Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Top Ten "Top Lists" of 2008

It's the end of the year, time for every website, blog, newspaper, magazine, whatever to list the top _____ of 2008. Lucky for you guys, I've assembled all the best top lists here, so, you stop shopping.

10. Pop Candy's top 100 people of 2008. I included this list because two of my favorite people, Ed Helms and Tina Fey, made it on the list. One of them was even number 1. I'll let you wait in suspense as to which one it was, though.

9. The Serious Eats list of all the times they mentioned bacon on their site. Not technically a "top list" but, anything with bacon can't be bad. It's also a good way to get started on your New Years resolution - to eat more bacon.

8. AOL News' Top Ten Space Stories of 2008 - random, I know, but check out number 10, then you'll understand. Also, I'm a science nerd.

7. The Watcher's list of the top 10 TV shows of 2008. Clearly I agree with "30 Rock" and "Chuck" and wish more people would watch them so they don't go the same way as the brilliant "Pushing Daisies." I haven't seen "Mad Men" yet, but I'm planning on getting season 1 on DVD as soon as possible (read" after I save up some money after the Christmas present spending debacle) and powering through it as quickly as my DVD player will allow

6. The top 15 stink faces made by famous people during 2008, also from BWE. I think that picture of John McCain and Barack Obama is comedy gold, so just having that picture on any list = high marks from me. But, that Hugh Jackman face is a close, close second.

5. TV Squad's Ten New Shows to Look Forward to in 2009. Because, let's face it. All the new fall shows sucked. I started watching a few of them, then just gave the F up. Even returning shows were kind of lacking (I'm looking at you, "The Office" and "How I Met Your Mother"). So, I'm hoping some of these shows starting up in early 2009 will be made of awesome. I'm excited for "Dollhouse" and "Castle" (Nathan Fillion - yes, please!) and I have high hopes for Amy Poehler and her new show (hopefully Rashida Jones won't be the show killer she almost invariably turns out to be).

4. Televisionary's top TV picks of 2008. I almost 100% agree with this list and practically anything Jace says about TV. "Top Chef" is the best reality show, "The Office" was absolutely the biggest letdown of the year, and the cancellation of "Pushing Daisies" was awful. Plus, his picks for the best comedies are spot on, IASiP, "30 Rock," and "Chuck?" Perfect. I highly recommend his blog for everyday, take-a-break-from-work reading, too.

3. The top ten posts on A Hamburger Today. I just discovered this blog in the past few months, even though I've been reading Serious Eats forever. It's where I discovered the debacle that was the grilled cheese burger, among other heart-attack-inducing and delicious items. I will say that you should click on the Paula Deen and the 12-year old McDonalds burger posts at your own risk.

2. Best Week Ever's 10 Funniest Sports Franchises of 2008. This is an awesome list - so funny, yet so true...and I'm a Yankees fan. I do think the Mets should have been higher on the list, though, I mean, come ON. Losing out on the playoffs two years in a row, on the last game of the season? You can't make that up.

Tomorrow - the number 1 list of things that happened in 2008...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ZOMG! ED! WTF?! Brooke Shields?

(Some of you may remember a similar post last year. If you want to relive that debacle, or if you haven't heard of my degeneracy, go here.)

OK, so we went to NYC last night to catch the (apparently) annual The Lonesome Trio show at Parkside Lounge. We got there around 8:30 and headed to the back for the show - All Night Cookin' was supposed to start at 8:30, but no one was playing and there were tons of empty seats (score for us). A quick scan of the room yielded Ed Helms and Ian Riggs sitting across the room from us, drinking and chatting with friends and family (score two for us). I totally geeked out, just like last year. So pathetic. Believe me, I'm completely aware of it.

All Night Cookin' started playing around 9, they had a good set, the crowd was into it, but, clearly I was waiting for Ed. Unfortunately, he didn't stay in the room while ANC was playing, so I couldn't leer awkwardly at him from afar, in the style of last year, although that's probably why he wasn't in the room, right? He took one look at me and was like, peace out, crazy staring ho is here.

