Archive for the Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts Category

End of Year Post

Posted in Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts, Food on TV on December 31, 2008 by restaurantouring

Red Navel Orange and Lime curd

Unlike some of my friends, who went overseas for the holiday season, I’m still in the year 2008 — and thank goodness for that, because 2008 has been a very, very good year to me. So, I’m a little bit sad to see it go.

But 2009 looks like it will be promising. There are a lot of things I want to blog about. I’ve got a few new toys in the kitchen that I want to take out for a test ride. There are a few new shows that will be debuting on TV (including the Food Networks new show, “Chopped,” which looks like a lame rip off of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” minus the blatant ad placements, especially for Glad and all the Gladware). Finally, I’ve got some tasty new recipes that I want to share with you, and I’ve been to a few new restaurants, which I will blog about for sure (I AM supposed to be a “restaurantourist,” after all). Just last week, I went to this new Korean BBQ place that had LIVE OCTOPUS! Creepy!

Offering you all condolences for the loss of 2008, and wishing you all an equally fantastic (or better!) 2009.

– Conway

Updates and Christmas, etc.

Posted in Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts with tags on December 22, 2008 by restaurantouring

Imperia Pasta Roller

*note: I managed to work around the picture uploading problem by uploading the picture onto my flickr account. Adding tags to this post, however, is still a problem. Either it’s WordPress or I’m just an idiot (my money’s on the latter) so as soon as things get ironed out, I will tag irresponsibly!)

I think I’m going to stop apologizing for not posting more frequently.  It’s getting old.  Besides, I have a life (albeit a sad one) and I’m sure you understand that some days are just busier than others.  It’s true.  Things get hectic sometimes.  Especially around the holidays.

Speaking of how sad my life is, I found out today that the people who work at the Williams-Sonoma in Westfield, NJ know me.  One worker, Kimberly, remembers me from when I bought my Shun Kaji 10″ chef knife (which I will blog about in the next few days, I promise.  It’s awesome enough to get its own post).  I’m pretty sure the boss, Don, remembers me from that same incident as well.

Today, I went back because Williams-Sonoma is having a sale — 20% off.  I went back to see if I could get $60 back from when I bought that $300 knife.  The woman who helped me, Sally, turned out to be the same woman I harassed helped (when trying to decide whether or not to purchase an All-Clad roasting pan) at Bed Bath and Beyond, shortly before Thanksgiving.  That was embarrassing.  I’ve even helped out a couple of customers who were looking for various items (knives, pots, nonstick pans, etc.) because I’m probably one of the biggest friggin’ dorks on the planet.  Today was no different.  A woman was looking to buy a boning knife for her husband, who goes fishing a lot.  The worker she asked admitted to knowing nothing about knives, so I volunteered to help.  See what I mean?  My life is sad.

On the upside, I was [jokingly] offered a job.

Anyway, I got my money back.  Of course, instead of doing the intelligent thing and saving it, I went ahead and bought a pasta roller (actually, in my opinion, buying a pasta roller was undoubtedly the smarter thing to do.  Who saves these days?  Honestly. . .).

Finally, I hope you all enjoy the new look to the blog.  I plan on changing the colors of the hyperlinks to green or something, instead of a very Halloween-ish orange color, but of course I suck something awful at html and CSS and all that good stuff, so it most likely will never happen.  Just imagine the orange as green, and I’ll be happy.  Until next time, to all you cooks out there:  practice your craft!  Know your shit!  And help out the poor ladies at Williams-Sonoma, looking for more info about knives.

P.S.  If anyone can guess what the picture in my header is, you get a prize!  I’m not sure how I’ll give you prizes yet, or what the prizes will be, but you’ll get a prize.  It may have to be a future-prize though, since I’m pretty broke-ish.  Maybe I’ll make you pasta or something?

Thanksgiving, Top Chef, Pictures, progress, and more

Posted in Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts, Food on TV, Home cooking and more with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by restaurantouring

Hi, everyone.  I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!  Hopefully, all your turkeys came out perfect, your dressings were aromatic, your gravies un-lumpy, and all your sides were delicious.

