New Orleans

Travel Bug (US edition)

Three years ago, I had this temp job that hired a lot of co-op students from a local university.  One such student sat behind me and we’d chat on occasion.  She was from Ireland, studying abroad in the US.  While my summer weekends were spent escaping to the beaches of Rhode Island, she travelled the United States.  I quickly realized she’d seen more of my home country than I had!

So, I’ve had this running list of US cities I wanted to visit.  It’s evolved a bit over time, but I decided to post this now, since the travel bug has hit me hard and I’m making real progress!

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HK14: Homecoming

Eight chefs competed on this week’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen: four ladies on Red and four on men on Blue.  They get an early start to their day when Chef Ramsay calls them into the dining room.  There, they find a huge pep rally for Calabasas High School.

The kids are having their homecoming dinner dance in Hell’s Kitchen and the chefs compete to get one of three dishes on the menu for the evening: a seafood appetizer, a chicken entrée, and a beef entrée.  Abigail, Max, and Georgia of the homecoming committee act as judges:

  • T presents a jalapeño grits and shrimp dish for Red.  Milly present a stuffed shrimp alfredo creole risotto dish for Blue.  Abigail, Max, and Georgia all chose Milly’s dish.  Point for Blue!
  • Meghan presents a chive fettuccine chicken dish for Red.  Randy presents a blackened chicken pasta.  Georgia likes Blue, but Max and Abigail both like Red.  Point for Red!
  • Josh/Nick have prepared a chicken fried steak for Blue.  Michelle presents her filet of beef au poivre.  Georgia goes Red, but Abigail and Max pick Blue sealing the win for the men!

They win a pirate adventure dinner, while the girls have to set-up the room for the Mardi Gras themed homecoming… under the supervision of the committee.  To add insult to injury, they must also string loose beads to make necklaces for all 200 guests.  I assume those Mardi Gras necklaces are way less expensive than buying all those beads.

Top: the winning dishes.  Bottom: the men enjoy their pirate adventure dinner!  Milly makes such a good pirate.

Top: the winning dishes. Bottom: the men enjoy their pirate adventure dinner! Milly makes such a good pirate.

Homecoming dinner service comes and it’s a rocky start for both teams.  T starts by setting the flat top on fire.  Ramsay is as cool as a cucumber in the face of fire– he knows how to quell every kitchen fire and I’m impressed.  Josh tries to serve super alcoholic risotto to 17-year-olds and then serve raw capellini.  After these hiccups, apps roll out fine.  Entrées get a bit of a rough start too.  Milly’s flat top isn’t hot, so they start out delayed.  Randy struggles here and there.  Red is smoother, even though Michelle was assigned to meat and Meghan pushes her off to garnish.  Alison just cracks me up when she takes it upon herself to expedite and keeps yelling “all day!”  Blue finishes service first, but Red is right behind and with a smoother service, they win!

Blue puts up Randy and Josh for elimination.  Josh immediately starts campaigning and badmouthing Nick in offensive ways.  However, no one is getting eliminated.  Instead, Josh and Meghan switch teams!  I’ve been waiting for them to switch it up!  Meghan has already displayed leadership skills… albeit she’s been a little mean, and Ramsay expects her to lead Blue.  All the ladies left on Red are vying for that leadership role and so is Josh.  We’ll see how things go next week!

Thoughts?

2014 Favorites

It’s that time!  With the year winding down, here is my very own Obligatory 2014 TV Favorites List.  Now, if you’ve been reading for a while, none of these should surprise you.  I thought it might be a fun thing to do year to year, so even though you’ve probably read a million of these, I’m giving you another.  I’ve got two categories for you; my favorite things, TV & video games.  Without further ado:

 

TV Shows

5. Orange is the New Black | Probably my most anticipated new season of the year, OITNB’s second season did not disappoint!

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LostGirlTVSeriesLogo4. Lost Girl | I stated watching this late last year, early 2014.  This show hit every note for me, and I recommend it for Buffy fans and similar.  It’s final season is just beginning, so jump on this train.

 

Ecran_Titre_d'American_Horror_Story3. American Horror Story | Coven straddled 2013 and 2014, and Freak Show will bleed into next year.  I’m just so onboard with this show and especially Jessica Lange.  I only hope she is as onboard as I am for the next season!

