Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top Chef - 12.17.08

At the Cheftestant's apartments, Ariane is feeling good about herself and vows to keep is simple and stick to cooking. Eugene is feeling vulnerable because he's been in the bottom. Fabio is upset at being called boring, and Stefan says that he woke up with what felt like Tom or Padma's shoe up his ass. And he said this while he carved a mean face in a watermelon, jack-o-lantern style.

Hosea got a call home on the T-MOBILE SIDEKICK LX (did you get that product placement) and talked to his sister. Apparently, his dad was diagnosed with cancer shortly before he went on the show. That's rough, and I'm glad he got a chance to chate.
Quickfire Challenge

They have to make a delicious holiday dish using only one pot. And their guest judge is ... Martha Stewart!

It's a mad dash to try to get things chosen and cooked. Hosea is doing a paella. Jeff is making a potato risotto. Ariane is making a cauliflower puree and filet mignon. She and Jamie have formed a kind of partnership, tasting each other's foods and offering suggestions. Interesting. A lot of people are cooking something and then pouring it out of the pot, and using something else in the same pot. That seems like cheating to me.

Tasting time!

Eugene - Spicy Korean Stew with Pork and mushrooms, cilantro sour cream and wonton chips. Martha could tell that his broth was thickened with cornstarch, and he admitted it wasn't his preferred method, but due to time restraints, he couldn't thicken it by cooking it down. Martha is enigmatic in how she feels about it.
Stefan - Veal Celtic Goulash with potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms. Martha appreciated the chanterelles.

Hosea - Paella with Seafood, chicken, and chorizo. Martha and Padma liked it.

Melissa - Pork Tenderloin, Braised cabbage, apples, and bacon, with and orange and fennel salad. The flavors were applauded.

Jeff - Potato Risotto with crispy pork and sauteed brussel sprouts. It was called interesting, and pungent because of vinegar. Didn't sound good to me.

Jamie - Potato and Kale Stew with scallops and fried sage. It looked good and got good marks.

Ariane - Cauliflower puree with herb rubbed filet mignon. Martha thought there was butter, but it was just cream. Martha called it excellent. Good.

Carla - Brined Turkey breast with apple and dried cherry breadless stuffing. It was called "Excellent" and "Very nice," so those are good reactions.

Fabio - Roasted mushroom polenta with seared duck breast. Martha just said "Thanks," again enigmatically.

I would like to complain again for not seeing everyone. I think the only person they skipped this time was Radhika. Why skip? Turn down the product placement for a second, and show me all the dishes!

Martha did not like Jeff's potato risotto, and also didn't like Eugene's stew, for the corn starch, and also didn't like Fabio's risotto because the mushrooms were not visible and were kind of grey. Fabio was offended.

Hosea's paella, Jamie's dish, and Ariane's dish were on top. Jamie has got to be pissed that Ariane won the challenge instead of her again, and received an autographed copy of Martha's latest book.

They'll be catering a holiday party for amFAR, for 250 people. Since this was probably taped in August, Padma brought in the Harlem Gospel Choir to sing some Christmas songs for them to get them in the mood. It was nice. Hosea suspected it was a twist, and he would be correct. The Cheftestants pulled knives with numbers and had to cook according to a theme from The 12 Days of Christmas.

Let's review:

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtledoves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Each dish must be inspired by their assigned knife. They have 3 hours to prep, then 1 hour on location at the party the next day. The party is hosted by Natasha Richardson, and Michelle Bernstein will also be guest judging.

Stefan got 12, Hosea got 11, Jeff got 10, Fabio got 9, Melissa got 8, Jamie got 7, Ariane got 6, Eugene got 5, Leah got 3, Carla got 2, and Radhika got 1. Let's see how they handle this one - it's a toughie.

They got 45 minutes and $800 at Whole Foods. There are some intersting ideas passing about in the grocery store, and then it's time to prep. Hosea's marinade on his grilled pork smoked up the whole kitchen. The refridgerators are packed with not really cooled down food, which is not ideal. The next morning, they find that one of the fridges is warm. Everything is spoiled. Hosea's pork, gone. Radhika's Duck? Spoiled. Melissa's cheese? Bad, but she found different cheese in the kitchen.

They got more product for them, and everyone hopped in to help solve the problem. Radhika's duck breast was the only thing that was ruined, and the rest of her duck was in a different fridge and was saved. Somehow, people managed to get their own stuff prepped as well, and they were off for the party. The guests are instructed to pin their AIDS ribbons next to their favorite dish.

Stefan (Twelve drummers drumming)- Creamy Chicken Pot Pie with English peas, white asparagus, thyme, and parsley. He used the chicken as "drums"

Radhika (partridge in a pear tree) - Braised duckleg on a toasted brioche with pear chutney & toasted pistachios. Sounds good.

Carla (Two turtledoves) Braised chicken with duxelles and mushroom cap. She said the mushroom cap was her inspiration because it looks like a turtle's shell. I say she is confused as to what a turtle dove is. It's this:

Not this:

Anyhow, it was called salty and one note.

Eugene (Five golden rings) - Poisson Cru with pineapple ring & yukon potato chip. He told a little story, but it didn't help him get good marks. It was overly sweet, and one of the judges said he couldn't possibly have tasted it first. ouch.

Fabio (Nine ladies dancing) - Sweet corn and roasted pepper crab cake with chipotle, lime aioli, and coleslaw. He told a little story about how crabs = ladies dancing, but it was called greasy and dense.

Jamie (Seven swans a-swimming) -Crudo of sea scallop in vichyssoise with lemon olive oil, crispy leeks, and micro greens. It's called "wrong" and "slimy." Ouch. Guess she should have prepped her own stuff more, since it was called raw.

Melissa (Eight maids a-milking) - Gorgonzola & NY Strip steak on sourdough crostini with cranberry vinaigrette. It did not get good marks.

Leah (Three French hens) - Braise guinea hen with butternut squash puree over puff pastry. The puff pastry was said to dull the dish down, which is a shame.

Ariane (Six geese a-laying) - Deviled Eggs six ways. I didn't catch them all, but Tom thought it was a bit boring and uninspired, even if they were delicious.

Hosea (Eleven pipers piping) - Smoked pork loin with chipotle mashed potatoes & apple brandy jus. This got good marks, and got a few favorites. He pimped his restaurant a bit.

Jeff (Ten lords a-leaping) - Seared halloumi & kasseri cheese with roasted beets, pears, mint, and spices. This was called well rounded and also got some favorites.

Four calling birds was left out due to lack of chefs.

Judge's Table

There was much Christmas Love in the Stew Room.

Hosea, Jeff, Stefan, and Radhika got pulled back in the top. Radhika's ducklegs were very well cooked, and the judges acknowledged the difficulty that she (and Hosea) had. Jeff's salad was called "memorable," though the judges didn't think he needed both Greek Cheeses. "It's a bit like putting Brie on top of Camembert," but still, delicious. Hosea's pork was called "very nice."

The winner is Hosea. He garnered the most red ribbons and was also judge's choice. Because he had help, all the chefs are getting cookbooks as a present - from one of the guest judges.

And going in for the bottom rung is Eugene, Melissa, and Jamie. Jamie's scallops were lukewarm and should have been crispy cold. She stood up for them being good, and one of the judge's said she should have seared the scallops. Tom wanted it to be ceviche instead of raw. Melissa's very cheesy intense dish was too much. Eugene's dish was called underseasoned and overly sweet. He refused to believe that his dish had anything wrong with it, but only 8 people thought it was the best. He got a talking to. The guest judge (the chef) said "You're only as good as your last dish."

The judge's were disappointed in the overall quality of the whole night, and wanted to address the whole group. Tom said he wanted everything to be delicious, and they need to start cooking the best food they can.

In the spirit of the Holidays, and because they all pulled together in the kitchen, no one is going home.

