Friday, August 31, 2007

Amuse-Biatch Omnisexual Friday: Weekend Sign-Off

Have a good weekend, possums, and watch out for salmonella poisoning if you try to reproduce this scene from touchstone film Tampopo at home.

Casey Thompson Named Dallas' Second-Best Salad-Tosser

All for charity, of course, possums.

The American Institute of Wine & Food recently held its 16th annual fundraiser in Dallas, a Caesar salad competition. And it seems Casey's beaver boots were made for tossing, for she won second place in the competition, right behind another woman, Janice Provost.

As the bloggers at The Dallas Morning News put it, "it's nice to see women dominating the winners." Quite an image, ain't it? We certainly agree with the sentiment, though.

Congratulations, Casey, on winning for a good cause ("And Caesar salad doesn't have onions, right?" Miss XaXa helpfully observed.) After all, didn't that ole cholo Jesus once say something about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks: Has Mia Gaines-Alt Stopped Feeding the People?

We must confess, possums, to having a bit of a soft spot for Season 2 cheftestant Mia Gaines-Alt, whom we likened to celebrity hairdresser Jose Eber based on their shared love of cowboy hats.

When Miss XaXa paid a call on Mia at Feed the People!, her barbecue restaurant in Oakdale, California, Mia was kind enough to autograph a menu for us, which naturally endeared her to us (and the food was pretty good, too). In addition, Mia was an entertaining contestant who did a gutsy thing by taking the fall for fellow contestant Elia Aboumrad, and that also endeared her to us.

We hadn't heard anything about Mia after the season ended, and she is absent from Bravo's cheerful online "Where Are They Now?" round-ups. However, we did think of her a few months ago, when a friend sent us a newspaper story about mysterious, random power outages in Oakdale (a rural, cowboy town in the process of becoming a Bay Area bedroom community). Eventually, much to people's amusement, the outages were traced to a bull rubbing himself against a utility pole, and we wondered whether Mia's restaurant had been affected.

Then, after the start of the current season, we received an email from someone trying to contact Mia for a fundraiser. The person had tried the phone number for the restaurant, but it had been disconnected.

And then today we received an email from Amuse-Biatch reader Gary that may shed some light on the matter:

Just a side note I live in Modesto Ca. a town just west of Oakdale Ca. where Mia restaurant "Feed the People" is located....Also as of 8/28/07 the landlord has place a big foreclose note on the door for lack of paying rent in short he says he is taking the place as being abandon equipment and all. Including the cowboy hat that Mia wore in her photo which sits on top of an empty cash register.

It's quite a sad state of affairs. If anyone has further information, be sure to let us know.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing: Does the Recipe for Brian Malarkey's Seafood Sausage Include Both Oysters and Geoduck?

As we all know, possums, Brian "Asshat" Malarkey looks like he walked out of the film Swingers, but is he one?

That is the question left in our mind by his wife's MySpace page.

Now, possums, normally we don't use the cheftestants' relatives as a subject, except when they might tell us something interesting about the person in the competition. We definitely think this is one such case.

Let's say your husband is a respected and affable seafood chef with an asinine collection of hats, and that he gets selected to be a contestant on "cable's #1 food show," where he is doing well and attracting national attention for his cooking and his good looks, which could lead to bigger and better things for him, and, indeed, for both of you.

And let's say you take to your very public MySpace page (which your sister-in-law reads) and do the following:

* List among your general interests "BLODDY [sic] MARYS," "XXXBowling," "FULL SERVICE," and "COWBOYS"

* List among your favorite books "Sex Signs," "GOOD IN BED," "THE KAMA SUTRA," "'Aqua' Erotica," "karma 101," and "*MONOGAMY*"


Well, and what of it, possums? It may be in questionable taste, but it doesn't necessarily reflect on your husband, right?

So why, then, (as shown by the screencap above) would you go and include a link to a group you belong to, "MFM In San Diego"?

Now, when we first saw Brian on our television screen in June, our gaydar went off. Of course, as we're the first to admit, our 'dar is often confused by Mormons and Canadians, so a thumb-ring-wearing pretty boy from the Northwest was very likely to provide a false positive. And, indeed, as we have seen, Brian is married. Senator Larry Craig notwithstanding, our suspicion was laid to rest.

So imagine our surprise when, as advised by Amuse-Biatch reader CB, we clicked on the "MFM In San Diego" link on Brian's wife's MySpace. There was a pop-up advising us that the site we were trying to visit contained adult material not suitable for those under 18 years of age. Oh dear. And once we had grudgingly admitted that we are, indeed, over 18, we fell upon a cyber-gathering place for people seeking threesomes. Of the male-female-male variety.

"Ohhh," said Miss Xaxa, "hence the 'MFM'. Well, wasn't that show Two Guys and a Girl about a restaurant?"

We couldn't reply, so stunned were we by the possibility that our gaydar might not have been so wrong in the first place. So it appears that Brian's wife belongs to a MySpace group where people advertise for guy-on-guy-on-girl action.

All at once, Mrs. Malarkey's list of heroes, reading material and general interests began to seem very interesting indeed.

Of course, the blasé Miss XaXa wasn't really surprised: "Did you see the powder-blue pants? He wore them on the show, he wears them on her page, and they tell you everything you need to know."

Afternoon Update:

First, early in the day, Mrs. Malarkey changed her MySpace profile thus: (1) corrected the spelling of "bloody Mary," (2) changed her "designation" from "Black Magic" to "Team Malarkey," and (3) deleted all the book titles cited above, except for "karma 101," but left the reference to the MFM group intact (thank heaven for screencaps).

Now, Mrs. Malarkey's profile has been made private.

Of Asshats and Tinfoil Hats: Another Spoiler Alert?

Again, possums, blame all of this on the lack of a new episode this week, and the usual warnings apply, i.e., if you don't want to be exposed to possible spoilers, read no further.

For those not so inclined, listen to our cockamamie reasoning.

