Saturday, May 31, 2008

For the 'L' of it

Putting an 'L' back in the weekend...

Nothing to do until TLW's S6 spoilers arrive?
Find 'L' tidbits in these blogs to keep busy.

*no guarantees... but they are unique.




JoeC (music 'off', lower right)


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spike takes a hike

Innocent until proven incompetent.
* Maybe he's trying to thaw a frozen scallop?..

'Spike' - I never realized how apt his nickname was until I looked it up in the unabridged dictionary:

1. thicker than a common nail
2. sharp, pointy tool
3. pointed piece - as a weapon
4. abrupt increase of unusual activity
5. the heel...
6. spiked, having projections
7. antler (a--hat?) of a young buck
8. a stalk
9. a pointed portion
10. a hard smash, hit close.
11. Slang. a hypodermic needle.
12. to injure another player
13. hit in air with a powerful motion
14. slam to the ground in the endzone
15. to render (a gun) useless
16. thwart: to spike someone's chances
17. to add alcoholic liquor
18. to add a chemical poison
19. journalism: kill a story, spindle it
20. A thorn or spine.
21. hair twisted in a stiff points
22. young mackerel, 6 inches or less
23. to add flavor or spice
24. to add excitement or vitality
25. to put an end to; 'spike a rumor'
26. to run hot
* Better than your average horoscope, eh?

This may be the -last- Mad(Ass)Hat we'll see this season since Spike got the axe with his 'tomahawk chop'...

So, 'Sayonara', Señor Sharpie!

Did Stephanie just win a $20,000+ prize?
'GE Monogram' range, ovens, microwave, frig, & dw = ??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Workout Fallout

Falling out of 'like' with 'Work Out'

Its not 'Work(ing) Out' for me - seems I'm not a good fit for Bravo's 'fit' show anymore. I'm sure others are abandoning the good ship 'J-Abs' too... But of course nothing would keep our drama queen from a 90 sec TV gig:

Interesting that Fox managed to put that logo right over her shoulder. I'm sure she'd love that 'label'.

JW at FoxNews
*it was her usual:

"Fat does not make you fat...”
“Sugar & calories make you fat. Period."
"No food w/ 8 grams of sugar or more."

No bananas: try apples, berries, citris
No commercial yogurt: use low sugar dairy
Do read food packages - 'Doh!'
Do eat: grilled chicken on a salad
Decrease alcohol by half...
Needless to say, that last one made anyone who's watched her party hearty on her show go 'Whoa, Pot, meet Kettle?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Truthily, Ted

Top Chef judge Ted Allen updated his blog yesterday.

Ted-bits from his 'truthiest' blog yet:

'Finally, a contestant emerges as the villain!'

…so villainous that her villainy has the blogosphere harrumphing vigorously on behalf of… Dale? The guy who punches lockers, grabs his crotch while yelling at a woman, and calls waiters “a—hole”? O-kayyy.

Personally, I like Dale and Lisa, even though they’ve both had trouble keeping their cool, and I think they’ve both cooked some great food -- but until now, the commentoscenti have been uniformly harsh on both…'


Anonymous wrote: 'you all were 100% wrong to send Dale home over Lisa. Hope someone has a VERY good explanation.'

Ted: We sure do. We tasted the food.
We had no expectation that anybody would be upset.

Remember, when we shoot TC, the judges don’t know anything about the story lines or dramas that are evolving among the contestants, nor do we know which chefs are popular with the fans -- and it’s fairer that way. We base our decisions on the food. What matters is who did best today. In other words, what have you cooked for us lately?

Jay wrote: 'I have heard rumors that the judges were trying to stack the finals with females this year and up until this week have paid [those rumors] no mind, but now I think there might be something behind them.'

Ted: Right - you caught us.
You’re gonna love the swimsuit competition!

Cheers, Ted

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Top Chef on Tilt

Lop-Sided = Lisa-Spiked

'Restaurant Wars' was a 'lop-sided' challenge.
But I'm sure it was unintentional on Bravo's part.

Think about how far ahead the shows are scripted.

Way back when Bravo was planning this episode, I'm sure they guessed that the last 6 chefs (of 16) would be reasonably close in their skill level. That way letting the QF winner pick two -wouldn't- be that much of an advantage because they'd -all- be good chefs.

I can't blame the producers/writers for not anticipating that Crabby and Weasel would get this far.

YumSugar talked to Dale recently:

''I'm trying to buckle down and write this screenplay that I've had in my head for the last five to six years. I want to travel and get together an itinerary, and push ideas for a TV show. Keep my face in the media.''
Lovely - TC spawns another fame-hog...