And I stayed up until almost midnight for no one to be going home.

Next week is a grand Top Chefs of Seasons Past Holiday Showdown! Fun fun fun.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Survivor Gabon: Reunion

The start of the reunion show showed some of Bob's many highlights. I am giddy.

Probst asked him what his key to winning was, and he said it was just to be necessary, and liked. It worked. Probst asked how Bob made that Fake Idol. He said that he snagged a bunch of beads off the Kota flag, and found another piece of it on the walkabout he took. Probst said that saved the remnants of the Fake Idol from the fire after they all left tribal, and asked where Bob got the rope. Bob said "I take stuff," and admitted he got it from the clue gourds at Exile. Probst tossed the Idol remnants back to Bob as a souvenir. Bob is apparently using challenges to create questions for his physics exams. That's awesome.

Probst asked the jury who would have voted for Matty if he had won the fire making challenge. It was an easy five votes, and Matty would have won. Probst brought Matty to task for not practicing making fire, and Matty admitted that he was feeling confident.

In something I have been waiting for, Probst addressed the audience at home, and future Survivor contestents, and said that if you are going to be on Survivor, go to REI, buy a flint, and practice making fire. Sage advice, Probst. Matty says he was never good at homework.

Probst asked Susie how she made it to the end. She says she was just nice and a hard worker. The swing vote was Randy, and he said that the fact that Susie wouldn't shut up about the cookie incident was the million dollar cookie. God, he is childish.

Probst came to Sugar next, who has become totally recognized on the streets, and she always makes sure she looks good and has makeup on when she leaves the house. Sugar then says that anyone who has a heart could understand her being emotional all the time. She says she is feeling better now, stronger.

Corinne's Antidepressent speech may have usurped Sue's Snake/Rat speech for the nastiest thing ever said at Final Tribal. Corinne got soundly booed by the audiene. Corinne says that she feels sorry for Sugar's loss and felt like she was stuck in Africa with a colicky baby, and she couldn't take it anymore. She admits for going to the jugular, and that in real life, if she didn't like someone, she would just not spend time with them, but if forced to spend time with people, she's totally that person. And she admits to loving the boos.

Marcus says that a lot was not shown that showed how Sugar got on people's nerves. Corinne apparently took Probst and the show to task for not showing her nastiness from beginning to end. She says she just has a dry sense of humor, and now she plans on teaching sensitivity training.

Randy's next. He says that people are either born with ability to like him or not, and his best friend for the past 15 years was his dog.

Marcus apparently has off-the-charts IQ, but next highest in the group was Randy, who thinks the test must just be flawed, and says he cheated his way into an engineering degree at Vanderbilt, and he brought 6 strangers as his guests to the show, who are just fans of the show. That's kind of nice. Randy applied to be on the show 15 times, and says that they should have waited until about season 22, because he would be funnier and meaner. Probst calls him one of the most dispicable and likeable people ever on the show.

Probst turns to Charlie next, who is super nice, and is friends with Caustic Corinne and Whetched Randy. He says he was born to love both of them.

Next under the spotlight is Crystal's physical ineptitude. Crsytal showed off her Olympic gold medal, and a picture of herself at the Olympics. She says she is built to run around a circle, and challenges are really hard.

Dan (with a really unfortunate haircut) says that he was made vulnerable on the show, taken away from his inner security circle.

Ken (also with an unfortunate haircut - mostly too much product), showed off some clips of his gaming. He admits that he got really cocky, and that Survivor is not a game of chess, which is how he was playing it. He says that girls are now actually talking to him, but he wants someone nice who likes him for him, and not because he was on Survivor.

Michelle (newly blonde), says that she has nightmares about a termite trying to eat her, since she ate a termite with Ken.

Ace's inconsistant accent is brought up next. He says his accent is entirely real, but says in retrospect, it would have been cool if he had faked an American accent around camp, and spoken in his British accent in confessional. That would have given me the giggles.

(Matty's face when they were watching the elephant across the river was so cute, really)

The Sprint Favorite players of the season came down to Matty, Bob, and Sugar. Matty came in third, and Sugar came in second. Bob won the $100,000 Fan Favorite, too. Probst says that Bob is so calm about everything, it's weird.

It's because Bob is from Maine. I know people from Maine. He's a lot like a good friend of mine from Maine, actually. (Mike Floyd if you are reading, I see you being like Bob when you get older).

Probst did a really cute impression of what he would be like in Bob's case, touting "If you want to learn to tie a bow tie, check out"

Matty got his girl a real engagement ring, but she still has on the Gabon-ring.

Paloma and Kelly got a second to talk about how much they appreciated the game. Probst says that GC is the only player to go MIA before a challenge, and GC said he was "looking for some Pot pies or something," and was just out looking for food. Jacquie said that the disconnect from technology was nice, and Gillian said that her applying for every season was totally worth it.

So, where are they going next?

It's the rugged Brazilian Highlands, with the Rio Novo running through it, and Survivor: Tocantins is coming in February.

Can't wait to blog it!

Now - do I dvr Bob on the Early Show tomorrow? Hmmmm...

Thank you for reading my commentary this season. Hope that you keep reading! American Idol is coming soon!

Survivor Gabon: Finale! 12.14.08

The finale began with a recap of the season, and the Kota domination in the beginning was showcased. The sweet moment of Randy's departure sure was nice to see again. Susie is touted as not as useless as she looks, and Matty is shown to be "bitter at Bob" for being such a dominating force at challenges. Sugar called herself inept at the game, but has proven to be a very influential game-player. And Bob? Yeah, well, Bob is the unlikely MAN. Ken is so cocky, and I don't know if I can stand him at all. Hope he (or Susie) is the first one gone.

Back at camp, Sugar pats herself on the back for using the Hidden Immunity Idol to save Matty. She is feeling super powerful, and Ken is feeling betrayed. He said "What about the next time, will you give me the idol then?" Bob said "Why don't you get your own idol?" And *snap*. Bob said that he feels that all promises are off, because Ken was trying to out their agreement in order to embarass him. Agreed.

Sugar had a little chat with Bob, and says she is going to try to get back with Ken and try to keep him on her good side, and she admits that she would love a final three with Bob and Matty (Yes, please!). Ken and Sugar went for a walk to get tree mail, and totally drew him in with her feminine wiles and he buys that she's still with him.

The final five have to outfit themselves as warriors with paint and beads and fabric before the Immunity Challenge. Susie is all in black, Sugar is in blue, Ken is in white, Matty is in yellow, and Bob is in red. They look awesome. Probst called Bob's look "very village people." It is that.

They have to dig under a wall, and make their way across a series of planks, into a maze filled with Gabonese huts. Inside three of the huts, there are puzzle pieces, which they have to bring one bag at a time to the ending platform. They have to then build a replica of a Gabonese hut. Winner gets Immunity.

Susie is the first through her hole, followed swiftly by Kenny, Bob, Matty, and Sugar (Probst said "squeezing that booty through," and got a laugh from her.) Matty fell off the raised plank maze and had to start over. Susie, Sugar, Ken finish first, then Susie got through the gate first, followed by the others. It's very close. There are 25 huts, and only three have puzzle pieces. (and they have to get their own colored bags)

The pressure is on, and this is all about luck in picking the right huts with the pieces. Bob is looking a little weak at the ending ramp, but he kept slogging through. Sugar and Bob get to the puzzle first.

When it comes to the puzzle, it's down to Sugar and Bob, and Bob - THE MAN - came out barely on top. Susie wasn't even in it. That necklace is looking might comfortable on Bob's neck. Susie admits in confessional that she doesn't know how anyone can beat Bob ("Wizard, Fantastic Bob.")