Last week, our pal Lesley at Eater LA provided a little spoiler information of her own, relating what happened when she attended the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo in Los Angeles:

[W]e found ourselves in the 'beer garden' (natch) standing next to a woman with an Oceanaire/San Diego, CA badge. Why...cheftestant Brian Malarkey works at the Oceanaire! Always one to take advantage of a situation, we asked the co-worker: "Hey, did Brian win?" OK, maybe we thought we'd trip her up. Conniving? A little bit. Results? Nada. The woman's eyes widened, then she paused, smiled, shrugged, looked away and kind of giggled. "I don't knoo-oooow..." This, in that way that suggests, "Yes, I know, but of course I'm not going to tell you crazy stranger." Then she added: "I probably know more than most people because I'm friends with his wife." Honestly, if you were there, it was painfully obvious Brian made it pretty damn far in the competition.

And then today Amuse-Biatch reader CB advised us to look at the MySpace page maintained by Brian "Asshat" Malarkey's wife, Chantelle, and as we thought of Lesley's post ("I probably know more than most people because I'm friends with his wife"), our little antennae began to quiver. The quivering intensified when we remembered how, last season, Ilan Hall telegraphed on his MySpace page that he had won by playing the Scrappy song "Money in the Bank."

So, on her MySpace page, Mrs. Malarkey, "Chantelle Chanel" ("Wasn't she a contestant on Flavor of Love?" asked Miss XaXa), has the Chanel logo as her wallpaper, and says that her interests include "luxury living," "gold," "diamonds and jewels," "CA$H money," and the music she likes includes that of "Johnny Ca$h." To our way of thinking, either she suffers from outsized cupidity or she knows there's "Money in the Bank." Might Asshat have won the whole thing?

Candid Tom Colicchio Cultivates His Garden State and Remembers the Elizabethan Era

No, possums, we're not posting this just because we wanted to make Voltaire allusions or show you Tom Colicchio in an apron and tongs. There were other reasons, too, and when we think of them, we'll let you know. (Hey, you try coming up with material during a week with no new episode.)

At any rate, in the latest issue of New Jersey Monthly, Jersey boy (and Jersey bear) Thomas Patrick Colicchio ("Italian on both sides"; go figure) sings the praises of his native Garden State, recollects his time spent in Elizabeth, and recounts the Feast of the Thirteen Fish.

Have a look.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Casey Thompson Kicks Off Her Beaver Boots, Finds Jesús

Possums, why, oh why, is Dallas such a magnet for mystery? Indeed, to our way of thinking, Dallas claims the top two spots on the list of Greatest American Mysteries: 1) Who shot J.R.? and 2) Who shot JFK?

And to that list we must add number 3, What, we say, what are Beaver Boots?

This was a mystery raised by none other than Miss Casey Thompson herself on her MySpace page, which we were wont to visit in order to muse on the photographic evidence of her various experiments with peroxide, her failures at staying within the lines when applying lipstick, and her consorting with individuals very much given to making hand gestures that we--cultural naïfs that we are--could never quite pin down as having been misappropriated from rap videos on MTV, expressing allegiance to Satan, or simply indicating unwavering love for a Texas university.

It was on her MySpace page that Miss Thompson designated herself "Beaver BOOTS," and it was to you, possums, that we turned for enlightenment (particular thanks to the Amuse-Biatch reader who sent us the trucker dictionary; most enlightening). We also mused on Miss Thompson's desire to meet Jesus "hopefully one day," theorizing that "judging by the photos on her MySpace page and by the city she lives in, it looks like she might already know somebody named Jesús."

Imagine our surprise, then, when yesterday we went to look at the picture where she puffs out her poitrine in a raspberry-colored top (as Miss XaXa put it, remembering the onion-dicing challenge, "She may not be good with a knife, but her surgeon certainly is") and found that the little minx has tauntingly replaced her wallpaper with one of cherries, and that Miss Thompson's "Beaver BOOTS" designation is now gone. Instead, Miss Thompson says, "I do know Jesus! Jesus is my homeboy..!"

Miss XaXa's first reaction was to ask, "People still use 'homeboy'?"

We had to agree that, at least in California, "cholo" would be a better term, but "Jesus Is My Cholo" doesn't sound as mellifluously ready for bumper stickers on SUVs in the parking lot of Joel Osteen's megachurch as "Jesus Is My Homeboy."

Well-done, Casey, possum, on finding Jesus the same week that Michael Vick did; although, we must say, yours looks like a distinctly more personal Jesús. Now we shall never know what Beaver Boots are, but no doubt Jesus prefers it that way.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Amuse-Biatch Heterosexual Monday: Padma Lakshmi Shows Us How to Test the Ripeness of Summer Tomatoes

UPDATE - Due to popular demand, Padma has been given a little modesty.

Amuse-Biatch Equates Under the Influence

Possums, we suspect it's just the Gewürztraminer talking. Math, after all, has never been our forte.

And yet, it seemed to us that all at once we saw the formula for last week's successful episode written out ever so clearly in mathematical terms. It's not quite Fermat's Theorem, but we nonetheless rushed to scribble it on a napkin.

What did we see?


Or, translated, "Quatre" minus "Tre" equals "One" hell of a show.

No doubt we will awake with one hell of a hangover and regret our attempts at math, but for the time being, what the heck?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Is Casey “Beaver Boots” Thompson the “Top Chef” Typhoid Mary?

That was the question on our mind, possums, as we watched this week's episode.

In part it was prompted by our sighting of Casey's greatest and worst legacy, Lia Bardeen (the woman Colette might have named and imagined). As soon as Casey taught her how to straighten out (her hair) and made her into a "friend for life," boom! Lia was pykagged.

And this week Casey announced that she and Tre had become like "brother" and sister, and boom! Tre was pykagged.

If twice is a coincidence and three times a trend, we'll just have to wait until next week for confirmation. Just be careful, Dale; don't change hags in midstream, or it may cost you dearly.

However, there was one more reason we were focused on Casey during this week's episode. On her MySpace page, ole Beaver Boots says the people she would like to meet are "Bill Clinton and Madonna. Hopefully one day, Jesus."

