Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Got Mine in Blazin' Copper



Happy Birthday, Derek! In honor of your birthday, get some hits so I can take over first place in my Fantasy Baseball League.

I Miss Ed: The Ed Helms Post of the Day

I kind of miss Ed. I miss "The Office," I miss Ed Helms randomly showing up on "The Daily Show," I miss his voiceovers for "The Colbert Report" and the Sharp Aquos commercials. I wish he had a movie or something out, or coming out soon, so at least I could post pictures of him going to his own movie premieres or frolicking about LA at his costars' premieres. Alas, it's not to be. I know he's filming a couple of movies now and probably working on the movie he co-wrote, too, but, Ed, when (not if) you read this, please show your cute face around CA so someone can take your picture and I can post it and leer at it all day long. Or, better yet, come back to the NY-area so I can marginally stalk you. Please?

Here's some fun stuff from Ed back in the day (notice a theme? Why did they make Ed report on being gay so much?):


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fun with Summer Vegetables: Heirloom Tomato Edition

(actually, tomatoes are a fruit)
I heart heirloom tomatoes. I love how awesome they taste, how unfilled with E. Coli they are, and how each one looks a little bootleg. Some of them look like they're not really ripe yet, while others kind of look like they've been stepped on or manhandled by the growers. But fear not, heirloom tomato newbies. They're not rotting, they're delicious! So, imagine my glee when I saw them in Wegman's yesterday. Seriously, I geek out over tomatoes every chance I get. I love those red (and multi-colored) bastards. Clearly, they were screaming out to me: "Buy Me!! Mix us with that delicious zucchini over there and add some pasta!" Who am I to ignore the cries of tasty tomatoes wanting to be eaten?
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Summer Pasta:
1/2 lb whole wheat pasta (I like the Trader Joe's whole wheat pasta with flax)
olive oil
1 lb zucchini, chopped however you like to chop it
Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
About 1 pint of heirloom tomatoes (the small ones), halved (or quartered if they're on the bigger side)
3 tbsp whatever fresh herbs you have around, I used parsley and tarragon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Pepper

1. Boil water for the pasta, salt it, and cook the pasta to a nice al dente
2. While the pasta cooks, saute the zucchini in the olive oil until slightly browned and tender.
3. Add the garlic and saute for about two minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, add the tomatoes, herbs, and lemon juice.
5. Add the pasta and a little pasta water, stir to combine and season to taste.

This would also be delicious with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese atop it, or, maybe even with some shrimp or grilled chicken added.

Makes about 4 servings, if you eat some delicious toasted baguette with it.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Things I've Bought That I Love

In a blatant rip-off of Mindy "Ephron's" blog, "Things I've Bought That I Love," I will now present some recent purchases that I really like. Yes, guys, I know I'm unoriginal, but she hasn't updated her blog since April, so, I figured it I want to write about something I like, I can. Unfortunately for you, I don't have loads of disposal income like her, so I won't be extolling the virtues of $900 Louboutins or cute dresses that cost more than my paycheck, but I'll do my best to entertain you wth my (modest) purchases.

1. Movie ticket to "Get Smart." You know what, I really liked the movie. I can't help it. I love Steve Carell. If I could buy him, I'd write about him here, filed under more things I've bought that I love (although, I'm pretty sure it's not so legal to buy a person, besides, based on his interview on "The Daily Show" I don't think I could afford him. I think he can make anything funny. And, honestly, the movie wasn't bad. Based on the reviews I was a little worried, being that I go see about one movie a year, I had to make this one count, but it was funny, light-hearted, and made of general good times.
Steve Carell was perfect as Maxwell Smart, Anne Hathaway didn't annoy me, and the actor formerly know as The Rock was actually amusing. If you love Steve Carell like I do, I highly recommend seeing the movie. Even if you don't love him, go see it - at least the theater is air-conditioned, so you'll stay cool for two hours, instead of sweating it up in your apartment. Cost - $10.

2. Stephen Colbert Tote Bag.

My love for Stephen Colbert has been well-documented on this blog, specifically here, here, and especially here. So it's really no surprise that when I saw Barnes and Noble was offering this delicious tote bag, I immediately ordered it, no thinking necessary. And, boy, am I glad that I did guys, seriously. It's an awesome size and very sturdy. It fits all of my stuff, yoga clothes, contacts and contact solution, laptop (see #3), laptop cord and lock, plus a book to read while waiting for yoga to start. Plus, it's plain-looking, so you're not one of those people running all over campus with a giant neon-pink tote bag like it's 1983. The only think I wish it had were some inner pockets so I could put some tissues or my mobile phone in it, too. But, really, I can display my love for Stephen on my shoulder everyday I need to bring an ass-load of crap to campus, which more than makes up for the lack of pockets. Plus, how can you not smile when you look at Stephen's face? Even on your worst day, his little smile will make you laugh out loud, well, it makes me happy, anyway. Although, so far, all it's garnered me are some weird looks from the undergrads...WTF, guys? I thought you were his demographic...
Cost - $11.95 + shipping