* As of this week, Dale is still a sous-chef.

One final new tidbit from a diner:

''I was one of the diners in this ep, on Antonia/Steph/Richard side (the back of my head was pretty much in every shot on their side). They didn't really mention at all last night that the "gastropub" concept they did was very beer centered -- each dish had its own beer pairing, including dessert. And as such, they served us a lot of beer -- pretty much as much as we could drink!'' -hazel p. (TWoP)

Why didn't they indicate this on the show?

For the 'L' of it

Putting an 'L' back in the weekend...

Nothing to do until TLW's S6 spoilers arrive?
Review the 'L' tidbits in each these blogs to keep busy.

*no guarantees... but they are unique.


FemSpec S5

FemSpec TLW



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dale packs his nuts

Yes, Dale appears to be nuts.
Oops, my bad,
I meant...
'Dale packs his knives & goes'

Everyone realized that this guy had issues, but I have to give props to the reviewer at BuddyTv that guessed that tonight would be the night that Dale would 'PYK&G'.


I think that Dale makes interesting and exciting food, but this next episode is Restaurant Wars and we've already seen that cooperation and controlling his response to team-related frustration are not necessarily his strong suits. - L.S., BuddyTv

Couldn't agree more, I think he's quite capable as a solo chef, but to be a true executive 'top' chef you need to be able to control your kitchen. I just don't see those skills in this guy.

You may declare 'Oh, its those editing monkeys at Bravo.' but for me, as soon as I saw him do a crotch-grab in front of a tv crew, I knew he just didn't have the smarts to run a 4-star anything.

So congrats again to Stephanie, Richard, and Antonia - I'd wait in line to go to your 35 seat diner, anytime.


Was it any surprise that both teams wanted Jen as sous?


via TWoP:

"Lisa?, embrace the potato."

Doug Donors Dug Deep

Good News:
they did a benefit in Doug's name, RIP Doug.
Bad News:
both famehogs, Jackie and Peeler, showed up.

Doug Blasdell, 2007
Doug & Jackie at his last birthday party.

Last fall they held a fundraiser for Doug Blasdell's (the nice-guy trainer that died in Jan '07) Foundation. And of course BravoTv was there to film it. But the few moments we saw of the benefit ended up being all about Peeler and Jackie. Typical of Bravo's editing monkeys. Thanks a lot, guys.

At least they raised some money, and gave us a few dignified seconds on an otherwise embarrassing episode.

Gawker also beating the 'boycott JW' drum.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cozy up to Casey

Casey Thompson, center Top Chef's S3 finalists, Casey Thompson in center.

Casey's blog adds a bit of topping to S4's dish.

re: Sam
'have to give Sam a call and get gory behind-the-scenes details'
Hopefully she'll share them with us.

re: the Quickfire
'How come they never say whose dish was the worst???'
'Spike. You win. And you have an advantage coming your way, AND piercing death stares from all of your fellow contestants
So they didn't even tell them off-camera.

re: the Challenge samples
'Trays of a bunch of fast food packages and brown bags. Wait, this isn't your Elimination Challenge, it's your lunch! They tricked ya! Oh, I'm wrong ... it really is your challenge! The trays of fast food for dinner will come later. Be patient. We all know how much we looked forward to meal time!'
Which means the chefs handle great food
all day, yet get fast-food for themselves?

re: the Challenge itself
'What the hell??? Is anyone else friggin' bored with these challenges?? Box lunches? Zzz ... Come on! Let's really cook here! I really want to see these chefs in a restaurant kitchen rockin' it out!'
So, we aren't the only frustrated viewers.

re: Spike
'Sounds like he is kind of a little shit around the house'

re: the sabotaged brown rice
'it does happen in the kitchen all of the time. No body wants it to happen -- it just does... In this situation, you come up with something else. Barley cooks up really fast. I'm just sayin'...'?

Link: Casey's blog on BravoTv

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Wii-ner for Top Chef?

There's a brand new chef coming in July.
*Chef motto* 'Where there's a 'Wii' there's a way'?

Just read a review for the new Wii chef game:
''Order Up'' ...follows one eager chef on a journey to reach the top of the culinary food chain.'

Sound familiar? - Keep reading:

'test your multitasking skills and push your ability to stay calm under pressure... in the ruthless world of culinary arts – a place where your enemies take the form of rodents, impatient patrons, heath inspectors and food critics.'

Rodents & Critics? - Its Judge's Table!

'You become aware of the Fortified Chef Competition, which will soon be making its way to town... move up the ranks of the culinary world and become a top chef.'

Fortified chefs? - Its the Glad room!