We have to say, she's not doing too badly when it comes to her goals. This week she met Madonna's brother, and isn't that almost as good? And judging by the photos on her MySpace page and by the city she lives in, it looks like she might already know somebody named Jesús. That only leaves Clinton, and with her looks and television exposure, that shouldn't be too hard.

Va-Va-Bardeen: The Hawtness Makes a Fleeting Return

We admit, possums, that, being suckers for romance, we rather enjoyed the HoJo reunion of sorts this week (since all celebrity couples must have a revolting blended nickname, our math went like this: Howie + Joey = HoJo). As Miss XaXa put it, it was so Like Water for Chocolate, Howie sending out raw meat to his little NooYawk bear, since they couldn't actually be together anymore.

(Confidential to Joey in the black muumuu: Joey, possum, you may be taking the Eye-talian thing a bit far. Just because Sicilian widows dress all in black doesn't mean you have to. And black may be slimming, but, oy, horizontal stripes, possum, are not your friends.)

(And, well, isn't that Sara Nguyen? And what is she wearing? Why, it's high heels and a very low-cut top. Fancy that.)

But what thrilled and tortured us most this week was the fleeting return of Lia Bardeen looking, well, hot. Once you go straight, Lia, you never go back, eh? (We're speaking of her hair, of course, possums.) But oh, why so brief a look at her, Bravo? Why not lingering close-ups of her in her black haltertop as she ate, er, tuna tartare? Oh wait, never mind. She ate at the other restaurant; the close-ups would have been of her spitting out.

Still, Bravo, work with us. How about a little bonus footage--a hair-toss here, a burst of laughter there--in the slow motion so beloved of 1970's shampoo ads?

Jowly Green Giant Killer?: CJ Jacobson Goes One-Ball-to-the-Wall with Fellow Cheftestants

Ah, the Jowly Green Giant, possums. He's tall, 's got one ball, and wants it all, and our pal Lesley at Eater LA finally caught up with him to find out whether he's just a mellow beach boy or really a Machiavellian mastermind.

We've always been of the belief that CJ Jacobson's whole "ungay, laid-back, blond volleyball player from behind the Orange Curtain with the peculiar syntax" persona is merely a smokescreen.

Remember how he was always there as a one-man, monorchid Greek chorus of disapproval and moral rectitude (Sandee didn't barbecue, Dale used mashed potatoes)? And remember how last week at Judges' Table he agreed with Andrea Strong about everything, saying she was on-point about Brian's sweating, etc., and this week told the judges that Tre's bread pudding was boring?

Hmmmmm. Possums, let us not forget the Huffington Past. Yes indeed, he worked as a personal chef for Arianna Huffington (who certainly knows from ungay by now, and ought to have a little talk with Diane Von Furstenberg). Need we say more?

Lesley manages to get deep, John from Cincinnati quotes such as, "You can only judge yourself when times are tough, you know?" but the Jowly Green Giant denies any master plan to cast Tre Wilcox as the executive chef in order to get him kicked off. He also is tickled by the idea that people think he has a "dynamic...character." And then he goes all biatch and condescending on the remaining contestants:

Casey and Brian are coming around, and Dale is surprising me also.

"Coming around"? "Surprising"? Meow! Well, it must be easy to condescend when one is so tall.

Still, when Tre's crawfish fell awry, CJ wasn't there to pick it up. And guest judge Geoffrey Zakarian can't quite overlook that. Talking to our pal Maddy at The Miami Herald, Zakarian had a few choice words for him:

"He had the ability to help out and decided not to. You need someone to watch your team if you're not firing on all pistons, had a fight with your wife or you're hung over, which doesn't happen often. I don't think CJ is a leader. He wouldn't help you over the wall. He'd jump over and say, Call me when you get here. His lobster salad was something you'd throw together at your house in the summertime. You have to be really careful when you dress something, keep tasting it. And if it's too salty, throw it out. It's like he just thought, Well, everybody likes lobster, so I'll do this."

Alas, even our boy Dale didn't escape the Jungle Red-sporting claws of the attired-like-a-yachting-French-gigolo-in-a-stripey-top Zakarian:

"You should always try to dress better than the patrons. I have a real problem with sweating, too. Get a grip. "

Well, we've always thought sweating and getting a grip were incompatible, but no doubt we had a different context in mind. (Wrestling, of course.)

At any rate, we've had Howie sweating, Brian sweating, and now Dale sweating. Perhaps it's time to bring on Right Guard or Degree as a Top Chef sponsor.

(Miss XaXa, of course, has the last word. Reminding us of the adage that "horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glisten," she wondered which category Howie, Dale and Brian would fall into.)

Spoiler Alert (?): Is Tom Colicchio a Bad News Bear?

Well, bad news for some, and good news for others, possums.

Those of you who want to be preserved from fevered, tinfoil-hatted speculation, please stop reading now, etc., etc., etc. The rest of you, possums, come on down and let's wildly, if intelligently, speculate.

Cast your minds back, possums, to the time when Tom Colicchio was in Los Angeles opening the latest iteration of his signature restaurant, Craft. It was then that he told our pal Lesley at Eater LA (herself no stranger to Top Chef spoilers) that he would be in L.A. "until we tape the final show. The reveal is live, we taped everything up until that. We haven't told them who won yet."

And then came the news a couple of weeks ago that a finale or semi-final was being taped in Aspen (though our speculation about Tre Wilcox's involvement in that proved fallacious, so take today's speculation with an even bigger dose of fleur de sel).

And now comes this.

Faithful Amuse-Biatch reader Stephanie M. was watching this week's web broadcast of Raggaydy Andy-hosted "Watch What Happens" when she watched something happen. Raggaydy Andy, as is his wont, had the guests playing a word association game, and when it came to cheftestant Hung Huynh, Tom Colicchio declined to say anything. Why? Well, as Tom said, "I'm still judging him." (If you want to see for yourself, go to the Bravo website and check the "Watch What Happens" archives. It comes at the 2:32 mark on Part 4).