3. Dell XPS M1330.

Since I often have to bring my computer with me to work, I had to trade in my other, more heavy laptop for this bad boy. And it's awesome. It's light - it hasn't broken the handles of my Stephen Colbert Tote yet, unlike my old laptop which destroyed not one, but TWO, bags, including my Veronica Mars Season 1 bag, has a 320 GB hard drive, 4 GB of RAM (so that bitch is FAST), the fingerprint reader thing-y, extended battery-life, and a built-in web cam...maybe some video blogs in the future of AbS? Best of all, it doesn't cause back spasms and worsen my scoliosis when I have to carry it around all day. Downside 1 - Windows Vista, which has already broken once, inexplicably, and will probably crash 17 more times by the time the year is done. I'll keep you posted in the Tuesday Tirade. Downside 2 - the black case attracts fingerprints like you would NOT believe. I seriously have to wipe it down everyday, due to multiple people and their greasy hands manhandling my new laptop.
Cost - more money than I should have spent on a laptop.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ugh...I know...

This blog has been kind of sucky the past few weeks, I'm sorry...I've been busy with my stupid job and even more stupid project. Besides, I haven't even done anything exciting to write about, so, really, rather than bore you with the mundane activities of my daily life, I figured I'd post a bunch of sh** about Steve Carell and Ed Helms, to at least amuse you. However, I will hopefully be going out to eat a bunch over the next two weekends, which should involve some marginally clear pictures and recaps of delicious food things. Plus, I'm hitting up the Yankees game tonight, so, maybe I'll be able to catch a flying bat or foul ball or shadily grab a picture of Derek Jeter as he's leaving the stadium (solely so I can Photoshop a thought bubble that reads "Blazin' Copper!" over his head).

So, the moral of the story is that I'll post some more legitimate stuff soon. Here's a picture of Ed looking fancy but his tie needs to go. And by go, I mean get ripped off and dropped on my bedroom floor...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Steve Carell Post of the Day

Steve on "The Daily Show" last night - the water out the nose gets me every time...I've seriously watched it about 7 times today...Jon's giggling makes it even better...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do You Have a Report to File? The Steve Carell Post of the Day

Programming reminder: Steve Carell interview tonight on "The Daily Show." Comedy Central at 11 pm. This is from the first time Steve went back to "The Daily Show," and it's, if I may say so, brilliant. How the two of them can stare at each other and not lose it is beyond me. Seriously, just looking at Steve Carell makes me smile.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Steve Carell Post of the Day - What Even Stevphen?



Programming Reminder: Steve will be on Letterman later tonight and is on "Larry King Live" RIGHT NOW!!!

The Best Even Stevphen:


And, my favorite, produce Pete!


These weren't props!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Steve Carell Post of the Day

Steve will be on "The Daily Show" on Wednesday this week (June 18th), so here's the interview from the last time he was there, just to whet your appetite.



They are seriously the cutest together (well, not as cute as Jon and Stephen, but you get the idea).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Steve Carell Post of the Day

In honor of Steve Carell's new movie, "Get Smart," in theaters on Friday, being one of the few movies I've been excited to see in, oh, let's say a year (by year I mean three), I will post a "Steve Carell Post of the Day" everyday this week. Well, I'll try. I heart you Steve!!

Check out the terrific Office Tally "Get Smart Tally" and here's an interview with the man himself.

Ooh! Scruffy Steve!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ed Helms Post of the Day



This one's for you, MD:


So cute!

(Thanks to MTT and edhelms.org).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Liveblogging the "Top Chef" Season Finale

9:53 - I'm set up in bed with my laptop, the TV, TiVo remote (for prime rewinding capabilities), and some laundry to fold if I get bored or have a break during commercials.

9:56 - Ugh. Just watched Antonia get knifed again.

10:00 - Here we go!!! The obligatory recap of the season, showing Dale punching a locker ad Lisa yelling about rice.

10:01 - Stephanie brilliantly says - "this is it." Richard interviews that his entire future is at stake. He complains about Lisa being there, cut to Lisa worrying about sucking it up.

10:02 - 3 guest chefs! April Blumenfield, Dan Barber, Eric Ripert (!!! - so cute!!!). Tom gives the challenge - 4 courses in the traditional progression (fish, poultry, meat, dessert). Choose a guest chef to be your sous chef! Each sous chef has a different selection of proteins!! (drool) lump crab and Wagu beef!

10:04 - Stephanie and Richard have to choose knives to see who chooses first - Stephanie = Ripert, Richard = Barber, Lisa = April. Really, there are no losers here. 3 hours to prep today and 4 hours the next day to cook for a black tie affair!

Lisa - flavors of Thailand and Vietnam. April doesn't cook Asian food. Uh oh.
Richard - his journey (classic through molecular) - still waiting for the lightening bolt. Dan seems confused!
Stephanie - different flavor combos and well-balanced, simple. Eric seems impressed. Then she offends him by hovering over his filleting!! Ha! You don't tell Eric how to fillet a fish, bitch!

10:09 - Time's running out on the 3 hour prep. Richard uses his secret weapon - liquid nitrogen, to make Tabasco Sauce ice cream (bleargh). Lisa talks smack about molecular gastronomy, which sadly, I kind of agree with. Eric wins me over by wanting to learn about liquid nitrogen!!

