Cheers

HK14: Blame it on the Alcohol

This week’s episode offered a genuine surprise to me!  We start off with six men remaining on the blue team and five women on red.  As usual, we start with a team challenge.

Chef Ramsay speaks of how alcohol can enhance dishes and thus charges each team with creating at least one dish using each beer, wine, and liquor.  This is a fun challenge made even more fun by guest judge and bartender, JOHN RATZENBERGER!  My favorite former mailman (Cliff on Cheers!  Oh, also a voice in every Pixar movie.  He’s awesome!) and Marino serve up the alcohol to the chefs and get to taste the results.  Of course, each team will only present one of each so the chefs must chose which to drop.

Nick's donuts drizzled in caramel, Michelle's soufflé, and Meghan's picture-perfect duck.

Nick’s donuts drizzled in caramel, Michelle’s bittersweet soufflé, and Meghan’s picture-perfect duck.

  • Battle Beer is Michelle v. Nick | Michelle’s beer stout soufflé earns (out of 5) 3 from John, 4 from Marino and 4 from Gordon.  Nick’s sweet potato donuts with stout caramel sauce earns 4 from John, 4 from Marino, and 4 from Gordon.
  • Battle Wine is Alison v. Adam | Alison’s ribeye with plum port earns a 3, 4, 3.  Adam’s lamb with port earns the same.
  • Battle Liquor is Meghan v. Josh | Meghan’s pan-seared duck breast with calvados apple bacon gastrique earns 3’s across the board.  Josh’s pork with bourbon mushroom sauce gets a 3 from Marino, but 4’s from John & Gordon sealing a win for blue!

There’s a roller skating reward for the men and a grueling punishment for the women, and before you know it, it’s time for dinner service.  Someone’s not quite ready, as Bret takes a trip to the bathroom… and literally never comes back.  It’s a crass way to go out as we hear sounds of pain from a closed lavatory door.  Turns out Bret has a pre-existing slipped disc which is pinching a nerve.  Chef Ramsay finds him lying on the dorm floors, where he shakes his hand from above and tells him he’s done.  Bret withdraws.  The rest carry on.

Dinner service has some very exciting VIP guests at the chef’s tables– in red, Jaleel White (Urkel!) and in blue, Fred Willard!  Too bad the men have so much trouble with communication.  Between Josh, Randy on fish, and Adam on meat, the gastropub menu for the night gets butchered.  I’ve never seen so much wasted fish from the fish and chips entrée.  The meat and fish station cannot coordinate their times, but when Adam brings up undercooked lamb for the chef’s table… twice, he gets blue kicked out.

Red has a few problems too.  Alison undercooks lamb too, but recovers quickly.  Christine is good and vocal with Meghan in the dining room– she and Milly serving table-side for the night.  Red is able to finish service for blue too.  They win the night, obviously.

Adam and Randy are up for elimination.  Chef Ramsay wants to hear from Josh too.  Ultimately, Adam is eliminated.

I still think Randy had more problems, but I don’t think Adam was a bad choice by any means.  With a double elimination this week, I’m sure no one will be going home next week.  We’ll see, though!

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Top Chef Boston: 12 Chefs Walk Into a Bar…

I loved this episode title so much, I wanted to use it for my recap too!  Fresh off Gregory’s back-to-back wins, some of the cheftestants are feeling a bit threatened.  Some, like Keriann, are starting to feel a bit homesick.  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

A note telling the cheftestants to meet her at 84 Beacon Street signed “Cheers, Padma” clues the chefs into their next location: CHEERS!  Stacy, my local girl, admits that she may have been asked to leave Cheers once, and was maybe not even aware they had food.

When they arrive at Cheers, George Wendt is there to help judge the Quickfire.  The chefs yell “Norm!” as soon as he appears and I couldn’t be happier.  Padma explains that Boston is a bar town, and that by law all bars must serve food here.  I actually didn’t know that.  The Quickfire Challenge is simple: make a tasty bar snack!

Some highlights:

Let's be real, I'll eat anything with an egg on it, but mayonnaise and peanut butter?  You have my attention, sir.

Let’s be real, I’ll eat anything with an egg on it, but mayonnaise and peanut butter? You have my attention, sir.

  • Aaron makes a burger with mayonnaise and peanut butter.  When Padma tastes it, she exclaims, “Oh my god, it’s not bad!”  I am infinitely intrigued.
  • Gregory drops a couple of burger buns as he plates and serves, and ends up presenting an incomplete dish.
  • George and Padma drink beers while they taste.  Padma said this was shot at 6 am, which is obvious from the completely empty bar, and by 7 am she was basically drunk.  Well, let’s just say, she seems like she’s having fun.

Gregory’s burger problems land him on the bottom, with James, who made a crudité that George says “just doesn’t feel like bar food.”

