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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #12 - 01/23/13 (Spoilers)

I think I must have psychologically blotted out just how incredibly bad last season was, because now that everyone's reminding me, it's flooding back and I actually am relieved that this season is a step up.

Feb 04, 2013
vorpal in Food Media & News

Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #12 - 01/23/13 (Spoilers)

I agree with linus: I wanted to dislike Josh, and I still find that he makes an occasional comment that gets my eyes rolling, but he's one of the few chefs in the competition that I can stand at this point.

This is one of the worst seasons of Top Chef yet. Product placement saturation, overall poor cooking, and badly designed challenges (think the "Reynolds Wrap" challenge, which encompasses all three). Also, I hate the modified intro that features the chefs less prominently and doesn't mention their names: it took me much longer to feel any connection to any of them and know who they are.

Don't even get me started on bringing back previous cheftestants. I feel like this season has been the Josie and Stefan show, as the confessionals and drama seem to have largely surrounded them. They had their chance already: bringing them back was clearly a mistake, especially given the poor quality of their cooking.

I think this season will be my last season watching Top Chef.

Jan 25, 2013
vorpal in Food Media & News

Would love to replicate "Pill Pockets" for dogs

Hahaha! I mixed my cat's antibiotics once into a quarter pound of ground hamburger, and he spent almost two hours meticulously picking every last grain of hamburger from the largely crushed up pill. At the end I'm sure I could have reassembled the pill from what he left behind.

Dec 21, 2012
vorpal in Not About Food

Should ugly people stay away from upscale restaurants?

As someone who has spent parts of his adult life being both obese and skinny (during which time I was considered very attractive by most people), I can say that the difference in the way society treats attractive and unattractive people is incredible, so I can certainly understand her question. People are willing to forgive many other things if one is physically attractive, it seems. Unfortunate, but true.

Dec 21, 2012
vorpal in Not About Food

guests not offering to do dishes, is it rude?

I don't offer to do dishes as a guest, and my guests generally don't offer to do dishes, either. I think the reason for this is that my friends and I all agree: dishes should be left until after the guests leave or the next morning, depending on your personal tastes. Frankly, I find it quite rude as a guest when the hosts disappear to wash dishes while I'm still visiting.

Dec 20, 2012
vorpal in Not About Food

How much garlic per week?

As someone else who suffers from a severe chronic illness, who all too well understands the limitations it puts on the enjoyment of food (especially in my case - Crohn's), my heart goes out to you, and I hope you manage to find a combination of medications that work well and help you find remission soon.

As for us, because of my chronic illness and my PhD, cooking has been at an all-time low, but when I am cooking regularly, given that our main cuisines of choice are Thai and then, in a distant second place, Chinese, we consume loads of garlic: for two, probably about four bulbs a week, none of it roasted.

Nov 08, 2012
vorpal in General Topics

White Trash Ads

Firefox + Adblock. I've never seen a single ad on Chowhound.
(Are people still seriously using Internet Explorer?)

May 19, 2012
vorpal in Site Talk

Creamy Desserts

The picture above is not appealing at all.

May 06, 2012
vorpal in Features

The End of Table Manners

For all these years, your column has been the one thing that's inspired me to keep coming back to Chow, and the lively discussions were a wonderful distraction that helped distract me through two years of severe illness. You were a cornerstone of Chow, and it will never be the same without you. Certainly, you will be sorely, sorely missed, Helena, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

May 01, 2012
vorpal in Features

Food Scars - Things you will never eat again.

I apologize for the revolting nature of this story, but when you ask a question like this, I suspect the reason that many people are turned off of specific foods are because of a story involving some level of disgust.

When I was in the third grade, we were forced to eat our lunch at our desks, and after 20 minutes or so, we were allowed to go outside to play. The student in front of me, who I will never forget, ate an egg salad sandwich for lunch every day. Why, I do not know, because the sandwich never agreed with his stomach and he would spend the entire afternoon passing gas, more or less right in my face, that reeked of egg salad in various stages of digest. It was so distressing to me to be trapped behind him for three hours every afternoon smelling this over and over again (literally dozens of times), that finally my parents had to step in and speak to the teacher to have my seat moved, as she had been wholly unsympathetic to the pleas of an eight year old. But for about five months, that seat had been my own personal hell. By a rough calculation, I am sure I easily inhaled over a thousand of his eggy expulsions (various puns intended).

I will never, ever be able to eat egg salad, and the mere smell or sight of it is enough to turn my face green, 26 years later.

Apr 20, 2012
vorpal in Not About Food

Cleaning up after dinner.

It can be a nightmare. I lived in an apartment next to a filthy family of about 12 people spanning three generations, all crammed into a three bedroom apartment. Their filth invited a massive infestation of pharaoh ants, which were an absolute nightmare. We ended up having to throw out a huge amount of stuff because the ants nested in VHS tapes, books, CD and DVD cases, etc. As we were packing to move, everything had to be shaken outside off the balcony, and a few items (especially a roll of plastic tarp) unleashed clouds of thousands of ants fluttering down. It was truly disgusting and we didn't even know we had a problem (we would see an occasional ant in a strange place, like in the bedroom, but didn't think much of it) until out of the blue, one day, I threw away a small piece of pork and the next thing I knew, a six-ply row of ants came marching in and out of the trash can an hour later.

We ended up putting loads of ant traps in our new place, but even then, it took a good year for the inevitable carry-over infestation to completely clear.

Apr 20, 2012
vorpal in Not About Food

Cleaning up after dinner.

This is our household as well. After years of growing up with an uptight mother who insisted on dishes being done immediately after dinner was completed (i.e. nothing could be done in between the eating of dinner and cleanup), I suppose I gain a subconscious pleasure of rebellion at going against her strict rules in this domain, even a decade and a half after moving out.

Nothing, IMO, puts a downer on an enjoyable dinner as knowing that afterwards I have to clean up. I find it much more motivating to clean up the previous meal's dishes BEFORE I cook the next meal.

I have a lot of difficulty with what I deem excessive cleanliness, partly because of my mother; partly because of my aunt, whose house I refuse to cook at, because last time I tried to make Thanksgiving dinner there, she would have covertly washed and put away pots and pans I had asked her for before I had even had the opportunity to use them; and partly because I lived with an ex-best friend of mine who could not even tolerate a single dirty glass or spoon on the counter without having to get up, wash it by hand thoroughly, rinse it, dry it, and put it away before resuming relaxation. I get tired just thinking about it.

This also makes me very glad I'm gay, as very few women I know would tolerate my level of mess-relaxation. Fortunately, my husband is mostly okay with it, and together we muddle through with a house that ranges from slightly untidy to reasonably clean.

Apr 20, 2012
vorpal in Not About Food

Spring's Hottest Accessory: Pig

Am I the only one who gets voraciously hungry upon seeing a dead pig, as in the pictures in this article? Roast it and let me loose with a fork, and I will be in heaven. I can't believe that so many people have to consciously dissociate the idea that the meat that they're eating is muscle tissue from an animal that was once alive.

Apr 19, 2012
vorpal in Features

New 'Menu Items That Need to Be Retired", 2012 edition...

Corn on the cob flavoured with chillies and lime is hardly a trend, though: there are many places in the world where that's how it's typically eaten.

I'm curious: what qualifies as a bad tiramisu? I've only ever had homemade (by an Italian friend's mother, and it's great), so I genuinely want to know how people / restaurants screw it up.

Feb 27, 2012
vorpal in General Topics

No Drinks = Bad Service

This has only happened to me once, but it ruined what was a highly anticipated, extremely expensive experience. Back when we lived in Toronto, my husband and I, who were very poor at the time, scrimped and saved for a few weeks so that we could afford to go to one of the city's most acclaimed Italian restaurants to celebrate our three year anniversary. We typically don't drink when dining out for several reasons (health issues, former alcohol abuse issues, dislike of the taste, and cost predominantly), and this was no exception. We had saved enough to order a good amount of food so that we could enjoy the only trip we'd likely ever be able to afford to this place in a long time, and were very excited based on the reviews that we'd read and the experiences that friends had shared with us. So as to not be a pain and occupy a table at a busy time since we knew we would probably spend less than the average patron, we went very early in the evening when the restaurant was virtually empty.

The waiter warmly greeted us when we arrived and made some small talk. He then asked us what wine we would like to drink that evening, and upon telling him that we would not be drinking, his demeanor instantly changed and he became cold, withdrawn, and for the remainder of the evening, completely inattentive to the degree that we weren't even given the opportunity to order more food or dessert and coffee, and were basically rushed and pushed out the door when the restaurant was still empty except for two other tables. All in all, it was an absolutely horrible experience, and we felt extremely uncomfortable by the waiter's treatment to the point that our appetites were affected.

I most commonly tip 25% to restaurants I like that offer at least decent service, I was so insulted that I wrote an extensive note on the back of the bill regarding how the waiter's poor treatment had essentially ruined a meal that was out of our price range, and supposed to celebrate a very special occasion that we had been looking forward to for quite some time. I left him no tip whatsoever and gave that as the explanation.

Feb 22, 2012
vorpal in Features

When Should Bartenders Cut You Off?

Oh, no. Helena posted about alcohol again. Break out the rude, obnoxious cries of alcoholism again, folks. (And yes, I'm thinking of a few of you in particular.)

Feb 07, 2012
vorpal in Features

Servers: Eat in Secrecy, Please

If a server on break eating offends your delicate sensibilities, it is time for you to get some real problems.

Jan 25, 2012
vorpal in Features

Servers Drinking on the Job

OMGWTFBBQHTML Helena mentioned alcohol! Somebody call AA post haste and then post catty commentary about her inevitable self-destruction!

Jan 23, 2012
vorpal in Features

Best Thai Restos in Toronto...

You must be kidding. Just looking at the menu, there is little that is remotely authentic about the Thai there. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Toronto has come to view as synonymous with Thai food, which is absolutely tragic and an insult to the entire cuisine.

Dec 22, 2011
vorpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Top Chef Texas - Ep. #8 - 12/21/11 (Spoilers)

As thrilled as I am that Heather is gone, I do have to stick up for her in saying that I feel LindaWhit's comment regarding her behaviour during the QF (i.e. she rolled her eyes when Beverly's name was announced as a top dish) is incorrect. I rewatched that scene because upon reading this, I kept thinking that I would have remembered that and didn't, and certainly, Heather did not roll her eyes: she just looked to the side.

There's plenty to call her out on without having to look for things that aren't there.

Dec 22, 2011
vorpal in Food Media & News

Home Tours: Tacky?

The people in the article sound like a bunch of arrogant dicks. If I visit a friend's new place, even if it's better than my rather modest grad student digs, I'm thrilled for them and feel privileged to be given a tour.

Comparing this to showing 100 pictures of your cat is just moronic.

Dec 20, 2011
vorpal in Features

The Works - Gourmet Burger Chain (opening in Oakville, already in Ottawa, etc)

Agreed. I live in Ottawa and my friends and I take a trip every month to the Works and absolutely love it. Really nice burgers, fantastic rings, and great poutine. Better than any burger I ever had in my years living in Toronto.

Dec 17, 2011
vorpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Do you have a recipe that works so well that you have no interest in trying another?

My stuffing... I discovered the recipe one year, made a few modifications to it, and my family loved it so much that 20+ years later, we're still eating the exact same recipe every time a holiday dinner warrants it. (It's an apple, bread, sage, and thyme stuffing... buttery, delicious, and flavourful.)

I spent years perfecting my pad kee mow recipe as well, and after 11 years, I feel like I've absolutely perfected it to the point where I can't imagine a better one (and I've eaten loads and loads of pad kee mow).

Dec 15, 2011
vorpal in Home Cooking

The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (Episode 7: "Hamptons Beach Cookout") [Spoilers]

The product placement overload on Town House Crackers and Entwine wine was enough to make me nauseated. Were they even allowed to say the word "cracker" or "wine" once without prefixing the brand? I'm not sure that anyone ever did.

Massively, incredibly lame.

Dec 13, 2011
vorpal in Food Media & News

Top Chef Texas - Ep. #6 - 12/07/11 (Spoilers)

Agreed. This season, despite having barely begun, is so far the most forgettable season to date. I've found that it's been all downhill since season 6, however: season 7 was alright, 8 was dull, and this season is frightfully bad. None of the chefs are jumping out as particularly skilled and the challenges seem really stifling towards the creativity and abilities of the chefs.

Overall, I'm barely watching anymore; I save the episodes for when I have something tedious to do as background distraction.

Dec 13, 2011
vorpal in Food Media & News

USA Allows Horses for Human Consumption

I guess it's quite subjective. I own four cats and a dog, all of who I love deeply, but I must profess an extreme interest in trying properly prepared dog and hope for the opportunity.

Dec 05, 2011
vorpal in Food Media & News

OBSCURE OR RARE Cuisine in City of Toronto

No offense to you, but the food there is just horrible. Toronto has very little good Thai food, but this one is exceptional in how bad it is.

Nov 25, 2011
vorpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Who Says Asian Food Has to Be Cheap?

Dongcluong: Thanks for letting us know! It looks like I'm going to have to try to track down a bottle.

Nov 25, 2011
vorpal in Features

Is "Foodie" a Put-Down?

The problem is that there are a lot of pretentious douchebags who claim to love food, and then exude snobby elitism about it. They're a visibly loud minority of the foodie community, and thus for many non-foodies, what they've come to expect of foodies.

I hate the term Chowhound. It's just a silly relabeling of foodie, and has no meaning to the general public outside of this website, really. Instead of shunning the term foodie, demonstrate that you are a foodie who isn't a pretentious, insufferable bore, and take back the term. Latching on to another term is nothing more than an avoidance tactic that is temporary at best: there is no shortage of insufferable douchebag vocally prominent Chowhounders as some of my experiences here suggest, so if the term Chowhound becomes mainstream, which it will if people flock from foodie to Chowhound, the same reputation will plague it.

Nov 23, 2011
vorpal in Features

Who Says Asian Food Has to Be Cheap?

I would have no objection paying for quality Asian ingredients if it is worth it. In the case of this particular fish sauce, if it tastes no better than the mainstream cheap brands, why bother paying the premium? These name brands are widely used in Thailand and are thus quite authentic themselves.

I'm a Thai food junkie, and one of the appeals is that it doesn't cost an exorbitant amount of either time or money to put together an absolutely stunning meal.

Nov 23, 2011
vorpal in Features