 

 

The_Walking_Dead_title_card2. The Walking Dead | I watched the first season years ago, and picked up again recently just in time for the mid-season finale.  I am constantly impressed with the emotional depths this show brings me to.

 

1. Orphan Black | Recommended to me in late 2013, I watched the first season of this show just in time for the second to begin.  You may have caught my Clone Club Catch-Ups, and expect to see more next year.  Tatiana Maslany’s masterful performance as almost all of the show’s main characters is always worth watching.

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Honorable Mention: Top Chef | Another show whose seasons straddle two years, I absolutely loved New Orleans and Boston might be my favorite season ever.  Stay tuned for more recaps!

 

Video Games

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03. Super Smash Bros. WiiU/3DS | Okay, this is two games.  I’ve played the 3DS version more because it’s portable, and I’ve had it longer.  This is my favorite installment of Super Smash since the original N64 version.  The novelty of this concept has not worn off!  Kirby smashing up Pikachu is still awesome.

02. Mario Kart 8 | I hate to say this, but I’m not really a Mario Kart girl.  Sure, I loved Super Mario Kart, but the N64 days had me with Diddy Kong Racing and don’t even get me started on Double Dash.  MK8, however, single-handedly justified purchasing a WiiU for me.  I am so impressed with this game.  I love the online component, and find the DLC exciting.  I keep on coming back for more!

01. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby | Hoenn was always my favorite region so I was more excited than ever before for these amazing remakes.  I got through Alpha Sapphire fast; faster than X by far.  These games have even reignited my desire to complete an Unova adventure.  I’m so happy that more people will be introduced to this region and this story.  These games are fantastic and I can’t wait for what Pokémon has in store for us next!  I’d write more about how much I’m obsessed with these fantastic games, but I want to go wonder trade.

And there you have it!  What are your favorite shows and/or games from this year?

What Are You Doing Here?

Hey guys!  I’m sadly back from vacation but happy to get back to blogging.  Today, I have a brand new feature for you!  Welcome to What Are You Doing Here?: A Roadmap of Sorts!  The below bolded statements are actual search terms that led people to nikkisee.com.  I thought it might be fun to address some of them, for various reasons.  Yeah, that’s all I’m going to say.  Let’s keep it vague.  Onward!

 

gamecube tekken sarah michelle gellar anywhere but here zen lemmings

This was searched not once, but twice to get to my blog! I don’t know what you’re getting at here, but I think I like it. I like GameCube, and Tekken, and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Zen lemmings? Not sure what they are, but I don’t hate it.

 

weeping angel in new orleans cemetery

Obviously you were brought here because of my love for “Blink,” the Doctor Who episode, and Top Chef: New Orleans.   If there is indeed a weeping angel in a New Orleans cemetery, I would like to investigate with you! Call me maybe?

 

amazing race i hate mallory

WHY? Mallory is a joy. All Stars didn’t do her justice; watch her on the other two seasons she was on with her dad.

 

why not put hollindaise on swordfish?

This was searched a few times in various formats, so I think it’s fair to address it. I’m going to be honest with you, readers: I might consider putting hollandaise on swordfish. I consider putting hollandaise on everything. I don’t think the texture of swordfish would go well with this buttery sauce, though. I’m glad I’m not the only one who asks Google questions like it’s my friend, though.

 

who did.holly marie.combs bring with her to hells kitchen?

I don’t know, but I do know you’re an iPhone user! I do the same thing with the periods everytime I search on my iPhone.

 

phi mu judges names hell’s kitchen

Stalker. Y’all were big fans of Kayla, eh?

 

flustrated hells kitchen 2014

I’m so glad somebody else is having a problem with what I’m assuming is an accidental portmanteau. I heard “flustrated” again on Toddlers & Tiaras, and now I’m wondering if it’s common (and by that, I mean a common mistake) in the south. Let me know if you have any insight.

 

welsh y sipsi nikkisee

For some reason, I knew transcribing this poem would be of interest to others. This Welsh poem featured on Amazing Race was searched in many, many forms, and the recap post featuring it is probably my most viewed blog post. The fact that someone was actually searching for my blog by name blows me away! I’m honored to be your resident Welsh gypsy poem transcriber.

