This week will be my last live-blog for a little while, as this time next Wednesday I will be somewhere over the Continental Divide on my way to LAX (and from there the smoggy Inland Empire). Of course, you won't need my assessment of the silliness on TC4 - there are excellent weekly reviews from Kit, Kathy, Xani and Erin and David Dust, most of whom are local (well, not David), and all of whom have been doing the xlnt recaps. And of course, read this play-by-play of tonight's episode, involving men in uniform (and most likely some women, too).
The drink selection for this evening? Abita Restoration Pale Ale, brewed in Abita Springs, Louisiana. I visited New Orleans in '02. My very first visit to a po'boy stand was illuminating. I asked the guy next to me what they had, Abita or Dixie, and which he'd recommend. He, and about everybody else in New Orleans seems to recommend Abita. When I said I liked Dixie they looked at me like I had crawdads crawling out my ears. It took asking a bartender at a local gay bar why: because Dixie Beer, it seems, just isn't very good. Or wasn't. They don't make it anymore.
On to the festivities...
10:03 Andrew scares me. Already a drink-worthy remark. DRINK!
Ooooh. Sam Talbot from TC2 is guest judge today. And the quickfire challenge: salads. Andrew makes some inappropriate remark? Not yet. Dale gets pissy? Not yet. Hmmm. But the night's still young...
10:05 Lisa: "There are definitely some people who don't deserve to be here..." Wait fr it... Waaaaait....
Like you, Lisa? Oooh, pwned! DRINK!
10:06 These people had 45 minutes to make this salad. Stephanie didn't finish? WTF?
Again, what impresses Sammy boy? Not Lisa's. Antonia's is a wee bit sparse, but delicious. I guess these guys really do go for microscopic plates.
10:08 No reaction from Sam to Rich's. He did seem to like Dale's.
Yikes, Rich's was unimpressive. The glow is gone. Same with Steph. And again, Lisa.
Spike, Antonia and Dale were the most impressive. Wait, who else is there again?
10:09 Ooooh, Spike wins. Hissssssss.....
10:10 And now for some fast food items for the elim challenge (Spike is still eligible - no immunity anymore, so one can hope).
The elim challenge? Make healthy box lunches for the police academy cadets! And you must choose something from a specific food group. Spike gets a 10 minute headstart and can choose one ingredient from each food group that nobody else is allowed to use. Not good for everybody else.
10:15 DAMN do I hate Spike. And look, the prick is choosing the absolutely most common ingredients for his dish, so that nobody else can use them. Chicken, lettuce, bread and tomatoes.
10:17 God, I really, really want to kick his ass.
10:18 So obviously, everyone else compromises. Rich does bok choy and tuna, Lisa is doing something with shrimp, Andrew? Apparently he is making "success".
10:19 So again, their four food groups they must use: a lean protein, a starch?, a vegetable and a fruit.
Andrew is making a sushi roll with parsnip and pine nuts. Um, dude, Spike didn't choose rice, too.
Dale is doing beef filled lettuce cups and Vietnamese style stuff.
10:20 Thank you for saying what I thought already, Antonia: Dale's schtick really is just Asian food.
10:21 Lisa whining about those pesky rules again.
Steph has soup, Lisa made spicy shrimp and edamame "chili" thing.
10:22 And Spike is making a sandwich? WTF? He's not really using them, just putting them out there to be looked at and used if they want to use them?
Anyway, Rich's, um, things look interesting. It probably would be. He could make doody in a box and the judges would love it.
10:24 And here's where the sabotage begins: Lisa has turned up the heat on her rice? Steph thinks it's just a mistake.
10:25 And Dale sabotages himself by almost breaking his neck on a cooler.
10:26 Did I mention how much I despise Spike? The hatred dulled a little bit over the past few eps, but it's back full force now.
And what's the point of these A-List Awards again?
10:27 Soyjoy - fortified with optimism, and refreshingly taste free!
10:28 Lisa is writing directions on the containers. Not bad, but efficient? We'll see.
10:29 To the chefs:
So THAT'S what Rich made - burritos. Tuna burritos. Good idea.
10:30 Oooh, some of these guys probably need this healthy stuff.
To up the slime factor, Spike puts as few plates out as possible.
10:31 Mushroom and meatball soup with fruit-veggie purée and yogurt. The judges love it.
Again, Spike made the bread totally optional. Could the others use pita too?
Oh, SNAP! The judges are bored with it!!! Heheheheheheheh...
10:32 Dale's Asian-dish-of-the-day goes over well with the cadets, okay with the judges.
10:33 Further notes: Antonia pleases, Andrew goes all raw-food on us and the heat overwhelms the heat-lovin' Chicagoans. The judges are not happy with it.
10:34 Let's see how Rich's quinoa burrito goes over... Tom: "Tastes better than it looks, fortunately." Good?
As to Lisa: They like it but the rice is undercooked. And SPICY again!
10:35 Nothing drink worthy for a while... DRINK!
10:36 Yes I admit. I am the only non-straight-white-male who neither is seeing nor cares about the new Sex and the City flick. Please don't hate me, loyal readers. Even though Sarah Jessica Parker's dress at the London premiere was kinda silly.
10:42 Many of the chefs had seasoning problems. But not these two. And the winner: Dale. At least now nothing will be broken or banged while the loser throws a hissy fit. A DRINK for the judges' table that could've been.
10:43 Spike's in the bottom three, with Lisa (AGAIN) and Andrew. It feels so good to see him [CORRECTION: Spike, that is] here.
Andrew: a not-so-very substantial dish landed him in the bottom three. It wasn't satisfying enough for the "I like hearty stuff" crowd. C'mon. Why wouldn't cops in the corruption-riddled Windy City want to eat lean and sparse stuff just because?
10:45 Spike is in the bottom because with he chose the most boring ones and wasted two hours making such a conventional dish. And the judges are not happy that Spike seemed to choose ingredients merely to screw over the other chefs.
Spike: "What do you understand about salty and sweet?" Did that just come out of his mouth? Same old argumentative Spike.
10:47 Lisa is there because of
10:48 Andrew, don't punch Lisa (not like he said he would). Could he punch Spike instead?
10:49 How many times has Lisa wound up in the bottom three again? She's there, like, almost every week!
That Lisa-Andrew confrontation they promised turned out to be less than exciting after all.
For Ted, possible sabotage isn't an issue because there were several problems with her dish.
10:50 Failure of imagination, too much time doing so little. Spike did not expect to be in the bottom this time, I think. He was a victim of his own cleverness?
10:51 Tom: "There's no way I would go back to that - **MAKES AIR QUOTES** - 'sushi'."
10:52 My own personal preferences aside, I really think this is Andrew's night to go home to creepy phallic comment land.
10:55 Yep, the new season of Shear Genius looks stupid already. Apparently, Eva Longoria and Moby are competing.
10:57 Final comments - Andrew can't make the cops replace flavor for nutrition (why couldn't they go together).
Why is Lisa here again?
And the loser is...
ANDREW! Can I call 'em or what?
No, no don't let him shake your hand!!!!!
No Spike is not madcool.
10:58 Lisa is STILL complaining about the rules. Dude, you're not going home. Don't whine as if you are!
10:59 And next week: the final folks work in a greasy spoon? Or is this just plain restaurant wars? I won't know - I'll be on an airplane when this is on. So I'll have to watch this later on. I'm sure others will cover it with aplomb.
FINAL THOUGHTS: As much as I hated what Spike did, and as much as Lisa (and, again Spike-who-is-too-clever-for-his-own-good) deserves to go home alright already, it was painfully obvious tonight. Andrew screwed up, and he needed to go away. No more "culinary boner" references I guess. Oh well. On to SoCal (for me, not these schmucks).