Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Top Chef 12/14/11--"Game On" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: Mother sauces and steak awaited. Grayson wins the Quickfire, which is nice for her, and the last we’ll see or hear from her for the rest of the evening. Everyone has to make one giant team to cook a four course steak dinner for 200. Somehow this fails. Heather puts herself on dessert so she can make cake again, which she keeps calling “my cake” in the same breath she’s yelling about how it’s a team challenge. She also puts herself on dessert so she can have the day of the dinner free to boss everyone around. Oh, sorry, “expedite”. Heather decides Beverly is too slow and spends most of the episode bitching about it, even though if Beverly had been done sooner it wouldn’t have prevented Lindsay from firing all the steaks way too early and having them be overdone. Heather tries to throw Beverly under the bus even before she finds out whether or not that needs doing. Because Heather won. Boo. Whitney gets the most screen time she’s ever gotten, but sadly that’s because her potato gratin is terrible. She’s sent home. (click for more)

In Last Chance Kitchen, Whitney and Chuy make burgers with different proteins, (ostrich and elk) while everyone who’s come through before them gets to watch and taste. Whitney’s burger ends up tasting better than Chuy’s so she gets to stay.

Nyesha can’t believe how harsh Heather was to Beverly. I hope she apologized. I mean, we didn’t see it, but if I was a producer writing the “story” of “Heather is bossy” then I wouldn’t show it either. But I hope it happened. I do also notice that Nyesha is being listed as the executive chef at the Wilshire, which is the thing I saw her win on that Food Network show. So…interesting timeline, if so. Ty-Lor thinks he’s been in the bottom too much this competition.

Padma is in the kitchen with Tim Love. Aww, he’s such a clean-cut cowboy type person. Behind him is a table full of tequila. The Quickfire for today is to make something to pair with one of the tequilas. Oo, I do not like tequila. It gives me terrible heartburn. Winner does NOT receive immunity, but you do get $5000.

30 minutes to cook. And also to taste tequila and try not to get drunk. Sarah says she always has a shot of tequila at the airport before she flies. Ty-Lor says his style of cooking is “warm Southeast Asian flavors” which seems fairly vague. Chris C. is making a raw oyster, so then what are you doing with your 30 minutes? There is a hilarious shot of Beverly running full tilt across the kitchen, yelling “Coming through!”. She’s moving so fast I’m surprised I understood what she said. Or saw her go by. Dakota has a lamb chop and she thinks it’s pairing well. Lindsay is using the tequila instead of sherry. Ty-Lor thinks MotoChris is overcooking his chicken. MotoChris seems to agree.

Ty-Lor: steamed clams in Thai style fish caramel sauce. Heather: mango avocado salad with rock shrimp. Beverly: cold-smoked green tea oyster. Heather didn’t seem to get good feedback, and Beverly did, so there’s a shot of Heather looking pissed. Sarah: fennel risotto with glazed scallops. Lindsay: salmon with fennel puree and brown butter sauce. Ed: bok choy lettuce wrap with lamb. MotoChris: pan seared chicken with lime vinaigrette. Grayson: sesame cod with tequila brown sugar glaze. She says she is a beer girl from Wisconsin and never drinks tequila. Chris C.: raw oyster with tequila tapioca pearl and sea salt air. Air. Shut up, Chris. Tim likes it, sadly. Dakota: lamb with Medjool date pistou. Pistou is a garlic basil sauce.

Heather’s dish is compared to a special at a chain restaurant. Hee. MotoChris did over cook his chicken. Sarah somehow curdled her risotto and Tim thought it was undercooked. Chris C. made a great pairing, Lindsay cooked her salmon well and carried the tequila through, and Ty-Lor had bright, spicy flavors. The winner is Ty-Lor. He feels like he’s redeemed himself.

Padma says this Elimination challenge involves teams. Of course it does. Then she says the person next to you is your partner. Heather is paired with Beverly. Of course she is. Thanks for nothing, Bravo producers. Now I have to listen to her bitch about it for an hour. You know they told them how to stand so that would happen. Tim is hosting a “game dinner” for his friends but now they have to cook it instead of Tim. Tim’s friends are obviously famous chefs. Each team gets assigned a chef who will give them a protein they must cook. So that’s “game” as in “wild game” and not as in “sports game”. Which is what I thought at first. That would also be a cool challenge though. Nyesha and Dakota, venison; Paul and Sarah, squab; Grayson and MotoChris, elk; Chris C. and Lindsay, boar; Heather and Beverly, duck; and Ed and Ty-Lor, quail. Ed says he does game dinners twice a year. Also everyone is going to judge everyone else’s dishes. Nice. Sarah hopes that people are professional about that, but she also knows they probably won’t be. They (the contestants as a group, I guess) will pick three teams that are in the bottom. The judges will pick the TEAM that goes home. Ah, double elimination. The team that wins will split $10,000.

30 minutes and $200 to shop. Beverly says Heather is bossy but she’s going to be a team player so they can work together today. MotoChris has some grandiose idea about carving potatoes or something. Grayson is kind of freaked out, but she extracts a promise from him that it won‘t suck.