I TOTALLY agree with Stephanie - Lisa getting along with someone IS weird.

5 minutes of prep left - cooking montage. Gladware plug (last of the season???). Richard still interviews that he has no plan. Um, WTF? Dude. You need to have some kind of plan...you've been there this long, you really have no concept of what you want to cook as your "meal of a lifetime?"

(Glad and Puerto Rico sponsored commercial break)

10:14 - back to the kitchen. No sous chefs? Only Tom!! Oh no...here comes the twist. The sous chefs aren't coming in because the judge's wanted to make sure the contestants were cooking "by their own hand." WTF? So now they have to do crappy, quick work because they got screwed over? I get that this is what happens in restaurants all the time, but, come on. This isn't a restaurant. It's the FINALE!! And the dessert, too? I'm not such a fan.

10:17 - I'm ashamed to admit that Lisa's dishes sounds delicious! Ooh! Richard! Bacon ice cream!

Sniff and Sneer - Richard's menu is "abstract." Stephanie - Tom seems angered by her cake. Lisa - laughs at her being so calm.

Gratuitous shot of the timer with Glad Forceflex in the background.

10:20 - Stephanie is worried about her cake and Richard & Lisa tell her it's fine and to stop doubting herself. So, everyone should act like you, Lisa? Good Lord. What a debacle that would be.

Everyone looks so fancy at the black tie dinner! I like Padma's red dress!

10:26 - Padma tries to get the dirt on working with the chefs. They come out of the kitchen to meet the judges and guests (ugh, Zagat). Yay! Ted Allen!

Menus
Richard: Personal Journey
Lisa: Vietnamese/Thai
Stephanie: Simple, clean, multiple proteins, fruit, all flavor points

First Courses:
Lisa - Grilled Prawns - chili basil sauce, potato chips
Steph - Red snapper, asparagus
Richard - scallop with mango and pinapple vinegar (yum-O)

The judges like Stephaie's best (?)

Second Courses:
Lisa - soup dumpling, coconut soup (hell's yeah!!)
Stephanie - seared quail, mango lobster sauce
Richard - Guinea Hen and fois gras, spring vegetables (isn't it Fall??)

Lisa's seems to go over well. Steph's does, too

Third Courses:
Lisa - Wagu beef with corriander and garlic
Steph - Lamb, mushrooms, pistachios (sounds so, so good)
Richard - Pickled radishes, pork belly (drool...pork belly)

Lisa's beef is not tender and the dish is pedestrian. Steph's is well thought-out.

Fourth Courses:
Lisa - Black Thai Rice Pudding (no, not the rice!!!)
Steph - Ricotta Poundcake
Richard - Banana scallop with bacon ice cream (yawn...)

10:35 - They like Richard's dessert (they should, it's the third time he's made it on the show), but find Stephanie's to be good but un-inventive.

(beth - I, to you, in addition, like his use of "F" as well.)

10:40 - Judge's Table - (GOB - It's the final countdown!!!) Tom wants to find out what the chefs' intentions were.

First Course:
Richard - First course should wake up the palate, the judges think it was underseasoned. Lisa's first course was "assertive" (read: spicy). Stephanie's dish was beautiful and light.

Second course:
Richard - I don't remember what they said about it...and I just watched it...too much wine.
Lisa - great soup
Stephanie - WTF was up with the leeks???

Third course:
Richard - minimalistic dish, but couldn't make the fat crispy...what's better than crispy pork fat?
Lisa - Beef wasn't cooked properly and the sauce was too sweet.
Stephanie - lamb was creative and braised pistachios were delish!

Fourth course:
Richard - called him out on making the dish before!
Lisa - delicious rice
Steph - Tom didn't like the banana cream

Last words - Stephanie says she second guessed herself and that's why her dessert felt flat. Lisa says again that she's confident and that she should be Top Chef.

10:47 - Oh snap!! Richard says he choked!!! WTF??!???!

The vote on each course.
Course 1 - Lisa/Steph
Course 2 - Lisa (?)
Course 3 - Steph
Course 4 - Richard/Lisa (Ben and Jerry's shout-out for you, beth!!!)
(way to pipe in the sound of morning songbirds, Bravo producers)

10:50 - Stew room - Lisa gives two courses to Steph and two to herself. WTF, Richard gets nothing?? Way to be supportive, Lisa...weren't you just complaining about the two of them not supporting you not two days ago? The judges all state that they have a "preference." You can't say "favorite" anymore, guys? Ugh. Lisa's totally going to win.

10:56 - Stephanie wins the poll!

10:57 - Padma restates the prizes and the fact that someone will win. Thanks for the recap, slurry. Tom recaps why the chefs are awesome.

Stephanie is TOP CHEF!!!!!!!!!!!

She didn't really look that excited!! YAY!!! The other contestants come out of hiding to congratulate her. Lisa bitches, big surprise. Richard says that is sucks to los.

10:58 - OOH! Dale looks so sassy and fancy!!!