 

did hell’s kitchen make a mistake on the croque monsuier

I really think they did. I don’t understand this, but maybe they were trying to be colloquial. This is another thing that got searched several times in a couple formats. Clearly, I’m not the only one who noticed.

 

lets eat viki

I understand this, and I would search this… well, something similar. I’m a stickler for apostrophes! It just reminds me of those jokes about the necessity of the Oxford comma. Let’s eat, Grandma v. Let’s eat Grandma. It makes me giggle.

 

how to beat yoshis new island last level

Golden Flutter Wings. If you are having enough trouble to freakin’ Google that, it sounds like you need ’em.

 

youtube

If my blog came up every time someone searched for Youtube, I think I’d have a lot more traffic. It apparently worked for one of you, though.

 

Keep on Googling weird stuff so we can have some more What Are You Doing Here? fun!  And hey, thank you so much for reading!!

Top Chef BOSTON, baby!

The best judges: Emeril, Padma, Gail, Tom, (with the best dance moves,) and Hugh!

The best judges: Emeril, Padma, Gail, Tom, (with the best dance moves,) and Hugh!

When I first heard the rumor that Top Chef season 12 would be set in Boston, I was excited.  However, you have to take that as what it is: a rumor.  This week, though, my wildest dreams came through when it was confirmed!

To have one of my favorite shows in my favorite city, the city I live in, is news I can’t even begin to comprehend.  When the confirmations were coming out left and right on Wednesday, it was literally all I could think about all day.

Now I’m working on how I can eat the cheftestants’ food this spring/summer…

In light of the good news of what I’m hoping will be my new favorite season, I wanted to revisit my other favorite Top Chef locations, in a top 3 list.

 

3. Season 11 – New Orleans

American Horror Story and Top Chef were both on at the same time, and both were set in New Orleans, so I was all about New Orleans!  I had a couple of favorite contestants this time around including my hometown hero, the wonderful and kind Stephanie Cmar.  Humble brag: I’ve had the pleasure of having coffee with her, and she personally introduced me to season 10 winner Kristen Kish.  Stephanie is awesome in real life and on screen.  My other favorite was the adorable Janine Booth, who I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting but I have tweeted back and forth with her, and that’s nice too.  The great thing about the New Orleans location was the utilization of new-ish judge Emeril Lagasse.  New Orleans is where he made a name for himself.  Emeril, who I used to watch on TV with my parents when I was growing up, gives me a nostalgic feeling that’s nice.  Also, he kind of looks like my uncles.

2. Season 8 – New York City

The second time Top Chef made New York its home was for the All-Stars season.  That it itself is enough to make this one of the best seasons.  Most of my favorites are all thrown together in one season including the  fierce Jen Carroll, hilarious Carla Hall, the joyous Tiffany Derry, and a man whose quotes liter my twitter feed endlessly, Fabio Viviani.  These are literally some of my favorite cheftestants period, so seeing them all in one episode is pure magic.  Fabio is always pure magic and watching his budding bromance with Richard Blais is fantastic.  I laugh every time I rewatch this season.  Actually, all of the contestants on this season were people I liked, so it can sometimes be a bit hard to watch your favorites pack their knives again.  But with so many fan favorites on one season, what’s not to love?

1. Season 6 – Las Vegas

Love those Voltaggios!  Forever my favorite season, Vegas is tied to my memories more so than any other season.  I can tell you what year of college I was in without looking up the year; I can tell you exactly where I was living.  This is the first season of Top Chef (and maybe the first show ever) I live tweeted.  Twitter has been instrumental in my Top Chef experience, and I tweeted through that finale like a fiend!  This is the first time my chosen contestant won the title of Top Chef.  Yes, I cheered for Michael Voltaggio.  The man is unstoppable!  Really, so was Bryan.  The two brothers both had such consistent success throughout the season, and it was amazing to watch.  Vegas, like New Orleans, opened my eyes to a culinary city I never would have expected.  Now whenever someone mentions Las Vegas, I say, “I want to go there!  But to eat!”

 

Here’s hoping Boston is the best season ever!  We have three cheftestants here– Tiffani Faison, Kristen Kish, and Stephanie Cmar.  I’d love to see them pop up on the new season.  I’d also love to see another Boston chef vying for the title.  Mostly, I hope to see Padma or Tom in my city soon!

 

photo via Bravo