To us, it suggests that Hung is one of the final two, and that since the final decision, to be revealed live, hasn't perhaps been made, Tom, out of an abundance of caution and conscience, decided to bite his tongue. Of course, the idea of Hung being one of the final two isn't really much of a surprise, is it? So this isn't really much of a spoiler. But given what just happened to front runner Tre, one never knows. If what we speculate is true, more interesting is the question of who the other finalist is. We'd hate for it to be Asshat (though he hasn't worn hats in a couple of episodes); we'd pray for Hung to chop his seafood sausage off. We hope, of course, that it's Dale: Knife-Fight at the "OK, Are You Really Bi?" Corral.

So, possums, put on your tinfoil hats and let us know what you think.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ted Allen Loves Poussin, Hates Bush

These are just two of the revelations in the latest edition of Ted Allen's Bravo blog. After being raked over the coals for making a crack about conservatives on last week's blog, Ted lets it be known that "most of [his] relatives voted for Mr. 'Mission Accomplished,' and some of them don’t even regret it yet." Must be a sticky situation.

Speaking of which, Ted also reveals that the people who make Right Guard anti-perspirant were thrilled to have gotten around Bravo's impenetrable sponsorship wall for a free on-air plug (no doubt Pier 1 Imports is a little unhappy about being an anonymous fling):

"[T]wo days ago, what should arrive on my doorstep in Brooklyn? A year’s supply of the stuff [Right Guard], dispatched via messenger by the grateful (if cheesy) PR people who handle the brand. They also sent it to Brian, I’m told (who, in fairness, smelled perfectly nice)."

And speaking of Strong stuff, Ted mentions that, though he likes last week's undercover blogger, Andrea Strong, and thinks "she’s smart and cool," he "found her awfully sarcastic, a little too eager to tear people down with good (but show-offy) writerly chops."

This in turn reminds us of our favorite unremarked moment in last week's episode--Padma Lakshmi's kindness to Andrea, who complains this week that Bravo's viewers were harsh to her, so much so that she "had to stop reading the comments," finding it "a huge bummer to read the comments on the Bravo blog and how many people just hate [her] and think [she is] a hack...."

So what was Padma's act of kindness? Well, Andrea commented on how The Garage's black tablecloths were "very Billy Idol," and, as she says on her blog, The Strong Buzz, she has "no interest in dining off of Billy Idol." Padma kindly corrected it and removed the offending "of" after "off" when she read it on the air, albeit in a slightly different form, "Who wants to eat off Billy Idol?" It may not be the equivalent of helping an old lady across the street, but it was a kindness nonetheless, and we appreciated it.

Tidbits for the Womenfolk of Christendom

Apropos of absolutely nothing, possums, we start off with the following infamous quote from literary theorist Sigmund Freud:

"The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'"

Now, on to business:

* Eater's Ben Leventhal is sponsoring a contest to win a date with Sam Talbot, and getting called "douchey" for his pains.

* Tre Wilcox--the man who worked out obsessively during the show, whose first words to the other cheftestants after being eliminated were that he was going back to the gym early, who seemed to live in wife beaters, and who said, during the Roach Coach challenge, that once people got a look at his "guns," they would want to bypass Brian Malarkey's facile charms and get in the back with him--is telling New York Magazine, "I didn’t really think that people would see me on TV and think that I looked good." Such disingenuousness is as hard to swallow as that cured salmon apparently was.

According to Raggaydy Andy, Tre says "that it's hard being married with all the attention he's getting." However, Tre clarifies in New York Magazine, "I don’t expect to be divorcing my wife and running off with a Top Chef fan anytime soon." (emphasis added by us.) Does this mean there's hope for the patient homewrecker/Top Chef fan?

Quickfire Challenge Outtake: Tre Wilcox with Stiff Whites

Amuse-Biatch Photoessay: The Gayest Episode Ever?

Amuse-Biatch Gets Its Hands “Grubby” Again, Is Called “Catty” and “Dirty-Minded” by Catty, Dirty-Minded New York Magazine

When we get invited to people's houses, possums, there's never a second invitation.

We're always surprised, of course. Our attitude is, "Oh, come on, what's a loose quip between friends? And well, it's true; that skirt does make you look like a ziggurat."

So imagine how much more surprised we were to be asked back by New York Magazine's Grub Street to give our off-the-cuff reactions to last night's Top Chef episode.

So if you feel like surveying the alcohol- and reality-show-bloodlust-fueled damage, take a look here.

Confidential to Raggaydy Andy

Andy, possum, we can’t exactly tell you this over a martini at The Palm, so this will have to do. Possum, your plan was brilliant—dastardly, diabolical, and divine.

We all know you’re Madonna’s number-one fan; she may well get more mentions on your blog than your BlackBerry does.

And we all know that her brother, Christopher Ciccone, was excommunicated and banished by Her Madgesty, the Like-a-Virgin Queen, reportedly because, though he followed her into the kingdom of disco balls and Hurrell appropriation, he refused to follow her into the kingdom of tithing, ropy arms and Kabbala water.

Knowing that the pudgy royal sibling was in disfavor, you must have at once seen the tactical advantage of further disgracing the Scary Queen of Scoffs on national television.

And so El Chico Ciccone was asked to appear on Top Chef and run his mouth, revealing himself, as Dale Levitski put it, as an “asshole” and “one of the most annoying people [he’s] ever met.” And then getting him to “help” the cheftestants with the restaurant design after trashing their food and making their lives hell was another brilliant move. And introducing him as a “renowned restaurant and interior designer”? That was plain mean, but we don’t begrudge you a moment of MeanGay; in fact, we love it.

The subtext of “Here, Dale and Hung, let a real Gay show you how it’s done,” was breathtaking in its can’t-fail efficiency. We’ve never seen a better demonstration of waving a pink rag in front of a bull. Frankly, with Dale around, we feared for Ciccone’s safety; his life was hanging by a very thin red thread.