Stephanie does an adorable jig! I'm so happy!! That was awesome! I'm so glad she won! And, while I'm happy she won, does anyone else feel like this was a slightly underwhelming finale? No real drama. All good food. Whatever. Stephanie won!!!

Well, that's it, everyone...thanks for reading! I'll be back with fantastic recaps of "The Next Food Network Star," and, of course, "Top Chef" season 5!

Programming Reminder - "Top Chef" Finale

Don't forget - the "Top Chef" season finale airs tonight at 10:00 pm. It apparently ends at 11:02, so remember to check your TiVos...you don't want to miss the actual moment where Lisa is crowned Top Chef and the world explodes. Just kidding, you know she's not winning. I may even live blog the momentous occasion, we'll see how much wine I've consumed by 10 pm tonight.

In the meantime, read this interview with Tom at salon.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Tirade - Fat Free Banana

Today, as I took my trusty banana out of my Hello Kitty tote bag I use to carry my lunch to work, I noticed something affixed to it that caused great amounts of anger to rise up in my body: a sticker proclaiming, "Peel Me, I'm Fat Free!" Is this what the world has come to? People are encouraged to eat fruit because it's fat-free, not because of the copious amount of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber contained within them? Is the entire U.S. population so stupid that they don't know fruit is (for the most part) fat-free, thereby necessitating a marketing ploy, in which "fat-free" stickers are placed on the outside of fruit? Actually, maybe it is necessary, since the people who most likely need to lose weight and eat healthier foods are the very same ones making the choice to eat an Egg McMuffin for breakfast, all the while claiming they "didn't know McDonald's food was so high in fat" and suing McDonald's for making them obese. Well, now you can't use that lame excuse anymore. The grocery store produce department makes it easy for you to make healthy choices.

FYI:
Banana - 108 calories, 0.2g of fat
Egg McMuffin (egg, cheese, bacon) - 300 calories, 12g of fat

Monday, June 9, 2008

Global Warming - UR Cauzing It

So, on my 15 minute trip to the bank during lunch, I saw three cars parked in the parking lot of the bank and the strip mall next to the bank (containing a Popeye's and a Dunkin' Donuts) parked and RUNNING for more than 10 minutes. With no persons or pets inside. Apparently it's so hot outside, people have abandoned common sense (running your car because you're too lazy to turn off the A/C while you stuff your face with grease causes global warming, which causes you to run your car more, which causes more global warming...) and decency (poisoning the environment for me and for the future generations). I understand that your fucking fat-lard-ass can't handle the 98 degree temperatures we're currently experiencing after a gorge-fest at Popeye's, but maybe you should stay at home in your air conditioned apartment and eat something more legitimate than fried chicken and potatoes. Or, better yet, eat nothing. Then I wouldn't have to see your giant ass waddling out of Popeye's while I'm reporting you to the DEP. I hope you have to pay a fine bigger than your cellulite-ridden thighs. Fucker.

(Look for another such diatribe every Tuesday in a new segment here at AbS - The Tuesday Tirade)

***Edited to add: while my anger is pretty evident from the above, I realize my point isn't. These people left their cars running to keep the A/C on so they wouldn't have to get back into a hot car after eating. No, they weren't just running inside to pick something up or drop someone off. They were LITERALLY sitting inside Popeye's eating lunch, with their cars idling outside.***

Ed Helms Post of the Day

Ed at the TV Land awards, where the cast won the "Future Classic" award. Strong work, Office cast!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Top Chef Season 4 - Episode 13: Puerto Rico

I think my thoughts on this episode can be nicely summed up in this text I got from BW last night, "OH MY GOD! I HATE HER! WHAT A BITCH!" Seriously.

So, after a six month break, the final four arrive in Puerto Rico, having used the time off to travel (Stephanie), open a restaurant (Antonia), and do some other stuff the producers saw fit not to tell us about (Richard and Lisa). I assume they all brushed up on their knowledge of Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisine, too.

For the Quickfire, the contestants have to make two fritters, each using plantains (the quintessential Puerto Rican ingredient, according to guest chef, Wilo Benet - who I thought was Tommy C. for a second). Stephanie wins the Quickfire for her inventive, yet classic fried treats. Richard torches his eyebrows on the ghetto range. Lisa forces Padma to chug her beer after serving a super-spicy tostone. The contestants all rock the jazz hands when time runs out on the challenge. Overall, not very exciting. Call me if someone sets Lisa on fire using the ghetto range.

Once the Quickfire is over, Wilo invites them to a local party, complete with rum and a pig on a spit (foreshadowing anyone?). The party looks like good times, I would have been all over that pig with a bottle of rum in my hand. delicious. The finalists have fun, but are somewhat restrained, as they are, understandably, all worried about the last challenge, set for the next day. Padma and Wilo dancing made the episode for me, though. That was too cute. I kind of wish Tom had been there to dance, as well. That would have been worth the price of watching "Top Chef" season 2.