After ANC was done playing, Ed, Ian, and Jacob started setting up and I took the obligatory Ed ass shot:

Look at how cute he is in the jacket...sigh. Here's another one:

So, they started playing pretty much right away, and they were AWESOME! You can really tell they're all friends and have been playing together for years, they have great on stage chemistry...even when they messed up, they just kept going, laughing the whole time. I will say, too, that Ed seemed particularly giddy throughout the whole set. He was joking with the audience and telling stories...perhaps he has a new girlfriend and that's what's making him so happy? Perhaps this girlfriend's name is Iko? Gosh, I wish. Anyway, Ed told an story about how he went for a walk in Central Park, all the while thinking, "New York is so beautiful," then a random guy spit across the sidewalk toward him (Ed "saw the arc"). Nice. He also pointed out the awesomeness that was the holiday decorations in the back room - wrapping paper on the walls and the racial harmony of black and white Santa Claus's spaced across the walls:


I took a ton of pictures throughout the show, unfortunately, I had some trouble getting legitimate pictures, as it was dark in there, and I have no idea how to use my camera in low-light situations. Here are a bunch of the best ones, though.

Ed looking on in amazement as the two other banjo players play EACH OTHER'S banjos:

Ed rocking the banjo:

Group shot at the end of the night:

The Lonesome Trio (Ian singing):

More Lonesome Trio:

And, the best shot of the night, just because he looks so adorable when he smiles:

And, here are two videos I took, the first is Ed singing "All Gone to Hell" and the second is a song, that I don't know the name of, but it's awesome because Ed plays the mandolin. I apologize in advance that you can here me fangirling about Ed and the mandolin before the song starts and then rambling about Ed playing the sitar in "Moroccan Christmas." I'm lame, I know.

So, we stayed until the end. After The Lonesome Trio played, they all took a break, then reconvened to play together. That break was my chance to talk to Ed and take (another - yes I know I'm a stalker) picture with him, but I missed my chance, sadly. I did actually go out to the bar during the break to get a drink and I did see him, but I was a) too afraid to actually speak to him, as I knew I would probably blurt out something ridiculously lame and b) too afraid to interrupt his conversation with, wait for it, Brooke Shields and husband (yeah, I know, WTF?!!? right? How are they even friends? Why was she at the Parkside Lounge?) because, let me tell you, Brooke Shields, even wearing no makeup, hair under a newsboy cap, wearing a baggy sweatshirt, is still incredibly, intimidatingly beautiful. There was no way in F this bridge-and-tunnel Jersey girl was going anywhere near her when she was talking to Ed. There would clearly be no comparison. It's like putting a piece of fish, beautifully prepared by Eric Ripert, next to a Fish sandwich from Long John Silvers.

So, I hung my head and scurried back to the stage-area and sat back down. The two bands started playing together (still no Ed), but they were really good. Finally, one of them was like, "where's Ed?" At which point I should have been like, "Oh, he's outside, let me go get him" (and by "get him" I mean, clearly, make out with him, then bring him on stage). Instead, someone else grabbed him and they all played a few more songs together.

People in the audience and members of both bands slowly left as the evening wore on, until just a few people were left. Including me and Ed. So, that was my second chance, but I blew that too (that's what she said), by not having the balls to actually go up to him to tell him he did an awesome job and ask for a picture. Honestly, I just felt badly because he was clearly talking to his friends and family...I didn't want to be that stupid girl that interrupts conversations with old friends and close family members to say, "ZOMG!!! ED HELMS!!! You'resodreamyOMG!" So, we just left, happy having seen Ed and gotten an incredibly enjoyable evening of music to boot. I kind of wish I had been able to talk to him, just for a second, but, like I said before, I would have undoubtedly acted like a jackass, then berated myself for like weeks afterward, so it's best to squee from afar and not be embarrassed.

Thus ended the evening of great music and awkward leering. A good time was had by all, I can't wait for December 29th next year, for another show.

