Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Even More Ed!

An interview with Ed from Atlanta Magazine.

[Andy's] more of the Connecticut blue-blood douche bag, if you will. And I relish playing that character because as a Southerner I just like to make fun of that guy. He’s just kind of a contemptuous guy, and yet I also sort of adore him because he’s insecure and vulnerable at times, so I try to give him a heart. There are certain archetypes that are not region-specific that apply to frat boys or a cappella nerds or whatever, and I think that’s something that everyone just gets. And Andy is part frat boy, part a cappella nerd, and I think it doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you went to college, if you went to college—you kind of just get that.


I’m actually primarily a guitar player. And I’ve played piano my whole life but never really got great at it, but I can noodle around. And then as a huge bluegrass fan my whole life, I’ve been playing banjo kind of all along as well. It’s funny, actually, in the last couple of years, banjo’s kind of taken the front seat, I’ve been really working on that more. I just love it so much, I don’t know what it is!
(Can we just change that second to last "it" to Iko?)

Here's a picture from "The Hangover" premiere in London, it looks like they each still have their correct jackets, no? Guess the switch happened later. Also, I love Ed's Harry Potter-style glasses!

Ed at the "Bruno" premiere in L.A.:


And, just so everyone realizes how popular Ed's becoming, here's a paparazzi picture of Ed at the airport - just like Lauren Conrad!!

He's so cute - carrying his banjo around with him!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Little Ed for Your Monday Morning

Here's an article on Ed from GQ, it's short, but it comes with this picture:

And, also, because I'm so far behind in posting relevant Ed info., here's his appearance on TDS, which was both hilarious and adorable - him and Bradley switching jackets in London? What WERE they doing?
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Ed Helms
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

The montage at the end was priceless.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

ZOMG! Best TV News EVER!

Click here and look at the top left corner.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Top Chef: Masters" Episode 1 - Teaching the Masters how to Shop and Microwave

So, how did we all feel about the first episode? I was really looking forward to it, but was a little concerned about famous chefs having hissy fits and ego-offs, thereby ruining the entire show for me, but I'm pleased to say, I really enjoyed it! Maybe it was just a result of the four chefs they happened to get for the first show, or maybe it was the challenges themselves, but each of the chefs really put out some effort and hid their attitudes away. They were all so gracious and supportive of each other, with some mild banter thrown in. I found myself smiling and laughing right along with them at the ridiculousness that was none of them knowing how to use the microwave and the Girl Scouts reaming the desserts. I can only hope the other batches of chefs are as classy and grateful to be there, competing for charity, as Keller, Love, Lee, and Schlow.

I was pulling for Hubert Keller from the moment he walked into the kitchen - you could just tell he was happy to be there, competing for his charity, ready for whatever they threw at him. He also really impressed me with his line about being on the "other side" of the competition, as he had judges the "Top Chef" contestants before. It made me like him even more to know he thought it was only fair to take it if he was going to dish it out. Just a great chef, classy guy, and a DJ to boot! Tim Love was my second favorite, as I had watched his cooking while travel across the country on horseback on TV and really enjoyed his laid back approach to cooking and life. I hadn't really heard of Lee or Schlow before, but they both seemed ready to go - Lee came across as kind of pissy sometimes (at least to me, let me know if I'm far off base here) and Schlow, I felt so badly for him, his dessert probably would have been amazing if it wasn't for the GE ovens crapping out on him - strong advertisement for your product, GE!!

The Quickfire was great, in my opinion. It's true - none of these chefs probably make dessert, like, ever in their restaurants, but it's fair that they should have a few desserts up their sleeves, especially one that would impress some kids. To be fair, kids are very critical and definitely will not eat bad food, but probably don't want extremely complex flavor profiles and odd combination. I think they all did well (minus the obvious Schlow-issues), but Keller was clearly head and shoulders above the rest. Shamelessly playing to his customers with the swan and mouse, all the while making a delicious, simple dessert, recognizable to the girls, but also showing his beautiful French technique and culinary skill. Lee probably made a misstep with the caramelization on the French toast, that lightly charred flavor is great for adults, not so good for kids, while Love's chocolate covered strawberry was right on the mark, but I'm with the scouts - chicken-fried strawberry does NOT sound appetizing at all.

It was great to see the reactions of the chefs to the Girl Scouts - they were right, the girls were tough on them. That one definitely should be a food critic, she was having none of the, shall we say, less well-made desserts. Not that I expected the chefs to start bad-mouthing kids on TV, but I liked how they took it all in stride and laughed along with one another.