The Elimination Challenge is to make two dishes using whatever cuts of meat the contestants want from their own, personal, whole pig (eek) and whatever ingredients their sous chefs can find at the local market. Sous chefs, you ask? Oh yeah, bitches, they brought back our old friends, Dale, Nikki, Spike, and Andrew to help. Stephanie, as the winner of the Quickfire, got to assign the sous chefs to the actual chefs - nice. She takes Dale, and gives Nikki to Antonia, Spike to Richard, and, dum dum dum...Andrew to Lisa (some of you may remember Lisa throwing Andrew under the bus during the 'Serve and Protect' challenge). Good times.

The chefs get 30 minutes to plan their menu with their sous chefs, then the sous chefs head off to the market (which was absolutely gorgeous, BTW) while the finalists butcher their pigs. Which was interesting, to say the least. Apparently Lisa has no respect for any animal, as she appeared to be beating the pig with whatever implements were available in the kitchen. Then, the finalists and sous chefs had two hours to prep and another 5 hours the next day to set up for the party at which they would be serving their food. A party for the governor. Fancy.

After the two hour prep, everyone frantically shoves their food into the minimal space they were provided and goes back to their hotel. But not before the cameras get the Doomsday shot - some of Stephanie's pork belly left out on the counter. By Dale. And his jaunty hat. Shades of Sam leaving behind Marcel's fish in the final challenge of Season 2...

The next day, Dale beats himself up for possibly sending Stephanie home. The two of them brainstorm a third dish they can make using what they have and settle on crispy pork skin with a fresh salsa-relish. Yummy! Richard torches some pigs feet (in the style of his eyebrows the day before), and Antonia sucks at making rice. WTF is up with no one being able to make rice this season? Nikki interviews that she thinks Antonia is "off" today (foreshadowing, anyone?). Once time's up, they head down to the beautiful lawn of the Governor's Mansion and set up their stations to serve food to the guests and judges. The judges go to each finalists table and try all three dishes, without really giving any indication of how they feel about the food. Padma does, however, express her love to ancient Greece by wearing lovely blue toga. The editors then splice in four different guests talking about the food, each one singing the praises of a different finalist. Of course. At this point, I had no idea who was going home. I know who I wanted to go home, though.

Judges' Table -
Richard and Stephanie (yay!) are selected as the top two. They loved how Richard restrained himself and served good, simple food. Stephanie's there because she served three great dishes and they all loved her crispy pork skin dish (way to go, Dale!). Richard wins the challenge for being better overall and, in the ultimate product placement, wins a new Toyota Corolla. WTF?

So, that leaves us with Antonia and Lisa as the bottom two. Antonia sucks because she undercooked her beans and because she inexplicably dumped all three of her dishes onto one plate, so they all blended together into one, unappetizing pile of brown and gray. Lisa's in the bottom two because her dishes just weren't that good and because no one was crowding around her table during service. Ultimately, they send Antonia home. WTF? Antonia shakes everyone's hand, except for Gail, who she seemingly disses and heads out, but not before telling Stephanie to kick everyone's ass in the final.

So, overall, good challenges, but confusing outcome. I don't know if it was shody editing or what, but it seemed like Antonia's food tasted good, it just looked poor and those F-ing beans were undercooked. All of Lisa's food, on the other hand, seemed to not taste good at all. So, why Antonia was sent home is unclear to me. If her food tasted worse than Lisa's - fair, but it seemed, to me, based on what I saw, that this wasn't the case. Whatever. She'll bring a pissy attitude to the final challenge, one sorely lacking in Richard and Stephanie, so her presence will be much appreciated. By some. Not by me. Honestly, there's no way Lisa will win and there was no way Antonia was going to win, either, so I'm not to upset overall. I am upset about Lisa's attitude, however. I get the need to be tough in a kitchen, but everyone there is supporting you, you can act a little nicer.

Notable moments:
Dale (about the black plantains) - "They look rotten. They. Look. Rotten."
Richard (about Lisa) - "You won the fucking bronze medal. Congratulations. There you go.”
Iko (about Tom C.) - Tom C. needs to wear an undershirt. I don't care how hot it is in PR. That's a necessity. Always.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

We May Have Stalked Ian Riggs - And So Can You!

Some of you may remember, way back when AbS was born, that KN and I jaunted to NYC to see "The Lonesome Trio" perform at The Parkside Lounge. Now, I'm not going to lie, we mainly went to stalk Ed Helms, but KN and I happen to also like bluegrass, so, we figured even if Ed bailed out, because he got word of degenerate girls stalking him at the show, we'd have a good time. And we did. And we saw Ed! And even talked* to him! Actually, mostly, KN talked to Ian Riggs, the bass player for "The Lonesome Trio," who then very kindly got Ed to take a picture with us. Clearly, from that moment on, our love for Ian Riggs was cemented. It didn't hurt that we a) were completely enamored of his playing stand-up bass and b) thought he was absolutely adorable.** So, when we started searching the internets for shows in which Ian was participating one night (written about as the drunken debacle that was "The Return"), we were delighted to find out he was playing with Ethan Lipton and his Orchestra at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater at the end of May. Being that KN's graduation/birthday were also at the end of May, we bought some tickets as a way to celebrate KN and stalk a person who is not Ed Helms.

