You could feel it.
Even we could feel it, and we had a head cold. Yes, with this episode, this season of "Top Chef" at long last hit its stride. At first we were a little thrown off, but once we got what this episode was about, namely, slumming, we got it. And we'll get into a bite-sized disquisition on this a little later today, but first let us start with what we learned from this episode.
We learned that Breathe-Rite strips don't work.
We learned that Marcel is really Liberace reincarnated as a Valley girl.
We learned that Padma is, or wants to be, the People's Princess.
We learned that only 38% of Americans eat in "fine dining" restaurants.
We learned that the Redondo Seaside Lagoon existed (and we're from Southern California).
We learned that when it comes to ice cream, Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck is He Who Must Not Be Named.
We learned that Humbert Humbert is a diabetic.
We learned about the dangers of sugar for one's posterior and one's periodontist.
We learned that Cliff, who won the Quickfire Challenge, is poised to become "Top Chef's" version of "Project Runway's" Michael.
We learned that bacon can be sassy, that food is for eating, that you can screw up a steak sandwich, that Betty has more nicknames than we can keep track of, and that her lungs are a force of nature.
Finally, we learned that when it rains, it pours, and that Emily is even saltier than she declared. And just when we began to love her, we lost her.