He resorts to begging for his life, saying how he’s a good cook and all. Laurine knows her fish was probably overcooked, and Tom tells her it was tentative. She deconstructed her dish so much the diners couldn’t put the dish back together. Toby wanted more potato, and Laurine explains how she burnt a lot of her chips. Ron has never deconstructed anything, and he thinks he had the most difficult dish because everyone does paella in a different way. Tom thinks he got stuck in his head and that made him overcook everything. Toby thinks it was somehow soggy and dry. Padma doesn’t think he deconstructed it enough.

First thing, Toby starts talking about paella and Tom dryly tells him that they can’t even agree on how to pronounce it. Toby pronounces the “L” instead of making a “Y” sound. “Pie-ELLA” instead of “pie-AY-ah”. I’m pretty sure Gordon Ramsay pronounces the L also so maybe it’s a British thing. Toby accuses everyone of pretending to be Spanish. Tom gets back on topic to point out that whatever he made, it was overcooked and poorly done. Michelle feels that if he had made a really good paella that wasn’t deconstructed at all, at least that would be something. They move on to Ash. There was some tomato? Or something? And no potato. Toby doesn’t want to eat it again. But at least he knew it was poor. Laurine’s fish was dry and her dish was unrecognizable, and she was obviously uncomfortable with the challenge.

Tom says all the things we already know, and in the end, Ron goes home. He says he was trying for the American Dream, but he knows there’s more to come.

Next time: everyone runs to the house for some reason. I think they’re making dinner at the house. Mike bitches that he has to cook with Robin. He says he’s going home but you know we’re not that lucky.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Project Runway 9/17/09--"Fashion Headliners" summary

Previously on Project Runway: The models all came up with something they wanted to wear to an industry event, which meant there was some crazy and people who listened too much to their models and whatever. They were supposed to make something eye catching. Althea won, because she made some suit, and the jacket kicked ass but I couldn’t figure out the skirt. Qristyl went home, and now I don’t have to spell her name but I really wanted her to be around to make real women’s clothes. People elsewhere have pointed out that all the challenges this season have been like, “make a pretty dress” which is boring. Agreed. Also not all the models wore their outfits to the event. Some of them wore other random clothes. (click for more)

Carol Hannah says they are narrowing it down to the people who are competent. I’m seeing a lot of people call her Carol Hannah and not just Carol so I’m thinking I’ve been getting it wrong this whole time. Johnny hates being in the bottom. Althea wants to keep it up. Irina didn’t think Althea earned it, but doesn’t explain why. Nicolas interviews that Johnny and Irina shouldn’t be here at all.

Heidi is wearing pants today. She reminds everyone that Althea has immunity, and that Tim is waiting to take them on a field trip. Then she says this challenge will be tough but “the answers will be in black and white”. Cue dramatic gasping which Heidi mocks.

Logan thinks old Hollywood black and white movies. Oo, that would be good. Shirin thinks factory, but they end up at the Los Angeles Times. Oh! I was right last week! They wander the printing floor and end up with Booth Moore, fashion critic for the Times, and piles and piles of magazines. He says fashion is news, and elements of fashion are derived from headlines? OK, and then Booth says that they’re “bring all this down to a practical level” and make clothes from the newspaper. Oh, that could have been done better. “Fashion comes from news. Today you’re going to use the news to create fashion!” See, that took me 30 seconds. Nicolas of course is not pleased, but FINALLY something interesting. They have 3 minutes, and 5 different sections, I think so they can get some colors. Irina feels that everyone is grabbing more paper than they need. In addition to newspapers it looks like there are big rolls of blank paper too.

Once they get back to the workroom Tim gives them markers and dye and brushes, and tells them they can use muslin but it can’t show. Then we get a history lesson about paper clothing. They have until tonight, and winner gets immunity. Chris wants to make something fitted and rigid and a skirt with hundreds of feathers. The amount of work kind of freaks him out. Althea is lost and doesn’t know what paper would be good for in terms of shapes. Carol Hannah knows what she wants but also that she has to dye her paper now if she wants it to dry. Nicolas says he’s never sewn newspaper, as if others have. He declares he’s going home. Irina’s trying to go for a fabric look. I can see several people using the color ads as a print, which I think is cooler than painting over the paper. Shirin is making a crazy origami skirt with points. And a papier-mâché bodice. She talks a lot, mostly to herself, and those shots are interlaced with cuts of everyone else giving her a wide berth. Logan says he’s never met anyone so small that made so much noise. Nicolas feels old. You are old, you act old and superior. I like Nicolas, but sometimes he needs to pull the stick out of his ass. Johnny has some origami cranes going on. He’s painting his dress with fabric dye. Nicolas, again, is slamming someone else’s dress, and I’m noticing you have one page of newspaper on your dress form so maybe you should do your own work, hmm? I’ve never seen so much trash talking from someone who had literally nothing done. Johnny’s dress is a red column dress with folded parts around the shoulder. It does not suck ass, as Nicolas claims. I mean, it’s not that great. But I’ve seen worse. Ra’Mon is very excited by using a new material. More origami. Yeah. Louise is decoupaging headlines from the paper.

Tim time! Gordana is making two garments; one will say “time to change”. Tim is bored, but respects her political statement. He says her sketches are ho-hum but her garment is full of pleats and is not ho-hum at all. I guess that one is the non-political one. When she says there’s no muslin he says “I love you. Stunning.” Yay! Althea disappoints Tim. She’s just got some red, and shoulder pads. He tells her to look at the paper upside down so it’s just shapes and forms. Irina had a dress already, but it dried stiff, so she’s making a raincoat, and she tells Tim that she doesn’t think it will work without the muslin. He says that it’s been done, and she just says OK and goes back to work. Johnny explains his dress to Tim, who calls it “a craft project gone awry”. I love the birds though! Tim thinks they are attacking the dress. Don’t the judges love that stuff? Nicolas almost falls over laughing at Johnny. Sadly Nicolas gets a good review. Well, Tim warns him against costumes. Chris’s dress could be a showstopper. If he can get it done. Tim says he doesn’t need to talk to him any more, just go do it. Then Tim tells everyone he’s inspired and can’t wait.