Admittedly, my own turkey (I got a 13.4 pounder for Thanksgiving with the fam) turned out pretty poorly.  I broke my probe thermometer and it was too late to get a new one, so I was roasting somewhat blind.  Then, in the middle of trying to get the bird golden brown, I had to go pick up my grandmother before she got too angry at all of us for forgetting to pick her up (no one else in the family seemed readily willing to go and pick her up for some reason).  I handed responsibility for the turkey over to someone else, who ended up ruining the outside of the turkey despite me giving timely instructions by cell phone (the skin got way too dark), and the foil covering I made for the breast wasn’t put onto the turkey the correct way, nor was it put on at the right time.  Sigh.  Needless to say, dinner didn’t start until an hour and a half later than expected because my family decided to keep cooking new, subpar, mediocre dishes, plus there was a decent amount of bickering and arguing.  Ah, well.  What’s Thanksgiving with the family without fighting, right?

Of course, the turkey dried out.  Between the extra hour and a half and the cycles of resting, cooling, and reheating the bird every time everyone “decided” that dinner was ready (it wasn’t), the breast meat overcooked and got fairly dry, despite my brining the bird for a day before hand, and the legs were starting to dry out as well.  Good thing there’s gravy and cranberry sauce.

I also made a roasted pumpkin terrine that turned out all right.  I layered it with apple, carrot, and dried cranberries for interior garnish.  It was all tied together with a pumpkin butter, apple cider vinaigrette.  I served it with a cream sauce that I made with heavy cream, maple syrup, sage, and some cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  I wish I took pictures.  The battery for my camera died and I have been scouring my cluttered apartment for the charger.  No luck so far.  Hopefully I’ll have some time to do some cleaning this weekend, since I will be pretty swamped with work this week.

Also, apologies for not updating about the 3rd episode of Top Chef.  Things got hectic with family, food, black friday shopping, etc.  If you missed it, Richard was eliminated.  I was so sad.  I liked him (no homo).  The contestants first had to draw knives with numbers and put their own spin on recipes from the Top Chef cookbook.  The numbers on the knives corresponded with pages in the cookbook.  Grant Achatz was the guest judge (you had all better know who Grant Achatz is.  He’s fantastic).  Maybe 15 minutes into the challenge, Padma and Grant interrupted the chefs and announced that they had changed their mind and wanted a soup instead.  Then, all the contestants had to take what they had already started to cook, and turn it into a soup.

To save time, the Top Chef kitchens provided them all with cartons upon cartons of Swanson broth.  I was horrified — not at the blatant ad placement (c’mon.  This is Top Chef we’re talking about here.  Any fan of the show should be completely desensitized to it by now), but because homemade stock is magnitudes better than the packaged, store-bought kind.  For shame, Top Chef!

Leah made a white asparagus soup with tuna tartare, which seemed to greatly impress Chef G (Achatz), since white asparagus is a tough ingredient to work with.  Danny also made a great soup (a ham and egg soup).  Jamie made a deconstructed falafel soup.  Leah ended up winning the quickfire (I love that damn woman).

For the elimination challenge, Leah was asked to pick teammates that she wanted to work with.  She picked the two Europeans, Fabio and Stefan (nooooooo!  team Europe!!!!), as well as Melissa, Hosea, and Radhika.  Leah’s team was nickednamed Team Sexy Pants.  The other team, fronted by Ariane, was nicknamed Team Cougars (because Ariane is such a cougar, raaar).  Then, the contestants found out that they had to cook for the band, the Foo Fighters, plus their roadies.  This was a catering gig, much like when I cooked for Five Finger Death Punch, Unearth, and some other bands at the Starland Ballroom (see the About Me page on this blog for more details).

The theme for this challenge was Thanksgiving.  Ariane made a bombtastic turkey breast and totally redeemed herself in the eyes of the judges, since it was the best turkey between the two teams.  Unfortunately for Richard, the judges decided that the dessert he made for the Foo Fighters was the worst thing on the menu.

Richard tried to please the band by making a dessert with bananas and chocolate, since they mentioned that they loved to eat chocolate covered frozen bananas.  So, he decided to make s’mores with ganache and banana creme.  The problem was that s’mores should be made a la minute, which he tried to do.  Unfortunately, the s’mores still sat around for a good bit, so they weren’t nearly as good come service time.  The judges commented that the banana creme looked like spit (or something similar in consistency and appearance).