3 hours to cook today. Ed makes a road kill joke. MotoChris has never cooked elk, so he’s got a small piece cooking to test it out. Sarah is making sausage. Paul seems to trust her. Beverly says something about a spice rub, and Heather says she doesn’t want the dish to be too Asian because that’s not her style. So? If it’s good, it’s good. Then Heather says she’s going to focus on making her food great. I wonder if she hears herself complaining about how Beverly isn’t a team player, and then saying “me” and “I” and “my food” all the time. Sadly, Heather keeps talking about how she doesn’t want the dish to be too Asian, and they have to think about the name, and no one else seems to be talking at all right now so I’m pretty sure everyone is listening to her. They all seem to be making faces. Ed says Heather is “a complete bitch”. All of a sudden there are 5 minutes left to go. Heather says they probably don’t need to pack something. I don’t know what, but when they show things like that, chances are it was something important. Sarah is nervous about her sausage.

Back at “home” (I’m not sure if it’s still a hotel or what) everyone seems to still be talking about the dishes. Or at least Heather is telling Beverly what to do. Beverly tells us that she used to be in an abusive relationship, until she ran away one day while he was at work. That makes me feel bad for her having to deal with Heather. Seriously, this must be terribly hard on her. I want to give Beverly a hug.

Day of Elimination. Everyone freaks out about the pressure and the double elimination. The kitchen is very hot and very cramped. MotoChris seems to have screwed up whatever grandiose plans he had. I think he was carving things? But the sweet potatoes won’t carve right? Something. Grayson is pissed but she can’t really say so. Heather is bossy, some more, and complains that Beverly asks too many questions. I wonder if she’s asking questions because otherwise Heather will be even worse than she currently is if she doesn’t like it. Oohhh…knowing Beverly was in an abusive relationship makes it make more sense. Now I really feel bad for her. I like Beverly, but I almost would be willing to lose her to get rid of Heather too. Beverly doesn’t like the onions, but Heather basically tells her that’s her own “style” so they’ll have to “compromise”, which I’m sure means the onions stay in. The boar is rare, but Lindsay says they made enough that they have enough servings that are good.

Lindsay and Chris C.: roasted wild boar with kohlrabi slaw and farro fried rice. Tom says it’s nice but not terribly exciting. The contestants like it, probably, although the slaw is watery. Beverly and Heather: five spice duck breast with creamy polenta and pickled cherries. And a salad. It’s safe, although Hugh thought the breast was rubbery. However one of the contestants thinks the duck is perfect. Nyesha and Dakota are kind of freaking out. Grayson is irritated about the sweet potato. Grayson and MotoChris: juniper roasted elk with sweet potato and bouquet of citrus greens. MotoChris admits he failed at the sweet potato carving, but Grayson interrupts him and says “It is how we wanted it to be.” Weird. The meat is good, but the presentation sucks. Grayson hisses at MotoChris that they’re probably going home so don’t say anything to the other contestants. Sarah is still worried about her sausage. Dakota completely freaks out about the venison being undercooked.

Ed and Ty-Lor: sorghum quail with pickled cherries and eggplant. The quail is excellent. Sarah can’t get the sausage to poach, so she’s on Plan B which involves forcemeat, and Paul is nervous. Dakota is plating raw venison, and Nyesha is not happy about it. Nyesha and Dakota: roasted rack of venison with kabocha squash and beet gratin. They like the dish, although the venison is rare. Sarah and Paul: squab breast and sausage with nectarine pickles. The presentation is a little sloppy but they seem to like the taste. Sarah gets back to the kitchen and breaks down because she’s so horrified she might send Paul home and she’s ashamed of her work.

Padma asks to see Ed and Ty-Lor. Everyone applauds because everyone assumes they’ve won, which of course they have. Well that was fun. Then Padma gives them all 15 minutes to decide as a group who is in the bottom. Oh, that will be fun. It’ll be like the one game in “The Mole” where you all have to agree on who gets an exemption. It always ends in yelling and no consensus. And the Mole doesn’t ever have to do anything!

Commercial interlude: everyone sits around. Grayson says they should just all vote, and Heather is all “You won’t vote for yourself” and Grayson says “Neither will you”. I mean…duh. Ty-Lor says Heather is his friend so he wants her to stay. Isn’t the commercial interlude supposed to be fun and random?

Paul says he’ll start and he says Heather and Beverly was not his favorite, and Nyesha and Dakota (obvs), and MotoChris and Grayson. Nyesha and Dakota know full well the meat was too rare so they are not shocked. Heather says pretty much the same thing, but refuses to pick a third group, and Grayson says they all are doing that and it’s tough, or something. And Heather is like “Oh, I understand the process, you don’t have to tell me about it, Grayson”. Then follow the fucking process. They vote with a show of hands, and Beverly and Heather, Grayson and MotoChris, and Dakota and Nyesha are headed out. Ed says something weird about how people are plotting, but tomorrow you might be on the same team as someone else? So the claws aren’t out yet? I’m not sure if he was saying he voted based on who he wanted to get rid of or what.

Heather says she and Beverly don’t deserve to be here (hey, she did say “we” so I have to give her credit) because she would serve that dish again in her restaurant. She thinks that everyone is trying to get rid of her because she won the last challenge. Then for some inexplicable reason Tom stops talking to her and nails Dakota for the undercooked elk. Tom! Tell Heather she’s not all that! Anyway, Dakota says they ran out of time, and Nyesha tells them she didn’t check on the elk in time so she wasn’t able to help. Dakota is upset at screwing up something so easy. The flavors were great, but the meat was raw. MotoChris and his weird potatoes get him in trouble. No one got it, and they think he did it just to show off the carving. Tom asks Beverly why she’s there, and as she’s explaining about “too much protein” or something, Heather INTERRUPTS her and says they were trying to balance two chefs on one plate. Guess what, Heather? If you throw Beverly under the bus, you get dragged down under the bus too. They wanted the duck to render longer and get more crispy. Beverly agrees. Tom didn’t think the ingredients went together. Heather says they haven’t seen eye-to-eye, but she has the most obnoxious, condescending smirk on her face and I want to smack it off her. Beverly tries to say something but Heather talks over her again and says their work ethics are totally different and she brings up the shrimp again, and IF SHE GOES HOME SO DO YOU SO MAYBE YOU SHOULD SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Has she not figured this out yet? Grayson looks totally embarrassed. Beverly sadly argues back and Heather has some comeback which makes no sense. Dakota says she is uncomfortable because she thinks Beverly is a very hard worker and sometimes people don’t agree. Tom asks if Heather didn’t trust Beverly, but Heather says Beverly doesn’t trust herself and she should have more self confidence. That last is delivered directly to Beverly. Now I really want her to go home. And I want Beverly to destroy her in Last Chance Kitchen. Beverly says she asked questions because that’s part of teamwork, and she stands behind her dish.