Johnny is tiling his leftover squares. Irina seems to be crumpling paper and gluing it to other paper for her coat. Nicolas talks about punk rock. Johnny’s dress now is very busy. The models come in and worry about how this is going to work. However, mostly they seem excited. How are they going to fasten these things on? Johnny complains to his model about his dress getting ruined? It sounds like he didn’t want to admit he scrapped his first dress, so he is making up some story about how he wanted to iron it but obviously he couldn’t so he tried to steam it but the steamer was spitting and ruined it. Huh? Why doesn’t he just say his first dress was bad so he threw it away and started over? Why is there a giant story? After the models leave Johnny pretty much gives up and works on a crossword puzzle. Chris says everyone’s sick of Johnny’s lack of work. I don’t know why they worry about it. Just let him get eliminated.

Back at the apartment Johnny is talking about how Tim hated his first dress and he’s telling the story about the steamer again so is the story supposed to be about his second dress? Maybe it’s still his first dress. Nicolas is in the other apartment making fun of him and telling everyone what Tim said. They laugh but it wasn’t that funny. I mean…Tim’s said better things. “Gay pterodactyl” comes to mind.

In the morning all of a sudden Nicolas has doubts. Well, I think Nicolas always had doubts but was too busy making fun of Johnny. Johnny, for his part, interviews that he really doesn’t care what others think about him. Ra’Mon actually has two pieces. Irina’s coat looks cool. Tim arrives to give them 2 hours, and tells them not to stall out. Johnny’s model likes his dress. Gordana is thrilled with her final result. Carol Hannah stands on a table to finish her dress and take it off the dress form. Althea and Ra’Mon whisper that Irina’s coat looks simple and like she didn’t spend a lot of time on it. Tim tells everyone to pack some tape. The workroom is trashed. Johnny finally gets one in and calls Nicolas’s design “dinosaur chic”. Heh.

Nina and Kors are gone. AGAIN. I don’t want to watch this show if they’re gone. What’s the point? Tommy Hilfiger is here, woo, and Zoe Glassner is back. And then for some reason Eva Longoria Parker. Not the fashion editor from the Times? I don’t care about these judges at all. Logan: it kind of looks like Chris’s dress from last week, strapless sheath with a ruffle at top and bottom, but the ruffle is smaller and edged in blue. The print on the paper is arranged so it kind of looks like zebra stripes. And it looks like a real dress. Nicolas: the dress has wings, kind of, over her hips. They’re not very wide, but there are two on each side that create some volume, and he used stripes in the paper to make a pattern. She looks like she has no chest. Actually, no one really does. It’s not very punk. Chris: fitted gray bodice, and a full length ball gown skirt, with shredded newspaper that looks like feathers. It’s done so well that it doesn’t look like trash or anything. Even the bodice looks molded…it’s great. Ra’Mon: two pieces, a short skirt and a sleeveless top, the skirt is in green mostly and the top in purples. There are lots of pleats everywhere. I think the color comes from a print in the paper. The back has a ton of pleats too. His model walks horribly. Epperson: kimono style top with giant sleeves, and a tea-length skirt. Actually I think part of the skirt is knee length, and then there’s a longer piece wrapped around the back? This season SUCKS in terms of showing the dresses well. I love it though. When she turns around the sleeves are a giant shawl collar. Johnny: strapless sheath, with a belt, in tiles with faces on them so there’s a nice graphic effect. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not super exciting. Meh.

Gordana: sleeveless top with a high neck, and a short skirt. The whole thing is covered in pleats, and she found similar colored paper so it’s all a pinkish brown color. It’s cute and looks mostly like real clothes. Carol Hannah: long dress in red, with folds all along the bottom like Kayne and Robert’s Miss America dress. At her hips it’s fitted (you can see the strips she used) and the bra cups are a contrasting color. The ruffles get bigger near the bottom. I like it. Shirin: so, remember Leanne? And her noodles? Think if those noodles were made of paper instead of fabric. Pretty much that’s Shirin’s skirt. The top is fitted and it’s not exciting. But the skirt is made up of triangles with the points out. (Kmanpat: “It’s made of obtuse isosceles triangles, attached at the bases to the skirt. There, that’s descriptive enough.”) She didn’t color any of it, though. It’s all newsprint, and not the clean paper either. I like the shape. It’s not practical though. Irina: coat with crumpled paper at the collar and lapels, and cuffs. There’s a sash too. The model has boots on, but the “fuzzy” lapels and cuffs make me think “bathrobe”. It does have that Laura Bennet deep V. Althea: simple strapless sheath, but she’s cut strips from the paper and laid them so there’s a wraparound pattern which is nice. It’s cute. Louise: the bodice is made from regular newsprint, and then there’s a weird collar that is made from little rolled strips? And the skirt is full and maybe made from rolled pages? This is the first we’ve seen of it so I’m pretty confident it will fall in the middle of the pack, but I have no idea what is going on with it.

Johnny, Nicolas, Chris, Althea, Gordana, and Irina are the top and bottom. See what I said about Louise? The print on the paper of Althea’s dress is a building that she liked. They love it and it’s well executed. The girls want to wear it. Gordana wanted something conventional looking because it was an unconventional fabric. Zoe likes the architectural style of the top, but Heidi is bored because it’s so wearable. Gordana says she though that was the point, and the other judges tell her that the only reason she’s not ranked so high is that there’s some major creativity going on elsewhere. Irina claims she saw the challenge and thought “raincoat”, except we all know she started on a dress. Everyone loves it and I still think it looks like a bathrobe. Tommy does say he doesn’t like the scotch tape. They really like the collar and cuff treatment. Heidi makes Johnny explain himself, and he tells the judges his story about the steamer, but claims to not be making excuses. Heidi says with the hair and makeup and red shoes, she looks like she’s going to work. As in, “work”. “Like a pro”, is how Johnny puts it. Eva likes his idea but not the execution. Zoe thought he was going somewhere 80’s with the hair and the pop art and she was OK with it. For some reason Johnny can’t just keep his mouth shut and starts talking about how his other dress was hardcore and whatever. Oh, Johnny, you might have gotten away with it too. Nicolas finally loses it and starts making faces, and I’m behind him on this one, because there was no need to be making up stuff about how great the first dress was. Nicolas says that that dress was not Dior, but it was a red mess and Tim said birds were attacking it. Johnny is like, “Thanks for throwing me under the bus, jerk” but I think you dug your own hole there. If I may be excused for mixing sayings. Nicolas then gets to talk about his dress and how it’s punk, but Tommy tells him it’s not punk at all. It’s kind of like an insect, and Zoe’s like, um, cockroaches, so no. Chris says the top is pattern paper and is very rigid. They love everything about it, especially how the skirt moves like feathers.