Ken is feeling pretty confident about his place, and thinks he can just lay back and do nothing. Matty told him that he thinks Sugar is going to tell Susie that they are going to write her name down, and Matty reminded Ken that he has never written his name down, and tells Ken that if he was going to vote him out, he'd tell him. Susie is feeling vulnerable, and thinks that Matty isn't telling her as much as he usually does. Matty tells Sugar that he is with her until the end, and that's how it needs to be, no matter what. Matty wants Ken at the end with them. Sugar wants Bob. Sugar asks Bob who they should vote for. Nothing is necessarily decided before tribal. Sugar feels that Bob and Matty will vote with her.

It's Tribal Time!

Bob is now tied for most number of wins in a row. Is it Colby who holds that other record? Matty feels that Bob is deserving of this title. Ken brings up that Bob is outdoorsy, and he's a gamer. This doesn't explain why Ken is no where close to Bob on things like puzzles, and the fact that there have been no swimming challenges this season (am I wrong?), and a whole heck of a lot of puzzles and mental challenges. Which Ken lost. So there goes his theory. Susie admits that she doesn't feel safe because basically, she has no strategic gameplay. Ken is feeling safe, and again brings up the fact that he thinks Bob is re-nigging on the deal - the "small print on the bottom of the contract." Bob brings up the fact that Ken was planning on voting HIM out if he gave up the idol. The jury had a field day with that, you could tell. Ken sees nothing wrong with stabbing Bob in the back after taking his idol. That's just the game. Uh.... good thing Bob is not stupid and willing to sacrifice himself. He keeps the necklace again.

After the votes, which they only showed Susie voting for Ken and Ken voting for Susie, Ken the Cocky is out. I'd say he deserved that. I daresay Probst was pleased to snuff his torch. Matty did vote for Ken, by the way, so he went back on that word. Wonder why he said anything at all.

I just have to comment that Matty is wearing a skirt. That is all.

The final four returned to Nobag (I still can't stand that they named the tribe that). Sugar and Bob went out fishing. Matty told Susie that he could tell she was super nervous. Susie admits that Bob's winning streak is "more than just luck - he's pretty skilled."

Tree Mail - and it's time for the Fallen Comerades Trek. They have to go to Exile and collect the torches to the 14 before them, and then bring them to the highest peak and burn them, then head to their Immunity Challenge.

Michelle, we hardly knew you, and you were gone, in your shivering coldness. Gillian, the spunky grandma, who I wanted to be what Bob has turned out to be. Sweet little Paloma, who I really wanted to do better than she did. Jacquie, another one who I wished had lasted longer. So many of these people had the bad luck of being on Fang, and no other fault. GC, I do not miss. He was kind of miserable. I don't appreciate people who give up. Kelly, who also should have lasted longer, I think. She was a cutie. Ace, who Sugar feels really guilty about. Matty said "He was a shizter, but he was cool." Ace, in his slightly slipping accent (was that fake?), who felt so superior to everyone. Dan who was inept at finding the Hidden Idol. Marcus, who was also out sooner than anyone would have thought. Charlie, with his crush on Marcus. The Onion's center, which didn't hold strong enough to last. Randy, who no one misses. Sugar razzed him, and Bob said "at least you know where you stood with him, because he didn't mince words." Corinne, who "certainly knew how to tell you what she thought." Crystal, the seemingly least athletic Olympian ever. Ken, the "mastermind," who fell in the end.

Before burning the masks, the Final Four was serenaded by Gabonese Tribal musicians. They held hands and listened to the music as they watched the fallen 14 go up in flames.

And they went onto their Immunity Challenge.

The Survivors will have 200 wooden tiles, which they have to use to build a house of cards 10 feet tall. And that's the whole challenge. It looks challenging. If after 30 minutes, no one has built a 10-foot tall tower, the highest tower wins.

Everyone has a different strategy. Sugar immediately made very quick progress, but it may not be sturdy enough. Susie was making some progress, but hers fell over, followed quickly by Sugar's toppling. Amazingly, Bob is having difficulty in the beginning. Susie and Sugar built tall skinny towers again, and Sugar's went down, followed by Susie's. Bob's fell down next, and Matty's seems solid. Sugar and Susie again built very tall towers, and Matty was going strong behind them. Bob is really having troubles. Susie is visibly nervous, and has an 8 foot tower and she stopped instead of going on. Bob's toppled over and over. Right at the end, Sugars tower fell, and Susie won the final immunity.

I have doubts for Bob's continuation in the game. Susie won with some skill, but I still can't feel that she belongs in the final three.

I would like to see Matty gone, but at this point, I really think that Bob is out. Can I cry now?

Sugar is feeling like they underestimated Susie when they voted out Ken and is feeling unsure.

The problem with Susie not really playing with any strategy is that no one really has strong ties or alliances with her. Problem is, Sugar is not going to vote for Matty, and Bob is basically saying goodbye to everyone right then. Susie is absolutely sure that Bob would kick her butt in the challenge, and was sure she would be going home instead of holding the immunity around her neck. Susie again displayed the insanity of blabbing blabbing blabbing like she did when she told Corinne that she was planning on voting for her. Susie then asked Bob if he thought he would get a lot of jury votes. Bob doesn't want to talk about it. Susie kept going on about how much in shock she was that she won. Sugar told Susie that she didn't need to keep rubbing the salt in Bob's wounds.

Sugar brings up the (fabulous) idea of causing a tie between Matty and Bob. She is feeling like Bob is a father figure, and since she just lost her dad, that's an important thing. I hope that Sugar's emotions get the better of her, and she forces that tie. The only problem is that she promised Matty she would never write his name. I hope that she goes back on her word.

Bob, in his genius, went off to "be by himself" for a while, which was basically his practicing the are of fire making - just in case there is a tie breaker. And Sugar thought he was going off to meditate or something. Oh, good luck, Bob.

Tribal #2

Susie preens about how happy she is that she won, and Bob admits to being very uncomfortable. Matty says he couldn't stab Sugar in the back by voting for her, because she gave him the immunity. Bob says that Matty is well-liked on the jury, and Sugar is not, so it'd be smarted to get rid of Matty. Sugar says that she feels like Matty is her brother, and Bob is her dad, so she feels really close to both of them. Bob is proud to be a father figure to Sugar, and broke down a bit, saying, "I am a father, and I'm a damned good one, because I had the greatest father as a good example that I tried to follow." He also says that Sugar's decision is the cruelest she could ever make, but he hopes she makes a good one.

Me too.

And she did!! It's a tie!

Sugar was in tears, and the jury was looking very interested.

Bob's preparation was a good decision, as it's a firemaking challenge tie-breaker.

Bob was first to get flame going, and it was very strong a he tried to build it up. He lost his breath a little and lost his spark. He blew on the embers like crazy, and managed to bring his fire back to life. He built the fire up as Matty desperately tried to get his started. Bob - THE MAN - with an inferno to be envied, burned through his rope and secured his spot in the final three. He and Matty had a good strong hug and Matty's torch was extinguished.

Matty seems to harbor no ill will towards sugar for his ouster. We'll see what he says on the jury.

The Final Three get a feast for brunch - including pancake batter, croissants, and Mimosa fixings. Sugar says that "Except for Marcus, I pretty much had something to do with the ouster of everyone on the jury." She's not expecting to win them over, but hopes to get a vote or two.

Bob's "final gadget" is a testament, he says, to why his mother wouldn't let him play with matches. They set fire to the Nobag hut in a blaze of glory. It went up and scared wildlife. They walked away with it blazing (and I'm sure with the production crew standing by with fire extinguishers.)

Ken got a chance to speak, and said that he admires Sugar's gameplay. Randy admitted that he doesn't like any of them, and is looking forward to the revenge. Corinne is looking forward to letting them have it, and letting her true colors show. This ought to be interesting.

Final Tribal

First, the Final Three get their opening statements.