Monday, December 29, 2008

ZOMG! Lonesome Trio!

The Lonesome Trio is playing tonight, at the Parkside Lounge in NYC, and guess who's going? Hopefully a full and awesome report to come!

Top Chef Season 5 - Episode 6: The Twelve Days of Christmas

So, I finally got around to watching the episode, I know, I know. But it was Christmas, and I was away, and it was Christmas...

Anyway, the predictions:
1. Martha DID show up, but only for the QF, unfortunately. I figured she'd at least want to guest judge some real food for the EC. She basically showed up to plug her book and left, right? At least she was nice to the chefs about their food, with the exception of my boy Gene...WTF is up with him lately? Point to me.
2. Jeff did make good looking food (and was good-looking himself) and did get very little screen time. Point to me.
3. Fabio did TRY to charm Martha with his accent, but didn't hit on Padma, I'll give myself 1/2 point.
4. Stefan didn't really have much screen time, but I'll assume he acted like a cock-monkey, 1/2 point to me.
5. Jamie didn't punch Stefan in the face (that we saw). Did he look like he was sporting a black eye at any point? No points.
6. God! When will Ariane go home? At least she cooked the meat properly and then won the stupid QF. I guess I was exactly wrong, so I should give myself bonus points for predicting the exact opposite of what happened, but I won't. No points.
7. None of this happened, thank God. But I did kind of get a little jealousy from Leah when the ladies were all up in Hosea's food at the benefit, so maybe that's 1/2 point.
8. This was way off. Radhika got lots of screen time, thanks to the broken fridge and Gene got lots of screen time for all the wrong reasons. I'll give myself 1/4 point for predicting that Radhika would make interesting food, though. That duck sounded awesome!
9. Melissa was uninteresting and should have gone home. 1 point.
10. Carla did shriek about Martha, but more about the fantastic gospel choir, so 1/2 point.

As for the other predictions:
I was way off about the QF theme, although I think it was a good one - one pot meal. I think it's completely bootleg that the chefs could use one pot and keep dumping stuff out of it, saving it, then cleaning the pot and reusing it, though. Wouldn't putting each part of the meal in a separate bowl and then combining everything back together create just as many dishes as using multiple pots? I think they should have just made the chefs use one pot, total, no cleaning. Much more interesting that way.

No one made dessert and no one said "throw me under the bus" so no points there. Tom did get to eat with everyone else (yay!) so 1 point, and I think Padma did wear only holiday-themed colors ( I don't remember what she wore in the QF), so I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt with 1 more point.

Total: 7 1/4 points. Not too bad. If I had actually read the title of the episode, I may have actually been able to predict the theme of the EC, but, alas, I'm not that bright.

Final thoughts - I love, love, loved how all the chefs banded together to help Radhika and Hosea, and that the two of them ended up with the best dishes. Fantastic. This is why I like this show - chefs know that at the end of the day, you have to help each other out or nothing gets done and everyone goes home. I'm positive that extra work, helping Radhika and Hosea, is why the rest of the food suffered, though. I imagine they all must have been so tired to begin with, then having to make all new food for the two of them just sent everyone over the edge. I would have liked to see what they would have come up with had the fridge not broken on them overnight.

I don't think there's a new episode this week, due to New Years, right? So I'll be back the following Wed. with a recap of the delicious goings on. In the meantime, I would like it to be known that I'm actually going to see The Lonesome Trio tonight (ED!!!!!), so hopefully, I'll be back with some good pictures and maybe video from the show. I hope everyone had a great holiday season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top Chef Season 5 - Episode 6: In Which I Blog About The Episode Before It Happens

So, I'm heading up to MA to visit my mom for the next few days, meaning I will not get the chance to update my blog, or (sniff, sad face) watch ANY TV. Yes. That's right. She has no TV and have no slingbox, so I'm pretty much incommunicado with my favorite vice until Sunday evening. So, in lieu of writing about the episode, I'll just post my predictions and thoughts about what will probably happen during tomorrow's Christmas episode. Then, when I come back on Sunday, I get the chance to see how much ESP(N) I have.