Good was Chris (took a risk, fantastic construction), Althea (structured and shaped well, print was good), and Irina (well done couture, and drawn in stitches with sharpie). Not so good was Gordana (kind of boring but well done), Nicolas (no one got the punk thing and it was not well done), and Johnny (the print was cool but it was obviously last minute, and they TOTALLY don’t buy his story).

Althea is in. Irina is the winner. I disagree, but I’m not a judge, I guess. Chris is in, and robbed. Gordana is in. Nicolas didn’t get where he was trying to go, and Johnny gave them excuses but his dress was not well made. Nicolas is in. Johnny feels lost and empty, and says giving up addiction was easier. He thinks there must be something bigger on the horizon. Tim tells him to go clean up his space and then makes a comment which I have to quote because it is pure Tim: “I am incredulous at that utterly preposterous spewing of fiction that Johnny did on the runway!”

Next week: lots of running, Louise totally hurts herself, they show no clothes so who knows what is going on.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Top Chef 9/16/09--"Camping" summary

Previously on Top Chef: Everyone has to make escargot and once that’s done, Jesse ends up going home. Yes, right after the Quickfire. Then the remaining chefs cooked French food for legends of French cuisine including Joel Robuchon. Well, except for Kevin, who won the Quickfire so he got to eat dinner with the chefs instead. Technically it was a team challenge, but there wasn’t a lot of drama about that except for when Mattin threw Ashley under the bus by lying. Flat out lying. It didn’t matter because Hector was the one who went home. Bryan won, so essentially nothing new. One of the brothers won and Mike tagged along and tried to be as awesome as them. (click for more)

Michael tries to trash talk about everyone, mostly about how Robin hasn’t done anything exciting. Of course he thinks he’s awesome. Mattin says he’s never been in the bottom before. Take that as you will. (Kmanpat: “He shouldn’t be used to being on top. I don’t think a lot of people would let him.”) He says he’s going to stick to his style, which is kind of alarming, editing-wise. Ashley’s brother just had a baby so she gets a phone call to talk to him about it. She says she competed with her brothers all the time.

Tim Love greets the contestants as they enter for the Quickfire. Padma then gets a crappy voiceover about how they are “rewarding” the fans by using an ingredient that was chosen in one of their episode polls. You know, the ones they ask every show and you’re supposed to text in your vote. Apparently last year the viewers chose “cactus”, with 57% of the votes. Tim tells them to be careful. Mattin didn’t even think you could cook with cactus. Someone makes Padma say “make something succulent with these succulents.” GOD. They have 45 minutes. And it’s a high stakes Quickfire, with no immunity afterwards. They’ve all been high stakes. The one without the money involved an elimination.

Mike of course knows all about cactus, which is like olives? Something about raw and cooked? I don’t know. Mattin is worried. Robin slips. Laurine (who? exactly) is going to be true to herself. Ash looks in vain for a tortilla press. Ron says in Haiti the cactus is poisonous.

Laurine: cactus salsa with achiote glazed pork chop. Kevin: pork tenderloin with cactus marmalade. Which is kind of slimy. Oops. Michael: avocado roll with cactus coconut ceviche and cactus coulis. Ashley: cactus jelly donuts with orange crème anglaise. Mike: cactus and tuna ceviche with pipian (Mexican sauce with pumpkin seeds). Ron: chipotle swordfish with mango and papaya crab salad. There is cactus sauce. Bryan: halibut and cactus ceviche with cactus tempura. Ash: cactus “grilled cheese” with tortillas and diced cactus inside. Jen: warm chorizo and cactus salad with queso fresco. Mattin: breaded cactus, halibut with tequila pickled cactus, and red cactus puree.

Ash didn’t have any cactus flavor, Michael was a train wreck, and Ron’s fish was dry and the crab tasted rancid. However, Laurine had nice flavors, Mike prepared the cactus well, and Mattin showcased the cactus itself. Interesting. The winner is Mike. Well, at least he doesn’t get immunity. Michael says he’d rather be able to make good food than take the slime out of cactus anyway. Heh.

Elimination challenge: prepare a high-end lunch for two dozen cowboys and Chef Love. Outdoors. They can make whatever they want, but it must be high end. In order for them to understand where they’ll be cooking, they’re all going to the ranch to sleep over. Woo, sleepover! They’ll only have 75 minutes to prep and cook. Wow, that’s really short.

They’ll have $150 to spend on food. Ashley knows they’ll probably have a grill and not much else. Laurine thinks her catering skills will help her. Michael is making something cool and refreshing. After shopping they drive the contestants out to the middle of nowhere and ditch them by some teepees and chuck wagons. Ha! Everyone gets a firepit, some cast iron, and not much else. Michael snots that it’s not good for the food. Robin is all about the camping. As is Mattin. And Ashley. Hee, they have an outhouse. Eli doesn’t like camping but then he goes really too far and says camping is “asinine” and complains that this will cause his girlfriend to make him go camping with her later. Asinine? Ron busts a tree to make a little fence to keep snakes out of his and Ash’s tent. Aww, the brothers are bunking together! Brotherly love! Later around the campfire Mike and Ash argue about whether or not there are animals in the desert. Ash claims to have been an animal psychologist. When they go to bed jokes are made about the Blair Witch project.