It was too bad for Richard, since he didn’t want to throw someone else under the bus when he had to face the judges.  Danny also made some fairly awful dishes, but being a bullshit artist, he lied his way through the challenge.  “Richard, please pack your knives and go.”  Sadness.

There seemed to be some friction between Jamie and Danny in the stew room, too.  This could get interesting.  Maybe Jamie was just sad that she’s quickly become the only member of the former Team Rainbow?  Remember that Patrick was eliminated in the first episode, and now Richard has been eliminated.

That’s all for Top Chef.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve had quite a few updates recently.  I must admit, I’ve been cheating somewhat *evil*.  A few weekends ago, I was really quite bored and had nothing to do, so I wrote maybe a dozen entries in the span of a few days.  I used WordPress to schedule them to post at midnight, on just about every night.  So, if you’ve seen a lot of posts (and if you’re wondering why it took me this long to write about how my Thanksgiving was whereas it seems I’ve been writing about cooking with wine, frying chicken, etc. etc.) — well, that’s why.  I’ve been cheating.  So, there you go.  It feels good to get that out into the open.  *sigh of relief*

Finally, once I get my camera charged back up and ready to go, I’m going to be making some aesthetic changes around here.  I got tired of this silly default theme a long time ago, and I think it’s time to spruce the place up a bit — add some pictures.  I may even take pictures related to previous posts.  If I do so, I will edit those posts and also write a new entry with the pictures and links to the relevant posts.  I don’t know . . . something to pass the time, as well as to make the blog more pleasant to look at (I do enjoy pictures, you know).

That’s all for now!  Leave me some comment love if you please.  I’d love to hear about how you spent your Thanksgivings, how the turkey came out, what else you made for dinner, etc.  Also, if you have any questions or suggestions for future blog topics, please leave them here!  I will do my best to answer your questions as quickly as possible, while still posting meaningful, fun to read, informative blog entries.  There’s too much to do!

Thomas Keller and Michael Ruhlman: Under Pressure

Posted in Books and gear, Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts, Food in the news, General food knowledge with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by restaurantouring

kellerruhlmansignbooks_resize

I have to admit that I’ve been pretty irresponsible with my money.  What can I say?  Last week, I came to the realization that I had been alive for a whole year since my car crash, and I became overwhelmed with joy.  I was so happy, in fact, that when my date cancelled on me an hour and a half before dinner, I went out and bought a knife.

Oh God, that sounds horrible (I’m mentally stable and a very nice guy, I swear)!  What I mean is that I went out and got something for the kitchen that I’ve been eying for a very long time — a GOOD, quality, 10-inch chef’s knife — as a sort of present to myself for still, somehow, being more-or-less alive.  Cost me around 315 bucks.  Irresponsible, I tell you.  But enough of this preachy, sentimental, boring self reflection.  On with the content (more or less)!

After spending some time in the kitchen with my new knife, attempting to perfectly brunoise some onions, I went over to Michael Ruhlman’s blog and found a post on preparing and eating bone marrow (One of my many, many, many favorite foods) and a slightly older blog post about Thomas Keller’s new book, Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide.  Reading on, I found that both Ruhlman and Keller would be speaking in Manhattan, at the Astor Center, on Saturday night, November 22, 2008.  To purchase a ticket meant forking over $125, and I was pretty low on funds (especially after buying that new knife), so I (of course) bought a ticket for myself.  It was worth it!  Or at least it would be.  Like I said — irresponsible.  Worth it!

Saturday came quickly, and I spent the day with my friend, Catie (the Editor), and one of her co-workers.  We ate at Shake Shack (but that’s another blog) and sat in a Starbucks (that’s definitely not another blog) to eat and chat. Time flew by and we parted ways so that I could go to this event (Many thanks to both Catie and Cristina for figuring out subway directions for me when I wasn’t paying attention!  To think that I was just going to wander somewhat aimlessly until I found the place — HA!).