The show we got tickets for didn't start until 9:30pm, so we decided to grab dinner before the show, then head over to the theater, rather than eat at Joe's Pub - which I'm sure is fine, but I figured we could do better. I had wanted to go to The Stanton Social before, but it hadn't worked out, luckily, I was able to get a reservation for 6:00pm on the day of the show, which, yes, I KNOW, is kind of early, but we had seven people going to the show and we had to walk from the restaurant to the theater and I wanted to make sure we got in line early, so as to get prime, front-row seats. You know, ones perfect for optimal stalking.

So, first the food! The Stanton Social, for those of you who don't know, is a small-plates restaurant, which I thought would be good for a big group (good for sharing) and also good for those in the group who are not as food adventurous as others (good for selecting only steak or bread). And, it filled the bill well. We kind of all ordered our own food and some of us shared, so here's what we ordered:

Nori Spiced Tuna Tartare Roll
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Empanadas (stuffed with...something)
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'Old School' Meatballs
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Grilled Apple and Brie Quesadilla
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Kobe Slider and Lobster Roll Slider with Potato Chips
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Some delicious pickles
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More of the Lobster Roll Slider
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We also ordered some other food, of which I either didn't get pictures or took the crappiest pictures ever (yes, the ones above are the best of the bunch, sadly, I really need to take a photography class or something). These food items include the Bistro Salad, the Baby Back Ribs, and the Moo Shu Shrimp. Overall, the food was pretty good. I wanted to go to the restaurant to try the food, first and foremost, as I had heard it was good from a number of people, but I was a little concerned that the trendi-ness of the restaurant came at the expense of actual legitimate food. Of the food above, I had the tuna roll (very delicious), the lobster roll (good, but a little chewy and too mayonnaise-y for my taste), and the Moo Shu shrimp (tasty). I also had the Bistro Salad, which, honestly, I was pretty disappointed with. It came with a poached egg laced atop it (sounds good, right?) but the egg was completely cooked through. The whole point of the egg is to break into the yolk and allow it to ooze it's egg-y deliciousness all over the salad, which, clearly, as the yolk was a solid mass of yellow-semi-deliciousness, it couldn't do. Plus, the salad was over-dressed and the bacon was either rock hard or too chewy. Not good. I actually was unimpressed with the meatballs, too. The balls of ground meats were good, but the sauce was sweet, like way too sweet, maybe honey? Too much sugar? I don't know what happened. I'm guessing the sauce is normally not like that, so I'll give them a pass. The rest of the food, I can't really tell you about, as I didn't eat it, but no one was disappointed in their choices, so I guess that's a good sign.

For dessert, we got a few of the chocolate tastings, the Strawberry Shortcake sundae (?), and some kind of cheesecake, the latter two aren't on the online dessert menu, so I'm not so sure about them, sorry. Here's the chocolate tasting with the sundae in the background;
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And, here's the cheesecake:
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I only had a little bit of the chocolate tasting (that little bit being the DELICIOUS peppermint patty), so I can't write anything about the desserts, other than they were all eaten. So, they were probably good. Brilliant powers of deduction, I know.

Overall, I'd say the restaurant was good. Probably slightly better than good. WAAAAAY too expensive, but slightly better than good. I think it's a little too trendy for me, I'm more of a jeans and T-shirt kind of person, who doesn't mind getting dressed up to go out to eat, but, not when I have to trek about Manhattan all afternoon and evening. I definitely prefer the hole-in-the-wall restaurants, casual atmosphere and delicious, fairly-priced food. That said, I would recommend eating at The Stanton Social, especially if you're eating with a group of people with highly varied tastes in food.

OK, enough of that, onto the real reason we went to New York - to stalk Ian Riggs! So, after dinner, we meandered our way across the short distance to The Public Theater, where we arrived about 45 minutes before the doors opened. And we were the first people in line - what losers we are! So, we waited for the first show to get out before we were ushered inside to our seats - right in front of the stage and off to the right side. Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra were playing the show with The Lascivious Biddies, whom we knew nothing about, but, whatever, it was an adventure, so we weren't to concerned. Ethan Lipton played first and they were awesome. KN and I yelled towards Ian Riggs when he was announced, but, unfortunately, he was on the opposite side of the stage from where we were seated, so we didn't get to see him as much as we wanted. But he was really great. And still adorable. His voice is amazing. The Lascivious Biddies came out to play a song with them, then they switched and the Lascivious Biddies sang a set, with Ethan Lipton, et al. coming out to join them for a song. Both groups were really good, although I was clearly biased towards a certain group (and person) in particular. I would definitely go see either group again, no question. I highly recommend them both.

After the show we had to leave to get back home, but KN and I managed to pass Ian on our way to the restroom before we left and I, in true Iko fashion, blurted out, "Great show!!" to him as I sprinted by him on my way. To be fair, he was having a conversation with someone, which I didn't want to interrupt, but I should have at least paused for a few seconds before running away like a degenerate. He was extremely nice to my degenerate ass and "thank you" quite enthusiastically as I ran away. So cute. And so sad for me. And so sad for you, as no pictures were allowed inside the theater, so no photos for you! Sorry. You'll just have to get tickets to go see them yourself. In retrospect, I should have just taken a picture with him at the end...what's the worst thing that could happen? I get kicked out? The show was over, how much damage could THAT have done?