Today’s poll is: Who would you want as a tent mate? 1. Ashley; 2. Mattin; or 3. The Voltaggio brothers? Ooo…tough choice. (Kmanpat: “3! Two for the price of one, baby! Plus, no scarf.” Me: “I don’t think he sleeps in the scarf. I will pick Mattin though.”)

It’s pretty hot today. Eli claims it to be equivalent to the surface of Venus, but I am pretty sure Venus is far more humid. Everyone is crammed in this shelter all crowded. Ashley is going to cover her grill with cast iron to try to regulate temperature. Did they already start the fires? Because I don’t think you can even get the coals you want in an hour and 15 minutes, let alone cook anything. Mattin is making ceviche. Hopefully it won’t spoil. Ron’s making ceviche too. And drinks. He curses at the coconuts. Jen is so confused. Michael is making dashi. He says you don’t change your menu for the customers; you make your food. Laurine is already grilling. Robin is making salad. Yeah. Bryan is making dandelions, which I feel are always really bitter. There’s so much running around it looks like no one will be done on time.

I think there is some last minute cooking? Maybe so things are fresh? Ash thinks he could be a rancher because he likes walking around lassoing things. Hee. He jokes that if they find sand they’ll get their money back.

Mike: pork gyro with apple and fennel tzatziki. He pronounces it “JAI-ro” and not “YEAR-o” the way I usually hear it. I thought the second is the proper way? Figures. Eli: tuna sandwich with sun-dried tomato mayo and radish salad. It seems the tuna is seared. Laurine: sautéed arctic char with tomatillo salsa, corn salsa, and a grilled potato. It looks good. No one is excited by Mike’s food but it’s cooked well. They like Laurine’s salsa. Eli’s food wasn’t very flavorful and one rancher says the bread was hard.

Ash: grilled chicken paillard (thin cutlet) with corn succotash. Mattin: ceviche 3-way; salmon with apple, spicy tuna, and cod with corn. Robin: grilled romaine salad with drunken prawns and spicy chicken sausage. Mattin…oh Mattin. That’s whose food is so bad Tom throws it in the dirt. It’s still too raw. Sad face. Robin’s shrimp is terrible too. She voiceovers that she finally tasted her prawns after she gave them to the judges and she knows they were bad. Ash’s dish is full of bacon grease.

Bryan: roasted pork loin, corn polenta, dandelion greens, and glazed rutabaga. Jen: snapper with duck confit, daikon, carrots, and tomato water salad. Ashley: seared halibut with avocado mousse, bacon, tomato, and braised romaine. Bryan’s dish is appropriate and well cooked. It does look tasty. Jen’s slaw is great and the fish is well cooked which is impressive. Ashley’s dish really tastes like a club sandwich.

Ron: coconut, lime, mango, and tuna ceviche with a Haitian coconut mojito. It looks like both parts are served in coconut halves. Kevin: roasted duck breast with mole and tequila marinated watermelon. Michael: dashi with miso and mirin cured black cod, and watermelon. Ron’s ceviche is a little sweet but it’s the best they’ve had today. The cocktail sucks hard, though. Michael’s dashi is wonderful and unexpected. Kevin plated his food beautifully and it’s cooked very well.

Commercial interlude: Kevin kicks everyone’s ass at horseshoes.

Mike claims that he could smell bad seafood as he was cooking, and Ashley backs him up, saying she smelled it as soon as she opened the cooler. Robin looks ill. The top this week are Laurine, Ashley, Michael, and Bryan. Ashley cooked the fish well outdoors. Bryan was focused and it was restaurant quality, and yet perfect for outdoors. Laurine’s dish was simple but it shone. Michael’s dish was unexpected. Tim Love says that Bryan is the winner. Yawn.

The Loser Gong greets Robin, Ron, and Mattin. Robin starts off by saying that she thought of barbecue, and prawns and sausages, and playing off steak? Tim calls her on it and says that she isn’t making sense. Also her shrimp were off. She tells the judges that she’s not proud of her dish. Mattin was very happy with his dish and is surprised to be there. Some of his cod was undercooked, and Tim claims to have gotten sick. Ron’s ceviche was good but the sauce was poor and his drink was super terrible. Tom tells him that if he had stopped at the ceviche he wouldn’t be in the bottom.

Ron’s ceviche was edible, but his drink and presentation were lacking. Robin’s dish was worse, because she didn’t understand how to put her components together, and she didn’t fix it either. On the other hand, Mattin didn’t understand why he was there and he thought his dish was great.

Ah, Bravo. 72% of voters want to have both Voltaggio brothers as tent mates. And yet that doesn’t surprise me. Because I know your audience.

Tom slams everyone again, but says nothing new, and then they tell Mattin to go. L He is going to keep cooking and so forth. He’s upset. Aww. Come here and let me make it better.

Next week: freaking Penn and Teller. Eli’s pressure cooker explodes. Toby is here. Padma says she’s had bull testicles and Penn says “I’ll bet” which gives me hope for a Tony Bourdain-style episode and lots of snark.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Project Runway 9/10/09--"What A Woman Wants" summary

Previously on Project Runway: Everyone had to make “surfwear” which is not terribly specific and anyways, no one made anything surfwear in particular. And the judges didn’t really talk about it. The contestants worked in pairs and so of course there was drama. Then halfway through Tim showed up to tell everyone they had to make an “avant garde” look, which wasn’t well defined or enforced either. Qristyl and Epperson fought a lot. Mitchell was supposed to be in charge but he let Ra’Mon do everything instead, including their avant garde look which was a dress made out of neoprene that had a big dye stain over one hip. The judges thought it was the best thing ever and gave him the win. Then they said that Mitchell was pretty much useless and kicked him out. (click for more)

The boys don’t want to be in teams anymore. Epperson knows he and Qristyl both had a hard time working together. However Qristyl only seems to blame Epperson. Gordana tells her she didn’t stand up for herself enough.