The Astor Center is up the short flight of stairs next to Astor Wines & Spirits, near the corner of Lafayette and 4th St.  Upon entering the Astor Center, I gave my name to the girl at the front entrance to confirm my ticket reservation, hung up my jacket (I really need to get a coat, man.  It was freeeeeezing outside), and was offered some wine.

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I started with the 2003 Sierra Cantabria Rioja, a Spanish red wine.  I figured that would help to warm me up a bit, after walking around all day in the bitter New York winter cold (Technically still autumn, but when it’s 28 degrees outside and windy, I don’t care what season it is — it’s cold as balls).  Then, I made my way over to the trays of hors d’oeuvres.

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I started with the miniature sandwiches, reading the sign and snapping a picture before sampling the sandwich itself:

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This was followed by  3 bites of food, each on a little crostini.  All of them were fantastic, the pate campagne and the foie gras (naturally) being my favorites:

patedecampagne_resizepatedecampagnesign_resizesalmonrillete_resizesalmonrilletesign_resizefoiegrasapplebutter_resizefoiegrasapplebuttersign_resize

At that point, the two speakers walked into the room.  I introduced myself to Mr. Ruhlman and told him that I couldn’t stop reading his books, which is true.  I read The Soul of a Chef in about 3 days and I read The Reach of a Chef in less than 2 days.  I’m on the T’s or maybe the U’s in The Elements of Cooking right now, and I will curiously start to read The Making of a Chef last, after I’m done with Elements.

I also said hello to Chef Keller, but all I could really bring myself to say was just that — “Hello!”  I guess I was starstruck.  And I thought I was better than that (HA!).

The two made their way to the front, where the chairs were set up on the small stage, and the discussion was soon under way.

projection_resize1The two were projected onto a screen behind the stage so that the people sitting in the back could see the action up front.  I would have preferred if they just worked on their sound system, since it was noisy and staticky and you could not make out what they were saying at times.

Still, the discussion between the two was interesting.  Ruhlman asked a lot of questions for the chef to answer, and I took notes about a few interesting things I learned that night.  For example, Chef Keller said that the cell walls of vegetables (root vegetables such as carrots, in particular) break down at 83 degrees Centigrade.  If you tried to cook a carrot sous vide at 82.9 degrees Celsius, it would remain forever crunchy because plant cell walls would never break down at those temperatures (Plant cells, of course, are made up mostly of cellulose, which is strong, crystalline, not soluble in water, and not digestible; pectins, which ARE water soluble; and hemicellulose, which are fairly easily broken down by acids, bases, and heat).

Additionally, I learned that despite being able to hold food at a certain temperature indefinitely (short ribs at 134 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 days, for example), you could still overcook food.  The wonder of sous vide cooking is that meat can still look rare or raw, have the texture of cooked meat, and be overcooked like a well done steak.

Attention was also given to the vacuum sealer machines that they use in the French Laundry and per se kitchens.  The kitchen staff discovered that you could compress foods such as spinach and watermelon inside one of these machines.  These discoveries have led to inspired new dishes, such as the vegetarian version of beef carpaccio:  compressed watermelon topped with a gelled mango puree “yolk” (When I saw a picture of this dish, I was disheartened to see the mango yolk idea being used here, since I originally wanted to use a mango puree “yolk” for my bacon and eggs dessert idea.  I should probably just make it, take pictures, and blog about it instead of talking so much about it.  I know gelling fruit purees with compounds like sodium alginate and calcium chloride isn’t original — Ferran Adrià’s been doing it for at least 7 years — but I was still disheartened).

Keller answered a few more questions by Ruhlman, and then the floor was opened up for questions and discussion.  There were only a handful of professional chefs in the audience, and almost everybody in the audience knew what sous vide cooking was.  I was quite impressed with that response, although I guess it’s not a surprise, since we’ve been seeing a lot of sous vide cooking on, for example, the Food Network.

Then, as quickly as it started, the discussion was over, and it was time to line up to get free, personalized copies of the book.  I hung around for a bit first, enjoying a glass of the sparkling white wine that was also offered at the event:

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The two [Ruhlman and Keller] were very nice, and Thomas deviated from his usual message when signing books (“It’s all about finesse!”) to a more appropriate, “It’s all about time and temperature!”  I also managed to get my copy of The Elements of Cooking signed by Michael Ruhlman, although I felt embarrassed to have that book signed at this particular event, since I did not want to insult Chef Keller in anyway (it’s Thomas freaking Keller, after all).