So, thus ended our stalking trip to Manhattan. I hope you enjoyed reading about our thinly-veiled degeneracy. I'm sure more stalking is soon to come...perhaps Ed will be in New York at some point over the summer?

*By talk, I mean Ed asked a series of very legitimate, questions, like "how did you hear about the show?" and "where are you guys from?" to which I was unable to respond in any type of intelligent fashion. So, mainly Ed talked at me and I acted like a mute jackass.
**And, as I just learned from Ethan Lipton's site, is single! Ladies, can I get a WOOT!!?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

This is not a joke...



From Best Week Ever.

Ed Helms Post of the Day

Yeah! for Ed! Landing two starring movie roles? Soon LOTS more people then JP, MD, KN, and I will love you!

In addition, Ed Helms and Billy Bob Thorton together on screen may = box office gold!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Next Food Network Star - Episode 1: "Star Quality" Subtitle: Do I have respect for Sandra Lee, now?

Well, everyone's favorite "Top Chef" rip off premiered it's fourth season last night. I'm kind of confused as to why they keep making this show, since it's obvious all their choices don't last that long on Food Network, except for Guy Douchebag, but I guess he fits in well with the douchey personalities of most of the other "chefs" on the network (more on that later). Actually, I guess they keep making the show because I keep watching it just to snark about it, so, well-played, Food Network, I guess. I will begrudgingly give you this round.

It's kind of hard to get a good read on the contestants at this stage, except for the ones Food Network wants us to know more about, but I'll give you my brief overview.

Kelsey - seems cute and bubbly, but it's kind of annoying. I guess she would be good to attract a younger viewership, especially with a good food on a budget-thing, kind of like the awesome, yet defunct Dave Lieberman.
Kevin - bringing romance and fun back into the kitchen? What does that even mean?
Shane - guy who lost a lot of weight. He'd be good for a show about healthy eating, especially cooking and eating to lose weight, something I think is incredibly important. He's a little young, I think, is a 45 year-old overweight housewife going to listen to him to make food for her family? Probably not. Besides, he want to do simple French cooking, not healthy food.
Jennifer is the token single mom who wants to show us how to make food for your family. I think this is a good idea, too, hopefully she can be more legitimate than Robin Miller. I think she said she was an actual working chef, though, so I have high hopes for her.
Cory is apparently a comedienne and has a degree from France (perhaps a "degree" like the one Sandra Lee obtained?)
Jeffrey - makes soul food and comfort food, I don't know that there's a need for another show like this, we already are subjected to Paula and the Neely's, do we need more? Do Not Want.
Adam - does improv and is a restaurant server who apparently owned a restaurant at one point (?). WTF? If you owned your own restaurant, how do you go back to being a server?
Lisa - has scary eyebrows.
Aaron - he's from NJ, baby! Young boy who came from nowhere and now cooks at a hospital. Admirable. I like him.
Nipa - blatant attempt at FN trying to diversify the contestants, although an Indian cooking show would be cool. I don't know how much I like her, though, she seems kind of cocky. Regardless, she'll probably get pretty far in the competition, based on all the flak Food Network gets about not having any "ethnic" cooking shows.

So, onto the actual challenges. The first one was to sum up their Culinary Point of View in one sentence for the camera, using props, if necessary. Alton Brown then critiqued them on their performance, which, if the contestants had any brains at all, should be taken without argument and followed to the letter. All in all they actually did surprisingly well, except for Cory, unless they edited out a bunch of retakes and degeneracy. I can't believe Cory, the stand-up performer did so badly, but I guess it was foreshadowing of what was to come. The best part of the whole challenge had to be Lisa explaining her CPoV and everyone going WTF?, including Alton. Then, when he called her on it, she responded with something to the effect of, "it's a shame Alton didn't understand what I was talking about," as if it's his fault for being an idiot. Yeah, maybe you should listen to the guy who already has multiple show on Food Network before you get so pissy, eyebrows.

For the second challenge, Alton had them draw colors to pair up into teams of two. Each team had to prepare three dishes, one by each of the contestants that represented their CPoV, and one dish that was a collaboration of both of their CPoVs. Then, they have to present their food to a smorgasboard of FN personalities, including, Chef Morimoto, Alton, B. Flay, the Neeley's, Sandra Lee, Giada, and the stupid judges (Susie and Bob). Yes, the FN personalities are listed in order of decreasing legitimacy (but only the first three, the rest are on the same level of awfulness in my opinion - which means nothing). They're given 10 minutes to plan, time to shop at the West Side Market, and 30 minutes to prepare the dishes in the FN kitchens. Sidebar: How nice are those kitchens, seriously? It's not right. I would kill someone to be able to cook in there for a day.

I'll spare you the blow-by-blow, but basically, Nipa can't find Turmeric in the store and Lisa acts like a bossy ho. Onto the food...