Full disclosure: my current "Top Chef" fantasy team consists of Stefan, Fabio, and Jeff, thus, my precognitive abilities may favor them.

1. Martha Stewart will show up as the guest judge (I know, but you need to give me one, come on...NO TV FOR 5 DAYS!!)
And now for each of the chefs:
2. Jeff will do nothing of consequence, other then make delicious food that looks pretty, he will seem kind of douche-y throughout the entire episode, and get no screen time.
3. Fabio will charm Martha with his accent. He will also hit on Padma.
4. Stefan will act like a cock-monkey.
5. Jamie will punch Stefan in the face after he tries to drunkenly paw at her, then proceed to act exactly like Stefan - cocky and mean.
6. Ariane will finally go home after failing to cook a slab of meat properly. She also will probably interview that she loves Martha Stewart.
7. Hosea and Leah will finally hook up (during that stupid 20 second segment they always air right before the elimination) and Stefan will douchily watch.
8. Radhika and Gene will get no screen time, yet both make interesting, inspired, and delicious-sounding food.
9. Melissa will be uninteresting, wear a stupid, green, trucker hat, and go home if Ariane doesn't.
10. Carla will shriek and yell when she sees Martha and then make some wacky-ass comments about her.

Predictions about the Quickfire: definitely holiday-themed, probably involving alcohol. Maybe some other product placement - they already did Swanson broth, what else can they use that's marginally holiday-related? Stovetop stuffing? Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup? Elimination challenge - a team challenge, serve a holiday meal to...someone related to Martha? Her crew? Someone famous who allegedly likes "Top Chef?" (I'm looking at you, Foo Fighters).

Other random predictions:
1. Someone will make dessert.
2. Someone will use the phrase "throw me under the bus."
3. Tom will actually get to eat with the other judges during the episode, not alone, hunkered down over a prep counter in the restaurant kitchen.
4. Padma will wear only holiday-themed colors.

OK, I think I've made enough predictions - one of them has to come true, right? I can't wait to come back on Sunday night and see what happened on the show. Have a good week, everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ed Helms Post of the Day (also Bradley Cooper)

Popcandy named Ed one of the top 100 people of 2008!! Although I think 80 is a little low on the list...I'd make him like 10. Who am I kidding? He's clearly 1.

Here are a few pictures from Ed's new movie, "The Hangover." Images and a brief description of the movie here.

Some initial thoughts? I'm glad you asked. Since I love stupidly funny movies (read: "Anchorman," "Wedding Crashers," "The 40 Year-old Virgin") of which I'm assuming this is, I will definitely go see this. I'll probably drag a bunch of you with me, since it comes out in June, near my birthday. Why will I see it? I'm assuming Ed Helms is as funny as he is adorable in it (I want to just give him a hug and tend to his wounds in that second picture), also Bradley Cooper is hot, even with that ridiculous hair he's sporting, as first stated here. I imagine there will be a bunch of stupid, bathroom-like humor, probably some gratuitous nudity, and possibly a shirtless Ed (more likely, but no less needed, Bradley Cooper). It's really win-win(-win). Well, win-win-win for me, not so much for those of you who have to listen to me squeal with delight throughout the movie.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Which I Say WTF?!?! Many Times: Top Chef - Episode 5

OK, did anyone have any doubt in their mind as to who was going home? As soon as Danny was all like, "She'll be a hot bride" about Gail and started making and adding those inexplicable mushrooms to the salad, I knew it was over for him. He seemed like he was a nice, funny guy, but was WAY too cocky this episode for my taste (and apparently, the judges) and I still cannot believe he's 25. Seriously? Chef work has made him look 40.

In the opening segment, I found it hysterical that Ariane was sweeping the house. First, they don't have someone come in and clean for them? Second, it was awesome that the mom was taking care of everyone. Also, Stefan hitting on Jamie was great. Does he not know what lesbian means?