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All guests received a parting gift as well.  I believe it is a brownie or similar chocolate cake type treat.  I have not opened mine yet.  I will do so as soon as I take a picture of it in good lighting, and I will post up pictures of that as well.

Top Chef Season 5 update

Posted in Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts, Food on TV with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by restaurantouring

I don’t mean to post twice in one day, but I think I’m in love with Leah, from season 5 of Top Chef. Her must-have ingredients are SALT, olive oil, gaarrrrrlic, butter (thank you!), and any pork product. PLUS, she loves to make homemade pasta! Oh, I wonder if she’d marry me if I made her a ring from a tortellini?

Seriously, though, Leah rocks. She and Eugene are definitely my top two favorites. I KNEW she rocked that quickfire with the apples and scallops dish!

Okay, sorry for stalking all of you on the Bravo website!

P.S. Jeff works at a beach club called DiLdo DiLido. *snickers*

Thoughts on food and cooking

Posted in Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by restaurantouring

Cooking is a very sensual thing for me.  It involves all five of them to varying degrees, some of which are obvious (taste, smell), and some of which may not be (sound, for example). I guess I’ve always known this somehow, but I’ve only recently consciously realized this (I’m slow.  Leave me alone).

I was watching my roommate cook earlier with his headphones on, blasting some random music, when I thought to myself, “I used to do that.  Man, I could never do that now.”

The sense of sound is just too important in the kitchen.  I used to cook with headphones on, too.  Big, honkin’, ridiculous-ass headphones, with the volume turned all the way up.  You know what happened when I was listening to music as I cooked?  Stuff burned.  I couldn’t hear any sizzling when I wasn’t looking, while trying to multitask (I’m a guy, therefore I stink at multitasking.  I admit it).  When the water bubbled away and the sizzling turned to extreme browning, which quickly became straight up burning, I didn’t know it until I smelled it.  Too late.  I stopped putting headphones on while cooking pretty quickly after that, and things got better, slightly.

The sense of smell is likewise important.  While we can only taste salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami, our olfactory system is what’s responsible for detecting the millions of aromatic compounds that influence flavor.  Taste, after all, is the most important thing when it comes to food.  Why eat food that tastes bad?

The sense of smell is useful in the kitchen as well.  It helps you determine what foods might taste good, and what food still needs to cook more.  What seasonings would work well together?  What aromatic ingredient are you forgetting?  Is something burning?

Which is why I hate it when my roommate smokes in or near the kitchen.  It stinks and it fucks up my senses and all of a sudden I can’t seem to focus my nose on my food anymore.  Is something burning?  Yes.  Yes, it is.  Your God damned cigarette.  Put it out, please.  And quit.  You suck at soccer now, anyway, which is reason enough.

Fernand Point would  have his waitrons bring patrons the check for their meal if they lit up a cigarette between courses.  “Obviously, you are done with dining.”

“We eat with our eyes,” and so visual appeal and plating are important.  Vegetables should be cut with care.  Certain foods (vegetables, for instance) should be uniformly cut not only to ensure even cooking, but to ensure that it looks good on a plate.  Food cooked in a pan should be cooked with the presentation-side first.  The idea is that the side you present the food on should be made to look as good as possible first.

Thought and consideration should be taken when developing a dish or recipe.  Does this dish need more color?  Maybe some red pepper, tomato, or red onion for color.  Maybe yellow pepper or lemon.  Maybe some parsley, dill, or cilantro for a touch of green, for example.  Are you making a terrine?  Add some visual appeal, some interior garnish.  If a dish looks good, it will probably taste better than an equally tasty but monotone, boring-looking dish.

Touch.  Experienced cooks can tell how done a steak is, for example, just by touching it.  Bread and some pastries will have a certain level of springiness to them.  Ripe avocados and ripe pears have some give to them, are absolutely delicious when ripe, and are fairly terrible when not.

