Top Chef - This recap is missing its pea-ness

[Dig this recap from @alexinmadison and @swoonqueen of Twitter fame. Thanks, ladies! --Ed.]

In keeping with the Irony or Mayo Top Chef recap tradition, @swoonqueen and I took our sweet time compiling and editing our thoughts on this week’s episode. I know that Kyle is especially proud of this. Also, we were trying to take advantage of technology by using GoogleWave--so we were sitting next to each other on the sofa, not speaking, and working on our respective laptops. We’re so “plugged in.”

So, without further delay, here is our stream-of-consciousness review of last night’s Top Chef:

@swoonqueen: Yeah…I’m not currently using Twitter because ppl live tweet about TC. Manners, ppl!

@alexinmadison: Totally annoying, btw. I hate when ppl live tweet a show. Have they no tivo?? Rly?

@alexinmadison: Let’s get this party started!

@swoonqueen: su weet

[“previously on”…]

@swoonqueen: I don’t like seeing those who have gone before. *sadface*

[“getting ready” montage…]

@alexinmadison: Angelo’s is polishing his shoes… better than the constant ego polishing he usually does.

[introduction of Quickfire…including some discussion of ethics in DC, the “toothpick” rule for lobbyist luncheons, and the introduction of the guest judge who looks like Ryan Seacrest but is really Congressman Aaron Schock. Oh…and it’s a “high-stakes” challenge with the winner getting $20K.]

@swoonqueen: They keep focusing on Angelo during the ethics conversation.

@alexinmadison: Well, he is Svengali after all.

@alexinmadison: So…wait…it’s a “toothpick challenge?” WTH? They’re supposed to create a dish “packs the punch” of an entrée and put it on a stick? And someone is going home with $20K for that effort.

@swoonqueen: Lobbyists buy themselves tons of laws without toothpicks. ($20K for toothpick food is not ethical.)

@swoonqueen: Amanda “doesn’t really have an idea.” Andrea goes for chicken and waffles. And Angelo harks back to 1975 with shrimp and cashew in a cucumber cup.

@alexinmadison: *face-palm*

@swoonqueen: Parasol! Umami! (Ed)

@alexinmadison: Tuna TWO WAYS (Ed)

@swoonqueen: To sum up: Padma is wearing clamdiggers; Alex’s food had too many flavors; Ed’s food looked better than it tasted. Kelly’s lacked flavor; Angelo’s throw-back hors d’ouevre was like “fireworks in [his] mouth” (thank you, Congressman, for THAT image.)

@alexinmadison: And Angelo wins with his crappy cucumber cup! Ugh.

[“back at the house” montage where they try desperately to fabricate a romance between Ed and Tiffany. Andrea's the key rumor-monger in this scenario. Go figure.]

[introduction of Elimination Challenge in which we learn that Angelo’s been living under a rock…]

@swoonqueen: The Power Lunch - an old-skool political tradition.

@alexinmadison: And a “knife-pull” for very old-skool proteins!

[Amanda & Kelly get porterhouse steak; Alex & Steven get salmon; Andrea & Tiffany get swordfish; Angelo & Ed get lobster; Kenny & Kevin get lamb]

@swoonqueen: Everyone is sounding confident. Could be a bad sign.

@alexinmadison: Amanda’s an idiot – she’s a) never cooked a porterhouse and b) she’s going to debone it. *face-palm*

@swoonqueen: Um…Angelo’s doesn’t know what a power lunch is?? Rly?

@alexinmadison: *face-palm*

@swoonqueen: Okay….what have we got here? Andrea’s jumping right in with what promises to be a bad idea – vanilla bean mustard beurre blanc. Alex has so many ideas for his salmon that he simply can’t decide what to do.

@alexinmadison: How hard is it to figure out a lunch dish with salmon?

@alexinmadison: Kelly’s going for an old-skool preparation to go with her porterhouse – salted and grilled. And she’s sporting a real attitude about Amanda. She basically called Amanda stupid for forgetting her salt & pepper. Kelly refuses to share. Bwahahaha! And Amanda’s making porterhouse TWO WAYS. Oh…excuse me…it’s a DUO.

@swoonqueen: Holy crap! Is that Cillian Murphy? ;)

[@alexinmadison: It’s really Bruce Bozzi of the Palm Restaurant]

@swoonqueen: “My whole game plan is based around pea puree.” – Alex

@alexinmadison: Wait…I’m confused… I thought he didn’t have a plan.