Susie says that she just wanted to try to be in the game. She feels like her confidence has grown throughout the game.

Bob says that he played with gusto and with heart, and he used his personality and his survival skills to make their lives better. He says he doesn't feel like he outwitted them, and he doesn't feel like he outplayed them, all he did was outlast them.

Sugar says that she feels like she played the perfect social game, but never got her name written down, and admits that she lied, but it was part of the game. She said that she never sought out an alliance until she made an alliance with Bob to save him. Matty and Ken didn't seem to like that answer.

Charlie's question: When Jeff asked for everyone to be rated according to usefulness, Susie was at the bottom, and Sugar was next to last. What makes them think they deserve to be at the top now?

Susie says that she is still trying. Sugar said that she doesn't think he has to vote for her, but it would be nice. Not the best answer.

Charlie's second question was funny, basically asking if Bob liked the cuddling and spooning. Bob said that he stayed warm at night, and likes Charlie, and that's what mattered. Charlie liked that answer.

Crystal applauded Susie's skill at coattail riding, and told Bob that Sugar controlled him like a remote control car. She wants to know what Bob has done strategy-wise other than what he was told to do, and Bob said he was also riding coattails. She asked Sugar why she voted her out, and Sugar said that it was because of the way Crystal talks to people and bullies them, and while she likes it, she doesn't think it was nice, and it would have been smarter to keep her instead of Bob, but that's not the way it went down.

Ken asked Susie why she deserves the money. Susie says it's because she's an underdog and average. He asked Sugar why she backstabbed him (and made a comment about her being the first girl he felt he could trust, and thought this might improve his dating life in the future, which was kind of funny). She admitted that she had alliances with everyone, and thought he was a bigger threat than Susie, who then went on to win the challenge, so oopsie. Ken didn't believe her. Then, he asked Bob again about the Immunity Idol Agreement, and Bob said that as soon as he found out that Ken was going to vote him out as soon as that necklace left his neck, all bets were off. Ken was not happy with that answer. Apparently, Bob was supposed to step right onto the train tracks to please Ken.

Corinne got her chance next. She asked Susie if she would have her vocal chords removed if she won the money. Susie denied that request. Corinne then asked Bob to show his nasty side (because no one can just be nice, in Corinne's mind.) She says that she's met Nice Bob and she's played with Nice Bob and she finds him one-dimensional. (I find Nasty Corinne one-dimensional, too). She wants him to make him believe that he doesn't like Sugar. The only thing he can say is that he didn't like the way Sugar reacted to the fake idol play on Randy. He began to talk about how in the past few days... but Corinne told him not to get nice, because she doesn't relate to nice people. Bob wisely shut his mouth. Corinne then targeted Sugar. "You are an undereducated, unemployed leach on society," and the only thing she wants to give to her is a handful of antidepressants so no one would have to be subjected to her constant crying, so it seemed more sincere when she was crying about her dead father. Sugar (understandably) gave Corinne the middle finger about that statement, and Corinne spat that Sugar didn't deserve the million. God, Corinne is a miserable human being.

Marcus was up next. He thought that Susie didn't live up to being a role model like a mother and a child-educator should, even though it is just a game. He then told Sugar that he was assuming that he father did actually die and that wasn't a lie (she assured him that is was the truth), and since he has also lost his father, wanted to know if she would use part of the winnings to do something to honor her father, as he would have. Sugar said that she never thought that she would win the money, but she would absolutely give some money to lung cancer research, but also wants to help children. Marcus wants Bob to take responsibility for his actions in the game. Bob said that he never really had the need to take charge. He said that others made good decisions and he didn't ever have the need to step on anyone's toes. True enough.

Randy's bitter diatribe is next. He told Susie that if 39 days ago, someone had told him where they both would be, he would have told them they were crazy. She told him she was sorry for him, and she elaborated that it's because he seems like such an unhappy person and she wishes she knew how to help him. He asked Sugar why she felt the need to roll on the ground laughing when he played the fake idol, if she was even aware that he was going to be on the jury, and asked if she thought she could make a jackass out of him, since there was no way she was getting his vote. She said that she didn't need to make a jackass out of him, because he'd already done it to himself. I guess she's honest, but that's not winning her any votes. She called him out for being a jerk. Randy then asked Bob if he felt the need to make a jackass of him. Bob said he intended to use the Fake Idol to protect himself by letting someone see it, and the opportunity came to play it, and he did, but also admits that he was outraged at Sugar's reaction (and this is true).

Matty's got the last say. He asked Susie why she is more deserving than the others. Susie also said that she was disappointed in Sugar's reaction to Randy's ouster. She then said that Bob congratulated her for winning immunity, but then snapped and she took that to mean that he was short tempered. (I think I would have snapped, too, if someone kept yattering at me about how well they had done at my expense. And he basically just told her to stop talking about it, and let him enjoy what time he had left, since he had no idea that Sugar would flip to save him. I cannot blame him.) Matty asked Sugar what her evil side is, since she portrays herself to be so innocent. She said that she feels like she broke Kenny's heart in voting him out. I think Matty was looking for something involving her vote against him. Matty asked Bob why the two girls are more deserving of the money than he is. Bob said that he doesn't think they are, and that was the end of that.

Matty looks better scruffy. Randy looks really stupid with a mohawk. Despite those follicular misfortunes, it's time for the jury to vote.

Matty voted for Susie. Corinne voted for Bob, though she is still not sure how such a nice guy survives in the real world. Randy said (loudly enough to be heard) "All three of you, kiss my *bleep*." Pleasant.

And after the voting, Probst took the votes and departed. Through camera magic, he left tribal council and arrived in LA instantaneously. So much better than the overdramatic taking off in a helicopter.

And HOLY HELL Sugar looks gorgeous in her full pin-up model styles. Very Marilyn. They all looked pretty nervous.

Corinne's vote for Bob was first revealed, followed by Matty's vote for Susie. Susie took another vote, and another. Bob took his second vote, and then his third, and it was tied. The last vote is a vote for Bob.

BOB WINS. I cheered. I admit it.

Sugar was not surprised to garner no votes.

Bob's jubilant family embraced him. He is the oldest winner in Survivor history.

I'll blog the reunion show separately.

I am so freaking thrilled at this outcome. GO BOB!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Survivor Gabon: 12.11.08

What's going to happen this week? Can Bob continue to dominate in challenges and somehow pull off a coup? I sure hope so!

Matty was certainly angered about Ken voting for him - which Ken called an attempt at pulling jury votes for himself. Ken wasn't buying it. Ken got cocky and said that he's been running everything. Crystal regrets not voting for Matty, because he is such a threat.

Bob is feeling guilty about lying to Ken and he actually said that he would give Ken the Immunity if he wins it.

NO BOB!!! Don't DO THAT!!!!

Ken is totally playing Bob, and I hate that. Ken is getting on my nerves.

Reward Challenge

Race into a swamp through and obstacle course, get a ball, then race back through the swamp to try to throw the ball in a basket. Head back out. First to get three balls wins reward.

Winner gets to fly in a helicopter to a gorilla reserve, and gets to observe the gorillas, and then gets a nice meal, a bed, and the opportunity to send someone to Exile.

Ken and Matty got to their balls first, followed by Bob. The girls took up the rear. Matty managed to get his ball in first, followed by Ken, and then Bob. Back out they go. Bob calmly got his second ball and sunk it first try. He and Matty went out for third balls, followed by Ken.

Third balls are tossed and Reward goes to Bob.


Crystal failed to dunk the ball even when trying to do a slam dunk.

And Bob gets to bring someone with him. He chose Crystal. Not sure why, other than the pout. He gets to pick someone else, and chose Ken. He said (in confessional) that he needs Crystal and Ken to be in the game.

