Sunday, December 31, 2006

Red Knickers & Green Grapes: An Amuse-Biatch New Year's Eve

Gentle readers (all five of you), on this, the last day of our annus amusebiatchensis, we address you from our gracious drawing room* at Withering Depths, on the great and lonesome stretch of the Snarkshire Moors, not only to convey our best wishes for the new year, but also to deliver a public service announcement.

Where we come from, on New Year's Eve we engage in the ritual eating of twelve grapes at midnight, one for every stroke of the clock and every month of the coming year, whilst making a wish for every grape eaten. (None of this namby-pamby, Anglo-Saxon "you've got only three wishes" nonsense from the fairies of yore; it's ever so much nicer to come from a culture that automatically makes you a member of the Wish-of-the-Month Club.)

We would like to encourage you to adopt this practice, as we want only the best for you (and especially since there are no rules about how or where the grapes are to be eaten, if you catch our Tampopo** drift; as we always say, "Beulah, peel us a grape."***). But make no mistake (and this is where the public service announcement part comes in). There is one rule. It is absolutely essential that you eat the grapes and begin the new year whilst wearing red underwear. We cannot stress enough how important this is (and two continents and an entire people cannot be wrong). But if you do as we advise, good luck and happiness shall be yours in the coming year.

So, possums, join us for menudo tomorrow morning, and we promise to spend all day sharpening our claws so that we can provide you with more bitchery and polysyllabic invective throughout the coming year.

*Bonus points and an extra helping of good luck in the coming year if you got the AbFab reference.

**A double helping of good luck if you talk to us about unbroken egg yolks, the perfect texture of noodles, and live prawns in cognac.

***A triple helping of good luck if you recognize the Mae West allusion.

Friday, December 29, 2006

This Post Is Not About Rachael Ray. We Think. No, We Hope.

From the New York Daily News comes this blind item:
Which domestic diva got rather merry during a holiday drinks party and hit on the hostess after her fourth cocktail with a bawdy, "Hey, baby"?
Any ideas?

Apropos of absolutely nothing at all again, did we mention that the best title ever for a film at the Cannes Film Festival is Space Sluts in the Slammer? As reported by Vincent Canby in the May 14, 1987, edition of the New York Times, that was the same festival promoting yet another masterpiece, Surf Nazis Must Die.

Elia Aboumrad: A Socialite's Life

As promised, possums, now that it is Friday, the last Friday of this year of our Lord 2006--and that we are lounging in our gastronomic fiefdom, sporting a Sulka dressing gown before a roaring fire that is constantly fed by pages torn from the collected works of Dan Brown, Jonathan Franzen, and Plum Sykes--we bring you photographs from the previous socialite existence of our very own Elia Aboumrad y familia.

We begin with this photograph of Elia and her mother Elia Harfuch. Yes, possums, that appears to be her mother. We thought the same thing, too. Really, the first time we saw it and read the caption, we thought it was Elia's cousin Elia Harfuch, the one whose wedding our Elia catered, and who, it seemed to us, had mysteriously been a bottle blonde only a few months before her wedding. But closer inspection and investigation revealed that it is, indeed, Mama Elia. Apropos of absolutely nothing, we remind you that, as we pointed out in an earlier post (use the handy Blogger-provided tags to find it), Mama Elia is a plastic surgeon.

The photo is from a luncheon organized by the Mexico division of Swarovski, which society rag Casas & Gente, despite pronouncing itself "La Revista Internacional de las Cosas Bellas" (the international magazine of the finer things [in life]), charmingly and repeatedly misspells as "Swarowski." According to the rag's breathless account, the photo is from an "exclusive" luncheon held in 2005 at Le Jardin du Soleil in the Le Cirque Restaurant (yes, possums, that Le Cirque; Sirio Maccioni has extended his empire as far as Mexico City) to introduce Swarovski's spring-summer 2005 collection and sell items to raise funds for the Mexico Vivo Foundation.

Our Elia looks fierce (see, Padma? this is another take on how a dark-haired woman wears yellow). However, she is a little more glammed up than we're accustomed to, and we're not quite sure this Salome-like incarnation is entirely to our liking; we think we prefer her dewy, specs-wearing, heavily accented, chokolett-smearing self. Elia's mother, on the other hand, appears to have washed her hair in the same golden river of peroxide that runs through the heart of Los Angeles, Caracas, New York, Houston, Lima, and Miami. Moreover, the good doctor is not afraid of a floral print, and we commend her for that (we're not in the business of making cracks about people's mothers).

This photograph, also from the glossy pages of Casas & Gente, is from an open house cocktail party at the "gastronomic fiefdom" (we kid you not) of a certain Jaime Hernández--in other words, the opening of an Argentine restaurant in Mexico City. (By the way, we are going to start using that "gastronomic fiefdom" phrase a lot.) The society snap is of our Elia's father, Nicolás Aboumrad, our Elia's sister (we think), Lorraine Aboumrad, and our Elia's mother (ye shall know her by her yellow hair and yellow clothes), Dr. Elia Harfuch de Aboumrad. We're too polite to wolf-whistle, but Elia's sister's a knockout, and the floral-print fearlessness does seem to run in the family.

Finally, we bring you another photograph of Elia's mother, this time at an International Women's Forum cocktail party, once again demonstrating her complete fearlessness in the face of floral patterns. (Uli Herzner, we think you have a very good client waiting for you in Mexico City; perhaps Raggaydy Andy Cohen of Bravo should be the go-between. Come to think of it, why hasn't Bravo had its Project Runway finalists design garments for its Top Chef finalists? No opportunity for cross-promotion is too small, Raggaydy Andy.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Amuse-Biatch Spies with Its Queer Little Eye on Ted Allen

Try, if you can, to tear your eyes away from the appliqué patterns on Padma's sleeve. (If you turn your head 27 degrees to the left, stand on your right foot, and squint at Padma's sleeve, you will discover what Dan Brown and the Church have been trying to hide for millennia--that it wasn't Audrey Tautou, but Sir Ian McKellen, who was the direct descendant of Jesus, because Mary Magdalen was actually John the Baptist in drag [like Nathan Lane in The Birdcage, with Jesus taking the Robin Williams role], and that the Last Supper was served on Fiestaware, of which Leonardo Da Vinci was the first great collector).

Now focus, if you will, on the "attractively" tanned man to the left of Obama-like Top Chef mentor write-in candidate Ted Allen. Who is that man? Is it Ted Allen's boyfriend, or another character actor on Studio 60? Do tell us if you know.

Amuse-Biatch Investigates: Elia Aboumrad *Can* Cater to Our Wishes

Our beloved paisana Elia Aboumrad Harfuch didn't fare so well during the catering challenge on the last episode of Top Chef. She was (unfairly, it seemed to us) blamed for not providing enough food for the party guests. The implication was that catering was simply not her thing.

However, we have found evidence that our Elia can handle the most stressful catering job of all, a family wedding. In the Mexican magazine Casas y Gente (Homes and People, and, as the title suggests, just as stultifyingly preening as any socialite rag north of the border), we located a one-paragraph story on the October 2005 wedding of our Elia's cousin, Elia Harfuch (and since our Elia's mother is also named Elia Harfuch, things must get a little confusing during Christmas-card season). At left is a picture of the bride and groom, followed by our rough and dirty translation of the itty-bitty article.
The wedding ceremony of Elia Harfuch and Alejandro Pinzón was an emotional one. A dreamlike backdrop, the San Nicolas Ranch, practically at the foot of the Eagle's Peak [Mountain] in the Ajusco [Mountains outside Mexico City] was the ideal setting for the festivities. Her cousin, Elia Aboumrad Harfuch, chef of the L'Atelier restaurant in Las Vegas, was responsible for preparing the delicious menu featuring Middle Eastern dishes.
See? Our Elia can cater. We were amused, though, at the typical socialite-magazine puffery that elevated her from sous-chef to the chef at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (and notice how the Joël Robuchon part was left out).

Tune in tomorrow for pictures of Elia herself working the hair and make-up. We know you'll come back for that, won't you, Google perv?

Padma Lakshmi Weekly Fashion Review

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Well, possums, now that Christmas and Boxing Day are over, the lumps of coal are rainin' down a-plenty. In other words, it's time once again for our regular scholarly exegesis of Padma Lakshmi's fashion choices on the latest episode.

Quickfire Challenge Outfit

We admit, possums, that we had high hopes for Padma on the basis of the preview shown the week before the show aired. Cannily, the preview showed only Padma's outfit for the Quickfire Challenge, and only the upper portion at that. We saw a fleeting vision of a black chiffon-looking blouse with what appeared to be ruching, and Padma's hair pulled back into a ponytail. Elegant, classy, restrained...could it be?

As you can see from the photo, it wasn't quite that, but, really, there's not much for us to get worked up about. No, she didn't pair the top with a pencil skirt, as we had hoped, but at least she didn't trot out the Girl Scout shorts. And yes, the top isn't as elegant as it seemed to be, and if you look quickly, it rathers looks like the standard black, Saturday-night muscle-shirt-turned-disco-shirt you might find in Chelsea or West Hollywood. But at least it's not denim, and she's not sporting Farrah hair and a fireman's badge. We do, however, have an issue with the top being open at the midriff. Without wishing to be ungallant, and conceding ab initio that we're no ab initiates (we've always suspected there's a reason "abstinence" begins with "abs"), it does appear (as we have seen from other photographs) that Padma has issues with a little stomach pooch, and so perhaps it might not be wise to expose it like that. Now, now, we're not calling her fat or pointing out any muffin-tops; we're just seeking to spare her unpleasant reminders from people cattier than we (we've been told such people do actually exist).

So, overall, not a wonderful outfit, but not bad either. A fairly good effort, we say. Well-done, Padma, luv; it's a step in the right direction.

Elimination Challenge Outfit

Now, the Elimination Challenge is another story entirely. It's positively whorendous.

Let's start with the obvious. We've got nothing against yellow. It's one of our favorite colors, and it can certainly look festive and elegant (see Michelle Williams in Vera Wang and Cate Blanchett in Valentino at the Academy Awards). But Jesus, Padma, that dress is the color of mustard from a hot dog that fell on your white shirt during lunch and that only now, when it is five o' clock and the stain has dried and stiffened, you are realizing is there. Miss XaXa, being Southern and thus given to more colorful and straightforward invective, put it somewhat less delicately: "She looks like a baby shit smear on stilts."

A color that's all wrong for her skin tone was not the only problem with the dress. In principle, we have nothing against appliqué patterns, and they don't look awful on the skirt, but they're simply too heavy and stiffen the skirt in an unflattering way, preventing it from hanging and skimming in that bouncy 60s style that was no doubt the intention. The stiffness also makes the length seem wrong. The cleavage is appropriate, but ill-fitting. And the sleeves, oy, the sleeves. Was this some kind of Renaissance allusion? Is there some Da Vinci Code message hidden in the pattern? All in all, badly done, Padma, badly done.

Now, in principle, we have no quarrel with Padma's footwear here. Yes, shiny, knee-high boots are a little whorish, a mixture of hussar and hussy, but let us not forget that this is supposed to be a holiday party, and that Christmas derives from the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. And if you can't be a little whorish in an atmosphere of copious alcohol, butter, flour, cream, nutmeg, seasonal affective disorder, loneliness, and mistletoe, where can you strut your "Puss in Boots" stuff? Besides, how objectionable can the boots be if even a gap-toothed, ivory-tickling, butch-femme lesbian Secretary of State can wear them to Germany of all places? Talk about Sourpuss in Boots.

However, all of that being said, we do have an objection to Padma's boots, and it's this. They make her legs look like Mia Gaines-Alt's handrolls in the sushi challenge.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Amuse-Biatch Presents Random Wisdom for the Ages

Apropos of exactly nothing, and because Top Chef material is running a little thin after two weeks of no new episodes, and because our mission statement gives us wide latitude in matters of taste, and simply for the hell of it, we present the two most striking bits of “wisdom” we've come across in our reading this week.

Advice for Britney Spears and Other Single Women from Illeana Douglas:

“Never date a man with a loft bed. It’s impossible to look sexy getting into it.”
Harper's Bazaar, January 2007

Advice for Kevin Federline and Other Babydaddies from Samuel Pepys:

“He that doth get a wench with child and marries her afterward, it is as if a man should shit in his hat and then clap it upon his head.”
Pepys' Diary, October 7, 1660

Miss XaXa v. Mia Gaines-Alt: Battle of the Fag Hags

Well, Miss XaXa prefers "fruit fly" as an appellation (not for nothing is her middle name "Drosophila"), but you get the drift.

It is no secret that Miss XaXa has had a crush on former cheftestant Carlos Fernandez from the very beginning. It didn't matter that Carlos is gay and is married to a lovely chap named Chuck (she even found it vaguely endearing that they both have the same name, albeit in different languages).

Indeed, despite Carlos' married gayhood, it had always been one of Miss XaXa's wine-soaked fantasies--visions of sin stoked by Zin--to tuck her chulo chef into bed and read him excerpts from Diana Vreeland's D.V. as a bedtime story while the strains of Grace Jones doing her take on "La vie en rose" played soothingly in the background.
After Carlos was eliminated on the Thanksgiving episode, Miss XaXa was disconsolate and inconsolable. Now that a month has elapsed, she finally brought herself to read her chulo chef's blog, only to encounter this statement by Carlos about Mia Gaines-Alt:
And I will always remember the time you tucked me into bed!
We have rarely seen Miss XaXa in such a state. The outraged arias of "How could he?" gave way to a kind of understanding. Her fruit fly qualifications are second to none, but, she wailed to us, "I never stood a chance!"
We gave her our nun-embroidered Irish linen handkerchief. "I suppose I can't blame him. I mean, gay culture wouldn't even exist if it weren't for fierce black women singing in earthshattering tones some combination of the words 'love,' 'pride,' 'party,' 'deep,' and 'show' against a thumpa-thumpa beat, so how could any gay man resist a fierce black woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to celebrity hairstylist José Eber and dresses like the wardrobe mistress on Brokeback Mountain?" she queried rhetorically as she sobbed in the women's shoe department at Neiman-Marcus.
Now it's true that when Miss XaXa visited Mia earlier this month at her restaurant, Feed the People!, she found Mia to be gracious and warm, and her food delicious. But how differently things might have been if Miss XaXa had known about the tucking in. And now she has a message for Mia: "You know what? Your cornbread wasn't very good! So you go ahead and 'feed the people,' but keep your hands off my gays!"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Amuse-Biatch Investigates: Just How Big a Boob Is Rachael Ray?

Every time we swear that we are not writing about Rachael Ray again for a while, and are going to go back to discussing all things Top Chef, something comes up.

But this time we mean it. Seriously, this is the last Rachael Ray post for a while.

Still, attentive and responsive as we are to our readers, we couldn't ignore the charges that we are mistaken about Rachael Ray having "large bazooms."

In our defense, we should say that, given our, er, proclivities, we have no "hands-on" experience with bazooms, large or otherwise (except for that brief postnatal interlude when they were merely a pair of nourishing spigots). We're also terrible at parallel parking, so perhaps our depth perception isn't all it could be. (And you may not know this, but gay men's retinas are stamped with a warning similar to that on sideview mirrors: "Objects are smaller than they appear on the Internet." So perhaps we didn't pay heed.)

And yet, judging by the floating montage of Rachael Ray adipose chest-growths above--it's sure to give us nightmares, though it's more like a Fellini wetdream by way of Magritte--they look large enough to us.

Nonetheless, we will defer to the more practiced eye of our readers (not that we would want to chance a closer inspection of the bazooms in question), and have corrected our post accordingly. In a way, getting rid of the adjective makes our point all the better.

However, this does raise the worrying (and Top Chef-related!) possibility that we've been mistaken all along about Betty Fraser, and that she doesn't deserve the moniker "Spice Rack." What say ye? Do our homophilic eyes deceive us?

Tom Colicchio: I Owe My Celebrity Chefdom to Cocaine!

Well, not really, but we can never resist parodying tabloid headlines.

This is what he really said in David Kamp's The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, which, with its dishy stories and Julia Child “stiff cock” anecdotes, quickly became our favorite food book of the year:
“I think chefs and restaurants became what they are today because when people finally woke up from the cocaine buzz of the eighties, they had to find another form of entertainment. The club scene was dying out, and restaurants became the new entertainment, the new opiate.”
The book also contains Chef Colicchio’s heartwarming reminiscences of being at a boozy meeting of Chefs from Hell, Unicyclists, and Acrobats—an informal club that also included superchef Thomas Keller among its members—“and laughing so much I actually threw up.”

But that’s not all. You’ll also find the answer to why Thomas Keller, who used to be Chef Colicchio’s boss at Rakel in New York City, will never be a guest judge on Top Chef—“Colicchio says he was ousted by Keller in a ‘You can’t fire me, I quit!’ situation, even though the two were good friends.”

And if you order in the next ten minutes, you’ll also be privy to Chef Colicchio’s admission that “the possibility of even a single failure ‘scares the hell out of me. I wake up every morning asking myself, “What the hell am I doing this for?” he says. “Do I need another restaurant? Do I need a restaurant in Dallas? Christ!” But at a certain point—I don’t know if you get addicted to the deal, but you start chasing these deals.’”

Revel as you watch Chef Colicchio bitchslap Alice Waters over a pig in Oregon! Marvel as you discover the genesis of Craftsteak! Ooh and aah at Chef Colicchio's comparisons of the 90s culinary scene to the Harlem Renaissance!

And as a special bonus, you’ll get an account of legendary New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne’s drunken dinner “at the starchy Cosmopolitan Club[, when] Claiborne, soused again, broke a lull in the conversation by suddenly blurting out, ‘When I die and they autopsy my brain, do you know what they’ll find?’ After a nervous silence, he answered his own question: ‘Pubic hair!’ Mrs. Catledge was not amused.”

Mrs. Catledge may not have been amused, but you certainly will—Order your copy today!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Amuse-Biatch Answers Rachael Ray Christmas Hate Mail

We weren’t going to write any more about Rachael Ray for a while. Really, possums, we weren’t.

But then, when we and Miss XaXa checked in (from Gstaad and St. Bart’s, respectively), we found that one of Rachael Ray’s anonymous elves had been by in the night and left us some reindeer droppings in our mailbag.

Committed as we are to answering reader mail, and energized by raclette and conch fritters, respectively, (“Watch the pronunciation,” Miss XaXa admonished, “there is an ‘n’ in ‘conch.’”), we are delighted to turn to the task at hand.

Responding to a post that consisted only of a Rachael Ray wedding photograph and the headline, “Rachael Ray Wedding Album: Is That a Spitcurl Over His Eye?” a Gentle Reader calling herself “Anonymous” wrote us this:

You snide losers.
You wish you had the energy and success that she has. Didn't you learn in Psych 101 or from Dear Abby, at least, that you're tearing her down so you can forget about your own failure and self-hate?
Dear Anonymous, thank you for your charming note. It warmed the stainless-steel cockles of our pea-sized hearts.

Your forbearance in not putting an exclamation point after “You snide losers” gave us the chills. It’s so much nastier, and delicious, in that twin-set-and-pearls, secret-drinking, ethnic-surname-concealing, compulsive-ironing-of-linen-at-two-in-the-morning way. Really, it’s always the repressed snarl that thrills us to our hollow core.

Your excellent grammar and impeccable use of commas not only were as catnip to us (a well-placed comma can be the equivalent of a kiss behind the ear), but also suggested that you are an educated woman, and thus, clearly, not Rachael Ray’s target audience.

We understand why she appeals to men. She’s non-threatening and has [...]* bazooms. She appeals to men for the usual reason that women with big mouths appeal to men. And we mean big mouths in the literal, rather than metaphorical, sense. Not wishing to be vulgar, that is all we will say on the subject; consult an anthropologist or Maxim if you need to.

But why you should come to her defense puzzles us.

We know that in some quarters Rachael Ray is held up as some kind of example of American populism, but this is pure poppycock. Since when did populism have to be equated with idiocy?

The woman talks as if every member of the audience were a thalidomide chimpanzee, as if we might not be able to figure out breathing if she didn’t break it down into cheery, manageable steps for us. (“Now, open up those alveoli. Can you feel that Oh-Two entering your lungs? Yum-o! Now get rid of that See-Oh-Two into the garbage bowl of the atmosphere!”)

But, to quote Edwina Margaret Rose Monsoon, “We’re not all blithering idiots. We don’t all need nursemaiding.”

We find it loathsome that she should be used as prima facie evidence of the truth of H.L. Mencken’s statement that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence (or taste, as some versions have it) of the American public. What can it mean about us as a country when a woman with the intellectual heft of plankton is talking down to us? Verily, it offends our patriotic sensibilities. That’s right; you heard us—liking Rachael Ray is un-American. Rachael Ray is hurting America! Get Bill O’Reilly on the case. Surely he would object to television hosts dumbing down discourse and patronizing the American people.

Now for the substance of your note, Gentle Reader. We appreciate your keeping your references (Psych 101, Dear Abby) simple and Yum-o! for us. Given, as we are, to mentioning Anaïs Nin and Søren Kierkegaard in the context of Ms. Ray, your throwing out references to Jungian shadow selves or the letters of Lord Chesterfield might have reduced us to mouth-breathing stupefaction. (That “at least” after “Dear Abby” was an especially piquant flick of the cat-o'-nine-tails; hurt us good, Bad Connecticut Mommy!)

Just one little thing. Darling—and here we hesitate to be logical and what-not—but mightn’t one say that by calling us “snide losers,” and intimating that we are listless and unsuccessful, you are, um, “tearing [us] down so that you can forget about your own failure and self-hate?” And wouldn't that then make you into a “snide loser”? Mind you, we don’t say that; we are listless losers, after all, so what do we know? (Though Miss XaXa disagrees, saying, “We’re failures, but at self-hatred.”)

At any rate, thank you for writing, luv. And if you ever feel like calling us “snide losers” while wearing a leather bustier and Lucite heels, your comma and our period joining together to make sweet, sweet semicolons, well, just drop us another line. We promise you a good time (or, as Miss XaXa defines it, a vodka stinger, a cheese log, and a cheap motel).

* The adjective "large" was removed as per reader observations.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rachael Ray Reveals Origins of Her Fan Club: Is That a Gun in Your Pocket or Are You Just Super Unhappy to See Me?

Just in time for Christmas, Rachael Ray is speaking to TV Guide Magazine(the existence of which is yet another sign straight out of the Book of Revelations) about The Ordeal That Shaped Me, or How My First Number-One Fan Made Me the Clydesdale Horse of the Apocalypse.

The ordeal began in her apartment building in Queens, New York, when Rachael Ray was but a mere apocalyptic filly of 23.

The year was 1991 and Ray…was returning to her…apartment after a long day at Agata & Valentina, the Manhattan gourmet food store where she worked as a buyer and manager. While fumbling for her keys, two teenagers approached from behind.

“I’m such a moron, I'm thinking they live in the building and want to come in,” Ray says. “I'm standing there apologizing to them for taking so long.” Without warning, one of the boys flashed a pistol. In similar circumstances, most people hand over their wallets. Or beg for life. Or cry. Or . . . something. Not Rachael Ray. She grabbed her Mace, spun around and sprayed one of the assailants. They both sprinted off. “It was a very, very scary moment,” Ray says. “And I probably should have left the city right then and there.”

In a reaction that would become typical of her fans, and seeing that she hadn’t gotten the message, the assailant returned a week later to finish the job.

As Ray again began to enter her complex, he emerged from nowhere, jabbed the weapon into her gut and ordered her to walk toward a passageway that ran beneath the building. “That's when he started pistol-whipping me,” Ray recalls. “I think he was embarrassed from the last time and he wanted to get even.”
In the true-to-form pattern of the dreck-and-drivel genre, our plucky little end-of-days filly didn’t let The Ordeal get her down. As TV Guide Magazine relates,

In the mind of Rachael Ray, the genesis [of her Evil Empire] goes like this: Without the mugging, she might have remained in New York City, content in her role at Agata & Valentina. “It would have been a nice life for me. A happy life,” she says. “I’m sure I’d still be working there to this day, and it would have been great.”
Oh great. Now you tell us.

Now, now, before you think that in our glee we are advocating violence against Rachael Ray, let us assure you, we're not. Oh, alright, maybe a little light pistol-whipping, or a couple of thwacks with a bottle of EVOO, but that's it, really. It is, after all, the season of good will towards men, women, and My Little Apocalyptic Pony.

Still, what really gets us is how clear it is that the mugging was a foiled 12 Monkeys/Terminator operation from the future, when, not content with her television, book, and mass-market crackers empire, she becomes President of the United States or Empress Palpating. A plucky band of rebels send a borg back in time to prevent it all, and he simply mucks it up. Nicely done, plucky band of rebels! Couldn't you have sprung for a better-quality borg?

Well, God and Miss Bette Davis bless us, every one.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rachael Ray Wedding Album: Is That a Spitcurl Over His Eye?

Amuse-Biatch Calls Off the Amber Alert

To those of you who have asked about Miss XaXa's recent silence and disappearance, Miss XaXa wanted us to assure you that we have not eaten her liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti for her effrontery in forcing us to say nice things about Padma Lakshmi. Rather, in addition to playing a small role in a little-known Truffaut film and posting on her other blog, Put On Your Pearls, Girls!, she has been kept in the miasma and limbo of the Blogger Beta transfer. But she's back with a vengeance, boys, girls, and bitches. And she's been trying to learn PhotoShop thought bubbles, so beware.

Rachael Ray Goes Crackers

This will not come as a surprise to you, but we do not subscribe to People Magazine.

However, one of the benefits of Miss XaXa's recently diagnosed magazine kleptomania is that we occasionally get a glimpse of what our fellow citizens are--well, we won't say reading, so let us say, perusing.

(Miss XaXa strenuously denies the kleptomania diagnosis. She says, rather, that she is on a mission of mercy, redistributing magazines to where they will do the most good, e.g., taking the salon's copy of Vogue and leaving it at the JiffyLube for the hunky mechanic who looked more intently at her Louboutins than he did at her breasts, exchanging it for Popular Mechanics and Playboy, which she left for the two cat adoption ladies at PetSmart, and leaving Cat Fancy and a copy of the International Male catalogue for the pastor of the megachurch down the street.)

At any rate, after growing tired of Confessions of a Justified Sinner and our extremely expensive eBay copy of If I Did It, we turned to the year-end issue of People that Miss XaXa had brought home. The double issue of the magazine kept opening up to a special advertising insert featuring the Clydesdale Horse of the Apocalypse herself, Rachael Ray, ear seemingly pressed to a closed door and inviting us conspiratorially to enter with her, like an equine Anaïs Nin in A Spy in the House of Love (yes, that is the first and last time you will ever see Rachael Ray and Anais Nin in the same sentence).

When we opened the insert, it turned out to be an invitation from Nabisco to discover Rachael Ray's holiday recipes. Oh, we said to Miss XaXa, we have an idea of what her holiday recipes are like. We imagined, in the words of AbFab's Edina Monsoon, Rachael Ray "in a wood in a hood," a freshly killed chicken, a mandrake screaming as it is doused in EVOO and baptized "Yum-o," and a whore-you-hear-me-a-whore!-who-is-paid-$500-a-session-to-spit-on-decent-women's-good-for-nothing-husbands-for-kicks being trussed up and delivered to Old Nick in exchange for a magazine and a daytime talkshow.

"Rachael Ray's hawking Wheat Thins!" we chortled to Miss XaXa.

"Wheat Thins?" asked Miss XaXa. "What are these Wheat Thins?"

Once we explained that Wheat Thins are thin little biscuits made from hoo-eet flour, she said, "If Rachael Ray's endorsing them, shouldn't they be called Wheat Huskies?"

We think she has a point. Nabisco Marketing Department, are you listening?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Elia Aboumrad: “Niña Fresa” Brings Home the Bacon

Our Elia Aboumrad, the most “niña fresa”* of all, has finally provided Raggaydy Andy with the recipe for her much-lauded strawberry hors d'oeuvre from last week's holiday episode.
In the interest of service journalism, and due to a lack of new episodes and material, we shamelessly reproduce the recipe below, albeit in a more phonetically accurate version and with a few interpolations of our own in brackets:


200g of heavy cream
80g of mascarpone cheese
30g of honey
10g of rosemary
Chopped [b]acon

You weep*** the hevee creem and then incorporate the rest of thee ingreedients with a weesk [wheech you are neverr souposed to leeck], chop the rosemaree and add eet at thee end.

Then, weeth a piping bag, squeeze over strawberries that you have previoslee cot in huff and spreenkle on top a leettol beet of chopped creespee bacon.****

*The literal translation of this in Spanish is “strawberry girl,” but it is Mexican slang for a girl from a wealthy background, with all that that implies.

**We're shocked at so prosaic, and so potentially naughty, a name; Strawberries à la mode du Pedregal de San Angel, or Fraises “Niña Fresa” seem more appropriate as potential names for the dish.

***Did anyone else catch the immortal exchange between Stewie Griffin and Brian on Sunday night about whether that white stuff that people occasionally put atop pie slices should be pronounced "Cool Wip" or "Cool Who-ip"?

****We thought the recipe originally called for pancetta (delightfully rendered in Elia's accent), and we know it's not quite the same thing as bacon, so what gives?

Rachael Ray Singlehandedly to Destroy US Space Program

To the moon, Alice! Er, Rachael.

Yes, mes enfants, as if exploding shuttles, falling tiles and inadequate budgets weren't enough, there's yet more trouble afoot for our troubled space agency.

As the Clydesdale Horse of the Apocalypse herself told People Magazine, "NASA asked me to create meals for the space shuttle. Thai chicken was the favorite. I flew in a fake space shuttle, but I have no desire to go into space after seeing the toilet."

So if we were ever to encounter intelligent life in the universe, this is the best we can do? When we were beaming things out there, you know, to tell the aliens how cool and civilized we were, we used to send recordings of Mozart symphonies and Shakespeare monologues. And now this is what we're countering with? Rachael Ray is our manifestation of intelligent life? Thai chicken by bloody Rachael Ray (a native and booster of Phuket if ever we saw one) is our nation's idea of "the right stuff"?

If that's the case, we might as well give up. Remember that black slab from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the one that transformed apes into sentient human beings? Well, we're afraid that once the aliens get wind of Rachael Ray's chimp-like antics, they'll think we never bothered using the black slab, or that it didn't work, and they're gonna want it back. And when they do, Will Smith may not be around to save us, and what'll we do then, huh? What'll we do?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Padma Lakshmi: Amuse-Biatch Knows When You've Been Bad or Good

And before we start handing out the lumps of coal, we are only too willing to acknowledge when Padma's been good.

We were so taken aback two weeks ago by Padma's beachside bikini-and-Ugg-boots combo during the episode that Bravo entitled "The Raw and the Cooked" (ooh, how Lévi-Strauss of them!), but which we dubbed "Brahs Before Bras," if not "Bros Before Hos," that we forgot to discuss her outfit during the Quickfire Challenge.

It's a shame, really, because, contrary to what the stalwart Anon47 and others would have you believe, we do believe Padma is capable of looking good. It's just that she so often chooses not to.

We admit, we had reservations when she first appeared on camera during this Quickfire Challenge. When we saw the beginnings of the pink top, we thought, Oh no, not one of those damned, unflattering pink tops again (see our earlier posts on The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly).

But as the camera panned down, our fears were alleviated. The top fit well and was sexy without being vulgar. She paired it with a long skirt that while not shout-it-from-the-rooftops chic was at least unobjectionable. Best of all, and what made the outfit, was the "ethnic" belt (we didn't get enough of a close-up to determine with any certainty whether it was more Masai than masala, but whatever its provenance, it worked). So, well done, Padma!

(We choked a little, as on a hairball, but Miss XaXa patted us on the back, "There, there, darling, it'll be alright, you can say something nice from time to time. Now try saying one more nice thing; I'll hold your hand.")

We blanched, but gritted our teeth. Alright, here goes nothing.

On the same episode, during the Quickfire Challenge, Padma smiled, and she was animated, and pretty. Was it finally wearing a proper bra, as Oprah and the Today Show would have you believe? Was it standing next to Chef Raphael Lunetta, as a purring Miss XaXa would have you believe? Was it that she is finding her stride, as the Bravo producers would have you believe? Well, whatever it was, it was welcome, and charming.

(There, are you happy now, Miss XaXa?)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Update: Fat Lance Bass No Longer Nameless or Fat; Amuse-Biatch Sends Apologies to Aaron Sorkin for Not Giving a Rat's Ass About "Studio 60"

Our thanks to reader Patricia, who earned another pair of wings for a blogger-cherub by correctly identifying the nameless fat Lance Bass on last week's Top Chef episode as Nate Torrence, an actor currently appearing on Aaron Sorkin's oft-mocked, ailing, unbeloved Saturday Night Live-derivative reprocessed byproduct and Matthew Perry comeback vehicle Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

And our apologies to Nate for calling him fat. IMDB says he appeared as himself on E!'s "101 Incredible Celebrity Slimdowns." And since E! can nE!vE!r to be wrong, our eyes must have deceived us, the blinding retinal after-image of that orange shirt concealing his true, incredibly slimmed down celebrityness. (By the way, is this the same diet that Best Week Ever's Christian Finnegan went on?)

Gridskipper Leaves Skid Marks on "Top Chef" Locations

Bad-boy travel blog Gridskipper has a snarky guide to the Los Angeles locations used on this season of Top Chef, which it damns with the faintest of faint praise as "about food, it's shot in locations all over LA, and the people on it are slightly less obnoxious" than the people on The Amazing Race. Oh, and they repurposed one of our favorite Padma Lakshmi lingerie shots as a graphic.

Stirring stuff, isn't it? However, we think that Frank "El Bully" Terzoli and Betty "Spice Rack" Fraser would take umbrage at the notion that there are more obnoxious reality show contestants than they.

Breaking News: Fat Lance Bass Identified!

We complained last week that the "red carpet," "celebrity-studded," "holiday party" featured on the "holiday episode" of Top Chef featured no actual celebrities on the red carpet.

We did mention a chap in a retina-searing orange shirt whom we referred to as fat Lance Bass. A reader has written in to inform us that, actually, it's the chap from the David Spade-starring (hey, he's gotta pay for Heather Locklear's steak dinners somehow) Capitol One television commercials, you know the one, the squealing, homoerotically-tortured, fat Lance Bass lookalike.

Thank you, Gentle Reader, for the info. In the absence of a picture, a screen cap, or a name for Fat Lance Bass from Capitol One, we have posted a picture of a non-fat, but still squealing and homoerotically-tortured Lance Bass, with ex-Air-Force-captain-cum-coattail-ahem-rider Reichen Lehmkuhl (pronounced "Lameculo" in Spanish-speaking countries). Help us out if you want the real thing on here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mia Gaines-Alt: And I Am Telling You I AM Going

Ah, Christmas in July.

Or August, actually, since that is when, according to Lee Anne Wong's Bravo blog, the episode was filmed. But we'll get to that in a second.

Having read so much about the episode before we sank into the Louis XV settee last night, we were expecting A Very Special Episode of Top Chef, something like a cross between an ABC afterschool special and Survivor: Race War or whatever the latest installment was called.

We were also prepared to write a couple of sober little essays on Diversity in the Kitchen and Diversity on Reality TV, quoting Anthony Bourdain to leaven them a bit (and goodness knows you may still see them, as we have a couple of weeks' worth of posting to fill before the next new episode).

But, really, not so much. To the extent race was involved in the episode, it was in a Terry McMillan, Fitty vs. Oprah sort of context.

Of course, we have more than a passing interest in Mia Gaines-Alt, since Miss XaXa visited her Oakdale restaurant, Feed the People!, earlier this month. We had seen hints of her temper on previous episodes (we have never quite forgotten that I'm-gonna-git-ya look she gave Ilan on their first day), but even we were unprepared for when she went all Angela Bassett-in-Waiting to Exhale on Cliff's ass, and we think some of it was justified.

At that point, we were priming ourselves for a martial-arts type of thing, something like Bride with the White Hair, where Mia used her dreads to decapitate Cliff for his effrontery in showing disrespect to a strong Black woman. When, after Mia recounted how she had to sell crack as a child to survive, Cliff rolled his eyes and asked, "Are you done being a martyr yet?" (what an asshole!) we gripped the edge of the Louis XV settee, waiting for the Spirit of Oprah to appear, strike him dumb and accuse him of dating white women (oh wait, isn't Oprah the one being pelted with metaphorical Oreos by 50 Cent and Ludacris?)

Alas, it was not to be. And anyway, it's not as if Mia couldn't have taken care of him single-handedly; she is one fierce woman. And when she fell on her sword and did her version of "And I Am Telling You I Am Going" and left the show, we half-expected, half-wanted her to do the Angela Bassett thing, throwing a lit match behind her and strutting fiercely toward the camera. Alas, that was not to be, either.

Perhaps we should back up a moment, for the benefit of those who, like us yesterday, have not seen the episode. The Quickfire Challenge, to make a drink using Bailey's, won immunity for Cliff. For the Elimination Challenge, the eight cheftestants were divided into two teams and then had to cater a "red carpet" event, a "holiday party" for Los Angeles Magazine. In August.

(Yes, and it was just as phony and bogus as it sounds. We didn't see a single person on the episode even remotely worthy of a red carpet. Not so much as a reality show castoff, 80s sitcom has-been or Hollywood starlet in terms of celebrity. Well, there was a funny chap in an eye-scarring orange shirt who looked awfully like a fat Lance Bass, but since there was no Reichen Lemkuhl, even though there were cameras around, we doubt it was the real Lance.

And we were particularly put off by the fakery of Betty "Spice Rack" Fraser wishing a guest a "Merry Christmas!" No, Bill O'Reilly, don't get worked up; it's not the war on Christmas, it's the war on Christmas in August. Or Mia telling another guest that the strawberries were wonderful, and it's great how California is the only place you can grow strawberries in the winter. Yes, we grow strawberries in the winter, but the ones you were purveying were wonderful precisely because it was the middle of summer. But we digress.)

The guest judge was Chef Lee Hefter of Spago Beverly Hills. The Orange Team--Spice Rack, Ilan, Marcel, and Sam--won the challenge, and as leader, Sam was the individual winner. The Black Team--Cliff, Mike, Elia, and Mia--was on the chopping block (well, not Cliff, since he had immunity), and Elia as the leader was about to be kicked off, but at the last minute, as Padma was opening her mouth to deliver the fateful, affectless words, Mia took herself out of the competition in order to save Elia.

We had actually been impressed with Miss Elia Aboumrad's maturity in accepting responsibility for her team's failure and the consequent dismissal from the competition. But we were even more impressed with Mia's decision In retrospect it makes sense on some level, as the groundwork was laid in the beach episode, when it was the three women who made the top dishes, and had discussions about what it was like to be a woman in professional kitchens, and how they hoped a woman would make it to the finals.

As Tom Colicchio pointed out to her, she didn't seem like a quitter. So just why did Mia quit?

We suspect it was a debilitating bout of homesickness, pangs of self-doubt, a moment of lucid self-awareness, a large dose of altruism, a spoonful of sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves. That's quite a cocktail, even without the Bailey's.

Of course, the biggest question of all is why this debate had to take place at all. Of the three people up for elimination, Michael "Beer Bong" Midgley is clearly the least talented (and we're being charitable). We were especially delighted when he informed the judges that his task during the catering challenge was to run back and forth between the mobile kitchen and the food station, because not once did we see him run. At most, he shuffled.

At any rate, shouldn't he have been the one to go? Everyone, himself included, recognizes that he is not chef material, much less Top Chef material. (Although, a perverse sentiment would suggest he might do well on a channel like Spike, or Food Network for NASCAR viewers, where he could cook without intimidating the viewers. After all, isn't that the secret to Rachael Ray's success? Well, that, and the perkiness pact she entered into with Satan; they spat in their hands and shook on the deal. Oh wait, that was her loogie-loving lawyer-cum-consort.)

So how has Beer Bong done it? How has he escaped the Padma-wielded guillotine so many times? It may be that, as one reader suggested, it's not Sam, but Beer Bong, who is the real Keyser Söze. After what happened Wednesday night, and the way he has managed to hold on all this time, we are more than willing to believe it.

Betty Fraser: A Face for Radio?

Possums, we have a Spice Rack alert.

Miss XaXa heard from her OutQ in the Morning Overlord Larry Flick (weekdays on Sirius Satellite radio, 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Eastern) that Betty "Spice Rack" Fraser is going to be on his show the morning of January 3rd. Thinking back to all of Betty's talk in interviews about her "partner," the one she started her restaurant with, Miss XaXa is going to petition Larry to ask the question on everyone's mind. "Betty: Do you munch or do you crunch?"

Amuse-Biatch's Counseling Session with Spago Chef Lee Hefter

You poor, poor man.

You really got shafted, didn't ya?

Really, to be a big boy and to be stuck with a name like Hefter. It's awful when you think about it. Sort of like Rachael Ray plugging Heifer International. Worthy but...unfortunate.

And then to get stuck as guest judge on the episode where the tears and f-bombs flew. We feel for you. You got barely a passing mention. No acknowledgment that you're the genius behind the renaissance of Spago while Wolfgang Puck is off gallivanting around, cultivating his Austrian accent, tending to his Oscar catering, and getting his face on frozen food packaging.

Your tasting menus are legendary, and as Jonathan Gold noted last week in the LA Weekly, your influence is all over Puck's latest, the haute steakhouse Cut. And still that mixologist lady in the Quickfire Challenge, the one with the bazooms, got a bigger build-up (if not a bigger build) than you.

And then to be fodder for all sorts of Tom Colicchio MaxiMe/ MiniMe/ Replicant/ Doppelganger jokes. It's terrible.

All we can offer in the way of advice is this: Think about a two-button jacket; the deeper V is infinitely more slimming. (We confess that we are grateful for, and relieved by, your example, and that of Tom Colicchio and Domenico Dolce; we now know that when we turn 40 we must shave our head and start wearing jeans with a black two-button jacket; it's so comforting to know one's future.) Oh, and another way to look slimmer. Don't stand next to a scrawny bitch in a mustard-colored dress.

Gratuitous Elia Aboumrad Yoga Pic for Make Glorious Day of Google Perv with Show Woman Flexible

Here you go, Google Perv. It's not a bikini, but knock yourself out, buddy. And a great Amuse-Biatch welcome to your pal, the "Elia Aboumrad Yoga Pic" Google Perv. This one's for you, bud. And you might as well enjoy it. Our Elia was very nearly eliminated, so this may be your last opportunity for onanistic material of this caliber. Profitez-en!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dolce & Gabbana Serve as "Top Chef" Guest Judges During Happier Times

As you may have heard, Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana have split after more than 20 years as a couple, which leaves the Proenza Schouler split in the dust as far as gay designer break-ups are concerned. To add insult to injury, Stefano Gabbana is not only seeing someone new, he also wants to have children and raise them with a woman because he is "opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents."

However, there was a time over the summer, a time before the time of bitterness, when, as you can see from the photographs, the couple was happy and stopped by the Warner Brothers lot to serve as guest judges on Top Chef. Gaze upon the photographs, try to remember happier days, and pray that the split will not deprive us of more Sicilian widow-prostitute chic.

Did We Really Need to See This?

First it was Frankie the Bull's ginormous gut, flashed repeatedly, along with what looked like Masonic jewelry (we suspect that if he were to lose that gut, the snoring would stop, or at the very least subside. We pity El Bully's poor deaf(ened) wife.)

And now we have to look at Beer Bong's spongy, sunburnt form? It seems to us that Bravo is not being terribly considerate with the delicate sensibilities of its impressionable viewers.

As we sit at 10 o' clock before the cold blue glow of the television set tuned to Bravo, drinking rum-spiked Ovaltine in our Sèvres chocolatières, