CSI: Enchanted Forest

CSI: Enchanted Forest

Hugh Acheson wishes he had enjoyed one of the show's greatest meals with Charlize Theron and Eric Ripert.

Sorry this is a bit late. It was finished at midnight at the airport in Salt Lake City after I missed a connection. Rock on SLC -- it was a great 7 hours.

Back to San Antonio we go, land of the Alamo and a fine bar called the Esquire. Google it and go; it’s a fun place to imbibe. 

Sarah starts off the show with the Strange Logic II: the Hatred of Beverly Returns. She laments that Lindsay should have won the previous Restaurant Wars but it lacks Vulcan sensibility and I wish our resident Trekkie would chime in. Bev won the war, oddly enough cooking her own dish as the best and the other dish she was in charge of pickup on, as worst. Strange days here we come.  

Alas, I still stand beside the decision. The other decision that was made was the one to send Ty-Lor packing which was a sad one for all of us. He is a good soul and a talented chef throughout the competition and also a darn fine bartender when he guested on the episode of What What Happens: Live that I was on last week with the esteemed Andy Cohen and the wonderful fly girl, Rosie Perez. The show was definitely live and full of craziness. Amirite?

All the driving scenes this season have had a play-within-a-play mentality. Let’s call them Sienna Scenes, and this is a very uncomfortable ride for the winning ladies. C'mon people, act like winners, not wieners! Bev, the champion, has the others wanting her to be a reluctant champion. I suggest Beverly regale the others with a rousing rendition of “Cry me a River.”  You have to get past yesterday and onto today, people. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, yesterday’s gone… it shouldn’t just be the mantra of a Clinton-Gore campaign.Paul is cooking up some breakfast in the Top Chef luxo-bungalow. It’s breakfast pizza pockets, a snack perfected to counter the munchies back in his pot dealing/dog poop-strewn apartment daze. It’s gonna be dope. 

And off to the Quickfire we go. Immunity for the winner. We see a conveyor belt and I am hoping for a sushi challenge where the winner is the person whose food was most consumed. That would rock. Elves… make this happen. I am gleeful though when the challenge is explained that foodstuffs will appear on the belt, and if you grab ‘em, you gotta use them. This is awesome. 

Chef Eric Ripert is in the house. Eric is a god to those of us who cook food for a living. He is also reportedly (we do not know each other) a complete sweetheart, who is very kind and calm. I do suggest that Grayson not sing her frog song just in case it gets misconstrued. Franco-American relations are in jeopardy if that happens. 

Chris Jones is being taunted by a circling crustacean which is playing hard to get. Chris is so Easy Teasy. It is a hilarious man vs. conveyor belt moment. He goes on a profanity-laced tirade. This is killer TV. Finally he gets a hold of one of those lobsters and he is not letting go. He is now going to make this lobster pay for this embarrassment by boiling it and cooking it with foie gras. 

Time is up, and it looks like Beverly is having one of her minimalist brain activity days: she has forgotten to put on one of her necessary elements, yet gets a pretty nice-looking plate composed. Curried rice krispies sounded pretty fly, so I am saddened. Luckily she has not somehow ruined Lindsay’s food in the Quickfire, or we would never hear the end of it. 

The food:

Edward Lee: Sauerkraut Soup with shrimp, shaved truffle and Macadamia nuts. Good looking. 

Chris Jones: Butter Poached Lobster with foie gras. Traditional haute cooking without liquid nitrogen appliqué. In this competition, Chris has left Planet Moto for a simpler place known as Earth. Welcome back, dude. He is seen trying to open a jar with a spatula. Wrong tool Chris, wrong tool!

Grayson: Butter poached fluke with rosemary Goldfish crumble. Sounding weird but this may have solved how to use all those Goldfish one finds crammed in the backseat when you have a toddler. I have two who are past the Goldfish addiction stage but we are still finding Goldfish in the back seats.  

Paul Q: Mussels with broth of bitter melon and saffron. Bitter melon is tough love to use and may bitter him, I mean bite him, in the ass. 

Sarah: Softshell crab with artichokes, cottage cheese, and saltines. This sounds like a CSI episode looking into a drunk Italian fisherman’s death. Or it could rock. We’re about to find out. 

Lindsay: Bouillabaisse of grouper, clams, fennel, and tomato. She’s a little worried about cooking something so French for Eric. I feel for her. I’d be freaking out. I love how they start to subtitle Eric.

Beverly: Glazed sockeye salmon with black eyed peas, tofu, and thoughts of curried rice crispies. This is where Chris Jones is very jealous. She just thinks the rice crispies onto the plate. 

So Beverly’s dish would have won “by a mile” if she hadn’t been floating above the crowds in a euphoric daze, which puts a footnote next to Lindsay's win, much like the Montreal Expos best record in baseball in 1994-1995. Lindsay takes the news with her new cloudy disposition. She’s tired, people. They all are. It’s been a long road this far and as much as they all want to finish this with a win, they all also want a nap. 

Charlize Theron is the Queen of this quasi-medieval honky tonk and you really couldn’t ask for someone to get more into it. She’s great. It is utterly unfair that I am not there. Heads will roll. 

The contestants must cook food cooked in a style worthy of an evil queen -- macabre and over the top. If Chris Jones had a gastronomic wet dream this would be it. He wants to capture this like a lobster on a conveyor belt, which proved to be more elusive than you would believe. 

Beverly is running into Whole Foods like the women chefs are trying to kill her, and this may well be the case. She begins to pop up like a Korean gnome around Whole Foods scaring the other chefs. The girl is an odd bird. 

Cooking has begun. Macabre is the theme of the night. I love lamb heart, so I’m excited for Sarah’s dish. She is really, really skilled. I have not had black chicken ever, so Grayson’s dish is beyond my experience. Chris Jones is doing the crazy apple thing. Paul Q. is making something without cocoa nibs. Fast forward to the feast. 

Tartare from Ed. Tom is looking quite serious, but he’s really happy to have the lovely Charlize there. Eric loves it. The sauce interplay is loved. Tom gets the line of the night, “When you put good and evil together you get a politician.”Paul is doing a Body Glove wetsuit plate. They love it too. It looks pretty cool. He’s making time from that Quickfire stuff he messed around with. 

Beverly has made Snow White into a fish, but I think that’s the Little Mermaid. She’s confused but the plate looks good and is well-received. Fish is cooked perfectly, rice is killa. 

Lindsay has made a Witches' Stew of seared scallop with shortrib and dragon beans. Looks great. The stewed beans are adored. Fine chef she is. Boil, boil, toil, and trouble. I like how she’s seen Bev make headway with shortribs, and she’s going to run with it too. 

Sarah is Italian (a play on English is Italian, a resto by Todd English). Lamb heart over Amarone risotto. Me hungry now. I would eat that right now, but it is not available at the SLC airport. 

Grayson is putting together a crazy plate and bumps bellies with Pebbles in celebration. Nutty plate. Love the egg. They love it too. 

Chris J. and the wacky apple. Poison apple. Looks whack. His use of LN in this is smart and is adored. Look, I wasn’t there, but Tom really said to me that it was some of the best food ever on Top Chef. Ever. And that was all of them. Way to go, chefs. You rocked it and the Queen was happy. 

Slaphappy band time. Bev plays one minute past the point of it being cool. 

Paul wins. Kills it with the Enchanted Forest. 

Beverly is gone, but certainly not forgotten. Who can ever forget her?

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