@swoonqueen/@alexinmadison: TOM’S IN THE KITCHEN!

@alexinmadison: I love Tom. He’s such a smartass.

@swoonqueen: Angelo gets bloody – surprisingly, it’s self-inflicted.

@alexinmadison: “Where’s my pea puree? Where’s my pea puree?” Freakin’ broken record, Ed. Just make something else!

[the constant focus on the pea puree indicates that there’s going to be some drama around this issue.]

@swoonqueen: The guest judges are:

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA); 
Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of “Morning Joe” 
John Podesta, President of Center for American Progress; 
Bruce Bozzi (aka: Cillian Murphy), Executive VP of the Palm;
 
Kelly O'Donnell, NBC Capitol Hill Correspondent; 
Luke Russert, NBC Correspondent; 
Savannah Guthrie, NBC White House Correspondent; and 
Art Smith, chef/owner Art & Soul and Top Chef Masters competitor.

@alexinmadison: Time to sum up:

Amanda’s deconstructed porterhouse wins praise for seasoning and doneness. Kelly’s porterhouse is over-salted.

Tiffany’s swordfish is slightly overcooked but her olive-raisin tampenade is a hit. Andrea's vanilla mustard sauce bums out everyone but Padma who likes the overdose of vanilla. [@alexinmadison: *gag*]

The judges damn-near wet themselves over the pea puree underneath Alex’s salmon. We are offered editing that implies that Alex is getting credit for Ed’s awesome sauce. GASP! *Queue the dramatic music* Stephen’s salmon is “a mess.”

Angelo puts some disgusting-looking lobster “foam” on top of his dish. That pretty much kills it for the guest judges – at which point we learn that Morning Joe isn’t a “foam guy.” (TMI?) Plus the lobster is chewy. Ed’s lobster is good, as is the eggplant thingy that he made to replace his STOLEN pea puree.

[Scarborough remembers the good old days of his time in the House of Representatives, when everyone was eating huge steaks, smoking cigars, and interns were showing up dead in everyone's offices...ah, good times. --Ed.]

Kevin and Kenny cart out their lamb dishes. Both are forgettable.

@swoonqueen: So…there’s lots of kitchen gossiping about Alex stealing Ed’s pea puree. Tiffany shows grace and class by refusing to pass on the rumor when asked.

@alexinmadison: Pea-Gate. It’s like the Lewinski scandal all over again. Who has pea puree stains on their apron?

@swoonqueen: Padma calls Alex, Tiffany, and Ed to the judges’ chambers.

@alexinmadison: Bottom three!

[beat]

@swoonqueen/@alexinmadison: HUH?

@swoonqueen: Um…yeah…they’re the top three. Okay. Tiffany’s crying a little because she was SO convinced that her overcooked fish was going to get her eliminated. Very endearing.

@alexinmadison: Holy crap the judges are *insert inappropriate euphemism here* all over Alex (Ed’s?) pea puree. Ed looks like he’s going to slice someone’s throat right there on national TV.

@swoonqueen: The House Ethics Committee is going to be all over this.

@alexinmadison: And ALEX WINS! Cut to Kenny in the Stew Room, who looks like he’s about to go medieval on someone’s ass.

@swoonqueen: And the bottom three are… Kelly, Andrea, and Kevin.

@alexinmadison: In summary: Kevin’s lamb sucked and his concasse (what the hell is that?) was too hot. Andrea’s couscous was “too gloopy” (Art) and she used too much vanilla. When Andrea says she “makes this dish every day”, Gail retorts, “If we wanted to taste the food that you cook every day, we'd go to your restaurant.” ZA-ZING! Kelly used too much salt.

[An explanation of concasse. --Ed.]

@swoonqueen: Pause for dramatic effect…”Andrea, please pack your knives and go.”

@alexinmadison: Woohoo!! She was driving me nuts!

Next week on Top Chef: Cooking Inter-nas-io-NAL and Alex is everyone’s target.

Bravo did a survey in which 90% of the respondents believe that Alex stole Ed’s pea puree. Go here to read Tom Colichio’s blog post on the subject: The Peas that Split.

Until next time…
Your pals in food,
@alexinmadison and @swoonqueen