When they get back to the kitchen, someone asks how it went, and Heather says things “came up” and she fake apologizes to Beverly but “that’s the truth” and she also says she had no say in their dish. Bitch please. I saw you telling her how the dish was going to be. Several times. Thankfully everyone else seems to be defending Beverly. Grayson points out that Heather just signed her own elimination, which she did, only Grayson says she sold her out, and Heather of course didn’t sell anyone out, and everyone who’s ever worked with Beverly has felt the same way and hates her or whatever but no one will say anything. Grayson is so confused, for the same reason I am, which is that complaining about Beverly will also send Heather home. Heather wants to go home for her own food, which, fine, that makes sense, but you’ve gone above and beyond that.

Tom says that he doesn’t care about people’s emotions. They don’t like that MotoChris started with “I’m going to carve sweet potato” and not with the flavor. Dakota couldn’t cook the venison, and Tom can’t believe Nyesha didn’t check on it. The duck was messy, and underwhelming, and Hugh can’t believe Heather would hold the last challenge against Beverly, because every day is new. I kind of wish Tom had said that while Heather was complaining: that each challenge is new and she should have complained last week. So thankfully they aren’t going to care about the last challenge. But they make it seem like the dish itself isn’t as bad as the other two. Also I have to say I’m not as annoyed at Hugh as I was when I heard he was a judge. Maybe it’s because he agrees with me about Heather. Maybe it’s because his blog seems to combine the best overtones of Tony Bourdain’s blog with someone who‘s been in the competition. I’m not sure.

Tom reminds everyone of how they are subpar, and then they send Dakota and Nyesha home. Aww. Nyesha is upset she didn’t take control, and Dakota knows it’s her fault. She feels terrible for taking Nyesha down too. Aww, they’re both so upset.

Next time: going to Austin, Patti LaBelle, Emeril shows up. They pretend Heather is in trouble but I’m sure that’s a lie.

Last Chance Kitchen: the challenge today is to make a dish with cactus, using a wok. Hee, cactus. Sorry, inside joke. Someone I don’t like compared me to a cactus, trying to insult me, only I thought it was pretty accurate and I ran with it. Anyway, they can only use a wok. Nyesha is looking for redemption. It seems kind of frantic, but I think that’s because everyone is desperate. Whitney: cactus and chicken fried rice with sriracha and soy sauce. Nyesha: Asian-style scallops with cactus garnish, cilantro, and Thai basil. Dakota: shrimp tostada with watermelon and prickly pear shooter. In the end, the person who used the wok best, and also used the cactus best, was Nyesha. Good for her. Dakota is pleased Nyesha gets another chance.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

TAR19, Recap Leg 12, 12/11/11

Welcome to Leg 12! Last time, on Tintin-abulation and Dancing Girls, teams raced from Belgium to Panama. There was tightrope walking, shoe making, fish delivery, and a doozy of a pit stop clue. Andy and Tommy made a wrong decision, taxi drivers talked to each other, causing the elimination of a team that had won six legs, proving once again that it doesn’t matter how many times you finish first, provided you make it to the last leg. Who will be eliminated . . . next? (click for more)

Arrival at the pit stop last episode:
1st – Jeremy/Sandy, Team Tryout
2nd – Ernie/Cindy, Team Chinatown
3rd – Amani/Marcus, Team Football

(Toyouke: “I really don't care a lot about any of these people. I mean...I guess at least that means I don't have hatred for anyone.”)

Panama Viejo, Panama City, Panama

12:04 AM Jeremy/Sandy (1st) – and Sandy is not happy about Atlanta, as it is Amani and Marcus’ hometown. (Toyouke: “Oh, that's why Sandy hates Atlanta. BUT! Teams have been screwed in their hometown before.”)

Clue: Teams must fly to their FINAL DESTINATION CITY: Atlanta, Georgia, USA! Once there, teams make their way to Flight Safety International to get their next clue.

(Toyouke: “"Flight Safety International"? I smell skydiving.”)

12:05 AM Ernie/Cindy (2nd)
12:06 AM Amani/Marcus (3rd)

Teams arrive at the airport in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy –who have an issue with cab fare. (Toyouke: “Auburnium0513 and I both notice the big deal about Jeremy and Sandy's cab fare. We don't know what it means, but I would like to mark down that we noticed it.” Kmanpat: “Note taken.”)
2- Ernie/Cindy
3- Amani/Marcus

Teams all get on the 8:30 AM Delta flight, which follows the Amazing Red Line to Atlanta.

Teams arrive in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy – who look for a taxi with a full tank of gas.
2- Ernie/Cindy – who look for a taxi with a GPS.
3- Amani/Marcus – who are from Atlanta, so they should be fine.