Bob chose Susie to go to Exile, sending Matty and Sugar back to camp. Matty confessed that he hopes to get Sugar to align with him to get Ken and Crystal out of the game. Hope that works. I am hoping for a Bob/Sugar/Matty final, so hope that he manages to talk her into it!

After a gorgeous helicopter ride, the three enjoy an amazing reward with gorgeous fruit and the like. It looked delicious.

Ken says that he is willing to let Bob keep immunity if he wins it, and take a chance, unless he feels he needs it. Let's see how that works. What would be cool is if Bob wins immunity and Ken gets blindsided. That would rock.

They get to take showers and get some very festive native garb to wear. Then, they got to go see the orphaned gorillas. They were orphaned from the illegal meat trade. There's also a silverback in the group, and he was impressive. Bob said the experience rocked his soul, and he's not normally spiritual, so that's saying something.

Susie at Exile took the Comfort and so also enjoyed some delicious fruit. Wouldn't it be hilarious if there is a second Idol out there?

Back at camp, Matty is trying to win Sugar over. Sugar basically told him he had better win the challenge, because her alliance is strong. Matty tried to talk Sugar out of the Hidden Idol, and Sugar wasn't hearing any of it. There go my dreams... Sugar seems unflappable.

Crystal went to confront Matty about not being there for her. Crystal is insane. Sugar actually took offense to it, and ... what's this? "Matty doesn't deserve it." There might be some sort of switch here. Sugar the Ever Changeable, has a tearful heart to heart with Matty and says that she sees now that Ken and Crystal are not good people, and she wants to have a chat with Bob and Susie and take out Crystal first. Fingers crossed!

Immunity Challenge

They have to study the features of a Gabonese mask, take a bag of pieces of mask features, make their way through a maze to a blank mask (several bags), and recreate the mask. Oh yeah - blindfolded. Here's for hoping Bob is as good blind as he is with his eyes.

Matty decided to take his bags all out before working, while Sugar, Bob, and Susie were working on their masks one bag at a time. Crystal went off course several times.

It's not the most exciting challenge to watch. Bob cleverly stowed his pieces in his shirt while making his way through the course. Bob thought he had his mask right, but his first attempt was not correct. Susie went off course, and Ken got his wrong on his first try. Matty and Bob were neck to neck, and Bob - THE MAN - got his first.

Is there nothing this man cannot do???? That's four straight challenges won by Bob. GO BOB.

Is Ken going to ask for the necklace? He brought Crystal out into the woods and tells her that he is going to wheedle the necklace off of Bob, and then vote Bob out. Snake. I hope that it blows up in his face.

Crystal told the others about the plan to get the idol away from Bob and Ken told them all that he can only get the necklace if they all tell Bob that they are voting for him. Sugar went off and had a heart to heart with Bob, telling him about the plan to vote him out. She promised not to vote for him, saying that "the good guys should win in the end."

Sugar then went back to camp and told the others that Bob might give them the necklace. Then she had a little talk with Matty, who wondered what was going to happen, and she whispered to him "Just let me do the thinking," which I actually think is a good thing. Sugar plays dumb, but she is so much smarter than Matty.

Tribal Council

Matty tells Probst that if someone has to dominate the challenges, he's glad it's someone as classy as Bob. Absolutely. Ken tries to wheedle the necklace away from Bob. Crystal says that Bob chose her for the Reward because of the fact that she's had no Rewards the whole time. Matty brings up the point that Ken and Crystal have been tight almost the whole game, and Ken tries to play that down, to wheedle the necklace from Bob. There is discussion about the Not-So-Hidden Immunity Idol, which is out in the open around Sugar's neck. This is the last night to play it.

Despite the playing by Ken, Bob decided to keep the necklace.


And Sugar gave the Hidden Immunity Idol to Matty - who obviously played it! Very cool.

And Crystal The Undeserving is OUT. Corinne was rejoicing in the jury. Ken looked like the wind was taken out of his sails.


Don't forget - the finale is on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top Chef - 12.10.08

Melissa, after finally getting some face time last week, is feeling like she needs to step it up, because her first face time was very nearly her last.

Stefan is doing some flirting with Jamie - yup, the lesbian Jamie. Good luck with that buddy.

Quickfire Challenge - no guest judge - it's all about pallate. It's time for a round of "Identify that Ingredient."

People are getting paired up with knife draws. And Stefan is thrilled to be paired with Jamie.

Each pair will taste the same sauce and then compete to identify ingredients in the sauce. They have 15 seconds to taste. It's culinary Name that Tune.

Daniel and Hosea are up first. They are tasting a shrimp and lobster bouillabase.

Hosea called 4 ingredients - onion, shrimp, carrot, lemon. Daniel said he could only do three. He's out. Hosea wins the first bracket.

Jeff and Ariane are up next. It's Ariane vs. Jeff and Jeff f'd up, guessing crab.

Stefan vs. Jamie go - and Stefan went the easy way, choosing salt and pepper as two of his ingredients. He wins the bracket.

Leah won against Eugene when he got one wrong.

Radhika won against Fabio.

Carla and Melissa went next, and Carla said that she can taste ingredients in her mind thinking about them. She's interesting.

The next rounds starts and it's Thai Green Curry. Hosea knew exactly what the sauce was and beat Ariane out.

Stefan went against Leah and Stefan named 8 ingredients, knocking Leah out.

Carla and Radhika went across each other next, and Radhika chose chili powder and was wrong, so Carla went onto the finals.

The final round is Mexican Mole Sauce, and they all taste at the same time and then identify ingredients one by one. It's Stefan vs. Hosea. Stefan chose tomato paste and was wrong, and Hosea won the Quickfire after choosing a correct ingredient for his round. I'm glad that Hosea won, because as much as I usually love Scandinavians, I don't really care for him.

They draw knives for the Elimination Challenge, and they are groups of - Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue. It's a bridal shower for Gail!!! Gail does not like veal or black beans so much, but wants to impress her friends with good food.

Something Borrowed is Ariane, Radhika, and Jamie. Jamie suggests that Radhika should make something Indian-inspired that she could say she "borrowed" from her culture. Jamie said she has a secret ingredient to use. Could be interesting. Radhika is nervous to cook Indian food. I think the idea makes sense.

Something Blue is Leah, Melissa, and Fabio. This could be a really tough theme to go with. Melissa wonders about figs... Fabio thinks fish - something out of the ocean.

Something New is Daniel, Carla, and Eugene. Somehow for something new, Daniel thinks pickling is the way to go. Because when I think fresh (and new)... I think pickles, first thing. Um. Or not. Carla was really worried. Eugene thought sushi might be good - a surf and turf sushi roll. Carla is not sure about the idea but isn't talking. Bad idea.

Something Old is Jeff, Stefan, and Hosea. They are playing on heirloom tomatoes. They are all doing their own dishes. Jeff wanted to do a sorbet (which is a bad idea catering, according to Stefan - I would tend to agree). Jeff wants to go ahead with his sorbet.

It's shopping time. Half and hour and $800 to shop. Carla is insane and calls out "Hootie" in the grocery store when she gets separated from her group - it's apparently a Marco Polo type call she and her husband do in public. So he must be insane as well. Stefan did some bossing around and got on his team's nerves.

The menus shape up - Something Borrowed is planning on doing: Eastern Spiced Lamb marinated in yogurt, Vadouvan carrot puree, wilted kale, and cucumber raita. Sounds good, and I'd eat it. Of course, as previously mentioned, I am a huge fan of Indian food, so you could stick my head in a vat of Indian spices and I'd be happy.

Something New is planning a Surf & Turf sushi - with shrimp on the inside and fillet mignon on the outside. Not sure about that. They are also planning on a frisee salad in a crispy won ton bowl (I like that presentation idea, but worry about frying the won tons the day before, as Carla is doing), a peach-miso bbq sauce, and yuzu sorbet. They also would not have gotten along well with Stefan. What is the bbq sauce going to go on? The sushi? I'm confused.