And who could blame Dale for seeing red? Red was all we saw, too, once Ciccone was done decorating the space. As Dale put it, it looked like Valentine’s Day threw up all over it. And, we might add, as if Valentine’s Day had thrown up after spending the evening alone eating candy hearts and having too many Cosmopolitans.

That design should definitely add to Ciccone’s “renown” as a designer, as no doubt will the scrawl on Restaurant April’s wall and those godawful wicker chairs (“Hey, Wicker Man!” Miss XaXa shouted at the television, “didn’t your sister sing a song about you? ‘Pudgy Don’t Preach’?”).

And the results? Well, for starters, you have Anthony Bourdain saying things like this:

Another good performance from Dale, who continues to impress with his professionalism. When confronted with Madonna's asshat brother, he managed to avoid telling him where he could go with his interior design suggestions and what, exactly, to do with that candelabra. A remarkable display of self-control. I am atwitter with anticipation, wondering what other food world luminaries might share their wisdom with us next week! Joe Piscopo's brother, the landscaper? Mickey Rourke's dog-groomer? This could get really, really good!


Like we said, Andy, possum, brilliant. We bet you’re getting front-row seats the next time Madonna performs at the Garden.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are Casey Thompson's Beaver Boots Made for Walkin'?

Oh, possums, we keep saying we've got something for you, something we call love, but now we're ready to confess.

We're doing this post because we have a nagging feeling that "Junior Missy" Casey Thompson, who keeps crying when she oughta be cooking and losin' when she oughta not bet, may just be getting knifed today, and before she goes, we simply must find out what the hell "Beaver Boots" are.

(Actually, we're afraid we know exactly what they are; we just want to be persuaded otherwise.) Of course, now we can't get that Nancy Sinatra song out of our head.

Sure, we're a little surprised that Casey--who doesn't want her staff at the Shinsei restaurant in Texas to see her all purtied up and wearing make-up (and given how much lipstick she wore during that Roach Coach challenge, we can't say we blame her; emulating Jennifer Aniston is decidedly not the way to go) because she wants their respect--would appear on her MySpace page with the moniker "Beaver BOOTS" and a photograph marked ""

Even Miss XaXa, who, like Casey, hails from Texas, has never heard of Beaver Boots before--at least not the kind you wear--so we are at a loss as to whether it's some kind of obscure regional slang for something entirely innocent, like a type of brownie you make for a bake sale at a Methodist church. They've got those in Texas, right?

So, possums, we turn to you, the collective brains of this operation, because what you know, we ain't had time to learn. So tell us, if you can, just what these Beaver Boots are, before it's too late. Possum Boots, start talkin'.

Every Little Thing That He Says or Does: Bravo "Hung Up" on Christopher Ciccone?

Well, possums it seems we have another Papal "bull" on our hands.

When Madonna's apparently excommunicated brother, Christopher Ciccone (nicknamed "The Pope" by Her Madgesty) appeared as an uncredited diner in high camp and high dudgeon (though, really, it was more low dudgeon than anything; Addison DeWitt and Waldo Lydecker might have sniffed, "Here today, Ciccone tomorrow," in justifiable Après nous, le déluge recognition), Page Six was atwitter.

We didn't mention the Page Six twitterings because, suitably enough, they were the twitterings of twits, stating, as they did, that Top Chef was filmed at "Miami eatery The Garage." As if it were a real restaurant, rather than a dusty, empty space that a megalomaniacal bisexual and an olfactorily challenged homo had tried to turn into the vanilla-scented anteroom of a gay bath house. How could we trust anyone who didn't even know that much?

For guidance, Page Six turned to Madonna's biggest fan in the entire gay world, Raggaydy Andy Cohen, who said unto them, "All will be revealed soon," an appropriately kabbalistic, quasi-apocalyptic pronouncement that seems to presage both nudity and knowledge, the breaking of the seventh seal with the dropping of the seventh veil.

And today Raggaydy Andy comes to drop another veil:

Christopher Ciccone's quick, uncredited cameo on last week's "Top Chef" generated a lot of buzz, including mentions on Page 6 last week and this morning. As the Post reports today, Christopher is back tonight. I can tell you that he's not a guest judge - and not a random diner. Watch What Happens on an episode that I would consider a shocker.

Well, well. Still, we hope that, contrary to the twitterings, Ciccone's not getting a show on Bravo. Jeff Lewis on Flipping Out is all the KrazyGay, StereotypicalGay, and MeanGay Bravo needs (good luck getting a GLAAD Award on that one!).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

TedIlan: Reality Without Pity

Great unholy Doppelgängers, possums!

Last season, the great Keckler of Television Without Pity nicknamed Ilan Hall "TedIlan" for his resemblance to, you guessed it, Ted Allen.

However, no one has ever really had any trouble telling the two apart. Or so we thought.

Imagine our surprise when we came across a report about Ted Allen attending the birthday party of Manhattan club impresario Noah Tepperberg. The "article" breathlessly reported that "[e]ven reality TV was in attendance and stopped for the flashbulbs as a handful of America's Next Top Model contestants and Ted Allen from Top Chef paraded by."

Ted Allen a fame-whore who consorts with Tyra's castoffs? Hardly seemed likely.

Imagine our relief, and our repulsion on Ted Allen's behalf, when the photographs revealed that it was Ilan Hall that the "reporter" was talking about. Ilan Hall a fame-whore who consorts with Tyra's castoffs? Totally believable. But oh the indignity of having all the photos captioned "Ted Allen."

So what else is Ilan doing with his time and adjudged Top Chef title? According to one person on Marcel Vigneron's MySpace page:

I was in Whole Foods, on the Lower East Side, in Manhattan where I live and Ilan was there, and he knocked over a whole sample tray, it flew in the air and cause a spectacle! It was really funny!

But surely impressive feats such as attending nightclub impresarios' birthday parties and knocking over sample trays at Whole Foods don't take up all of Ilan's time?