' challenges spice up the gameplay. We are told many mini-game challenges will present themselves throughout'

Whoa, it includes Quickfires!

'...master Mexican, Italian, and ultimately French cuisine'

No 'Asian'? - No Lisa or Dale then?

'...manage your time between cook top stations including the grill, range, cutting board and other areas. A simple meal requires more diligence than you might expect... easier to ruin if left unattended.

Oops, sounds like Lisa is there.

'...12 kitchen assistants, all with their own strengths & weaknesses. Will you hire the guy who is a pro on the grill,(Dale?) or the less talented individual whose quips keep guests entertained (Spike!) long enough to compensate... culminating in the ultimate challenge – the Fortified Chef Competition.'

Now imagining an animated TC finale...
starring a drunken Spike, Dale and Lisa!?

*Don't own a Wii, but I'd love to hear if you try it!

'Order Up's release date is scheduled for July 22 '08.
(Sorry, no idea how much it is, or the controls, etc)
The Game Informer review (opens in new window)

For the 'L' of it

Putting an 'L' back in the weekend...

Nothing to do until TLW's S6 spoilers arrive?
Some 'L' tidbits in these blogs to keep you busy.

*no guarantees... but they are unique.



(to turn music 'off' - top center)



Friday, May 16, 2008

Hats /off!

... why hats should be banned from Top Chef
Remember former cheftestant Brian M.? (above)
Maybe he passed his 'magic hat trick' on to Spike.

S3: Chef Brian M. was eliminated in fourth place, and therefore should have become a sous chef for one of the finalists. Not only did he avoid this chore, but he managed to come back as one of the judges in the final episode!

S4: Now hat magic is working for Spike.
Odious hats must be like TC-kryptonite;
our bald sous-per-man TomC can't send you away.

It must be the hats; that's the only explanation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Boxed, I mean 'Botched' Lunch

Rookies, c'mon down for raw parsnip/salmon sushi!
*Think there were a few 'bleep's on Andrew's comment cards?
Van_and_And Thank heavens he left quietly, ear intact...

But the 'sabotage' of Lisa's rice?
Don't forget that the chefs are not alone in that kitchen... It could easily have been the soundman or the cameraman knocking into the controls as a chef zoomed by. So be quiet Lisa, and next time run to the pantry and grab a leftover bag of '90-sec Uncle Ben's'. Because how could our esteemed TC judges possibly object to that rice, right?

Dale was lucky that Whole Foods is a sponsor, so no judge would challenge WF's bison/buffalo facts. It has to be entirely grass-fed to get those low-fat numbers Dale recited. (While feedlot bison = feedlot beef.) If there's visible fat its not totally grass-fed, and I noticed plenty of fat in/on Dale's. No wonder it was tasty! And as for adding all that mango?... I'd look up the sugar stats before I'd call that 'lo-carb'!

Lastly, a spoiler was hinted at on TWoP... but not much of one. Seems Antonia may be in Puerto Rico. The forum of course jumped to the conclusion that she's a finalist - apparently forgetting that she could easily be there as someone's sous chef, or as part of a reunion shot. I wouldn't be surprised if half the S4 chefs ended up going there at some point.

Ted Allen interview, right before he left to shoot the S4 finale (1 min)

* video opens in a new YouTube window, and his interview is followed by 2 minutes of Hung & Ilan

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

They Read 'Top Chef's Mind!

Actually, just a BuddyTv columnist's mind. (link below)
*Spike? Is it your yucky stuff in front of Sam & Padma?

BuddyTv has some predictions for TC:

Q. So who could head home this week?...

For one, I am wondering about Lisa.
while she has done well in some (her cake last week the best thing about her team's efforts), her screen time has been rather low... other than her conflict with Dale Talde, she really hasn't gotten much exposure...

Despite that I've grown to appreciate Andrew,
...and his deep manic well of excellent sound bites, he, too, hasn't really gotten a ton of screen time... other than his previous weight issues and his funny remarks, Andrew,.. seems more comic sidekick vs protagonist

Spike seems to be getting so much screen time,
I can't imagine he's going home yet. Ditto for Dale.
Richard has seemed to regain his strong footing.
Stephanie continues to be the scrappy competitor...
Antonia... her edit makes me feel like she has the skills to stick around for a bit, barring any major misstep.

FYI: my S4 predictions:

Next to go: Spike #7 -- Lisa #6 -- Dale #5 -- Andrew #4
Finalists: Antonia #3 - Richard #2 - Stephanie #1

Thursday update:
Looks like we were -both- wrong...

Yackie Jackie tells all!