Teams arrive at Flight Safety International in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy
2- Ernie/Cindy
3- Amani/Marcus

Teams are now instructed to pick a flight instructor who would teach them how to operate a Learjet flight simulator. They then must successfully complete a simulated landing at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport from an altitude of 2,500 feet in order to receive the next clue. So, they complete the task in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy – on their first try.
2- Ernie/Cindy – on their second try.
3- Amani/Marcus – on their TWELFTH try. (Toyouke: “Why can't Marcus stay on the runway?“ Auburnium0513: “Don't punch the million dollar equipment!”) And that’s the last we see of them.

(Toyouke: “I dislike that all the men seem to be the "pilots" and the women are the "copilots".”)

Teams are now instructed to travel to the former residence known as “The Dump”. Teams must figure out that this is the home where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind.

Teams arrive at The Dump in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Jeremy/Sandy – but only after traveling to the furniture store known as The Dump. You know, in the old Home Depot. (Toyouke: “This is hysterical. Jeremy and Sandy wandering through Weekends Only.” Kmanpat: “Why couldn’t this be Tuesday so that they were closed?”)
3- Amani/Marcus

And once they arrive, teams get the thirteenth (!) roadblock clue.


“Who gives a damn?”

In this roadblock, one team member must type their next clue using a Remington typewriter. The copy must replicate the original exactly, including the number 1, which needs to be typed using the lowercase l, because the key with the 1 is missing. If correct, the Southern gentleman will give them their next clue.

(Toyouke: “This is the stupidest Roadblock they've had in a while. "Use an old-timey typewriter! But it's broken! Ha ha WACKY!"” Auburnium0513: “Speed typing on a typewriter will jam the typewriter. “)

The following teammates take the Roadblock:

1- Ernie – who looks at the typeface to figure out the missing 1 problem.
2- Sandy
3- Marcus

After much key punching, teams complete the Roadblock in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Amani/Marcus

Teams are now instructed to use the numbers “44-715-74” to figure out their next destination. This directs teams to Turner Field, in referencing Hank Aaron’s uniform number, his home run total, and the year he broke the record in order to get their next clue. (Toyouke: “This clue is INSANE. Did you forget this group is stupid?”)

(Toyouke: “I love that I lamented the lack of clue boxes for weeks and weeks, when we were all over the world, and now back in the States they are everywhere. Now that everyone walking by can easily recognize them.”)

Teams arrive at Turner Field in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy – Cindy: “Is there an Internet?” (Auburnium0513: “AN INTERNET??? There is only one Internet?”)
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Amani/Marcus

Once teams arrive, the final task begins.


Teams arrive at Turner Field and three larger than life maps of the world. Teams use the large vertical map and rock climbing gear to map out the Race course from start to finish by looping a rope through a series of carabiners on the map, each representing a specific country. One team member was required to work on the map while his or her teammate gave help from the ground. Teams were not allowed to use notes while working on the task, and the countries on the map were unlabeled. Once completed, the teams would get their next clue. For reference, the order is: USA, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malawi, Denmark, Belgium, Panama, USA.

(Toyouke: “Ooohhhhh. "Working without any notes". They've wised up.” Kmanpat: “See, with all of the wacky clue delivery systems, I thought those would have been the final task, as in identify the country in which you found each clue box.”)

Teams complete the task in the following order:

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Amani/Marcus

(Auburnium0513: “This seems very anti-climactic.”)

Once teams get their clue, they learn they are on their way to Swan House, the FINISH LINE of this racearoundtheworld. The last team to arrive WILL win the Amazing Race!

1- Ernie/Cindy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Amani/Marcus

Four continents, 10 countries, 30 cities, 35000 miles, Ernie and Cindy, you are the winners of The Amazing Race 19! Cindy talks about starting a foundation with the money, making anyone who wins the race in the future look selfish if they don’t do the same thing.

1st – Jeremy/Sandy
2nd – Ernie/Cindy
3rd – Amani/Marcus
4th – Andy/Tommy
5th – Bill/Cathi
6th – Laurence/Zac
7th – Justin/Jennifer
8th – Liz/Marie
9th – Kaylani/Lisa
10th – Ethan/Jenna
11th – Ron/Bill

Next season: Who knows?!?!? It’s been cast, and we’ll be back soon! Until next time!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top Chef 12/7/11--"Higher Steaks" summary

Previously on “Top Chef”: Everyone moved themselves to Dallas and had a Quickfire outside in the middle of a field. Then they made food for rich socialites, because maybe Bravo wants to try out “Real Housewives: Dallas” or something. Who knows. Anyway, Beverly didn’t seem to share well and Ed complained a lot about his back and the lack of sophistication of these rich people and whatever else he decided wasn’t up to standards. Paul won because he listened to the clients enough to make what they wanted, but not so much that he made bad food. Like Chris C. Several people had issues but in the end Chuy went home for overcooked salmon, in a dish that was designed in such a way that he was forced to overcook the salmon. Also, I didn’t realize that Nyesha looked familiar because she was on “Chef Hunter” earning an executive chef position at a restaurant. So…does that mean she lost? She won and this is what she’s doing until she finds the space to break out on her own? I’m not sure. (click for more)

On Last Chance Kitchen, Chuy and Keith had to make steaks. Tasked by Tom to make the perfect steak, they both did very well. Sadly Keith seared his steak a tiny bit more on one side and was sent home.

