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Archive for June, 2010

I know we’re only one episode in, but I’m ready to call this season of “Top Chef.” I was ready before the first quickfire was even over.  Season 7 will come down to Kenny and Angelo, in a typical “Top Chef” battle between good and evil.

Since there’s not much to go on from the first episode to support my prediction, let’s meet some of the contestants (SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen the first episode) and make a few more predictions along the way:

Tracey Bloom: This woman has a hilarious laugh.  She has a hint of meanie in her, but it seems to stem from insecurity more than anything.  She seems nervous.   She also seems likely to turn out to be a total weirdo, though not as weird as my beloved bird Carla, and not as weird as …

John Somerville: This guy got booted because he tried to make a dessert (and failed), something he pretty much admitted from the start was a stupid idea.  It was especially stupid to buy a major component of the dish premade!  But that’s all beside the point.  The actual point is that I would not want to eat anything made by someone with that hair.

Kelly Liken: This girl is cute.  I like her.

Amanda Baumgarten: This girl is really cute.  I like her, too.  And I like how she was the first picked by the quickfire winners (the instruction was to pick your competitors, so the assumption is you’d pick whoever you thought was going to be the worst cook), because apparently hot women can’t cook?  Hm.  Someone forgot to tell that to my mother!  (Granted, Amanda did cut her hand in the quickfire, but I’m hoping it was just first-episode jitters.)

Alex Reznik: I like this dude because he’s bald, the opposite of Somerville above.  Reznik can cook for me anytime he wants.

Arnold Myint: This guy is awesome because his name is Arnold and because he hired a personal stylist to dress him for the show.  I didn’t pay much attention to his food last night, but I suspect he’s all for show and won’t last long.  I hope he proves me wrong, because I’m curious to see what other silly little outfits he’s got planned.

Andrea Curto-Randazzo: This woman’s name, I believe, is pronounced the same way as season 1’s Andrea Beaman, who did not make it far in the competition.  Things should go a lot better for this season’s Andrea if she steers clear of Beaman’s “‘healthy granola’ cooking style.”

Jacqueline Lombard: Jacqueline needs to learn from Andrea Beaman’s bad example as well.  She narrowly escaped being asked to pack up her knives and go last night because she decided to make pate with less butter.  If only Julia Child were around to punch her on behalf of the rest of us who realize that more butter is always the answer.

Kevin Sbraga: I think this guy’s trying to be season 7’s pompous jerk, but he just doesn’t have it in him.  In spite of his best efforts last night, I kind of like him!

Angelo Sosa: This guy is a total douche.  In one of the early clips of the contestants getting to know each other, he’s talking to Timothy and rambles off a string of pretentious resume points, including the following: “I don’t know if you know Jean-Georges, but I worked with him for a long time.”  I love that he drops a name so huge that he’s sure Timothy’s going to be intimidated, but he prefaces it by pretending that Timothy might not know whom he’s talking about.  The whole point of dropping the name is that Timothy is going to know who Jean-Georges is! Angelo continues: “I was actually just in Monte Carlo.  Have you been to France before?”

Timothy Dean: Timothy takes it all in stride, and yes, he’s been to France.  In his one-on-one with the camera, he’s quick to call Angelo’s “buuuuull shit.”  Love Timothy.

Kenny Gilbert: There is nothing I don’t like about Kenny.  He’s got a great personality, so far has behaved politely and kindly toward his fellow contestants, seems at the same time confident enough in himself to take this all the way, and most important, appears to be a very good cook.  Go Kenny!

Unfortunately, Angelo can also cook, and past seasons seem to prize the asshole over the nice guy, with season 1’s Harold a notable exception.  You can do it, Kenny!

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Chris always warns me against taking online reviews too seriously.  According to him, people usually don’t bother to go online to review something unless they’re really pissed.  (See my Yelp review of the “up close and personal” male revue I selected for Julie’s bachelorette party.)  So I try to make an effort to review things when I really, really love them.  (See my Yelp review of the alfredo pizza at Antonio’s in Prospect Heights.  Seriously, Brooklynites.  You’ve got to try this pizza.  It’s divine!)

So tonight at the pet store, as I was raving about my favorite cat litter to the store owner, I realized I need to spread the word on the Internet.  And since of the eight people who might still read my blog, six or seven of them own cats, I figured this was a good place to start.

Cat people, you’ve got to try Ever Clean!  This stuff is amazing!  You know how the mainstream bands like Fresh Step say they’re odor-free, and then you go to nuzzle your cat and he smells like he rubbed deodorant and dust all over himself?  Ever Clean isn’t like that.  Not only does it mask the cat smells inside the box completely–completely!–the litter itself doesn’t smell one little bit.  It’s amazing.  We buy a 42-pound bag (which, granted, is a lot of litter), and it lasts us at least a month, if not two, in our two-cat household.  You hardly ever have to change it–just scoop it out every day or two and go on your way!  The cats love it.

The only downside, I suspect, is the price.  If premium litter is anything like premium cat food (Fromm dry and Wellness wet for our Pans), it costs a pretty penny.  But it is worth!  It!

And these Pans?  Definitely worth it.

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A few weeks ago, Chris, Elizabeth, E’s friend and I went to see the Yankees play the Orioles.  It was my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium and my first experience in the Yankees bleachers.   I’d heard about the Bleacher Creatures, and they held true to their reputation that evening: I had beer spilled on me, there was near-constant yelling (including a lot of swearing at a few idiots who decided to wear Mets and Orioles attire, clearly looking to stir up trouble), and at least two fights broke out. Also, I was heckled.  Chris was so proud: my first heckling!

I wish I could say that it wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t deserve it.  The fact is, though, that I planned the whole thing out in advance.  Not the heckling–it didn’t occur to me that my behavior would invite ridicule!–but I did check the Yankees website that afternoon to make sure that knitting needles weren’t on the list of items prohibited in the stadium.

Yep, for some reason I thought it would be acceptable to knit in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium.  And during a particularly exciting play, I got tired of standing with the rest of the crowd and sat back down to continue my project, before the play had been completed.  The dude behind me proved that he is a much bigger Yankees fan than I am (of course, I’m not a Yankees fan at all, so it wasn’t hard) by saying, to no one in particular (to the back of my head, I assume): “Grandma’s got to finish knitting her hat!”  (It wasn’t a hat; it was an elephant, for a friend’s baby due in August.)

OK.  So I deserved it.  I shouldn’t have been knitting at a baseball game, much less in the Yankees bleachers, much less during an exciting play.  Still, I left the game that night with my preference for the Mets affirmed.  I haven’t been to a Mets game yet this year, but I expect that when I do, and when Jose Reyes does something magnificent, no one will even notice that I’m knitting through it.

Apparently, Saturday’s game would’ve been a perfect opportunity to test this theory.  Just before the game, more than 400 people set a Guinness World Record for …

400 crafters, 0 hecklers. (Levine - New York Mets, via nydailynews.com)

the most people crocheting in the same place!  They only had to crochet for 15 minutes to set the record, but my guess is that more than a few kept it up during the game.

So I won’t be returning to the bleachers, but I haven’t sworn off Yankees games entirely.  Mostly because of these:

Garlic fries! (via seriouseats.com)

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