On the top we have Keriann, whose crab put her in favor with George, and Katsuji with his ceviche.  Katsuji wins immunity!  And wow, was this a good time to win it.

Michael Schlow comes out to announce the elimination challenge.  The cheftestants are to group themselves in threes to create a classic 3-course Italian menu at his restaurant, Via Matta.  The team whose menu is ordered the most wins the challenge.  Two will go home this week.

Here are the teams:

  • Orange: Adam, Mei, Doug
  • Purple: Katsuji, Greg, Aaron
  • Gray: Melissa, James, Keriann
  • Blue: Rebecca, Stacy, Katie

Michael Schlow stays in the kitchen to expedite.  Blue and purple get a lot of orders right away.  Gray’s momentum picks up as well.  Orange is pretty slow goings.  Of course, if the judges like your food, you’re safe.

In the dining room, Padma, Tom, Richard, and guest Emmy Rossum (Shameless) eagerly await their food.  There’s one twist: Emmy is gluten-free, and the chefs haven’t planned for this.

Purple is the first to serve the judges.

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For the gluten-free option, Katsuji simple removes the pasta from his pasta dish calling it a deconstructed ravioli.  Despite the sad display, it looks like Emmy got lucky as no one is a fan of the pasta.

Next up is Orange.

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The menu is not a hit with the diners, but the food is a hit with the judges.  Adam handles Emmy’s allergy well, making red quinoa polenta with seafood brodo in place of his pasta dish.  Fun fact of the Orange team: Mei is known as “the fish bitch” at home.  I kind of love that.

Gray goes next.

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Melissa’s dish is well-received as her pasta and peas are better by comparison to other teams’.  Her gluten-free option for Emmy rounds delicious: risotto with bacon-parmesan broth and spring pea purée.  Very smart substitute!

Finally, Blue serves.IMG_6382

Katie’s pasta is delicious, and she makes zucchini pasta for Emmy to keep her dish in-tact.  (That’s supposed to say “basil-walnut pesto” but I guess I capped too fast!)  That’s the best dish for this team, though…

For judging, Michael Schlow joins Padma, Tom, and Richard at the table.

The winning team, the one who sold the most menus, is Purple!  Katsuji’s ravioli gets a lot of criticism, but he had immunity and his team carried him to safety.

Orange is safe, since the judges really liked their food.

On the bottom: James, Stacy, and Rebecca.

James & Rebecca are asked to pack their knives.

 

I might be biased, since Stacy is my hometown hero, but I really think the judges made the right decision tonight.  James lets his point of view get muddled, and ends up forgettable.  His dish didn’t seem Italian to the judges.  Rebecca is no stand-out either– she played it safe with scallops to entice diners and just didn’t deliver.  I love how Emmy pointed out her fennel was promised to be charred, and just wasn’t.

What did you guys think of the double elimination?

Top Chef Boston: Fine Dining at Fenway

Padma and Ming Tsai announce the second Sudden Death Quickfire of the season.  It’s Boston Tea Party themed… because that might the be only thing people know about Boston.  Actually, it’s a neat challenge.  Each cheftestant gets a different type of tea to cook with.  There are thirteen different types which include:

  • strawberry white tea, which Gregory gets
  • gunpowder spearmint, which Aaron gets
  • lemongrass pomegranate rooibos, which Rebecca gets
  • Asian pear white tea, for James
  • chocolate & salt herbal tea, for Rob
  • toasted nut oolong, for Melissa

They don’t get to pick, they just open a container and that’s what they need to prepare tea for two with for Padma and Ming.  Melissa, Gregory, and Ron come out on top.  Gregory takes the win and earns immunity for the elimination challenge.  The bottom three are James, Aaron, and Rebecca.  Ultimately, Aaron loses and is up for elimination.  He has to cook for his life.

Aaron chooses Katie to cook again, as she is a culinary instructor and he has some kind of chip on his shoulder for not being able to afford culinary school.  The twist?  The only source of heat Aaron and Katie can use is boiling water.

Aaron does “a spring roll, but a fucked up one,” which Padma asks how he would like her to eat.  Katie makes pasta by hand since she couldn’t figure out the pasta maker.  Aaron’s fucked up spring roll is enough to beat Katie and keep him in the competition.  It’s nice to see no one go home!  But Aaron’s ego, man.

Ming & Padma then announce the elimination challenge and FENWAY PARK home of the Boston Red Sox!  I’m still too excited about that not to type it in caps.  The cheftestants must use a classic ballpark snack as inspiration (peanuts, popcorn, pretzels, friend dough) to make a fine dining dish to serve at Fenway.