Everyone sits in the hotel suite and talks about Chuy. Ed is the first person to be like “girls vs. boys!!1!” MotoChris says he’s going to concentrate on food.

Padma greets everyone with Dean Fearing. The Quickfire today is to be a saucier. Heh. Dean says this is the most prestigious position on the line in a kitchen. Nyesha says if she could pick a position, this would be it. Uh, then why did you go on that other show to be an executive chef? They draw knives for sauces. Grayson brags that she is classically trained. Each chef has drawn a knife with a mother sauce: hollandaise, veloute, béchamel, espagnole, and tomate. They must make a dish with a NEW sauce that stems from whatever sauce they picked out. Winner gets immunity.

90 minutes to cook. Padma makes a “mother of all Quickfires” joke which is kind of lame. Someone says they feel saucy. Sigh. Everyone cooks, and puts things into their sauce to flavor it. It’s pretty crazy. Dakota thinks she overcooked her scallops.

Chris C: butter poached halibut, andouille, mushrooms, and veloute made with the sausage. Ed: cauliflower milk béchamel with poached red snapper, crab, and fried oyster. Grayson: scallop, charred corn hollandaise, corn ravioli, and blueberry balsamic reduction. Paul: quail with pickled and roasted mushrooms, garlic scapes, and okra. He also was supposed to use espagnole, but when Dean asks him what color his roux was, he says he didn’t use one. Oops. Whitney: poached shrimp, fennel pilau, sautéed okra and pancetta. The tomate sauce has some of the shrimp shells, but again no roux. She says in confessional that she never does that. Heather: gruyere croquette, apple and ginger compote and Asian slaw. There is béchamel somewhere. Beverly: crab maki roll with rib eye, charred shallots, peppercorn, sake, and red wine, and espagnole. Heather bitches that Beverly always makes Asian food, but…so? Everyone has their hook. Dakota: peach infused béchamel, seared scallop, truffle, and lemon crab. Ty-Lor: hollandaise with lemongrass and citrus zest, ahi tuna and baby bok choy. I think he screwed up too. Nyesha: tomate sauce with coconut ras el hanout and braised lentils.

Dean says that Dakota used too much peach, and Nyesha used too many flavors, period. Also Beverly made some different sauce, and used her mother sauce sparingly. On the good side, Grayson managed to make ravioli, Chris C. made a great variation on his sauce, and Paul pickled things perfectly. He says that Grayson is the winner. She says to watch out.

Padma warns them that this Elimination challenge will be the toughest they’ll face. They must work as one team to make a four course steak dinner for 200 people. Wow. Ty-Lor says he’s worked in a steakhouse, but working as a team will be challenging. Two of their courses must have steak. This dinner is at the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Nice. Sarah says that these people eat steak every day. Dean says they must produce perfect medium-rare steaks. 30 minutes to menu plan, 3 hours to cook tonight, and 3 hours to cook tomorrow. At South Fork Ranch, which reference I don’t get until Heather mentions “Dallas”. Then she says someone needs to look that up “on the Google machine” and if I wasn’t already annoyed at her for bitching about Beverly for no reason, that would do it. Winner of this challenge gets a car. I’d say “Woo! Car curse!” but this show already destroyed the car curse.

There’s an extra person, so when they split up the courses, they get three on each course except for dessert, which has four. Why not put the extra person on the steak course? I would have done that to make sure as many people as possible are watching the steaks. Soup course is Sarah, Beverly, and Dakota, second course (sirloin appetizers) is Ed, MotoChris, and Paul. Third course, which is the rib eye, is Nyesha, Ty-Lor, Whitney, and Chris C. I thought Paul just said that four people were on dessert? Maybe they have some sense after all. Dessert is Lindsay, Heather, and Grayson. Ed is the “secretary”. He says that Heather is making the same cake she made for the quicianera, but what we didn’t see then was that it’s Ed’s recipe. He is not pleased that she is using his recipe again.

Product placement car commercial.

45 minutes and $4000 to shop. Wow. They seem to be destroying the store. Ty-Lor talks about his dad and inspiration and they show pictures of him while he was small. Whitney finally gets some screen time and says she’s making potato gratin. Nyesha is making two parts of the entrée.

Cooking. The soup is going to be tomato watermelon gazpacho. Sarah thinks that with two meat dishes this will be a nice break. The appetizer course is seared NY strip steak carpaccio and salad. Main course is rib eye (Ty-Lor), “greens” (Chris C.), sauce and compound butter (Nyesha), and potato gratin (Whitney). Heather starts talking about how Beverly is cleaning shrimp, and it’s taken her three hours, and she’s so selfish because she’s just saving her own ass, and aren’t Heather and Beverly on different courses? Or did I mix up Sarah and Heather again? Because why are you so concerned with what Beverly is doing when she wouldn’t be helping you anyway? Whitney is not going to cook her gratin tonight, which worries Ed. Ty-Lor is using a paring knife to poke the marrow out of bones when he puts the knife right into his hand. Yikes. It looks like he stabbed himself between two fingers, and he’s basically telling the medic how it’s going to bleed a lot, and he’s not going to stop, and she should patch him up. He sounds like a total jerk but I wonder how much of that is him trying not to freak out. They wrap his hand up, and he goes back to work and he’s worried because he’s the one responsible for the steaks tomorrow.

After prep he I guess goes to the hospital, and everyone else sits around and tries to come up with a solution to who is going to cover for him. No one will step up to take over for him. Lindsay thinks it’s because of what happened with the first group challenge, which is that Lindsay and Sarah got bossy and they got in trouble for it. At least somewhat. She doesn’t offer either, though.