But also, mouthfeel comes into play.  Is the okra slimy?  You’re doing it wrong.  Fat, besides being really, really tasty, coats the tongue and makes things tastier.  Gelatin has a similar effect, which is why gelatinous stocks are soooooo good.  Vegetables can either be crunchy and raw, al dente, or soft and mushy.  Same goes for dried pasta.  Some people prefer to have lumpy mashed potatoes.  Fried foods should be crispy.  Why is there eggshell in my omelet?  The crunch of a potato chip, the softness of a chocolate chip cookie, the crispness of a fresh, autumn apple.  Let the bubbles of champagne tickle your tongue.

But most of all, taste.  Why eat food if it doesn’t taste good?  Life’s too short to eat bad food.

Top Chef Season 5 premiere

Posted in Culinary ruminations and other random thoughts, Food on TV with tags , , on November 13, 2008 by restaurantouring
Stolen/linked from the interwebs

Stolen/linked from the interwebs

WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE

While watching the season premier of Top Chef, season 5, I chatted with a friend online. She was watching it, too. Here’s our live conversation (with irrelevant bits deleted). Apologies in advance if anyone is offended. Please be aware that none of this will probably make sense if you either haven’t seen this episode, or if you’re not watching along with the conversation. This is the first time I’ve attempted doing a sort of live update / live blog, so bear with me. It’s not like anyone actually reads these things anyway [except for the 3 of you out there who I know]. Without further ado:

Me: my prediction: today’s elimination, if there is one, will be a girl
Friend: lol
Me: my other prediction: a girl definitely won’t win this season
Me: and my last prediction, maybe: there won’t be a single female in the last 3
Friend: lol

*Let me interrupt here to explain myself. I am not sexist and I do not mean to sound misogynistic. Girls just really need to step it up in the kitchen, man. It doesn’t even make any sense to me. Girls have more sensitive senses of smell. The olfactory system is a HUGE part of taste. You’d think that girls would have a better grasp about what tastes good and what doesn’t, just based on biological fact. And then there’s the stereotype of women in the kitchen. It really just doesn’t make any sense to me, because women should be KILLING men in the kitchen. Yet, the professional cooking industry is dominated by men, and recent winners of various (especially televised) cooking competitions have mostly been men (Stephenie, from last season, was the first woman to win Top Chef and she deserved it). So, ladies . . . please. . . . step the fuck up.*

Friend: i like him [Eugene]
Me: Me too. Dude, I hope this guy goes far
Me: I wanna be him. A dishwasher.
Friend: he looks Beshy [Jeff]
Me: He looks like a douche
Me: Yeah, he does

*Chef Besh is way too talented. This doppelganger, Jeff, is worse than just a cheap imitation. He’s a disgrace.*

[information about Ariane appears on the screen]
Me: hahaha
Me: like
Friend: nj
Me: i’m not trying to be misogynistic
Me: but man
Friend: Montclair too
Me: yeah
Me: i should go eat there
Me: since i live so close
Me: what’s it called again?
Friend: no idea
Friend: find it online
Me: i’ll catch the replay
Friend: bravotv.com

[info about Patrick appears on the screen]
Me: that dude is gonna fail
Me: recent grad?
Friend: hes still in school
Me: man
Me: that’s even worse

Me: he’s got his head in the clouds

[Richard appears on the screen]
Friend: aw, he loveable gay
Me: did he say queen?
Friend: ❤
Friend: yea
Me: lol
Friend: the queens
Friend: as in gays
Me: gotcha
Me: and yeah
Me: i got that hahaha
Friend: lol