Heidi tells everyone that Tim is waiting in the workroom with 13 women who know exactly what they want. The challenge is that they have to make them happy. Nicolas speculates Eskimos. Hee, that would be awesome. When they get to the workroom it’s their models. Everyone calms down, but did you see the wedding challenge from Season 1? Some crazy stuff. Tim says all the models are going to some industry event so their jobs are on the line. Well, not on the line, but if they have something fabulous on, then many industry insiders will see them in it looking fab and give them jobs. They’ll have 30 minutes to caucus, and $100 at Mood. Then they have until midnight tonight. Fun.

Johnny thinks he and his model are similar. “It’s like, design something for myself if I was a black girl.” Hee. Epperson says his model has a ton of things she wants. I think he’s overwhelmed? Irina’s model doesn’t know what she wants exactly, so she’s coaching the girl. Well, not leading her so much as asking a ton of questions. Louise doesn’t like her model Fatma’s color scheme so she‘s going to change it. Althea thinks everything is going smoothly. Shirin is worried because her model wants a jumpsuit. In royal blue satin. With gold rope. She does a really good job of talking her out of it. Logan’s pushing himself.

Shopping! Epperson has to scrap his orange fabric because the choices at Mood aren’t good. Althea finds some black suiting fabric and is pleased.

They will have 13 hours to work. Johnny talks to his fabric or sewing machine or something. Chris says that it’s the first time it’s really hit him that people have gone home. I think because going from 16 to 15 isn’t a lot, but 16 to 13 is something that you might notice. He also says he works well under pressure but lots of people are struggling. Cue Logan saying he’s kind of nervous, and Nicolas saying he’ll probably be working until Tim pries the needle from his hand.

Tim time! Althea is making a smoking jacket, only she calls it a “cigarette jacket”. Hee. Tim warns her about her sash looking like a cummerbund, but otherwise is pleased. Chris has a cute green dress, like an emerald but a little darker. When Tim calls it “bold” Chris says “It’s a bold color, Tim’s gonna say…she looks like a salad.” Everyone laughs but Tim does not deny it. I think the color is great. Epperson lists all the things he has to do: romantic, flowy, strong, punk, cocktail, tiger. Yeah. He’s got brown with some shiny strips, that are randomly crossing the dress. Eh. Tim loves it though. Qristyl also has brown but it looks messy. It’s kind of drapey but not cleanly enough I guess. It looks like she’s been rolling around in bed. Logan has a short turquoise skirt and a black top. He is worried about creating a Smurf prom dress. Silly boy. A Smurf prom dress would be white. (Kmanpat: “No, it would be orange! Complements the blue.”) Tim shudders and says never to use that word again. Because now that’s all he can think of. Logan has a “conundrum”. Carol has a one shouldered purple dress but Tim says it’s old? I don’t think it’s that old.

Tim leaves by telling them he’s sending the models in and have fun but not too much fun. Epperson starts talking about his family, we see shots of his wife and the kids, and then he gets a phone call. Oh, bad news. I mean, he gets to call home, not that they call him with bad news. He really misses them.

The models enter and everyone nervously shows their designs. Epperson tries to be confident, and his model loves it. Johnny’s model tries to tell him what to do. Chris’s model demands shorter. I think Johnny and his model really do like each other. Althea’s model says it’s better than she thought. In a good way. Logan wants his model to be noticed for the right reasons. Nicolas is 80% done. Shirin thinks her model trusts her.

Frantic working commences. Logan is noticing he’s totally different from everyone. It seems like several people aren’t anywhere near done.

Logan wanders around shirtless in silver pants. Johnny laments he cannot come anywhere near Logan’s sexiness. It’s Logan’s plan to distract Heidi from his dress. (Kmanpat: “It would distract me!”) Johnny puts some weird thing on his head. I’m not sure. Logan’s still freaking out. Qristyl wishes she’d used some color but thinks everyone woman wants a chic black dress. Tim gives them two hours. Carol is confident. A ton of people are working hard still. Nicolas passes judgment on everyone. Mostly Epperson, and Chris says that Epperson’s dress either will win or lose. The judges might not get it. I think Tim checks out Logan’s ass on the way out to the runway.

I kind of hoped they’d have to go to the event, like the swimsuit challenge from the first season where they had to kiss up to that Page 6 guy. But no. Heidi (in thigh high boots, sigh) introduces Marc Bouwer (where the hell is Kors???), Zoe Glassner (whom I recognize from “Running in Heels”…oh God, I just admitted to watching that show), and Jennifer Rade (celebrity stylist). Qristyl: very basic black short dress with one shoulder. The skirt is barely full and maybe has a train? Not really a train, since it’s short, but it’s fuller in the back maybe. We don’t see it well. Nicolas: short white high necked dress. The top from the collar down a little bit on her chest is like a dark leather, and it looks fantastic. Irina: a short patterned dress in a print, which we never see because there’s a belted short jacket that she never takes off. It’s all in browns and dark colors, with a lighter champagne belt. It’s pretty cute, but I really want to see the whole dress. Gordana: skin colored dress with elbow length sleeves and a pretty short hemline. All down the center of the front is a woven panel, made out of the same fabric so it blends. I think it’s interesting enough to prompt a second look from someone. Shirin: short sheath dress in dark blue, almost a purple. It has a simple plunging neckline but I think there are flowers or ruffles on one side. The back has a racerback detail.

Logan: oh dear God she looks like Kenley. It’s a black bodice with spaghetti straps, and a turquoise skirt that is kind of shimmery. The skirt is full, and it just looks totally like something Kenley would make, and then the girl has dark hair too AND there‘s feathers in it. It’s retro and cool looking. That just threw me for a minute. Actually from the opposite angle it looks pretty blue. There’s some detail by the waist I can’t see. Chris: strapless green dress, with ruffles at the top and bottom. Under her boobs and at her hips there’s a black stripe, which is where the ruffles end. It’s pretty interesting, actually. Epperson: short, it seems really short, brown sheath dress with strips of shinier fabric criss crossing it. Eh. Johnny: purple dress, short. It’s not terribly exciting. It’s got a sash. Althea: the smoking jacket is awesome, and there’s a gray top, and then bloomers? Really short bubble skirt? I’m not sure. She looks hot though. Louise: plain black sheath with a high neck ruffle. Ra’Mon: SUPER short dress in shiny dark blue, with a giant flower that is basically the size of her head. Carol: the bodice was one shouldered but now has a strap on the other side, in purple, and the skirt is a darker purple print that almost looks like leather. Maybe the skirt is black. The back has a tail.