In the morning, Ty-Lor finally returns to the hotel with four stitches. The hospital was busy, and he was not a priority. He’s going to be running on espresso.

OK, Bravo, that is the worst fake-ass “Dallas” music I think I’ve ever heard. Heather interviews that she finished baking last night (not “we finished”, but “I finished”) so she and Lindsay are pulling plates and apparently “organizing everybody”, which involves reading off a to-do list and shouting. I get that someone needs to set tables and that’s good. I just think the other people can figure out what their courses need and don’t need. MotoChris is searing steaks, but he’s shocking them in liquid to stop the cooking? He also manages to burn a pot holder. Whitney is redoing some of her gratin, because the potatoes turned brown. She thinks she has time. Heather complains about Beverly, who is prepping shrimp, and tells her to move her station closer to the stove so she can cook easier. No one put you in charge, Heather. Heather is now pretending they are a 13 person team, which is ridiculous. You can’t say “I finished the cake” and then say “we’re all a team”. The judges won’t give all of you a car. You know that if Lindsay and Grayson get cars too she’ll bitch about that. And where is Grayson anyway? If you’re so far ahead because the cake’s done, what’s she doing? Don’t hear you whining about her. Dakota tells us Heather’s a bully and “the first person that I would boot from the island”. Oh totally, she would be that one person that starts giving orders about how to make the shelter and where it should be, and how people are drinking too much water, and they’d get rid of her quick.

Tom time! Heather tells Tom she has the most pastry experience out of everyone, and it’s the smartest thing because now she and Lindsay can “execute and expedite”. So in case you were wondering, she purposely put herself on dessert and made dessert early so she could spend today telling everyone what to do. Dakota is making garnishes, and she made mousse too. Dean asks Whitney something about making potato gratin in a double boiler? What? Ty-Lor says he’s marking the steaks on the grill and finishing in the oven. Tom looks slightly skeptical. Beverly says her shrimp are perfect.

Guests arrive and schmooze. This is a giant fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Heather checks on Ty-Lor, who is manning several grills, outside, where it is 112 degrees. That sucks.
Hugh is here. Woo. Sarah introduces the first course, tomato-watermelon gazpacho, poached shrimp, and avocado mousse. There’s not a lot of watermelon, and Tom thinks it’s too safe. Second course is being plated, and suddenly Lindsay is freaking out about the third course. Second course: New York strip steak carpaccio, heirloom tomato salad, pistachio vinaigrette, and mushroom “bacon”. Tom is irritated at the lack of focus. Hugh says with this much time, they should have peeled the tomatoes.

Lindsay claims that no one would decide when the steaks should go into the oven, so she had to do it. I think it’s because everyone thought Ty-Lor was in charge of steaks, and he’s outside. He does know that he’s depending on everyone else to finish the steaks properly. People start to plate, and then suddenly Heather says they should wait. She interviews that people are still eating the appetizer, so they shouldn’t get the steaks ready, but timing is an issue. Heather is still telling people what they should do and Paul tells her the steaks are already in the oven. Yeah, should have thought about sooner. Heather tells people everything will be fine. Ty-Lor is pissed. A kitchen timer goes off in the kitchen, and is that how they knew when to serve what courses? Does that mean they knew when they would be serving the steaks? What is Lindsay doing then? Ugh, Judges’ Table is going to be stupid. Nyesha hopes her contributions will be strong enough. Grilled rib eye, creamy potato gratin, braised greens and compound butter. The steaks are not all medium rare, and the gratin is not cooked. The judges do distinguish Nyesha’s good contributions. Heather is telling people about how to plate the cake, and she says this: “At this point we have nothing to do except focus on getting my cake out the door.” MY cake. So you’re going to spend an hour complaining about how Beverly is not a team player, but it’s your cake. “Right side up” Texas peach cake, peach salad, and candied pecan streusel. Sadly they love the cake. Tom expected a lot more from them. Ty-Lor thinks he’s going home because the steaks didn’t all come out the same. Whitney knows her gratin wasn’t good.

Commercial interlude: apparently Beverly has considered Ed her idol for a long time. She tells him how she used to stalk him. Creepy.

As everyone waits in the “Stew Room”, Heather wants to talk about what happened with the steaks. Ty-Lor takes responsibility, which is too bad because from what we saw, clearly Lindsay was the one who fired everything early. Heather asks if everyone pulled their weight and then tells Beverly to her face that she didn’t do enough work. Shut up, Heather. Beverly stands up for herself and says peeling and deveining 400 shrimp will take a long time. Heather then threatens to throw her under the bus if she needs to. Heather also thinks she and Lindsay are in trouble because they were responsible for execution of the whole banquet. Beverly brings up an excellent point (sadly, only in confessional) that her taking so much time to prep shrimp had absolutely nothing to do with screwing up the steaks. More whining from Heather. Padma collects Nyesha, Heather, and MotoChris. Damn, I wanted Ed to jump in somewhere and call Heather out on using his recipe. MotoChris cooked the steak carpaccio perfectly. Heather’s cake was well done. Nyesha’s butter saved the dish, according to Tom. The winner is Heather. Are you serious? Car curse! She was such a bitch to Beverly and now she’s all smiles.