Or at least answers a few questions...
* some 'Warner wear' ad poses

After watching this season's uneven episodes, its hard for me to believe that JW can sound so reasonable; but she does okay in two recent Q&A's:

How did you get into the fitness business?

I quit Warner Bros. where I was a script coordinator to go to art school. Someone said ‘You love fitness; you really should get certified.’ So I got certified, went to work for a gym and had so many clients that in six months I started my own gym. I’m the type that can’t work for someone else. (no 5h!+)

What’s the biggest fitness myth?

The myth that you can skip meals to lose weight. If you skip a meal, then with the next you become a fat-storing machine. Eat small meals, more frequently.

What’s your favorite workout?

My favorite workout is power-circuit training. Basically, you lift weights for your upper & lower body and then resistance train to fatigue.

So, working on your upper body you do chest presses then drop and do push-ups to fatigue. Same for lower body; do leg presses then jump squats to fatigue. You’ll be able to do very few squats or pushups. Power-circuit is quick and you use your own body’s resistance.

How do you suggest people begin diet & exercise?

Combine eating right & working out to have fast results; you’ll see your waist change in three weeks.

Figure out your can’t-resist foods and throw them away.
I don’t look at fat or carbs. I look at calories: nothing over 400 calories, 9 grams of sugar, for meals. For snacks, 150 calories - total 1,500 calories a day.

If you cheat, realize it’s just one day. When it happens to me, I just allow myself to eat like a pig to where I’m so disgusted that I want to be good the next day. Don’t just have waffles. Have waffles and ice cream & cookies. I eat well M-F and then on weekends, I have one cheat meal.

All week, avoid sugar to break your sugar addiction. But you can have a cheat meal every weekend and, for me, that’s going to involve sugar.

Your favorite vacation?

I love Mexico. But most relaxing is Bora Bora in a hut over water. You can just be nude and jump into the water. It’s the most relaxing place.

Advice for vacation, do you stick to a fitness plan?

"If you’re on vacation, workout by hiking, walking, snorkeling. I used to only stay at hotels with gyms, but what a waste! I never used them. Sleep, swim, snorkel, have fun and keep it interesting."

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from reality TV?

"That while Bravo execs may like and value what I am doing, they don’t care if I win or lose. Sky Sport and all of it is on me, and I have to make it work, that’s what I learned."

*original Q&A's at Fox News & Boston Herald

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Look Lisa, Links!

Just adding a few more Top Chef links... I couldn't resist posting this odd pic of Lisa ;-)
* taken after an hour in the 'Glad' room, perhaps?

an excellent walkthru
of Ep 4.09's 'Groom Team' implosion by LDN right here on TWoP. (opens in new window)

a few more new TC blog links:

Who can resist more posts of (un)reality TV?...

Chew on
Nerd fam
J & J

Saturday, May 10, 2008

For the 'L' of it

* fyi: some links below are PG-13 rated. *

Putting 'L' back in Le Weekend...

Need more 'L' until TLW's S6 spoilers arrive?
See 'L' tidbits in these blogs to keep happy! ;-)

*no guarantees... but they are unique.






(the music 'off', is in upper right)

* I'll post 5 links on Saturdays, all summer.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Team Spoon Gets Forked!

Ep 4.09, where TC officially becomes 'Top Caterer'.
No Restaurant War? To paraphrase Dale: 'Why are we here'?

I'm not speedy, but with my sharp paring knive I could beat Lisa or Antonia. Andrew grabbing a peeler looked like a genius.

Adding my two cents to the cake debate...
Both were lumpy-bumpy. Taste rules; Lisa wins.
Opinion of the pastry chef guest judge: "Lisa's Chocolate Hazelnut cake ate better... Stephanie's Chocolate Lemon cake was more visually appealing but the texture wasn't as moist and delicious as Lisa's."

When The Chef Couple chose 'Italian' & 'meat-n-potatoes' I LOL'd. They'd obviously watched the show, and were trying to avoid any adventurous surprises... good thinking! They still got anise in the greens, but it could've been worse. Tomato-PB-pasta, followed by wasabi-chocolate cake with eucalyptus foam, anyone?

Lastly: Hey Nikki? Remember when picking party pasta that tortellini should be your last choice. Oops, it actually was your last choice. Buh-bye.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Run, Dammit, Run!

Running: its not just for unarmed criminals anymore.
* photo/article link below

Workouts sculpt heart as well as muscles

(Reuters) - 'Exercise can cause structural changes in the heart, and these changes vary depending on the type of training... endurance athletes showed an increase in the size of both their left and right ventricles after 90 days of training, while athletes who only did strength training had excessive growth in their left ventricles, but no change in their right ventricle size.