Something Blue is referencing the ocean in their menu of Chilean Sea Bass, Roasted Corn puree, and swiss chard. Not sure about the ocean in corn and chard, but... we'll see.

Something Old is planning on a Tomato Terrine wrapped in eggplant (Stefan's), a cappaccio with tomato sorbet (Jeff's), and a gazapacho (Hosea's).

Eugene's rice got mushy from the rice cooker, and he got very flustered.

Tom showed up to see what teams were up to, and he seemed particularly confused about the New team's menu - saying it could be awful or spectacular. Stefan was apparently married to the "same chick" twice, and is now divorced. Interesting. Tom also thought that the Blue offering looked a little weak.

Eugene salvaged his rice by turning it into a chili pepper sticky rice. Interesting.

Back in the Apartment, Eugene decided to have people "build their own sushi rolls." Daniel did some weight lifting, and thought it sounded like a great idea. Stefan was not sure about the idea, but was told basically to mind his own business. And then he went on to do some more flirting with Jamie.

Again, good luck with that.

And that was the short flirting heavy mid-commercial clip.

Leah and Hosea are hitting it off, even though they both have attachments at home, so it's going to be platonic.

Something Old is up first, and Tom is in the kitchen because he isn't allowed in the girl's party. Hosea was really nervous and almost spilled gazpacho on the guests. Their guest judge is Dana Cowin, the editor-in-chief of Food & wine.

Their offerings are -

From Jeff: Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio and sorbet.
From Hosea: Heirloom Tomato gazpacho, with mint, watermelon, and cucumber salsa
From Stefan: Tomato terrine wrapped in eggplant with basil.

I hear goodthings from the guests about the gazpacho and the sorbet, while someone called Stefan's terrine bland.

Something New is working on serving their "roll your own" surf and turf sushi, and Daniel decided to add some mushrooms to the bottom of Carla's salad without telling her. Hmm. She was not happy when she saw the mushrooms. Their plates look insane with all sorts of craziness happening on the plate.

This seems more of a team effort, but it seems like

Eugene: Tempura shrimp with his rice (and the whole sushi idea)
Daniel: Beef Skewer with peach-miso bbq sauce, yuzu grenada
Carla: The salad.

This looked like a really messy and confusing dish, and Eugene did not explain how to eat the dish. The shrimp was called cold and Gail said it seemed that it was fried in old oil.

Something Borrowed is up next, and Ariane had troubles getting the lamb cooked well enough, and it was quite rare. Everyone helped plate, which was nice.

Their offerings were

Ariane: Indian spiced lamb
Jamie: vadouvan carrot puree
Radhika: raita

This got rave reviews all around and Gail said it made her really happy. I feel the same way when I eat Indian food.

Something Blue is setting forth an uninteresting looking plate, and Leah is not sure that the fish is seasoned well.

Fabio spoke to charm all the women.

Fabio: Chilean Sea bass crusted with blue corn
Melissa: Corn puree
Jamie: Wilted kale

It gets mixed reviews, and is called out for not being bold enough.

Judge's Table:

Old and Borrowed are pulled back first - on top. And there was much rejoicing. Jeff's sorbet got top marks for the sorbet - so eat THAT, Stefan. Jamie's carrot puree and Ariane's lamb were raved about. Ariane won for the lamb, and got a set of Calphalon stainless cookware, and Calphalon Kitchen Electrics. She felt guilty for winner instead of Jamie, and Jamie was miffed.

New and Blue went back next - on bottom. Eugene's mushy rice didn't convince anyone. Daniel refused to see that there was anything wrong with the dish. Eugene admitted that it didn't turn out well. The judges were concerned about the mushrooms that Daniel added to the salad, and even though the judges said that it wasn't good, he insisted he was still proud of it. That's not the right kind of reaction to have. Blue's dish was called "Nursing Home Food," and Tom said the dish was Blue for a different reason - in that it made him Blue. Fabio bit his tongue on a retort, and I think he did the right thing.

The judge's were disappointed in Carla's not speaking up, and Daniel's lack of insight, and Eugene's bad rice.

Team Blue was sent to safety. Team New is reprimanded, and in the end, Daniel is out, and I think that was the right decision. It's one thing to cook something sub-par, but it's another to totally fail to see it's a bad dish. Daniel said he was proud not to throw anyone under the bus and then made a football reference I didn't get.

Next week looks interesting. Martha Stewart and a non-functional refrigerator are involved. Can't wait!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Amazing Race - 12.7.08

It's the finale! I really hope the Dunce Duo don't win. I am rooting for Nick and Starr, but Ken and Tina wouldn't be dreadful.

We left the final three teams in Moscow, and their next stop is going to be Portland, Oregon. They have to then make their way to an adventure camp for their next clue. At least they get a very long flight to rest in. Nick and Starr headed out looking for flights on the internet, and got a 7:05 flight on Lufthansa. Andrew and Dan just looked at departure boards at the airport trying to decide where to leave from, and ended up the same flight.

As Ken and Tina went to get the same flight, Nick and Starr cleverly looked up information about the camp they were heading to on the internet.

It was a hugely long flight, and a race for a taxi off the plane. Nick and Starr got the first cab, followed by Ken and Tina and then Dan and Andrew, who ended up with a cabbie who didn't speak much English and was calling for directions.

Somehow, Ken and Tina got to the Detour first.

High and Dry -Teams must climb 30 feet up a tree, then traverse a log and each member retrieves half a clue. If anyone falls off, they have to start over.

Low and Wet - Teams must cross an 850 ft. floating log river.

Both Ken and Tina and Nick and Starr chose High and Dry. Tina admits to being scared of heights. Ken did a good job and got his clue the first try. At the end of the log, they have to jump towards a trapeze bar and get the clue hanging off it. Nick did a great job. Tina's helmet kept falling off and that slowed her down. One would think she would have done better to take off her baseball hat before putting her helmet on. Just saying. When she got to the log, she tried to take it off and it took a long time. Starr passed her with no problems, and she made the leap and they continued to their next stop.

They headed to The Bridge of the Gods via taxi, where they will take a zip line 1000 ft to an island to get their next clue.

Dan and Andrew were lost, and borrowed the cabbie's phone to call the place they were going to.

Before they could get there, Tina finally gained her composure and made the jump and grabbed the clue, and went for High and Dry as well. Wet and Low is getting no love from this group. They finished it with seemingly no problems.

Nick and Starr's cab missed the turn for the bridge and Ken and Tina arrived first. Tina was spooked by the zipline, but when she finally got the guts to jump, she had fun. Ken took his zipline ride upside down for part of it, and Nick and Starr showed up.

The next task is to remember about the first 10 legs of the race. They have to start with the first leg, and continue on for the next ten. They have to search through 150 Amazing Race clue boxes to find a picture that corresponds to something on that leg - route info, roadblock, etc. If they get the picture right, a green light will go on. All ten green lights must go on before they can leave the island.

Ken and Tina got the first three while Nick and Starr were looking for their first one. Starr started getting flustered, but Nick did his best to keep her calm. They made up a lot of time and it was neck and neck.

Dan and Andrew were caught up again by their kind of dreadful cabbie, and got on the phone again.

Nick and Starr made a mistake between Khazakstahn and Russia and that held them up for a second. Tina insisted on seeing all of the cards before Ken closed boxes, and that held them up. Nick and Starr got the final one first and got thier next clue.

They take a taxi to the Portland Building in downtown Portland and locate a Green Dinosaur in the area.

Andrew and Dan got to the Bridge and the island and started their task.

Ken and Tina tried to pass Nick and Starr but they got shaken off. They split up and Nick and Starr got their first and handily found the Green Dinosaur. They next clue is to travel on foot to Alder St. and find the food cart related to Russia for their next clue.