Ty-Lor, Whitney, and Ed get called out. Well at least Beverly didn’t get called. Whitney randomly reminds us Hugh is her mentor. Oh, Ty-Lor knows why he’s there. You don’t have to ask him. The steaks were inconsistent and Tom thinks he had the time and manpower in the kitchen to grill the steaks and avoid the oven in the first place. Ty-Lor says the steaks were fired at the wrong time, but the buck stops with him. Whitney wanted something traditional, even though it was so hot outside, but it was raw. And then she served it raw when she should have noticed that. Ed made the salad for the carpaccio, and Tom thought it was too safe. Ed thinks no one wanted to take over anything, and Hugh supports having someone get bossy and order people around. Whatever, Hugh. Although, apparently because I am in an alternate universe, Hugh on his blog agrees with me about Heather.

Ty-Lor is pissed because he thought he should have been able to execute steaks. Lindsay keeps her mouth shut. Whitney took 6 hours to make undercooked potatoes, and any chef should know how to make gratin. True, I probably could do it. Ty-Lor should have grilled the steaks and they would have been good. Ed didn’t do enough and Tom thinks he underestimated his audience.
Tom complains about everyone, and then says he’s thinking maybe he picked the wrong chefs at the beginning of the show. Whitney is sent home. I barely know who she is! They never gave her any screen time. She’s proud of herself.

Next week: double elimination, Heather gets paired with Beverly (OF COURSE), Heather bitches at Grayson. Shut up everyone.

Last Chance Kitchen: All the eliminated chefs are hanging out to watch Chuy and Whitney make burgers. Of course, because this is Top Chef, a random knife draw determines that Chuy’s burger is ostrich and Whitney’s is elk. Both of these proteins are lean and dry. Everyone is making aioli and Keith reminds Whitney to put pans on the burner. And Chuy. No one thinks they’ll be done in time, but everyone finishes. Chuy: ostrich and ground pork burger with Fresno chili aioli and onion straws. Tom doesn’t think he can fit it in his mouth. Also it seems to not be as cooked as Chuy claims to have wanted it. Whitney: elk and pork sausage burger, shallots and garlic, and a fried egg. After Tom has his tasting he invites the boys to come have some too. That was nice. Tom asks around, and Keith says Whitney’s burger had more flavor. Tom agrees, so Whitney gets to stick around.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

TAR19, Recap Leg 11, 12/4/11

Welcome to Leg 11! Last time, on Sprouting Up All Over Belgium, teams raced through Belgium. There were cars and waffles and rafts. Ernie and Cindy lost their lead. Again. Andy and Tommy won the leg. AGAIN. And Bill and Cathi were eliminated. Who will be eliminated . . . next? (click for more)

Arrival at the pit stop last episode:
1st – Andy/Tommy, The Snowboarders
2nd – Jeremy/Sandy, Team Tryout
3rd – Ernie/Cindy, Team Chinatown
4th – Amani/Marcus, Team Football

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

The teams slept in the Atomium all night!!! (Toyouke: “I would much rather sleep in the Atomium than customize a car online that I can't have for another two weeks.”)

3:46 AM Andy/Tommy (1st) – (Toyouke: “I guess Andy and Tommy are not as irritating as past teams. Such as Team T-Tow. Or Flo.”)

Clue: Teams should dress in the costumes provided in the box. Once in costume, teams travel to Rue de l’Etuve 37 and find the pictured character (Tintin) and describe to him who you are dressed as and what you do. (Detectives Dupond and Dupont)

(Toyouke: “Uh...what? Although, Tintin is hot.” Kmanpat: “I second that emotion!”)

4:20 AM Jeremy/Sandy (2nd)
4:35 AM Ernie/Cindy (3rd)
4:40 AM Amani/Marcus (4th) – (Toyouke: “Them in the cab giggling and Marcus trying to stop so he doesn't lose his mustache? Hilarious.”)

Teams arrive on Rue de l’Etuve in the four o’clock hour and start asking locals who they are dressed as. (Toyouke: “Yes, let's ask random people who are on the street at 4am. They'll totally recognize comic book characters. If you went to any random city in the US and asked people questions at 4am, you would probably not get any help whatsoever.”) They are provided with various translations of the names, and Andy and Tommy find internet kiosks and determine that they are Charlie Chaplin. (Toyouke: “Seriously they look like Charlie Chaplin.”) Obviously, they are wrong. Anyway, teams get their clue from the ever adorable Tintin in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy
2- Ernie/Cindy
3- Amani/Marcus
4- Andy/Tommy

Teams are now instructed to take a train to Amsterdam and go to the airport to fly over 4000 miles to the city of Panama City, Panama! Once there, teams were to make their way to Puerto Cerado and take a boat to Parara Paru and locate Embera Village to get their next clue.

We find that the Tintin clue had no bearing on the teams, as they all make the same Amazing Dotted Red Line to Amsterdam and Amazing Red Line to Panama City.

Teams arrive in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Ernie/Cindy
4- Amani/Marcus

Teams arrive at the motorboats in the following order:

1- Jeremy/Sandy
2- Andy/Tommy
3- Amani/Marcus
4- Ernie/Cindy

Teams find that there are NOT hours of operation and the motorboats will drive them in the middle of the night to their destination. (Toyouke: “I am totally expecting creepy pictures to jump out at them like in Willy Wonka.”) So, they arrive at the village in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Amani/Marcus – Marcus: “We’re going to get a crash course in head shrinking.”
4- Ernie/Cindy

Teams arrive and are invited to sign up for tattoos in three time slots.

7:00 AM
1) Andy/Tommy

7:20 AM
1) Jeremy/Sandy

7:40 AM
1) Amani/Marcus
2) Ernie/Cindy

And then teams spend the night on hammocks in the village.