Pair 1: Shane and Nipa
They make pork tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto (yum!), curried potatoes, and a butternut squash soup with curry powder. The pork for their beauty plate is severely undercooked and Morimoto calls them out. Nipa acts like a cocky jackass and says her food is bad because she couldn't find turmeric and didn't want to change her game plan so she used curry powder instead. The judges universally agree that the potatoes didn't have enough curry, but that the pork tenderloin was delicious (not the beauty plate). Sandy chimes in and says she doesn't like curry.

Pair 2: Kevin and Lisa
Lisa freaks out and acts like a woman who is quickly losing control of everything around her, then blames Kevin for anything that goes wrong. They make French Kiss Onion Soup (WTF), poached salmon with basil puree, and a salad (I don't even know what kind it was). The food goes over alright, but the salad is overdressed and all the judges are confused by Lisa's CPoV. See, ho, that's why you always listen when Alton tells you to do something. if everyone's confused, it's not because they're stupid, it's because you MAKE NO SENSE.

Pair 3: Adam and Jennifer
Adam and Jennifer choose to inexplicably make "kitchen sink" meatloaf. Why would you think you could make meatloaf in 30 minutes? Just because RayRay makes meatloaf patties in 30 minutes doesn't mean you can, too. She has invisible helpers that come in during the commercial breaks, swiffer away her food, and replace it with stuff that has finished cooking. You don't get that until you win TNFNS. They also make carrots (looked good) and scalloped potatoes, which were apparently severly undercooked. Adam does bring the most brilliant line of the episode to the table, though, with his, "Morimoto stares with eyes that pierce the center of your soul." Yes, Adam, he does.

Pair 4: Kelsey and Aaron
They run out of time when plating the dishes (due to diorganization on Kelsey's part (?) - it's hard to tell what the editor's wanted us to think at that point). The food they made actually looked pretty good and actually fit well together, a salmon sandwich, an orzo salad, and a soup. And then, the greatest thing happened: Giada revealed her bitchiness (kept in check by the producers of her show, evidently) and called Kelsey fake, after Sandra Lee intoned that she thought Kelsey was cute and real. It caused an upheaval of conflicting emotion within my soul, making me laugh because 'pot calling kettle,' Giada? and cry, because I actually liked Sandy at that moment. What are you doign to me, TNFNS? I can't handle this emotional turmoil. Giada was probably bitchy because she doesn't want someone younger and cuter on the network. If I can find a video, I'll post it later, because it was seriously DAWESOME (/Andy Bernard).

Pair 5: Cory and Jeffrey
Their cooking was pretty uneventful (deviled eggs, salmon with honey and lavander (yuck) and potato pancakes) and I don't think that good based on the judges reactions. Mostly the judges seemed to want to attack Cory for not being funny, which I found odd, because comedians aren't funny all the time, right? Th challenge was about the food, not their personalities, so maybe the judges should have focused on it.

The Elimination -
Kelsey and Aaron were two of the selection committee's favorites, although Kelsey needs to act like less of an over-caffeinated cheerleader (fair) and Aaron needs to show more of his personality (also fair). Adam and Jennifer seem to have done OK, too, although they tell Adam to be more serious, which I found odd, because I didn't find him particularly funny or immature. Besides, weren't they just telling Cory she needed to be MORE funny? Kevin and Lisa did alright, too, but they call her out about her retardo CPoV, again. Cory and Jeffrey are told the deviled eggs were too salty and the fish was too sweet (yuck, again), while Shane and Nipa are called out about their non-curried curried potatoes and soup.

After the dressing down, Kelsey, Aaron, Adam, Jennifer, Kevin, and Jeffrey are told they can go back upstairs as they are safe and will continue to compete. They all sprint away quickly, so as to avoid the wrath of Susie and Bob, soon to be unleashed on an unwitting contestant. Cory is told she has a crappy on-camera personality, Nipa is told she's too confident, Shane is told he has no personality, and Lisa is told she's too rigid and over-powering (just say bitchy, guys, come on, the show is on at 10 pm on Sunday night, no kids are watching). They send Cory home for not being funny enough and being unable to meld her cooking and comedy together. After one challenge. Come on, give her a break, I bet she would have been pretty good, given the chance. I'd rather see Lisa go home, no clear CPoV and a poor attitude to boot? SOLD.

Some random quibbles: Why isn't Alton Brown at the elimination? Doesn't he spend the most time with the contestants? Shouldn't he at least have a say? Or is he like the Tim Gunn of Food network? I would prefer fr him to be more of a Tom Colicchio-type, head judge, head sniff and sneer-er, I'm not here to be your friend, kind of guy. You KNOW B. Flay could rock the sniff and sneer almost as well as Tommy C., come on. Also, What was the point of having all that food splayed out in the FN test kitchen if they just made the contestants go shopping anyway? Was that a "pantry" they could use and they just went to get a few things? Or was it just unnecessary decoration to be thrown out when the shoot was done? And, not really a quibble, but B. Flay looked quite good in his blue shirt and yellow tie.

Next week: Robert Irvine makes them cook on a train (?)! Nipa runs from the selection committee! Susie eats raw eggs - maybe gets Salmonella!

ETA: Thanks to the lovely comments on TWoP, I can now, without a doubt, say eyebrows looks like a Vulcan.