Heidi tells Louise, Irina, Chris, Nicolas, Gordana, Shirin, and Ra’Mon that they are safe. Carol loved working with her model and she made a beautiful outfit that was well made. They like the soft draping and the edgy skirt together. Logan’s model liked it, but everyone thought it was prom. They finally show a close-up, and you can see that around her waist there’s lace layered over the blue but it’s all bunchy. He doubled up the lace, but it’s too black. He was going to make a pencil skirt and Jennifer says he should have. Then she says she likes his pants. Oo, it worked! Epperson’s model tries to describe what she wanted, and I think maybe Heidi makes fun of her a little bit. Marc loved it and said it was constructed perfectly. Heidi demands support or something for her boobs. Johnny’s model liked her dress, and it’s cute, but Jennifer wrote down that the purse is the best thing about the outfit. Ouch. She’s bored. Heidi says “bridesmaid”. Johnny says he likes the criticism so that when he goes forward he can use it. Heh. Heidi thinks Qristyl aged her model 10 to 15 years and since she’s a model that’s like dog years. It’s too boring and plain. Heidi confirms that the model likes the dress, and Jennifer says “That’s why Valerie’s not the designer.” That was uncalled for, stylist person. Heidi praises Althea’s model’s walking. They love it, and everyone wants to walk out of the building with her outfit.

Qristyl’s dress looked cheap, and her model wouldn’t stand out at all. Logan could have done something cooler, and lost his way. Johnny was safe and boring. Althea made three pieces that could be mixed later. Carol had a good mix of edgy and sweet, and it moved well. Epperson’s dress was fitted perfectly but they’re still fixated on the boob thing.

Epperson is in. Althea wins! And she wins immunity. She’s so pleased. Carol is in. Johnny is in. Qristyl’s dress was boring and cheap, and Logan’s dress was ugly. Logan is in. Aww. I wanted Qristyl to rock out on the real woman challenge. She thinks it’s too soon for her to be leaving, and she knows she’s great. Totally. I want the shirt she has on. Call me, girl! St. Louis represent!

Next week: black and white? Surprise fabric? Paper? I think it might be paper.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Top Chef 9/9/09--"Vivre Las Vegas" summary

Previously on Top Chef: Mark Peel returned to the “Top Chef” kitchen and made everyone cook potatoes for the Quickfire. Mike was condescending and Preeti almost doomed Ashley, but in the end, Jen won with some mussels. Mike felt this was favoritism. Yeah. Then we had a military themed episode, which I loved because it was a team challenge, and although there was no team drama, it means half as many dishes. Or, almost half as many, since Mike decided they needed a salad so he did his own thing. So Michael won, again, and I’m kind of tired of the brothers because Kevin and Eli (the fat kid alliance) made pulled pork with potato salad which everyone loved. Anyways, when everyone found out Mike had nothing to do with the winning dish, but everything to do with the crappy salad, they told him to come back for the loser’s panel. Which was very satisfying. I think there was more we didn’t see, because the judges were really worked up. They let him stay, sadly, and felt that since Laurine knew she made bad pasta salad, but Preeti didn’t, Preeti should go home. They wouldn’t throw each other under the bus, though, so that was something. (click for more)

Their house is like, obnoxiously huge. Someone makes extra strong coffee and Ash and Mike discuss hairy chests. Mike of course thinks he should never have been in the bottom two and he’s about to win. Robin wants a man to go home next. May we suggest Mike? I know, that was too easy, but we were all thinking it.

Tom and Daniel Boulud wait for the contestants in the resort. Eli recognizes the import. Tom starts talking about snails and Mattin breaks out in a huge grin. So cute. Mike grins too, but he bugs me. Jen says escargot is easy to screw up, and also, how hungry do you have to be to try to eat a snail? I’m sure they are just like clams. Or squid. Mollusks, you know. Hey, I have to get the most out of my biology degree. The chefs will have 45 minutes to make something with escargot. Daniel demands something unique. And this is one of the ones where they pay you if you win. Winner gets immunity, loser goes home. Really? That IS high stakes. Eli clarifies that winner gets no money, actually, but then claims that they’ve never seen this twist, but they just did it. Last season. Everyone freaks out appropriately.

Ashley gets into the kitchen and curses up a storm. Mike claims to be from Greece but Eli calls him out on being from Jersey. Kevin says snails don’t taste like anything so you have to add flavors. Hector is going for Caribbean. Robin takes Ron’s snails by accident. Mattin says escargot is like his whole youth. I feel like he has extra pressure not to embarrass himself. He starts to talk about living in San Francisco and I hope that’s not foreshadowing. Jesse really wants to win.

Ron: escargot Provencal with caramelized shallots, pernot, and fresh herbs. And I think Brussels sprouts. Jen: escargot with grilled ramps (wild leeks) Brussels sprouts, chanterelle mushrooms and yuzu. Jesse: “ELT” which is escargot, mache (lamb‘s lettuce), and fried tomato. Interesting. Looks like the “bread” is the fried tomato. Laurine: lemon risotto with sautéed escargot, spinach, parsley pesto, and garlic butter. Hector: Caribbean escargot with pickled mushrooms. Robin: “bagels and lox” which is poached escargot, marmalade, gooseberries, and rye crostini. Mattin: fava beans crostini with escargot sautéed in a piment d’espelette (hot peppers) and anise. Ashley: escargot mirepoix (onion, carrots and celery) soup and salad. The salad looks like a sad pile of pea shoots. Kevin: escargot fricassee with mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and bacon jam. Bacon jam is a thing? Wait, CANDIED bacon jam is a thing? Damn. Bryan: escargot with red wine risotto, spinach emulsion, and marcona almond froth. Stupid foam. Michael: braised escargot with chanterelle mushrooms Bolognese lasagna. That sounds pretty good. Mike: sautéed escargot over potato garlic puree, with spring onion and ouzo broth. I would like to also point out that I’m pretty sure he is the only one to call them “snails”. In front of Daniel Boulud. I want some bacon jam.