Anyway, onto the Quickfire Challenege. I like the palate challenges. Ever since they started having them, I think they've been interesting and actually showcase a talent many great chefs have. That said, I think this version sucked. I didn't understand that they had to outbid each other for the first round, and I don't think Danny did, either. Once I did get it, I just kind of thought it was stupid. Why couldn't they each just write down as many ingredients as they could identify, then eliminate the one who got the least (or the most wrong). They way it was set up, you could move on without even doing anything. Dumb. Even more dumb, Hosea winning by correctly identifying vegetable oil. However, it did bring us the highlight of the evening, Stefan saying, "I don't give a f*** about these people." Both awesome and not, as it made me lose points on my fantasy team.

Elimination Challenge - cook for Gail's bridal shower. I think this was a tough challenge, because the chefs had to cook for people that know a lot about food, know what they like and don't like, and would be hyper-critical of anything the chefs put out for them to eat. That said, I feel like the chefs are always complaining about having to cook for people with uneducated or retarded palates, or whatever, so they really had the chance to try out some very complex and refined dishes. I think it would have been better if they had gotten to choose a course (appetizer, salad, fish, meat), rather than theme each dish after "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Plus, the way the courses went out didn't make any sense. The tomato course was alright as a starter, but after that, the system kind of broke down, right? I mean who wants to eat sea bass after eating a chunk of lamb with Indian spices? Maybe that was the chefs' fault for not talking with one another about the logical progression of the courses, but it seemed a little odd to me.

Random musings on the EC:

- Of course, Ariane, no one who ISN'T married could possibly know the "something old, something new..." phrase.
- Stefan's been married twice. To the same woman. And is now divorced. Again.
- I was almost too amused by Danny lifting weights while Stefan and Eugene sat around and smoked right in front of him. It would only have been better if Danny had been smoking WHILE lifting.

Borrowed: Indian (Radhika, Jamie, Ariane) - lamb
New: Surf and Turf Sushi Roll (Eugene, Danny, Carla) Tom says it's crazy (spectacular or horrible), rice gets overcooked, Eugene adds chili
Blue Melissa, Fabio, Leaf, Sea Bass "ocean" Tom says it's boring
Old: Tomatoes (Stephan, Hosea, Jeff) trio - tureen, carpaccio, gazpacho

At the shower the next day:
Why did Padma feel the need to say "beee-YOU-tiful women." Then Fabio had to copy her later and say it again! WTF? It was awesome that Tom had to lurk and leer about in the because he wasn't allowed to eat with the women at the shower. I felt so bad for him every time the camera showed him, all alone, shoveling food into his face in the kitchen. Although, I think I would have preferred to not eat with 40 women, so maybe he got the better end of the deal, getting to eat alone.

Team Old: Tomato trio. This was a nice first course and it all looked really good, too. The tomato sorbet sounded delicious and I love all heirloom tomatoes, so I imagine the terrine and gazpacho were both awesome, too. Despite Stefan's lack of team-playing, I think they did a good job, although it was probably helped by Hosea having immunity and not being a third voice, arguing about what to serve.

Team New: Ugh. WTF was up with Danny and those mushrooms? I would have cut him if he tried to mangle a dish I had made like that...Carla is a much stronger woman than I am to hold back and not freak the F out. I loved Hosea talking smack about their ridiculous plate, mostly because I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw what they were making. It looked like some kind of plate you'd get at Denny's or your local diner, if they served make-your-own-sushi. Even worse, Danny had to go and say "splooge" in reference to their food. To which I responded, "gross." Then he followed it up with a reference to the bridal shower attendees "taking their clothes off." To which I responded, "more gross."

Team Borrowed: Some lamb with Indian spices, carrot puree, and wilted chard. Um, yum? I'll take two, please. I'm kind of mad everything ended up OK for them, even though Ariane proved, once again, that she has no place in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen. But, I'm glad for Jamie and Radhika that it turned out OK. Actually, I guess I'm mostly glad for Ariane, I think Jamie would have cut her if the lamb wasn't done on time. The best part of their entire segment was Tom angrily leering at them while they were standing around waiting for the lamb to finish cooking.