Me: damn
Me: culinary school dude is gonna get eliminated
Friend: vicious
Friend: eh, i dont think so
Friend: they showed him talk
Me: i think so
Me: ooooooooohhhhhhhh [someone cuts his finger]
Friend: u gotta think TV
Me: true
Friend: the non talkers are usually out sooner
Friend: bc they arent deemed interesting
Friend: when they mixed this ep they already knew the outcome
Friend: skinny chick w blonde hair will go home
Me: hahaha
Me: EWWWWWWWWWW [Images of bloody apples show on the screen]
Me: gross
Friend: eww
Friend: what is tom going to say
Friend: fuck
Friend: ew
Me: his old restaurant is mad expensive
Me: gramercy tavern?
Me: like 85 bucks for TWO courses, I hear
Me: damnit
Friend: other girl
Me: the island dude failed [Eugene]
Friend: green headband
Friend: out
Me: geez
Me: brunoise is tough
Friend: ooof
Me: bust out your mandoline!
Friend: that is tiny
Me: yeah
Me: there’s two kinds of brunoise
Me: there’s regular
Me: and fine
Me: fine is like 1/16 of an inch square
Friend: this is like 1/8
Friend: or 3/16
Me: 1/8
Me: 3/16 is waaaaaaaaaaaay too big
Friend: she is gone
Me: whew
Me: island dude finished
Me: dude
Friend: haha
Me: that’s it
Me: listen to me
Me: TOMORROW
Me: i am going out and buying two knives
Me: a chef’s knife and a paring knife
Me: and i’m PRACTICING
Friend: lol
Me: i’m gonna buy a huge bag of carrots
Me: and i’m gonna practice
Me: she’s so effing southern [Lauren. She’s actually from Cincinnati, Ohio]
Me: she might get by just on charm
Friend: red tank
Me: yeah

[An image of a Shun 10” chefs knife shows on the screen]
Me: nice
Me: shun knife
Me: that’s what i wanted
Me: this salad is not creative at all [Lauren’s salad]
Me: thoroughly weak
Me: i missed that last one [Patrick’s]
Me: scallops, if they tasted good, will win [Leah’s dish, I think]
Me: nice
Friend: lol

[The judges pick the two possible losers]
Me: that leaves salads
Friend: aw
Friend: cul school is so sad
Me: yup
Friend: of course they have to break this up
Me: yup

[Commercial break]

Me: PATRICK
Me: GO
Me: FREAKING
Me: HOME
Friend: theyre def gonna eliminate another person later too
Me: yeah
Friend: crazy
Friend: 17 [people] is high tho
Me: DAMNIT
Me: i missed his dish again [Patrick’s]

[Lauren gets eliminated]
Friend: i told u
Friend: cul school aint leavin
Me: i called it tho, didn’t i?
Me: salad was too plain
Friend: he talked to much
Me: i called a lot of shit hahaha
Me: i can’t say i called anything
Me: dude i should blog about top chef
Friend: go for it
Friend: but u gotta post it tonite
Me: i should do a live update
Me: hahahahaha
Me: i’ll use this convo
Friend: yea
Friend: as ur notes
Me: yup
Me: or maybe i’ll just post the convo, taking out irrelevant stuff and our sn’s

[Top Chef house is revealed to the contestants and to the audience. It’s awesome.]
Me: swanky
Me: i should cozy up to gladware too
Friend: lol
Friend: where the fuck are they
Friend: i think its queens
Friend: where else is there a track?

[The two gay guys and the lesbian girl cozy up on some chairs on the balcony. They call themselves “Team Rainbow”]
Me: wow
Me: team rainbow
Me: nice hahaha
Me: there’s a rainbow t-shirt online
Me: that says “i’m a quitter!”
Me: and there’s a stupid looking, happy stick figure girl
Me: i want it

[Danny and Stefan, I believe, get into an argument about emulsions and vinaigrettes]
Me: he’s wrong [Stefan]
Me: vinaigrette IS an emulsion
Friend: dude hes gone

[Preview of the next segment of this episode of Top Chef shows. Jeff is running around like a chicken with his head cut off]
Me: what a spaz
Me: i hope this island dude goes far
Me: i wanna be a dishwasher, too
Me: she’s cool [Jamie]
Me: i like her

[Someone has to do Russian food for the challenge. He’s never done Russian food before.]
Me: do pelmeni, dude
Me: pelmeni sucks
Me: at least most pelmeni seems to suck
Me: do a tasty one

[Jeff talks smack about the Italian guy, Fabio. He basically says that Fabio doesn’t know shit about Latin food cuz Italy is on an entirely different continent.]
Me: uhm
Me: latin?
Me: another continent?
Me: spanish people are of latin descent too, you know

[Melissa, I believe, says she has no experience cooking Italian food]
Me: how could you not have experience cooking italian?
Me: italian food is like
Me: the first cuisine in America [to be elevated to haute cuisine status]