Sadly Mike is one of the favorites, as is Kevin (yay!) and Jen. I’m not super impressed by Jen’s food but I guess she’s good, she keeps getting praise. Kevin wins, hooray! He gets a bonus too, in addition to immunity, to be announced later. He says that some of his competition has prettier or more sophisticated food, but his food is still excellent. Now is the time for someone to go home. Jesse, Ashley, and Robin had the least favorite dishes. But Tom gives those 3 another 20 minutes to make an amuse bouche to save themselves. Nice twist. That must be why this is a supersized episode.

Ashley says someone has cleaned up and put things away. Jesse makes amuse bouches every night in her restaurant. Suddenly time is up and it’s time to see what they‘ve made.
Robin: avocado soup with yuzu, green apple and whole grain mustard relish, and crab. Jesse: tuna tartare with sorrel, gooseberries, a fried egg on top, and a piece of fried bread. Ashley: foie gras with pineapple, tarragon, and ramps. Tom eventually says that Robin’s soup could have used more crab, but on the whole it was nice. Jesse could have used more tartare and more spice. Ashley’s foie gras was not thick enough. Tom is sending someone home for one bite. After the commercials, we discover that person is Jesse. She’s embarrassed and pissed, and she hasn’t felt like herself. She wants us to know she doesn’t suck this bad. Ashley has an interview that sounds like she’s just happy it’s not her, but it sounds like it’s cut weird, like she really said “I’m glad it’s not me but I’m really going to miss Jesse”.

Tom makes everyone draw knives for the Elimination challenge, except Kevin. The knives seem to have names on them, but whoever was directing this part didn’t bother to place the camera in such a way that you could read the knives. Good job, Bravo. Actually, it takes an interview from Eli to explain: each knife either has a classic French sauce or a classic French protein. I think also they’re written on both sides, because Mike clearly reads his off the back of the knife. They will be working in pairs: one protein with one sauce, to make a 6 course dinner. Nice. Mattin thinks he has this in the bag, but he also knows everyone expects him to kick ass. Tom starts reading off the list of guests: Hubert Keller, um…some names I can’t spell but will get later, Daniel, and they’ll be cooking in Joel Robuchon’s restaurant. JOEL ROBUCHON. WHO WILL BE THERE. THE CHEF OF THE CENTURY. Tom is afraid to eat with him. Oh man. Michael says this may be the most important plate of his career. Kevin’s bonus? He gets to eat with the judges. Kevin is about to pass out, he is so excited. He owns all of Joel’s books, in including the ones in French which he doesn’t speak. I’m thinking right now Kevin doesn’t really care he didn’t win $15,000.

Tom left them all alone to figure out the pairings. Some pairings like the steak and pepper, and the lobster and lobster sauce, are easy. Bryan says that they paired trout with béarnaise and frog legs with brown butter. Jen wants to work with Michael because his rabbit matches her sauce which I don’t remember but I’m sure we’ll find out.

Shopping time, 30 minutes and $200. Interestingly, everyone knows what is in all these sauces, which is nice. Ashley is probably so glad to be paired with Mattin, who is telling her things and Ashley is listening to everything he says. Like telling her you never put anything green in the sauce he’s making. Remember that for later. Robin doesn’t make sense to Ron, who says he’s classically French trained, and he’s going to stay true to himself. Bryan and Michael push each other and act like brothers, basically. Jen goes by too, and Mike shoves her, but I think it was because she is acting like Michael. God, it pains me to defend him. Mike thinks he and the brothers and Jen will be on top. Whatever. I would have to say that if I had to call favorites, it would be the brothers, so I guess that’s relevant.

2 hours to cook today and 1 tomorrow before service. Also we get to see the pairings. First up are Eli and Laurine with lobster and sauce americaine (basically lobster sauce with white wine, onion, and tomatoes). Ash and Hector: chateaubriand and sauce au poivre (pepper). Ash points out that a gay guy and a Puerto Rican are making dinner for Joel Robuchon. Heh. Michael and Jen: rabbit and sauce chasseur (mushrooms and shallots). I love rabbit. Jen is using the bones in the sauce. Ashley and Mattin: poussin (like a Cornish game hen) and sauce veloute (light stock with roux, so a light gravy). Mattin is putting bacon in the sauce which I think is not traditional. Bryan and Mike: trout and sauce béarnaise (clarified butter and egg yolks). Mike doesn’t want to do a traditional béarnaise, and I think Bryan suggests “deconstructed” that will end up like warm mayonnaise? I think Bryan is telling him how to do it. Ron and Robin: frog legs and sauce meuniere (brown butter, lemon, and parsley). Ron says he’s made frog legs 250 different ways, so he’s pretty confident. He interviews that he’s got a simple personality but Robin is hyper. She certainly is talking nonstop. And he thinks he’s working with her because no one else wants to.

Commercial interlude: it’s Mattin’s birthday, so that means cake, and smashing Mattin’s face in the cake, and getting rid of that silly neckerchief and getting him to wear little red swim trunks and nothing else and run around the pool. Oh wait, that’s my birthday.

In the morning no one seems to want to get up. Hector is trying not to think about it. Kevin is even nervous. He knows everyone else is freaking out.