The Elimination Challenge, for me, was interesting in concept, but kind of lacked in execution. I mean, it certainly is a challenge to cook using only a toaster oven, microwave, and a hot plate in a dorm room, but it's also kind of gross, no? I mean, did they clean the rooms before having people prepare food in them? When Keller rinsed the pasta in the shower, had it recently been used? Was it the men's bathroom? Was the shower sanitized directly before he stuck the shower head into the pasta? These are all questions I would have liked answered before I dug into his (admittedly delicious-looking) mac and cheese. That said, I was wholly impressed with what the chefs were able to turn out using such limited space and equipment. Especially for poor Tim Love, having to defrost everything before cooking it - he really stepped it up, for a while I thought he had it in the bag.

My favorite dishes were the mac and cheese (even with the shower rinse), Schlow's salmon crudo, and Lee's pork chop (I don't know how he managed to sear a piece of meat using a hot plate). That's not to say the rest of the dishes weren't impressive, these were just my personal favorites. Although, I do agree with Jay Rayner (pirate guy), it is a bit of a cop out with limited cooking equipment to just not cook anything. That said, I would have just cut up some sashimi and called it a day for all three courses.

As for "Critic's Table," what to say? I guess it's fine - clearly none of the critics are going to go all Colicchio-style and rip these famous, well-established chefs a new one. The criticism was pretty mild, as it should be, unless there's a huge debacle. These guys know what they're doing so criticizing them is like splitting hairs - it's more an issue of personal taste, rather than an objective issue of whether the food is good or not. I guess they're going to have a revolving door of critics for each initial round, but I wonder if they'll have a set group of critics who review the final six chefs, down to the final two? Or maybe a few permanent critics and one rotating one, more in the "Top Chef" vein?

A couple of observations:
1. I LOVE how the masters get a Lexus to chauffeur them around town, rather than the Old Navy of Lexus - a Toyota, like the regular old "Top Chef" contestants do. When the camera zoomed in on the "L" I nearly spit my wine across the room in amusement.

2. Kelly Choi has less personality than Padma (if that's possible) and seems to be completely out of her league. They couldn't find someone to host, who can also speak intelligently about food? Maybe it was just the first episode, so I'll give her a slight pass, but, seriously?

3. The mini-segment of them all trying to figure out the microwaves, then giving up, was comedy gold. I would have watched an entire hour of Hubert Keller cursing in french, trying to make the thing heat up his mustard sauce.

4. Hubert Keller being confused by Whole Foods was simultaneously hysterical and sad. Does he not go shopping for himself? Like for the food he has at home in his fridge?

5. Jay Rayner, seriously, is one puffy shirt away from being a pirate.

All in all, it was a great opening for the show and definitely makes me want to tune in again for next week. I do like how the chefs are in groups of four, so even if one is really irritating, chances are you'll never have to see him/her again, or at least not for another few weeks if they win. I'm thrilled with the Keller win and can't wait to cheer him on five weeks from now. Unless John Besh gets in, too, then it's on like the prawn who yawns at dawn!!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Ahem. That is all.

Actually, also - go see "The Hangover," opens today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Stalked Spike in DC and So Can You!!

So, I went to DC last weekend for a brief vacation. Clearly, for me, the main reasons to go were to find Stephen Colbert's portrait (it's been moved from the National Portrait Gallery where I saw it last time) and to eat a lot of good food. Both were accomplished:

Stephen is now in the American History Museum on the Mall, on third floor just outside the entertainment exhibit. It was pretty awesome to see the portrait some prominently displayed in the museum, rather than in the inglorious location next to the bathrooms, above the water fountains:

although this space looks pretty lonely without Stephen's stern face looking down upon the masses.

Aside from going to a bunch of the museums, we wanted to eat at a few new places, too. Clearly, Jaleo was a no brainer, due to the assortment of delicious meats available:

(that's hanger steak with piquillo peppers, the unparalleled Jamon Iberico, and garlic shrimp with sauteed snow peas with romesco sauce in the background - from top to bottom).

Also on the dining menu were Cafe Mozart, a lovely German restaurant in the back of a small German market on H Street, near 13th and Potenza, an Italian place also on H by 15th. Both were good (Potenza was a little trendy, but delicious) and good additions to the restaurants we will frequent often on future trips to DC. For lunch we went to Potbelly's for sandwiches one day, always good, and Good Stuff Eatery the other.