Ken and Tina got help to find the Green Dinosaur and it took them a while, but they found it.

Nick and Starr were the first to get to the Russian Cart, and their clue told them to travel on foot to where "The Magic is in the Hole," which is Voodoo Donuts. Nick and Starr asked some people, and they got help from a guy who told them where to find the Donut shop. They were on their way before Ken and Tina even arrived. They got some help from another woman, who told them that Nick and Starr went the wrong way.

Wrong way or not, Nick and Starr arrived first, and it's a race to the finish!

(Andrew and Dan are no where in sight)

They have to get a cab to the finish line. Cabs are no where to be found. Starr started getting flustered. Ken and Tina tried to bribe someone out of their cab, and Ken blew his annoying whistle. Nick and Starr got into a cab first, with Ken and Tina (edited to look?) right on their heels. Nick and Starr told their cabbie there was $70 in it for him if they get there first. Ken and Tina took a second to pray.

(No sign of Andrew and Dan)

It's Nick and Starr to the finish line first, hand in hand!!!

I am thrilled for them, because I think they ran the best and most consistent race this season.

Tina and Ken came in second. They seem ready to reconcile. Ken took out their wedding rings and put Tina's on her hand and said that they should come back together and do it right this time. I hope that they make it work, because it was a very touching moment. I certainly wouldn' want to be married to either one of them, but good luck to them.

Having not seen how Andrew and Dan did in the final few tasks, they came in third. They admitted that they finished the race behind two far superior teams.

(Were Toni and Dallas still trying to get out of Russia, with the loss of their passports?)

Well, good end to a good season. Looking forward to the next one!

(Where are Toni and Dallas?)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Survivor Gabon: 12.4.08

Can this week be as good as two weeks ago? I don't know. Let's see.

After Tribal, Bob had issues with Sugar's giggle fest, letting her know that it pissed him off. He said he had no problems using the fake idol, but he had a huge problem with her giggling. Sugar then went off on Corinne for being a back stabber, and Corinne contested that she was in a tribe of "mutants" so there is no reason for her to be nice to anyone. Oh, so NOW she's getting mean? Can't wait to see that.

Bob and Ken went out fishing and brought in an amazing catch. Bob used an old tin to make a grilling plank. Excellent Bob. Ken thinks that Bob is a bad game player and wants to get rid of him. I sure hope not.

Reward Challenge

They will separate into two teams of three, and race out into a swamp to get sets of sprocket puzzle pieces. They will collect 7 pieces, then arrange them so the gears all work and raise a flag. The team that wins that first round will then compete against each other to complete a slide puzzle (oh, how I personally don't like those!). The winner will get a video message from their loved ones, along with pizza, brownies, and goodies. Each Survivor gets a little sample of their video (on the sponsored Sprint Samsung Instinct Phone) before starting the challenge. Matty got a message from His Girl and His Dog, so he is happy. Probst seemed genuinely moved by the messages. And no one is going to Exile.

Crystal and Susie are captains for teams.

Sugar, Crystal and Bob take on Matty, Susie, and Ken. Corinne is left out, and she has no chance at reward. That sucks for her, but I do not feel badly for her.

The Survivors are tethered together and have to go out for their pieces through a swamp. Matty, Ken, and Susie get their first pieces back first, but the other team is not far behind. Ken, Susie, and Matty ended up with a pretty sizable lead getting into the puzzle solving. Bob is leading his team, and Ken leads his, in the puzzle. Bob rocks everything and their sprockets turned first, leaving Bob, Sugar, and Crystal to work on the slide puzzles. Bob handily won it, and I am amazed by him even more.

Sadly, there is no second person going with him.

Ken wants Bob out of there.

Please, please no.

Bob got to enjoy a couch in the jungle and started watching his video, only to be interrupted halfway through by the arrival of his wife! He regaled her with tales of termite and turtle soup meals, and she said that he smelled really good - like a camp fire - and she was digging on his beard. I really like her.

Bob proudly brought his wife back to camp to meet everyone. And with a whistle, all the other loved ones came down the hill - because they had been flown to Africa after all. I'm really happy that everyone got to spend some time with their loved ones, because it's always painful when people go all that way and get sent packing. Corinne is happy to see her brother because he gets her sense of humor and loves how mean she is. Ugh. Ken talked to his sister about how awesome he is, and that got on my nerves a little. In a very touching moment, Sugar's sister brought some of their dad's ashes, and she said a little prayer to him and sprinkled the ashes into the water. Very touching.

Matty and his girlfriend had a little walk down by the water, and he proposed to her. I expected as much. He made her a little jungle engagement necklace. All together now, awwwwww.

After tearful goodbyes, Matty let out some more words of Matty-wisdom, all about digging for gold in yourself. Hmmm. He doesn't always make much sense, but he means well.

Time for Tree Mail, and Corinne and Bob went off with each other. Corinne wants to blindside Matty. The other five want to take out Bob. (Please no!). Off in the woods, Bob told Corinne that Marcus hid the Idol that was thrown into the ocean. She said "really?" and he said "No, but it's a good plan, isn't it?" He set off to make a new fake idol. Smelting tools out!

It's time for the Immunity Challenge.

It's a Gabon Trivia Challenge, with balls won for each correct answer. The balls then get thrown at a giant target, and the person with a ball closest to the center wins immunity.

Question 1: Gorillas were first actually discovered in Gabon - True or False?
Sugar and Corinne are the only two to get it right - it's true.

Question 2: A Male Elephant is called a Bull. A female is called a a)Mare b)Doe c)Cow.
Sugar, Susie, Corinne, and Bob got it right - Cow.

Question 3: The Gabonese Viper is a poisonous snake. True or False - it is considered virtually harmless to humans.
Everyone but Susie and Corinne get it right - this one is false.

Question 4: The elephant's trunk has three purposes - Nose, arm, mouth.
This one's false. Ken, Matty, Sugar, Bob, and Corinne got it right.

Ken's first shot landed him in the 6th zone from the center. Matty's brought him into the 4th zone. Sugar's landed far. Susie's one shot was just outside of Ken's. Corinne's was the 5th zone. Bob in his awesomeness landed in the third zone from the center. Crystal had one shot and it wasn't good enough. Ken's second and last shot bounced and lost it. Matty's last shot fell short. Sugar's next ball was just barely outside of Bob's. Corinne's also landed a bit far out. Bob's second toss is right outside the center. Sugar tried for a roll and it fell short. Corinne's last shot was way out. Bob's final shot is outside of his last one, but he still leads. Sugar has the last shot. It was nearly a win for her! It bounced out of the center.

And Bob wins immunity.

Will anyone fall for the second Fake Idol Fake Out?

I hope it's Ken.

He plans on blindsiding Matty. This makes sense since Matty is the strongest person left, but Ken is such a little schemer, he almost needs some comeupance for being so cocky.

However, considering Matty is not the brightest bulb in the lamp, he might be a better person to try to fool.

Corinne came up with a back story for the working of the Fake Idol. It sounds like it would work. Corinne went to chat with the Crew while Bob's Magic Workshop got to work. They are trying to bring Crystal in with them. I wish it was Sugar. Bob's Second Fake Idol is amazing. He admitted "I'm worse than a raven, I keep everything."

Crystal believes Bob because "Bob gave me a kiss on the cheek and he shook my hand." Ken wanted Crystal to still vote for Corinne, to flush out the (Fake) Idol. Crystal is not so sure about voting for Corinne, because she sees Matty as more of a threat. I would tend to agree.

Tribal Council

Susie says that everyone is starting to get paranoid about everything, and Bob says this is the first time he hasn't been nervous, since he has the (Real) Idol. Sugar says the thing is that people will start believing lies and being gullible and flipping. Does Sugar know about the (Fake) Idol?

No Hidden Immunity Idol is played - because the person who would play it knows it's fake. Many looks were exchanged.