No, indeed. He also celebrates family birthdays, as faithful Amuse-Biatch reader Jessica related to us in what we hope will inaugurate a "Biatch on the Street" feature, where you, possums, our huddled masses yearning to be snarky, send in your sightings of cheftestants and judges alike.

Jessica writes:

My boyfriend Tim and I were in New York City for vacation..., and, being the rabid Top Chef fans that we are, we chose to spend some serious dough on a dinner at Craftsteak in the hopes of, if not catching a glimpse of Tom Colicchio, at least tasting his food...While exiting the restaurant, [Ilan Hall] and his party stopped to speak to some of the restaurant employees who were stationed behind us...We shook hands and Ilan sat down for the photo. He seemed enormously pleased to have been recognized and to be treated like a celebrity. [You don't say!--Ed.] We posed for the camera, he jokingly asked to share some of our table's complimentary paté, and then he had to be off to celebrate his sister's birthday...As for the sides of Ilan's head,...they were shaved into a kind of striped pattern. Horizontal lines - maybe two or three of them on each side....

Is Sam Talbot a Steaming Bag?

Possums, no doubt we will never, ever understand what the womenfolk of Christendom see in his armpit-steaming, morally challenged persona, but we must grudgingly admit that of late Sam Talbot has become just a tad more likable for us.

Why? Well, because he's taken rather well to blogging, the evils of which he warned this season's cheftestants about, and because he seems to have developed self-awareness. It's a bit of a Stanley Kubrick moment.

Having surrendered to the Dark Side, and now that he is That Guy (Who Blogs), lil' Sam starts off thus in this week's edition of his blog:

"A little gratuitous self-promotion.
I'm in a contest for Glad SimplyCooking Microwave Steaming Bags. If I'm voted the 'steamiest' chef, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation will get $30K."

A worthy cause indeed, and well, Sammy, you've definitely got our vote for Steaming Bag.

See? There's a tip about blogging: try not to make it too easy.

Other than that, Sammy seems to be learning his lesson pretty well:

"What I learned about the reality genre, blogging, and human nature is this: criticism (AKA snarkiness) is easier, funnier, more provocative, and more entertaining than empathy. Just ask New York Magazine. That doesn't mean it's always the right way to go--or the only way to go (more on this later. Bourdain's blog is a perfect example of striking the right balance--can he just be made a judge already?"

Allow us to quibble for just a second. Criticism is most definitely not the same thing as snarkiness, but we agree with you that "OMG Sam! You are so hot! You were, like, totally robbed!" is neither provocative nor entertaining. If that's empathy, include us out.

Oh, and look, a dash of self-deprecation: "Ah ,yes, good ol' Restaurant Wars. I'm glad these chefs were familiar with the challenge. I wasn't. (La La Lame-o.) " Well-done, possum!

And there's this:

"The World Wide Web is 2007's version of the water cooler. And in the blogging world, snarkiness rules. But let's face it--without bloggers the reality genre might not be as popular. (The point that I'm writing this IN a blog is not lost on me.)"

See? What did we say, possums? It gives us chills; it's 2001: A Space Odyssey or AI: Artificial Intelligence all over again.

Finally, watch Sammy make a gay joke:

"And to the criticism of black tablecloths--I'm not quite sure Dale would mind eating off of [sic] Billy Idol."

Oh, Sammy, possum, let's not project now. Still, all in all, a good start.

Meatballs of Steel: Rocco DiSpirito Thinks Fish DO Need Bicycles

Possums, no matter what Rocco DiSpirito hints at in his Bertolli television ads--that he's tired of hanging around complete blanks--recent actions seem to suggest otherwise.

To wit, take a look at this little morsel from New York magazine, which consists of an interview with bike-riding fashion models Ciara Christensen and Le Call (though, as the interview makes clear, Le Call Girl would not be so far off the mark).

Nice bikes.
LE: This guy we don’t even know just gave them to us!

LE: We made this dinner for, like, twelve people, and this guy we don’t even know came. He’s a chef, and he’s on TV. His name is Rocco. Anyway, he was asking us what we were going to do the next day, and we said, “Rent bikes.” He said, “Oh, that’s so sad,” and the next day, he came over with these bikes!

As a gift?
LE: Yeah. I wish I could say it’s an unusual situation, but stuff like that happens not infrequently.

CIARA: We don’t usually get gifts like that! We mostly get offered trips, because they want to have girls around.

LE: Last weekend, we went to Croatia. We went to Sardinia the weekend before that. We went to the Bahamas six or seven times this winter. But the bike is a first. It’s cute, you know? Not presumptuous or lech-y.

Did you thank him?
LE: We exchanged texts. We said we’d take him out to dinner, but I don’t know.

"Cute"? "Not presumptuous"? "This guy we don't even know"? Ouch!

To be condescended to by flipflop-wearing, glorified tarts with no tits must be more painful than being bitchslapped by Anthony Bourdain.

"It's rank ingratitude," said Miss XaXa. "There's two of them, so I'm sure all he wanted was a triathlon. Isn't that how he lost the weight?"

"No, darling, you're thinking of a ménage à trois. It's athletic, to be sure, but not quite the same thing."

Friday, August 17, 2007

“Teddy” Allen Offers Apocalyptic Yet Strangely Titillating Vision to the Burly Gay Men of America

Possums, let it never be said that Ted Allen's Queer Eye is any less gimlet for being on Top Chef.

Following up on last week's controversy over whether it was sexist for Sara Nguyen and Casey "Beaver Boots" Thompson (hey, that's what she calls herself on her MySpace profile) to cook in low-cut tops and high heels, Ted tries in this week's blog to take a gander at what might just be good for the gander:

And, while I would love to see Tom cooking in stilettos and a teddy as much as the next guy, it’s not likely to happen -- at least, not on television. He’d lose all his cred with the “bear” community...

Not so fast, Mr. Allen. As we said last season, it's always the leather bears who have doilies at home, so Tom as a "teddy" bear would probably not lose him any woof cred.