Team Blue: I agree that it seemed a little blah, especially after the lamb, but I think that goes back to stupid course placement and themes. It was extremely smart of them to send Fabio up to talk to the ladies, though. I would eat almost anything Fabio served to me if he called me "beeee-YOU-tiful" first. For serious. Bitch is hot.

Judge's Table:
Not really a surprise - Old and Borrowed win. Ha! Best part - Stefan's face when the judges told Jeff that his sorbet was the best part of the dish. Worst part - Ariane winning for basically roasting some lamb. WTF? At least Jeff's sorbet was difficult, and don't get me started on the tomato terrine. What about the delightful carrot puree? I'm not saying roasting 8 racks of lamb to perfection is easy, but I think a lot of dishes were more creative and involved, not to mention that some of those chefs did a lot more work than Ariane.

Also not a surprise, New and Blue lose. Eugene and Carla both kind of bailed on their defense of the dish, while Danny stuck with it. And that was his death knell. Note to the chefs: if Tom is basically trying to get you to say you think a dish could have been better, say it. SAY IT!! I kind of felt badly for Fabio when they started smack-talking his fish, but it was good that he kept his mouth shut (for the most part, not until I had lost more points on my fantasy team, though).

In the end, it was Danny, for having a craptacular plate and palate, and for defending an indefensible dish. And probably for calling Gail a hot bride, too, who am I kidding? WTF? Hopefully, next week, Eugene will pull out a win and Fabio will continue to be hot. And Stefan will leave Jamie alone. And Melissa will get rid of that stupid green trucker hat. WTF?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Real Ed Helms Post of the Day


He's so talented - he plays the sitar!!! Instrument tally: 5

Guitar, mandolin, banjo, piano, sitar.

Like Minivans and Candles: The Ed Helms Post of the Day

You may remember this post. Or not, that's fair - it was a while ago. But, I wanted to remind you, since the day has finally come: the web series in which Jason Sudeikis and Ed Helms are both a part of premiered today at The WB. While they don't actually share any scenes, and, really don't have such big parts, the series is pretty funny and definitely worth a watch. I watched all ten episodes today (at work, don't tell), basically in succession, and it helped me pass the time nicely, you know, instead of running some ANCOVAs in SAS.

The series is called Children's Hospital, and it's a spoof on all the medical dramas on TV. Think Scrubs, but MUCH more NSFW (and more hilarious). Rob Corddry created the series and wrote all the scripts, but also stars as a doctor who tries to heal with the power of laughter (comedy gold, right? I know). The always funny Megan Mullally also stars as the chief surgeon and one of my favorites from the fantastic Veronica Mars (RIP), Ken Marino also stars. I won't give too much away (the episodes are only like 4 minutes long, you can power-through them during your lunch break) but sufficed to say there's a lot of making out, doctors making out with each other, doctors making out with patients (who may or may not be 6 years-old), doctors performing vasectomies on said 6 year-olds, creepy clowns, and Ed Helms' tongue. Hot.

Also, the fact that Ed is in the series gives me an excuse to post this awesome picture again:

Happy Monday! Enjoy Children's Hospital!

P.S. If you watch the preview for the series, you may recognize a familiar, and quite attractive, voice.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top Chef Season 5: "Today Show: Rocco DiSpirito"

I should really subtitle this post, "Today Show: Rocco DiSpirito or the overuse of 'little.'" Seriously. What was that about? Every chef, in describing their Quickfire and Elimination Challenge dish, used the word little excessively. "I just put a little balsamic drizzle on it." I made a little toast with a little egg and a little tomato." "I just did a little..." and "I just took a little..." "And I just took out my little knife and cut you." (OK, that last one I made up). Seriously, listen for it next week, soon it's all you'll hear and have to stop watching "top Chef" before your anger forces you to throw your mug of licorice tea at your flat screen.