And while the ability of the left ventricle to fully relax between beats, or diastolic function, was enhanced in the endurance athletes, it worsened in the strength trainers...

Whoa. Now that's an endorsement for aerobic workouts. Remember JW's "Cardio is over-rated" aerobics diss?... Hope for her client's sake Jackie & co read Reuter's Health.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

No Comic Relief in Sight

[rant] on not-so-comic comix. Pardon my soapbox.

Kid fun turned into adult controversy,
... By grown-ups that just won't grow up!

Some found my blog simply because I use a comic-style profile pic. That seemed odd, but after 5 minutes on Google it appears that more adults are having issues (excuse the pun) with comic books than ever before:

Females Read Comics, Yes!
Comics vs 'ISM's: Racism, Sexism, etc.
No Censorship!
Comics are too 'Corporate'!

When did comic book publishers abandon the 10-yr-olds?
Now they pander to immature 'adults' with their odd love of overendowed men and women in inked spandex.

Where are 'Casper', 'Dennis the Menace' or even 'Pokemon' comic books for the under-12 set? Looks like only the dull Disney talking animals survived the coup. 'Sorry kids, no more fun comics while you've got the flu.'

Then Hollywood followed suit! Silly storylines - rated 'R'? Marketing a kiddie story 'Catwoman' as 'sexy' then surprised when it bombed? Raise your hand if you're tired of comic book movies.

Reminds me of those 'basement-dwellers' crabbily fussing because a child-friendly character, Jar-Jar Binks, was added to 'Star Wars'. The complainers had no concept of the fact that their beloved series is a simple 'good guy vs bad guy' kid movie. As yet another comic book character would say: 'Doh!'

Get the 'adults' (and their issues) out of this kid zone. Give comic books back to the children, and force those that are locked in an adolescent time-warp to finally grow up. [/rant]

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

How to cut a Kiwi

Kiwi Mark's final words regarding 'Top Chef'.
*looks quite different without mop hair, doesn't he?

Finally had a chance to read Mark's post-ep blog:

"rice in microwave for 90 secs, not something I agree with"

"$10 budget - I actually asked if we could shop at a bodega"
(versus Wholefoods - probably what got him axed)
{ever read the disclaimers etc. at show's end?}

"judges commented on lack of protein, but the truth is the rice (complements the) vegetable protein as it contains essential amino acids, and thereby creating a complete meal." {he's right}

"others relied heavily on the ingredients that were supplied in the kitchen and their dishes did not reflect a meal for $10."

That last comment bears an interesting bit of information, and brings to mind one of my pet peeves about 'Top Chef' - we don't get to see all the available ingredients. We have no idea what's stocked in the TC pantry that they can use 'for free' in each episode. And from the example of Andrew finding a case of that Japanese drink he used to make his 'glacier'... there's an eclectic mix in there, and we'd like to see the inventory list, stat!

His 'Recipe Page', btw, had three recipes:
Mussels, Pea Puree, & Brussels Sprouts w/Marmite.

Hmm, nice guy but perhaps we're lucky he's out?... Mark's website

Monday, May 5, 2008

Jumpin' Jackie

She pushes her weight(s) around more than I thought.

In the 'Mud Run' ep, I was amazed to hear the male trainers mention how little cardio they did. A bit of web research reveals that JW herself does push weight-work much more than cardio. (Bravo's 'Work Out')

Jackie Warner quotes:

“Crunches are a waste of time”...
do weights that target chest, back & torso for good abs.

"Cardio is over-rated"...
do resistance training for speedy metabolism.

"Plyometric jump-squats, and lunges are great"...
do training w/legs and butt. (PJS = hand to sides of head, lower into squat then jump up quickly. Repeat...)

"Do the push-up/punch combo"...
to develop shoulders and arms. Do as many push-ups as you can stand, then stand and (holding 1 lb weights) punch for one minute.

Well, she does look buff - hard to argue with success.
So here's a video on how to do that P-jump-squat:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Small Bits

Antonia: "The diners are children!... 'Home Run!'..."

Plus a bit more of the kids & Mark, Spike
in Bravo's 'bonus' 4.08 video *opens in new window

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Child Labor Laws Flouted!

Couldn't rustle up enough interest in this ep to do any kind of fun recap. Luckily others did... New links for TC's kiddie ep:

Gail 'on her high horse'... 'like getting career advice from Carrot Top'. LOL

TC ep 4.08:'a healthy dose of improbability'

The quickfire 'rice product' just seems to be the antithesis of what a chef would actually ever consider using...

NY Mag: 'worst episode'

Is Steph burning out?