Teams wake up in the morning, and go and get their tattoos, which is their next clue. (Toyouke: “Oh, this isn't a tattoo. Weak sauce. At least poke them some.”) Teams are now headed back to Panama City to locate the San Francisco Bay Towers.

Teams arrive back at the port in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Ernie/Cindy
4- Amani/Marcus

And then teams taxi to the San Francisco Bay towers to arrive in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Ernie/Cindy
4- Amani/Marcus

And once they arrive, teams get the twelfth roadblock clue. (Toyouke: “CLUE BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I MISSED you!!”)


“Who wants to walk in rarified air?”

(Kmanpat: “In reality, this should read, “Who GETS to walk in rarified air?” as they tell us exactly which team members are taking the roadblock.” Toyouke: “It looks like the 6-Roadblock-rule is still in effect. But if Sandy's done 5, and Jeremy's done 6, then after this one they'll be even. So does that mean there aren't any more Roadblocks? Or what?”)

In this roadblock, one team member must travel 35 stories into the air and walk a tightrope between two buildings in order to get their next clue. Roadblockers then walk back across the rope to unsuit and return to their partner where they can open their next clue.

The following teammates take the Roadblock, because they have to:

1- Andy
2- Sandy - who is afraid of heights.
3- Cindy
4- Amani

It is interesting to note that Ernie spots the taxi drivers talking. Jeremy remarks that his cab drier knows where he is going after the Roadblock, and then proceeds to tell the other ones. (Toyouke: “See, that's why you don't discuss directions where everyone else's taxis are.”) This could provide for interesting leg endgame.

After much tight rope walking, teams complete the Roadblock in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Ernie/Cindy
4- Amani/Marcus

Teams are now instructed to find the man who had “success in Suez” located “beneath a rooster.” (Toyouke: “A real clue clue! It's like they decided in this leg to go old school. Or maybe Panama insisted.”) This directs teams to the Ferdinand de Lesseps Statue to get their next clue.

Teams arrive at the statue in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Jeremy/Sandy
3- Ernie/Cindy
4- Amani/Marcus

And we get the Detour Clue.

Filet OR Sole
*Water: Teams travel to El Mercado de Mariscos and deliver specific amounts of fish to each of the marked vendors. Once complete, teams return to the fishmonger and get their next clue.
*Waffles: Teams travel to the Salsipuedes Market and find Tacho Cuterras to use one piece of leather to make one pair of traditional sandals. Once complete, the cobbler will give them their next clue.

1- Andy/Tommy choose Sole
2- Ernie/Cindy choose Sole
3- Jeremy/Sandy choose Sole
4- Amani/Marcus choose Filet – but end up at Sole because their cab driver had been communicating with everyone else’s cab driver. Instead of performing the task, they took the risk to be delivered to the actual task they picked. (Toyouke: “No! When you stumble on the other Detour choice you do it instead of losing more time by looking for the one you want! Although, if you're in last and everyone else is doing the same Detour choice, I can see that.”)

Teams complete the detour in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy
2- Amani/Marcus
3- Ernie/Cindy
4- Jeremy/Sandy

Teams are now instructed to make their way to the Polera demonstration in Cathedral Square to find the name of their Pit Stop. We are told that the clue can be spotted written on one of the dresses or pictured on a medallion.

Teams arrive in the following order:

1- Andy/Tommy – who arrive first, and determine that since the medallions all say Balboa, they must be looking for Balboa. (Toyouke: “See? This is too tricky of a task for this group of racers. Because if I saw the word "Balboa" and I knew that was what the money was called, and I saw the word on COINS, I might think twice about it.”) So their driver takes them to the Panama Canal and the Balboa Statue (Toyouke: “Oh, Balboa was a thing that exists? That sucks.”) before they return to take another look. In the meantime, the other teams have come and gone.
2- Amani/Marcus – they go with the Balboa clue, but are redirected by their cab driver who is following . . .
3- Ernie/Cindy – who also have the Balboa clue, but are redirected by THEIR cab driver who is following . . .
4- Jeremy/Sandy – who found the medallion with the picture of Panama Viejo on it. (Toyouke: “Sandy, stumbling on the right answer.”) They told their cab driver, and you can determine the rest. (Toyouke: “Not one of these racers knows if they're right or not. That's not a good task.”)

(Toyouke: “ Ernie and Cindy, and Amani and Marcus, are now going to the right place because Jeremy and Sandy's cab driver told their drivers where to go. But they didn't actually have to solve the clue. That is DEFINITELY not a good task.”)

Once teams find their clue, they learn they are on their way to Panama Viejo, the PIT STOP of the eleventh leg of this racearoundtheworld. The last team to arrive MAY be eliminated!

1- Jeremy/Sandy – who win a trip for two to Turks and Caicos.
2- Ernie/Cindy
3- Amani/Marcus
4- Andy/Tommy

(Toyouke: “Although I don't mind the snowboarders are out, in particular, I don't like how it happened. Because it seemed to happen because Andy and Tommy went off on their own. Everyone else collaborated, and finished through no effort of their own. Ernie and Cindy, and Amani and Marcus, they didn't figure out the clue. So they should have driven around and gone back and so forth like the snowboarders did.”)

And Andy and Tommy’s luck due to other team stupidity has finally been thwarted by intelligent Panamanian cab drivers. Andy is thankful he experienced God’s awesome creation.

1st – Jeremy/Sandy
2nd – Ernie/Cindy
3rd – Amani/Marcus

Next week: The pressure is on in the final destination city of Atlanta! There is flight simulation, a typewriter roadblock, and a final task featuring maps and carabineers. Who will win TAR 19? Until next time!

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