Mike points out how crazy it is that he would kill to eat in these chef’s restaurants, and he is going to meet them and then cook for them. Eli admits he didn’t think Joel Robuchon really existed and that he might be a unicorn. Hee. Robin’s salad is very vinegary. Ron reminds us about how Haitians and French people don’t always like each other. Robin talks about the garnishes, and some salad, and Ron reminds her to pay attention to the sauce. That seems ominous. Mike is very nervous about the sauce. Somehow it’s not working? He may have to scrap his deconstructed idea. Laurine is trying to balance keeping the lobster hot but not overcooking it. Mattin’s sauce boils over. Ashley keeps asking him questions but he is frazzled. Jen thinks she and Michael “feel each other” and don’t have to talk. Hector turns up the heat in the oven because the beef is not cooking fast enough. And he’s got to let it rest before he cuts it. However I do notice that he’s stuck the probe thermometer all the way through the meat so the tip is sticking out of the other side. That can’t be right.

The chefs arrive and Kevin looks good in a suit, but he kind of has that grin of “Oh God I am about to die.” Eli gloats that Robin and Ron’s dish looks terrible. I especially like the part where he says that it’s on a bed of “dead greens” which, isn’t your salad dead when you eat it?
Padma introduces everyone: Daniel Boulud, Hubert Keller, Jean Joho, Laurent Tourondel, Tom, Gail, Kevin, and Emmanuel? Who is that? Oh, he is the translator. Oh and of course Joel Robuchon. Padma thanks him for having them and he says “I’m sorry I don’t speak English” but in English and with less of an accent than Mattin. Hee. Ron and Robin serve the frog legs meuniere with lemon confit, with a mache and arugula salad with fried capers. The frog legs were overcooked and heavy on the flour but kind of creative. Joel can’t taste the frog.

Bryan and Mike: warm cured trout with deconstructed béarnaise. I think it‘s eggless so that‘s what makes it deconstructed? Someone asks if they mix all the stuff together, will they get béarnaise again? It…looks like one bite. Like, a really small portion, and the frog legs weren’t a big plate but it didn’t look ridiculously small. It’s sophisticated and well balanced. Simple and Joel likes it.

Eli and Laurine: lobster, sauce americaine, and cauliflower puree. The lobster is tough and the sauce is bitter. Joel says something is lacking, but someone sticks up for them and says if you’re not classically trained it’s a very difficult dish.

Ashley and Mattin: seared poussin and ravioli with sauce veloute and green asparagus. They let Mattin say it in French first, which sadly would have been more effective in a room full of women. Hee, Joel says he spoke French well. Sadly, the chicken is bland and the sauce is not a veloute because the bacon was a bad choice.

Jen and Michael: rabbit chasseur with mustard noodle and shiso. The legs are wrapped in a thin pastry. The rabbit is cooked perfectly and everyone likes it.

Hector and Ash: they cut their meat REALLY late and it’s bloody. And not enough sauce made it onto the plates because they ran out of time. Chateaubriand, sauce au poivre with confit de pommes and spinach. No one can find enough sauce. And the beef is not cooked evenly. Gail criticized how they cut her meat. She thinks they picked the wrong lady to give the end to.

All the chefs think that these contestants are very accomplished for their age, and Joel even offers jobs. Gail says they couldn’t have done this at this point in any other season and Tom agrees.

Kevin joins everyone in the Stew Room and gets grilled about who is top and bottom. He is very coy and refuses to dish. Soon enough Padma comes for Bryan, Mike, Michael, and Jennifer. Sigh. Mike. All the judges praise the professionality of the dishes. They tell Mike and Bryan that Joel really praised the trout, and then they ask Mike if he did the sauce. He says he did, but is careful to say that he and Bryan shot ideas at each other. You know, instead of being honest and saying Bryan told him how to do the sauce. Bryan cooked the fish perfectly but does not claim the sauce. Mike is insistent that they did everything together. Michael broke down the rabbit so quick Jen couldn’t believe it. They seem to be really connecting. Daniel tells Bryan he is the winner. Ha on Mike. As the winner, he gets to stage for a week for Joel Robuchon. That means, spend a week cooking in his kitchen and learning things. He says it doesn’t really feel like a win since it was a team effort, but I don’t see Mike getting offered a stage.

Bryan asks for Mattin, Ashley, Hector, and Ash. Loser gong. Ashley and Mattin go first. Gail says the chicken was dry, and the sauce wasn’t really a veloute. Mattin admits to the bacon. Daniel says the asparagus didn’t help, and Mattin promptly throws Ashley under the bus and says it wasn’t his idea. When they ask Ashley if it was her idea, she says “Sure. I mean, yes.” I think she’s pissed. Tom says they could have made asparagus veloute, and she says that yeah, that came up. And it did, during shopping, where Mattin said that you never put green stuff in veloute. But when they ask Mattin if he shot down the idea, he says he never did. Oo. Mattin says something about it being his first shot, as if that is an excuse? Ash explains how they ran out of time, and he put the sauce on the plates but it got soaked up and he couldn’t add any more. Gail complains that she got a totally overcooked piece, and Hector takes the blame for relying on the thermometer. The one he didn’t seem to be using right? Hector knows his carving was poor. Daniel points out it takes maybe an hour to make sauce au poivre, and 30 minutes to cook beef. Hector insists they were cooking the whole time.

Ash comes back and talks about how much Judges’ Table sucks, especially because they’re right. Tom thinks Ash was going delicate and Hector was not. The main problem was the beef, which anyone in Vegas can do. The sauce wasn’t great; it sounds like it just didn’t make it. But if the beef had been perfect, they would have thought the dish was fine. No sauce could have distracted from the beef. Ashley’s ravioli pasta was too thick and it was dried out. Gail doesn’t think she took any responsibility, and Daniel knows it was probably because Mattin is French. Tom noticed her whole demeanor change when they brought up the asparagus and that either she was going to throw Mattin under the bus or totally shut down. And I guess she shut down. This was Mattin’s moment to shine and it failed. There was too much bacon. It was a bacon cream sauce, which actually sounds not bad.

Tom tells everyone that both parts of both dishes had problems. In the end they send Hector home. He says he changed the way he cooked, and maybe he shouldn’t have done that. He invites everyone to his restaurant to see how he really cooks.

Next week: um…wagon train? Cooking outside? Tom walks away from the table to throw the food in the dirt. IN THE DIRT, PEOPLE.
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