The votes go to Matty, then three to Corinne, then another to Matty. Matty got a third vote, and the final vote is for Corinne. The Fake Idol Play was clever, but did not work. Corinne is gone.

I will not miss her.

I don't think Probst will either.

Will Bob be able to get in with someone and keep in the game? Can he keep winning Immunity?

I am pulling for him and Sugar to form some sort of an alliance because they are my favorite two at this point. Probably going into the game, two of the most underestimated people, and I think they are coming out to be two of the strongest players.

Corinne spilled some more venom about how she hates everyone, Sugar most of all, but gives best wishes to Bob and Ken, then says that she hopes everyone else has miserable lives. Wow. What a bitter, mean person she is.

Looks like Bob is going to make moves towards aligning with Ken next week, saying he will give him immunity if he wins it.


Never. EVER. Give. UP. Immunity!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Top Chef 12.3.08

Alex misses Richard. Since we have barely seen Alex at all yet, I don't so much care that he misses Richard, but Richard left a nice letter, which Alex read to Carla and Jamie. Jamie is the final remaining Team Rainbow member, and she is ok with that.

Quickfire Challenge

Rocco DiSpirito is with Padma, and the Quickfire is breakfast. They have to create a breakfast amuse bouche. Jamie is not excited, since she never even ate breakfast as a child, opting instead for Chef Boyardee. Mmmmm. :P

And Rocco loves bacon.

Mmmm, bacon.

The Cheftestants went for it. It was an egg filled madhouse.

Melissa - French Toast with eggs, strawberries, bacon. This went over well.

Stefan - Huevos Rancheros with Salsa and Cheese. Served in an egg shell. Very cute. I love huevos rancheros, so I like this idea.

Radhika - Potato cake with a little omelet with bacon and holandaise. No real reaction from the judges on that one.

Daniel - Cornflake crusted zucchini flour stuffed with hash. Rocco mentioned that you have to be careful with cornflakes because they are sweet. Not sure that one's a good one.

Ariane - Stuffed French Toast with Chili Maple Syrup. This went over well.

Jamie - BLT Breakfast sandwich. This looked delicious. Not bad for a girl who didn't like breakfast.

Leah - Bacon, Quail Egg, Cheese, on toast. Yummy.

Fabio - Brioche with Brulee banana and Espresso Cream.

Jeff - Twice baked potato & yogurt sorbet with fruit.

I'm not sure if the cheftestants understand the concept of Amuse Bouche. Daniel's weird flower and Fabio's pudding-like espresso cream were at the bottom. Stefan, Leah, and Jamie were on top. Jamie and Leah would win if it was possible to pick two winners, but since that's not possible, the win is Leah's. I think that's proper, since her bite was a better size.

Elimination Challenge

The Cheftestants have to create a dish for a 2 1/2 minute presentation suitable for Live TV. Has this become Next Food Network Star? They have to do a presentation for the judges, and then the winner "gets something special." They have to create something that is easy for the home chef, and they will be graded on their presentation skills. Fabio is nervous.

They had $100 and 30 minutes to shop. Fabio grabbed the tuna and went back into the seafood counter and cut the tuna himself. Eugene (who we did not see in the Quickfire) and Hosea went back behind the counter to cut some fish for sushi. Alex (who we also did not see in the quickfire) is doing dessert. What is up with the editing out people in the Quickfire? Have they always done that and I just notice it more now that I'm blogging it? Does anyone know?

Alex's Creme Brulee is not looking too promising, because it has to cook, then cool and rest... questionable. Jamie is doing a frisee salad and a fried duck egg. Carla is making a tortilla soup. Ariane is doing a salad with watermelon. Daniel has aspirations to be like Bobby Flay. Keep that dream alive, Daniel.

And it's time for the demonstrations!

Ariane - Beefsteak tomato salad with feta and watermelon, with basil oil. She seemed to do ok, though we didn't see the whole thing.

Jamie - Salad with duck egg, bacon, and caviar. She had to plate before the white was completely set up, and that is disappointing.

Alex - Rose infused creme brulee. He was visibly shaking, and ran out of time. The looks on the judge's faces when they tasted it were not promising.

Jeff - Malfouf roll with shrimp & mummamora sauce. It looked pretty good. On a complete side note, does anyone else do a double take when the title comes up for Jeff being a chef at the Dilido Spa? Just saying. A quick glance, and that looks like something entirely different... but I digress.

Fabio - Tuna with roasted carrots and asparagus salad.

Daniel - Gingered soy skirt steak with cabbage salad. Lots of smoke, but it went over well.

Stefan - Minestrone soup and a complete swap out for his soup. Very tv-worthy.

Hosea - Crispy tuna roll with wasabi peas. Interesting.

Eugene - Tuna shashimi with pea shoot salad.

Melissa - Blackened habenero shrimp. Too spicy even for Padma and Tom. Not good!

Carla - Tortilla soup and she ran out of time.

Radhika - Sweet shrimp and Cucumber salad and she ran out of time.

Leah - Duck breast with corn and blueberry hash and SHE ran out of time! She admitted that she didn't ever want to do live television.

Judge's table.

Jamie's egg was not done, so that was not appetizing. Leah was lucky to have immunity, because she was completely uncomfortable. Alex's decision to make creme brulee was a bad one. Carla was all over the place, and not good. Daniel's dish was very good, but he mugged for the camera too much. Stefan's dish was good, and the swap out was smart, but his personality was lacking. Melissa's too hot to eat shrimp didn't exactly have appeal to the television masses. Jeff tried to do a lot and pulled it off. They loved Fabio and his personality. Ariane also did super. They said that the quality of the food is the most important.

Melissa, Alex, and Jamie are headed in for the bottom three. Jeff, Fabio, and Ariane are in the Top three.

And without any sort of decisions, they were dismissed until the morning. Wonder if they ever do that otherwise.

Alex is apparently getting married in 20 days, and may not be super excited to stay in the game.

And it's 2 AM. Tom roused sleepy Ariane, Jeff, and Fabio, and told them that they have to present their dishes to the Today Show, and the hosts will be choosing the winner. That's awesome. They are cooking next door to the Today Show set. Jeff was pretty down on the Today Show hosts - saying they had "unsophisticated pallates," and was not excited. I daresay the hosts are probably better traveled than Blond Boy, so he needs to shut it.

It's Meredith Viera, Kathy Lee, Hota, and Natalie. It's the late Today Show Crew. Ariane is in trouble, because watermelon makes Meredith sick. Kathy Lee gagged on Jeff's. Not good. But, she IS Kathy Lee.

Ariane is the winner, even with the watermelon, and that is awesome for her. It sounded like a good mix of flavors. Maybe Ariane has hit her stride and will stop sucking. She won a collection of Rocco's favorite chef's tools for winning, along with the honor of presenting a dish live on the Today Show the morning after this episode airs. That would be tomorrow. I'll have to check it out.

And now for the important part. Who's going home?

Melissa stands by her shrimp, which Rocco called inedible and beyond belief. Padma said it made her mouth throb, and Gayle said that habenero isn't something you want home cooks to be messing with. Jamie fully admitted her egg mistake, and her body language was off putting, but she stood up for herself pretty well. Alex's decision to make creme brulee was a bad one. Melissa half threw Alex under the bus, without naming names. I am not sure who I want to go home. Melissa's defensiveness about her spiciness was not taken well. They said there was no way Alex could have done his dish in time properly.

Before we find out the cheftestant's fate, we got to see some Sharpie-infused flirting between Hosea and Leah. It was another of those little mid-commercial moments.

And in the end, it's Alex's time to go. So, now he can focus on getting married. I think it was a wise decision. Melissa needs an attitude adjustment, though. Seriously.

Next week, looks like they are cooking for Gayle's Bridal Shower. Fun!