Yes, that's right. Good Stuff Eatery. Like Spike Mendelsohn from "Top Chef" season 4's restaurant. Like douche-hat's restaurant. Spike, the one chef mercilessly hounded by everyone on the interwebs for his douchey attitude and general ridiculous/cocky behavior. And his poor choice of head wear. Repeatedly bashed by yours truly. That Spike. And you know what? I'm sorry I said anything bad about him.

When we got there, the place was packed. We got online and immediately saw Spike behind the counter, working hard expediting, right alongside all the other people working there. I wanted to say something to him but he was so busy, I felt badly interrupting him while he was working, espeically since they were so busy, so we just placed our order and I went to find a table upstairs while BMG waited for the food. If you look really hard in the background, you can see Spike with his hat on the line:

We had to wait a while for our food, since it was so busy and everything is cooked to order, but we finally got our food:

Bacon Cheeseburger

Turkeyburger and fries

Chocolate shake

All were delicious. The turkeyburger (mine) was so well seasoned and all the toppings (I got everything on it - avocado, munster, "good stuff" sauce) worked so well together. The fries were a bit on the non-crispy side for my liking, but the flavor was awesome. The chocolate shake was fabulous and I'm guessing the bacon cheeseburger was good, since BMG polished that bad boy off without any problems. And, one would think that was the end of the story - see Spike, eat his food, leave Spike's restaurant and go see the Capitol.

Oh no, it gets so much better. While we were eating, Spike came upstairs to sit with business partner (?) - I only think this because she came out of a secret room upstairs and started talking to two people, who turned out to be Food Network (!!) producers. Right at the next table. I started to silently freak out and tried to figure out how I could get a picture with him, without rudely interrupting his conversation. Why would you want to take a picture with him, Iko? After all the bashing? Because of BW and this text conversation:

Iko: I'm at Good Stuff Eatery = douche hat Spike's burger place!! Douche hat is here!!
BW: No way!!! Pics please! OMG! You need a pic for your blog!
(then a bunch of useless conversation happened)...
BW: Is douche hat Anderw there? (Aside 1: HAHAHAHA, nice memory, BW!)
Iko: Ha! N, I wish! But, Spike is wearing his douchey hat!
(10 minutes later)
Iko: He's sitting right next to me talking to some Food Network producers about challenging Michael Symon on Iron Chef!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Aside 2: OK, I was really freaking out here)
BW: I'm jealous of your hobnobbing with douchey Food Network stars! (Aside 3: strong use of hobnobbing)

At this point, Spike had left to go downstairs and make some burgers for the two producers, the Obama burger and the Smokehouse burger. I was clearly upset as I had missed my chance at a picture while he was leaving to go downstairs, due to my shyness/inability to talk to people when they appear to be busy. But, just as we were about to leave, Spike returned with the burgers for the producers. He deposited them on their table and talked with them for a minute, then turned to leave - so I jumped up and cornered him! And asked if I could take a picture with him, but only if he wasn't too busy. And you know what? He was awesome. He joked about being too busy to take the picture, then totally posed with me. And, he even went on to make sure we liked the food, asked what we had, and talked with us a bit about where we were from and how we were liking DC. Seriously, I take back my comments about his douchiness from my "Top Chef" recaps. All of them. I still agree that he was extremely not-right in the highly edited show Bravo showed up, but will posit that this is perhaps not what his actual personality is like. Maybe he's mellowed in his douchiness or maybe he was just in a good mood because he's going to be on "Iron Chef," but I believe he's quite charming and pleasant. And I'm happy his business is doing so well.

Success! I have now sunk to a new low - stalking sub-moderately famous people from Bravo Reality TV. For my next trick, I'll find some of those "Real Housewives of NJ" ladies and go for cocktails with them.

More Ed

Lots and lots of Ed interviews about "The Hangover" this week:

From Blast Magazine, from NY Daily News, and an article about the movie from the NY Times.

Also, apparently Ed, Bradley Cooper, and Justin Bartha were dragged to the increasingly ridiculous MTV Movie Awards to introduce someone. However awful the awards must have been, Ed clearly made it somewhat better:

I'm liking that his staunch support of argyle continues...also, is it just me, or does Bradley Copper's jacket look two sizes too small? I feel like that's as far as he can lift his arms without exposing his abs.

ETA: There's another interview here, too.