Tom, Richard Blais, Hugh Acheson, Padma, Ming, and guests Dennis Eckersley and Dan Shaughnessy sit below the green monster and are served the following:

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Back at the judges’ table, Ming accompanies our regulars.  The favorites are Gregory, Melissa, and Katie.  Gregory takes the win, again!  I’m really starting to like him after hearing more of his backstory.  On the bottom, we have Ron, Kerriann, and Katsuji.  None of these are people I wanted to go home.  Ron ends up packing his knives.  I would’ve liked to see more from him; he seemed like a genuinely good guy.

NEXT WEEK THOUGH features one of my absolute favorite shows, CHEERS!  Special guests include George Wendt (say it with me, Norm!  Did you know I’m the world’s oldest 25-year-old?) and Shameless’s Emmy Rossum!  Every preview just gets me more and more excited about Top Chef Boston!

If you watch in the Eastern time zone, remember to tweet with me next week! @nikkisee

What did you guys think of this week’s episode and the results?!

Netflix Crawl

Boston is big on St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m sure there will be bar crawls a-plenty this weekend in celebration. Nicole is not big on St. Patrick’s Day.  A bar crawl would not be my thing either.  I guess the idea is that you have one beer and each bar, then move on to the next.  In honor of my weekend plans, I’ve made a fictional pub crawl, via Netflix!

Cheers

IMG_5021What better place to start your night than where everybody knows your name!  The crowd at this Boston bar can definitely be festive, but never seems rowdy.  Have your first beer here kicking back with Norm and the gang, and you can be on your way before Cliff gives you too many “little known facts.”

The Drunken Clam

IMG_5012We’re moving geographically now to Quahog, Rhode Island, which is fictional, but Rhode Island is so small that it really doesn’t matter where in state it’s located.  You can get things going a little more here, pounding beer number two back with Peter Griffin and friends.  I mean, that Family Guy can drink.  We’ve seen him drunk enough to assume so, anyway.

MacLaren’s

IMG_5019We’re in Manhattan now!  This bar from “How I Met Your Mother” has no shortage of attractive and gullible ladies, so make some friends now that you’re on your third.  If you’re not having much luck, maybe Barney can give you an assist.  Haaaave you met Ted?  There’s also food here if you’re feeling a bit peckish, which I always am.

Paddy’s Pub

IMG_5023I’m guessing you’re feeling it now, or at least have a good buzz going.  If you’re not drunk, someone here is bound to be.  Here we are in Philadelphia at an Irish bar, so there should be a lot of holiday spirit.  Drink down your fourth beer with “the gang” of Always Sunny.  This is really the kind of place you could spend your whole holiday binge-drinking, but remember that’s not the goal of the crawl.

Snakehole Lounge

IMG_5024It’s time to get wild in Pawnee, Indiana at the world’s sickest nightclub.  According to some rough google-ing, Pawnee is somewhere in Southern Indiana, between Columbus and Louisville, KY.  Avoid the snakejuice and have a fifth beer with the Parks & Rec department.  Things could get weird here, you guys.

The Bronze

IMG_5020Apparently the middle of this country doesn’t have much going for it, ‘cause we’re on the west coast now!  Here in Sunnydale, CA you can get your dance on at The Bronze.  If you’re not quite 21, no worries!  And if it happens to be 1999, you can catch Dingoes Ate My Baby playing some tunes.  Although this is south of our final location, I didn’t want to end the night here because of all the vampire attacks nearby.  If this isn’t place isn’t your thing, you could instead pick up your sixth beer at the bar at UC Sunnydale, but of course, you risk turning into a caveman.

P3

IMG_5022Wind down and enjoy the music and your final drink of the night at P3.  This San Francisco night spot may have its share of demonic activity as well, but I figure anything safer than Sunnydale.  I’m sure Piper and the power of three will be there if something bad does go down.  Some pretty sweet bands played here, so I think it’s a great way to end the night.

You have now covered 3,364 miles without leaving your couch!

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click through to see how weird I am for putting so much thought into this!

If you are going out this weekend in celebration, have fun and be safe!

If you’re more of a non-observant person like me, you can watch all of these shows on Netflix!

| Cheers | Family Guy | How I Met Your Mother | It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia | Parks and Rec | Buffy the Vampire Slayer | Charmed |

For Valentine’s Day: Favorite TV Couples

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I have an appropriately themed post for you, because I’m not as heartless as I thought I was.  Don’t tell anyone, but I secretly love love.  For V-Day, I’m counting down my favorite TV couples!

5. Amy & Rory (Doctor Who)

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I want someone to love me the way Rory loves Amy.  I like this couple because Amy really wears the pants in the relationship.  Rory, quite literally, goes through all of time and space for the love of Amy Pond.  He dies over and over again for her.  He guards the Pandorica for centuries because of how much he loves her.  Rory Williams, call me maybe.  This couple is not one-sided, though, and in their final moments as the Doctor’s companions, it’s clear that Amy loves Rory as much as he loves her.  She gives up everything she knows to be jettisoned back in time by the Weeping Angels to live out her life in the past with Rory.