Anyway, the Quickfire challenge was alright, I like the idea of having each chef make and Amuse Bouche, although I kind of wish it was one that reflected their culinary point of view, rather than breakfast. I don't think any restaurant serves breakfast amuses (?). It seemed like a kind of random meal to have them prepare. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe it was because the winners of the EC were going to The Today Show in the morning, morning = breakfast...I don't know, maybe that's a stretch. Regardless, Leah's was by far my favorite, both in looks and in my imagination of how delicious it would taste (it was my favorite dish of the episode). Jamie's looked good, too, but I agree with Leah, the challenge was to make one bite, not make a mini breakfast. I think trying to eat a fried egg, with your hands, in two bites, might be the most disgusting thing ever, I'm sorry to all of you who feel she was being bitchy and nitpicky. I think she was right and I'm glad Leah won for both making something delicious and following the rules of the challenge.

Also, why do they insist on bringing Rocco back every season? That bitch gets more and more annoying each time I see him. He's so arrogant. And kind of a douchebag. I believe heprobably is a very talented chef, he should have just stuck to the kitchen and not put himself out there for ridicule...I wish Anthony Bourdain and Rocco would judge the same challenege, then just argue between each other, culminating in Tony kicking the crap out of Rocco, followed by them both sitting in the stew room, passing a bottle of wine between them.

And I LOVED Fabio calling him out about not being Italian, but at least he was complimentary of Rocco's food - I guess you don't want to talk smack about someone who'll be deciding if you go home. Fabio's kind of growing on me, though, I'm so glad the editors have stopped focusing on Stefan and Fabio being douchey about Europe and are now focusing on Fabio's awesome sense of humor and his actual ability to cook. That said what's up with Stefan? And Eugene? I think they had a combined 10 seconds on camera last night...

The Elimination Challenge was stupid. I'm sorry, I said it. They did the challenge better on Next Food Network Star, and that's not really saying much. I mean, come on. Let's throw a bunch of chefs with no TV background in front of a camera with no training and no helpful pointers, then just rip them apart for being uncomfortable or pissy-looking. You know, I get that it's important for chefs nowadays to be comfortable in front of the camera, but that's something you get with time and practice, not with a two and a half minute demo, one time. Remember what Emeril and Bobby looked like during the early days of Food Network? yeah, not pretty. I don't remember, but I bet Tommy C. wasn't that great during the first few episodes of Top Chef Season 1, either, and he didn't even have to cook anything. If there had been some training or if they all had to demo the same dish, at least there could have been a more fair comparison among the contestants. It's like they couldn't think of a challenge, then Kathy Lee Gifford called them up, begging to do a segment on Top Chef and the producers were like, "Well, we don't have anything better to do..." Whatever. It's done, and Alex got to go back home to his fiance to write his vows.

For the winners of the EC: I think Jeff was hilarious the entire time - he was so pissy, it was awesome. I don't remember exactly what he said, but his interview about having to serve Middle Eastern food to a bunch of ladies with average palates at 5 am was hysterical! I was actually choking on my aforementioned licorice tea. Fabio, too, was adorable ("I'm fresh out of the boat"), I'm glad he was one of the top three - it seemed like he was a little bit nervous about talking about his food on camera, so it's good to see him come through. As for Ariane, I don't know. She clearly has no shot at winning and I don't know what to say after that. I think her salad sounded good, and it was presumably seasonal when the episode was filmed in August or so, but I kind of agree with those who said she too the easy way out. I mean, I probably would have done the same thing, if I only had two and a half minutes, but I'm not trying to say I'm one of the best chefs in the U.S. Hilarious sidebar: When Alex was talking smack about Ariane winning with her salad after the EC and she interviewed that she felt "some people" thought she took the easy way out, was anyone else thinking, "Great powers of observation, Ariane, since Alex just said EXACTLY that, right in front of you two seconds ago."