However, if what you are looking for is a scenario that would level the playing field in terms of objectification, cooking, and habiliments, we have a perfect solution: Tom Colicchio cooking steaks in a leather codpiece and chaps. That would be sure to make him uncomfortable, retain his credibility with the burly gay men of America, and yet constitute a cogent critique of sexism. You might just want to drop it in Raggaydy Andy's suggestion box.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Madge of Dishonor: Gay Cheftestant and Bisexual Villain Bitchslapped by Undercover Brother

Oh the homo-anity, possums!

As Andy Towle is reporting, on this week's episode the cheftestants had to deal with both an undercover blogger and an undercover brother.

Yes, possums, the pudgy queen who complained that Sara Mair's lamb tasted like metal and who euthanized a vanilla candle with a napkin on the floor is none other than Madonna's brother, Christopher Ciccone. Evidently, the awful doesn't fall far from the tree.

Not that we're complaining, mind you. If nothing else, this was a priceless exchange:

Man Living Perennially in Bitch-Goddess Sister's Shadow: If that's a vegetable medley, I'm a monkey.
Dale Levitski
: I will let Miss Sara know.

It's like dialogue from a lost Samuel Beckett play, Waiting for Risotto, as rewritten by All About Eve-era Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Our only disappointment? That the Ciccone monkey got nowhere near Hung Huynh's oft-invoked ape.

Amuse-Biatch Goes a Little Bit Grubby, a Little Bit Street

Possums, usually we don’t like to blow our own trumpet (we’ll skip the requisite dirty pause just this once), but today we’ll make an exception, and you’ll see why.

In the normal course of events, New York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt and Grub Street’s editor, Josh Ozersky, run every week’s Top Chef episode through an IM grinder. However, as Mr. Platt is in the Restaurant Critic Protection Program for a week, just to see how he might like it (should Jeffrey Chodorow really lose it someday), Josh kindly asked us to step into those big, red-sequined stilettos and add our own blade to the grinder. The results, full of gristle and snark, can be seen here.

We thank Josh for the invite, and will look for just the right Padma Lakshmi photograph to express our appreciation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

DiSpirito DiSses Cuban Buns

Possums, who says Anthony Bourdain's the only chef who likes to live on the edge?

Sure, travelling to Third World countries and feasting on entrails and snake-venom soup and whatever other delicacies are supposed to testify to one's omnivorous machismo carry certain dangers. But in our humble, yet knowledgeable, opinion, nothing Bourdain has ever done compares in sheer death-wish lunacy to what Rocco DiSpirito pulled only yesterday: dissing the Cubans and their food.

We had planned a little screed on the subject ourselves, right around the time of the "Latin Food" challenge--a harrumphing exploration of what factors, including racism and exoticism, make particular cuisines trendy, and of the fallacy of the concept of "Latin" food, putting arepas and chimichurri in their rightful place, revealing what other Latin Americans think of the Cubans and the Argentinians (hint: not good), citing Mario Vargas Llosa, Ugly Betty, Richard Condon, Diana Kennedy, and Shakira, and containing verbal red rags such as, "Garlic pork and fried plantains do not a cuisine make"--but cooler, less foolhardy, heads prevailed. Miss XaXa reminded us that we couldn't go and risk having our throat slit with a Buena Vista Social Club CD since we hadn't even made out a will. And so we kept silent.

Rocco DiSpirito, however, must have received better estate planning advice, if this bit from his blog is anything to go by:

Howie, true to his Miami roots, suggested Cubanos. Everyone thought a Cubano was a great idea. Is it? Never been to Cuba so I may not know any better, but I haven’t had that many good Cuban sandwiches in Miami or anywhere else. The Cubano might just be the most overrated sandwich on the planet. A great sandwich is a pastrami on rye from Katz’s Deli or a prosciutto mozzarella panino from St Ambroeus. I chuckled when one of the late night revelers complained about the bread being the wrong kind. Since when is Cuban bread the stuff that legends are made of? Cuban cigars? Yes. Cuban coffee? Of course. But not the bread. Lets not celebrate the bread.

Well, possums, as we said, Rocco posted this yesterday. By now, we suspect, his body must have been found, a Cuban roll stuffed in his rather fetching little mouth. Tragic, really, after all the promise Bourdain said he possessed.

What may be Rocco's final blog entry ever also contained other valuable insights and revelations, including the fact that Rocco has watched Sex and the City and that he thinks "white stretch Hummer limo[s]" are tacky. Finally, he has some parting words for Bourdain:

Tony how are we so different? After more than 20 years behind the stove you left the restaurant business--so did I. You author and sell (admittedly much better written) books--so do I. You’re on TV--so am I. You write blogs--so do I. You speak your mind and have dedicated your life to entertaining people and so do I.

I was stunned when I read your comments comparing me to Eric Clapton. I am grateful and didn’t know you felt that way about me, but I am still confused. Now it’s my virtuosity behind the stove that makes me such a loser? Don’t you see--it’s as absurd for you to insist I open a restaurant as it is for me to ask you to do the same. It’s not that I refuse to open a restaurant (who knows given the right situation), I just don’t need to cook at a 40-seater in a bad neighborhood to become the sunshine of your love again. You can enjoy my cooking anytime, no reservations.

"No reservations"? Aw, snap.

On a completely unrelated matter, Ted Allen was sporting a tee shirt from the New York gastropub The Spotted Pig on last week's episode, and this week Rocco has posted a picture of himself in a Spotted Pig shirt on his blog. Oinkydink?

Dispatches from the Department of the Obvious: Cockeyed Hawkeye Dale Levitski Experienced at Handling Buns

As thrilled as we were, possums, to discover this little tidbit in Dale's "hometown" newspaper, the Daily Herald (hailed, by itself, as "Suburban Chicago's Information Source"), we were also a little disheartened, because such "hometown paper" stories usually mean the cheftestant is getting pykagged that very night.

(The Judges' Table dressing-down in the preview about scented candles, which Dale appears to be guilty of placing on the tables, also feeds our misgivings.) As much as we would love the opportunity for a "top to bottom" headline pun about last week's victor in the "Win a Date with Govind Armstrong!" contest, the pun would be poor consolation for losing Dale.