[Eugene says he’s never cooked Indian food before]
Me: dude, these guys seem pretty inexperienced
Me: never cooked italian
Me: never cooked indian

[Patrick talks about the Chinese dish he’s going to make]
Me: sounds boring
Me: i hate bok choy

[Carla complains about bones in her smoked trout]
Me: is she serious?
Me: she bought a whole smoked fish
Me: and she’s surprised there are bones in it?
Friend: yea
Friend: she will prob be gone
Me: COME ON
Me: don’t make me angry

[Jeff runs around like a chicken with his head cut off]
Me: he is Beshy
Friend: hellll yea
[Again, he just physically resembles Chef Besh. Otherwise, he’s trash]

[Ariane is having trouble cooking her farro all the way through]
Me: LID IT
Me: OMG
Me: PUT A LID ON IT
Me: it’s a grain
Me: water to grain ratio, 2:1
Me: put it on the heat, lid it, and let it steam to perfection
Me: quit futzin with it
Friend: what a dummy
Me: that was bad
Friend: no runnin in the kitchen [about Jeff again]

[Team rainbow shows on the screen. Meanwhile, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is revealed as a judge]
Me: team rainbow!
Me: holy crap
Friend: this bitch will be gone fast
Friend: within 2 weeks i say
Me: jean-georges vongerichten!
Me: he’s amazing
Me: which bitch?
Friend: black caterer
Me: the tall awkward one?
Friend: yea
Me: LOL

Me: big gay dude [Richard]
Me: he’s awesome
Me: oh, she’s cool too [Jamie]
Me: but i think he’ll win it
[Richard was facing Jamie in this challenge. His lamb was overcooked, so no one liked it.]
Me: aw damn. Overcooked lamb. That sucks
Me: nevermind

[the two chefs cooking Jamaican style present their dishes]
Me: neither dish was really “jamaican” to me
Me: just cuz you’re using jerk spices doesn’t make it Jamaican

[Tom comments about salting food, in criticism of a dish]
Me: oooh. Salt. that’s killer
Me: salt and pepper
Me: that’s killer
Me: salt is one of the most important things in the kitchen
Me: arguably the single most important thing

[Eugene ends up unknowingly making an amazing, classical, South Indian dish]
Me: eugene!
Me: mah boy!
Friend: he randomly made somethign real
Me: yeah

[Vong favors the European guy over Eugene]
Me: freaking euro connection [clearly, I’m very disappointed in the choice]
Friend: lady is gone [Ariane]
Me: i think so too
Me: but i dunno
Me: i think Patrick had a weaker dish
Friend: damn
Friend: they called her out [about the farro and about the dish in general]
Me: totally
Friend: that was like a TABOOO
Me: he’s playing the pity card [Patrick is arguing that he should be allowed to stay because he’s so young, fresh, and willing to compete for the experience]
Friend: hes stayin
Me: yeah
Friend: the producers love that shit
Me: i think he is too
Me: yeah
Me: she’s gone
Me: hell yeah

[Commercial]
[Tom gives his insights on Ariane’s and Patrick’s dishes]
Me: oooh
Me: the way he’s saying it
Me: makes it sounds like Patrick is gonna get eliminated
Me: no inspiration
Friend: damn
Me: wow
Me: so i don’t remember
Me: did i call that?
Me: i said a lot of shit earlier lol
Me: i don’t remember
Friend: u said a woman
Me: yeah
Me: but that was before i realized there was a culinary student here
Friend: culinary school dude is gonna get eliminated
Friend: yea
Me: yeah
Friend: but u didnt specify it was for THIS ep
Friend: lol
Friend: but ill allow it
Friend: not like i knew
Me: hahahahahaha
Friend: i was sure theyd keep him
Me: yeah
Me: i know
Me: aww
Me: she’s crying
Friend: shes gone
Me: i’m definitely gonna go eat at her restaurant
Friend: shes on my list

That’s it. Sorry again for the disjointed feel of the text. I’ll try to include time stamps if I choose to do this again, too.

Also, if I can manage, I will eat at Ariane’s restaurant, CulinAriane tomorrow.  I live 15 minutes away.  If I can get a seat and grab a plate or three, I’ll let you know how it was.  I’ll grab my camera, too.