On the EC losers: Alex deserved to go home, and, let's face it, we all knew he was going home as soon as he said he missed his family 30 seconds into the show, right? Why would you choose to do a dessert? A dessert that clearly takes more than 1 hour to prep, at that? When he interviewed that anyone who does a dessert gets a "free pass" I was like, see you later jackass, hope your fiance isn't pissed you threw yourself under the bus!" Jamie was clearly too good to go home and it would be horrible to send her home based on her pissy attitude for 5 minutes after she knew she F-ed up. Who wouldn't be pissed off? The judges are lucky I wasn't there...I would have cut a bitch! Melissa - eh. I don't really have any impression of her at all, but it was clear Alex didn't care to fight for himself as much as she did, so I guess she deserves to stay. She'll probably go home next week, anyway. I was mostly concerned about why all three of them appeared to be preparing for a flood. Seriously, why do you need your pant to be that short?

Next Week: Gail pimps out her wedding shower for TV. Awesome. If I were one of her guests I'd be so pissed. Showers are annoying enough as it is, can you imagine having to attend one that's being filmed for your friends' TV show?

Random rant: Again with the random cut-in before the elimination. What the F? What's up with the porno music playing across the entire 20-second spot? Why do we need to see Hosea and Leah starting a relationship or friends-with-benefits situation? I don't care. I just want to see the food.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday Tirade - Mother-effing Burger King

(Found through TV and Serious Eats)
There are no words. Just watch the insensitivity and complete ignorance below:

Actually, there are words. Some of them are here. More of them are here and here.

Look, I'm not going to write anything that wasn't written in those articles, or say anything more intelligent than the people who will certainly talk about this tomorrow, but I just have to say that this is a horrible ad campaign. Like really awful. The "Whopper Virgins" Burger King is forcing to eat these burgers, are actually suffering from malnutrition, hunger, and extreme poverty, among other things most Americans have little concept of. How is it ethical to bring these people our diabetes-inducing, fat-laden food, just so they can have a bite, to see which disgusting, waste of food and Calories "tastes" better? And all just to promote their stupid burger as tasting better than McDonalds - not to bring awareness to the issues facing the people featured in the commercials. It makes me sad that this is the only impression of American food (and probably America, in general) these people will probably ever have. It makes me more sad that this stupid campaign will actually get Burger King lots of attention and probably make degenerate people with no brains' actually WANT to eat there more.

If Burger King really wanted to bring attention to themselves and people who need help, wouldn't it serve the cause better to donate a portion of their profits for the month to a program to help relieve hunger in these regions? Or actually show the plight of the people in Thailand or Romania, rather than use the most remote regions of these countries as a way to find people that haven't been poisoned by crap food yet? Quite frankly, both Burger King's and McDonalds' burgers suck. It's not even a victory for Burger King (clearly their burgers win, or they wouldn't have bothered to show the commercials in the first place) because they win the title of having the best burger of two that suck and exploit a bunch of people in the process. It's pathetic, insensitive, and, in no way, helps the resolve or improve the situation of world hunger and poverty.

And it has cost Burger King my business. The one Jr. Whopper I would have bought in the next ten years. I'll add that $1.50 to the donations I plan to make this holiday season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Some Fun Stuff for Monday - A Lot About Andy

Here are a few interesting things I came across this past weekend and I thought I'd share with all of you...

An interesting interview with Tina Fey and her husband in Vanity Fair. I'm not sure I like how much the article emphasizes Tina's hotness, rather than her intelligence and general awesomeness, but I'll take it.

Another 30 Rock related article in The New Yorker, unfortunately Nancy Franklin doesn't really seem to get the show, or how great it is.

I was playing this all weekend. I suck. Like really badly. I can only get through the levels by copying the awesome things other people build, but it's still a tremendous amount of fun. And a great waste of time in the workplace.

Also, in a mini-things-I-bought-that-I-love post, I received this:

over the weekend. Brilliant! Who doesn't love Andrew Bernards' cheery face leering at them while drinking coffee? I can't think of a single person...more are available here.

And, finally, for all you A.C. lovers out there (like me), who haven't seen this yet:

Um, yes, please. Too bad that goofy guy is in the video, too.