February 5th, 2009

food bacon

Top Chef: The Final 5

So it was time for Top Chef last night and I enjoyed the episode overall. I have a couple of nitpicky sort of complaints but that's it. The challenge was impressive, a retread of season 3 when they all had to duplicate the same dish they all tried at a famous restaurant. This time around, the contestants and judges had an entire meal and it was random draw as to which course they had to duplicate.

Personally, I think this is a great challenge on many levels. First and foremost, I think it really assesses a Chef's skills. Not only are you testing their palate, but also their knowledge of cooking techniques and general skill. This is not simply a case where they can recreate a dish they've made hundreds of times before and know through trial and error that it should score big. (Hell, many of them can't even manage this) In this challenge, you have one real shot to follow in the footsteps of the best of the best.

I do think that the order of the challenges is a bit problematic though. You couldn't run this challenge at the start of the show because it would simply be a horrible zoo. There are too many hacks and wannabes at that point and I seriously doubt many of them could duplicate a cheeseburger they're only allowed to eat once. The problem with having the competition so late is that outside influences play a very large role in determining who went home. Since Stefan won the quickfire, he got to pick which dish to duplicate and he obviously picked something he was familiar with. I can only imagine the terror of being told to remake something that you have absolutely no fore-knowledge about. These dishes weren't the common everyday things that everyone would be expected to have experience with either. Past experience ended up playing a huge role, though it wasn't exactly insurmountable. Carla had never seen her dish before but managed to piece it together Sherlock Holmes like.

In the end, Jamie went home which was almost certainly a mistake as far as the competition as a whole goes. Lea is a talentless lump at this point and should have gotten the toss. If they were being judged upon their performance through the competition as a whole, it's clear that she would be gone. It's just that in this case, Jamie came up with something that was simply inedible. As someone who tried once to fry stripes of corned beef as steaks, I can assure you that it's simply impossible to eat anything that's like a salt lick. You just can't swallow it, it's so toxic.

If you noticed, the personality pivot also occurred either late last episode or in this one. All the 'jerks' have become less jerky. Everyone pulls together more. It happens almost every season and is just human nature. I'm not saying that Stefan has become lovable or anything, but I can't help liking the guy now. I even felt bad for Jamie and early on I thought she was a bitchasaurus.
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Captain Poop

I signed up for Carvel's mailing list a while back and another email arrived today advertising for Valentine's Day. Here's the image attached to it:

That's supposed to be fudgie the whale. It looks like a relative of Mr Hanky who's joined the Navy. I have no clue who in the world greenlit that doll, but it's usually not a good idea to associate your food products with a giant anthropomorphized stool sample. Why is it even brown to begin with? Are there any brown whales out there? I would think that most people believe whales are blue.
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It smells like happy

I found a couple pieces of Double Bubble in the pantry downstairs left over from God only knows what. I <3 old classic bubblegum with that 'original bubblegum flavor'. If you've ever had gum as a kid, you know what I'm talking about. I've never been able to adequately describe the flavor as anything but happy. The minute that taste hits your mouth it gives your taste buds a good kick in the ass and you immediately think back to when you were a kid. Back then, half the gum you had was 'original' flavored whether it came in packs of baseball cards or rolls like tape, or as gumballs. Sadly, it's not as common today as people seem to want recognizable flavors based on fruits and crap.

I'm tempted to go online right now and buy myself one of those 5lb buckets of bazooka Joe.
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It's just pathetic

Watching the parade of tax-dodging assholes nominated by Obama is making me ill. According to CNN, they had to delay the confirmation vote for yet another Obama nominee due to tax issues. That's now the third or fourth person who has cheated on their taxes and been tapped for a job in the cabinet. It's repulsive all around. First and foremost because you often see democrats defending tax increases or at least leading the charge against tax cuts. You'd think that given that ideology, they would actually pay their own taxes. It's beyond hypocrisy to suggest that others should pay more and then be found to be dodging your own responsibilities. It's not like these are no-name people either. You don't get much higher or more prominent than Tom Daschle.

Second, it's pathetic because these weren't surprise discoveries. It's been reported many times now that the Obama people knew about these tax problems in the course of vetting the candidates. They just figured that they could push them through regardless because people would be too stupid to notice or care. He has repeatedly claimed to bring change and transparency to washington but we see once more that it's a case of do as I say and not as I do. It's just like his rules for lobbying and lobbiests. He's set new rules restricting their access to his administration but has broken them and made exceptions for his own staff. It's just rank hypocrisy.

I don't think it's enough to give him his first strike, but it's definitely disappointing.