Let us, instead, be optimistic, and focus on what else "Suburban Chicago's Information Source" can tell us besides the fact that Dale "flipped burgers in college" (which, as Miss XaXa points out, should give us hope, since tonight's Quickfire Challenge is about burgers, and judged by the creator of the "World's Most Expensive Burger," Daniel Boulud).

So, what other hard news is there? Well:

* Dale attended Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois (the same school that graduated Bruce Boxleitner), and was in the Russian Club.

* The University of Iowa was where Dale "flipped burgers," which, as Miss XaXa helpfully explained, makes him a Hawkeye Dale's other activity at Iowa? "[B]eing a varsity diver." "Dale in a Speedo?!" shrieked Miss XaXa. "How come we haven't seen that at the hot tub? Now that's sexist."

We certainly hope we're wrong, but we fear that Nguyendy City might be one step closer to reality after tonight.

The Burly Gay Men of America Wish Thomas Patrick Colicchio* a Happy 45th Bearthday

That's one hell of a birthday spanking coming your way, Tommy Bear. With 45 blows to deliver, Padma may just have to get herself a new wooden spoon.**

* Thomas Patrick?!?! If it weren't for that "Colicchio" we'd never believe that he wants his mother's red sauce as his last meal.

**Though it is the Feast of the Assumption, we're not assuming anything untoward; we're just referring to Padma's habit of spanking Tom with a wooden spoon during Bravo promos.

The Burly Gay Men of America Find Padma Delicious, Too

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Padma Lakshmi Stalker Alert: Salman's Joy's Got Nuts After Her Mounds

Oh possums, as if the stresses of not blogging and of getting her hair done weren't enough, now comes news that Padma Lakshmi has yet another thing to worry her.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “rocker” Cisco Adler reveals that he has the blueballs for Padma:

What TV do you watch?
I'm a Seinfeld guy. And I was a diehard Law and Order fan for years. I'm a reality junkie. I'm sorry all you cut-rate actors, it's just better TV! I'm kind of into Hell's Kitchen, and totally into America's Next Top Model, just to look for my next girlfriend. They gotta be making their way to L.A. after the show wraps, right? And I love Top Chef. Whoever that hostess is, she's the hottest girl ever!

That would be Padma Lakshmi, who recently announced she's divorcing her husband, Salman Rushdie.
Padma, call me up, baby!

“Call me up, baby”?!? Well, he’s got big balls; we'll give him that.

And we do mean big. For those readers who are too genteel to be acquainted with Perez Hilton, let us explain that Cisco Adler is best known for having dated Mischa Barton and for suffering from what must be elephantiasis.

That's alright, possums, don't mind us. We'll wait 30 seconds while you Google "Cisco Adler + big balls" and get a good look at the infamous nekkid picture.

Welcome back, o ye of the seared retinas. So, as we were saying, Cisco's got balls. The ballsiest move of all? Letting it slip that Padma would be competing against Tyra's sloppy seconds for his, er, affections. Tsk, tsk. But if that thing with the billionaire that isn't really a thing doesn't work out, here's Padma's opportunity to have a ball.

Marcel Vigneron Has a Beard (and It's Not Elia Aboumrad)

Possums, when faithful Amuse-Biatch reader Melanie sent us this photograph of Marcel Vigneron on an Alaskan fishing trip, our first reaction was, "Ooooh, how butch."

Our second reaction was, "Dear Lord, even Marcel's become a bear. Does that mean the trend's as dead as foam?"

We just wish we'd had this picture to illustrate this post last season. Still, better late than never.

At last, the Wolverine transformation is complete.

Sara N. Wrap: The Ghost of Cleavage Past

Possums, as we’ve pointed out before, on Top Chef the meek never inherit the earth. Neither, it seems, do the chic.

And so Sara Nguyen, the math genius who was blissfully unaware that Scotch bonnet peppers are hot, was sent home in her black low-cut top (presumably chosen by “gay boyfriend” Dale Levitski, who raided her closet before they went out, and who dismissed one blouse, if we heard correctly, as too “frumpy”).

Of course, the choice of blouse turned out to be a tragic one. Not that this came as a surprise to us. Sara, possum, gay boyfriend or not, never, and we mean never ever, take fashion advice from a Gay who wears manpris. It’s the blinding leading the bland, and it never turns out well.

Sara N. (and Sweet Potato Queen Casey Thompson) made much of the horrors of having to compete unexpectedly, in the midst of a celebration, and in high heels and low-cut tops.

This struck us as rather funny when we remembered this season’s very first episode, in which the cheftestants were forced to compete (unexpectedly!) in a Quickfire Challenge in the middle of a celebratory cocktail party at Gianni Versace’s mansion. And what was Sarah wearing?

Why, isn’t that a low-cut top? And wait, if you look at the picture below, isn’t Sara N. wearing heels? (And Casey’s all turned out and purty, too, and in heels, though not showing as much cleavage). Dear, dear.

As much as we believe that bazooms and burning bras are feminist issues, we can’t help remembering how different Sara Mair’s attitude was. Lord love her for her courage in going braless on her baked Bries (ooze though they might, Miss XaXa suggested they nonetheless looked more like goat cheese crottins), but Lord love her even more for procuring a shirt to put those Babybels back in their cellar, where they belong, and getting down to work.

In the end, though, we predict a bright future for Sara Nguyen. Pourquoi? Well, because, as she tells Grub Street, “[Dale Levitski] keeps on asking me to move to Chicago to work with him when this is all done.”

Possums, we smell sitcom gold: Will & Grace meets Kitchen Confidential meets All-American Girl (which, as Margaret Cho bitterly—and justifiably—complained, the network wanted to call Wok on the Wild Side). Our proposed title: Nguyendy City. Just remember, we’ll be expecting a cut of the profits, or at least an executive producer credit. You heard it here first.

Monday, August 13, 2007