Episode of Choice: My pick for “the Ponds” is kind of random.  I chose, “The Girl Who Waited,” an episode that haunted me long after watching it.  This episode is focused on Amy and Rory more than the Doctor, and takes place in a setting that reminds me of Portal 2.  It exemplifies the complicated nature of Amy and Rory’s relationship, but highlights love’s triumph.

4. Jim & Pam (The Office)

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This is kind of a given— I think this couple really sets the American version of The Office apart from it’s British counterpart.  I love that things work out for Jim and Pam even though at the start of this series, it seemed like all odds were against them.  Pam was engaged to another man; yet love found a way for this couple to be together.  Never did Jim try to break them up; he eventually had to be honest about his feelings and Pam had to be honest about hers.  Watching their love story develop is sweet and heart-warming.

Episode of Choice: My favorite Jim and Pam moment occurs in an episode that has the two of them living in different states.  I chose, “Weight Loss,” the episode in which Jim proposes to Pam.  With Pam off at art school, Jim cannot wait any longer to pop the question and does so at a gas station between Pennsylvania and New York.  We witness this rainy proposal in silence.  Its simplicity is perfection.

3. Buffy & Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel)

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I am such a sucker for a bittersweet love story.  I was always a Spuffy ‘shipper— that’s Spike and Buffy as a couple.  After watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer over and over, I realized rather quickly that it’s always been Bangel, and cannot be anything but Bangel.  Buffy and Angel were true love, but love that could never be due to their respective responsibilities to save the world.  Their tragic tale shows a teen’s first love, deep betrayal, and sacrifice when Buffy kills Angelus to stop an apocalypse right before his soul is restored.   “Close Your Eyes,” the Buffy/Angel love theme plays, and we all cry.

Episode of Choice: I’m actually going with the one episode of Angel that Sarah Michelle Gellar guest stars in.  I chose the crossover episode, “I Will Remember You.”  This episode is absolutely heartbreaking.  We see Buffy and Angel rekindle their love, which for one seems to have an actual chance, only to have to turn back time.  Angel bears the burden of the memory, but Buffy will forget it.  As their time together ticks down before reset, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s real tears make her words so moving.  Grab some tissues for this one.

2. Ross & Rachel (Friends)

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He’s her lobster!  Friends is actually my go-to show for being broken hearted.  After a really bad break-up, I turned to this series to remind me that love is real and life is good.  Throughout this series, we know Ross and Rachel belong together.  We struggle with the “we were on a break!” and “she’s not Rachem” and all the other comedic mishaps that come our way, but we know, like Rachel says: it’s never off the table for them.  For goodness sake, he says her name in his wedding vows to Emily!  By the end of the series, these two have a child together.  I think most of us hung in there for 10 seasons to see them reunite.  We can all safely assume that Ross and Rachel get married, probably quietly since Ross has done is so many times and since they’re technically already divorced.

Episode of Choice: This is a tough one.  In one of my absolute favorite episodes of the series, “The One With the Prom Video,” we witness a tear-inducingly beautiful Ross and Rachel moment.  I love that whole episode for a good summation of their love.  My pick, however, is “The Last One” part 2, which brings new meaning to “I got off the plane.”  This was the moment we were all waiting for and it sealed the Ross and Rachel story with a happy ending.

1. Diane & Sam (Cheers)

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The ultimate will they or won’t they couple!  Sometimes the best love stories do not have a happy ending.  Rewatching Cheers, like rewatching Buffy, is a terribly emotional experience for me.  Doing so always solidifies that Diane and Sam are my absolute favorite TV couple.  They are the epitome of opposites attract, and find themselves in each others’ arms again and again even after they’ve split.  Diane fundamentally changes Sam for the better.  His love for her sends him to Italy to break up her wedding to Frasier.  Sam and Diane are my OTP— that’s one true pairing, for those of you who don’t speak tumblr.  Though things do not end well for them, I like to believe that they have a love child out there somewhere, who grew up bouncing between Boston and LA.  And I’ve named her.  I’m normal.

Episode of Choice:  I chose “Fear is My Co-Pilot,” an episode in which these two weren’t even a couple.  A recent rewatch of Cheers had me crying at this one.  Diane and Sam take a plane ride with a pilot friend of Diane’s, who basically pretends to be dead to force a moment between the two.  All their true feelings come out in the face of death.  It’s beautiful, and so sad that they let each other slip away even after all they go through.

Well, there you have it!  Who’s your OPT?

And, if you’re not feeling the love on this Valentine’s Day, I have another suggestion for you: Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?  This creeptastic Investigation Discovery show should make you feel better about all the bad boyfriends you’ve had.  Trust me on this one!