leave your inhibitions at the door
At the beginning of this season, I said this about Boston…
It’s known for its history and bad accents more than anything else, but it’s a seriously good food town.
…and I still stand by it. There are some terrific restaurants all over town, but I’m wondering if that’s enough. Besides baked beans, is there anything that Boston can lay claim to being really damn good at? What’s Boston’s food identity?
The history of Boston is absolutely fascinating, but does that translate well to a cooking competition? So far they’ve used Paul Revere’s ride and Boston first responders (newer history) as themes, but there weren’t any real connections to food. And while the baseball-themed challenge was nice, that could’ve been Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field. No offense Red Sox fans, but Fenway Park isn’t special for foodies. In this week’s episode, they used the old TV show Cheers as inspiration. One of the contestants thought the show took place in Chicago, which kinda proves my point.
Speaking of Cheers, they brought in George Wendt, who played Norm.
I saw him once in Chicago years ago. We had just seen the Grateful Dead in concert and went to my favorite burrito place of all time – Taqueria Las Americas. While we were chowing, the dozen guys in line started yelling , “NORM!!!” Lo and behold, George Wendt had just finished and was walking out of the restaurant. He was wearing a tie-dyed shirt, so we assumed that he went to the same concert.
For the longest time, that story was shortened to “We got stoned at a Dead concert and ate a burrito with Norm.” None of which is completely inaccurate.
For this Cheers challenge, they had to make a bar food-inspired dish for Padma and George. Even though this isn’t Boston-related, I can deal with this. I’ve spent a lot of time in bars eating bar food, so why not make it “elevated?” Winner gets immunity.
Bottom – Gregory (his food fell off the plate), James (not bar food). James mentioned that bars in Michigan have hummus on the menu. Its true, I’ve seen it. Which is one of the reasons why Chicago bars > Detroit bars.
Top – Katsuji and KerriAnn
Winner – Katsuji. His ceviche with jalapeno was lauded for being creative. Which it wasn’t, because every Mexican restaurant I’ve been to in Mexico and the US has it.
The contestants worked in teams of their choosing to make a 3-course Italian menu at Via Matta. The first part of the challenge was the menu itself. The teams had to choose what went on their menu and whichever team had the most popular with the guests wins. The rest were up for the double-elimination.
Winning team – Gregory, Katsuji, Aaron won for having the most popular menu. Gregory rocked again and Aaron performed well. Katsuji’s was awful, but he was on the winning team and had immunity.
Also Safe – Dougie, Mei, Adam. Their menu wasn’t very popular, but the food was outstanding.
Least favorite courses – James, Stacy, Rebecca
Gone – Rebecca, James gone. Their dishes had faults, but the biggest problem was that they were uninspiring.
– God, I would’ve loved it if they had Cliff there with Norm.
– James was interesting and got face time, but his dishes were really old school, but not in a cool way. Rebecca was non-descript on the show – we barely even saw her and nothing stood out. Just like her food.
– Emmy Rossum was the guest and she had to have Gluten-Free food. It was a great little twist that had the contestants scrambling.
– That said, I think this whole Gluten Free thing has been completely overblown. I know some people who truly have Celiac Disease and about 100 more who have diagnosed themselves as such by using Google.
– There was discussion on whether the term “macerated peaches” would be appealing for diners. Tom said that it was better than “Masticated.” Yes, but not as good as “Masturbated.”
– After my review of Outback Steakhouse, it seems a lot of people want me to go to Red Lobster. I saw a commercial for it and the specials looked to good to be true. Challenge accepted.
– We got to see KerriAnn crying again about how she misses her kids. Boom Boom travels a lot and we’ve had that same issue with her missing them. But they’re absolutely fine… I mean, there aren’t any arrests for arson on small mammals. Yet.
– They mentioned Last Chance Kitchen for the first time. So it’s coming back???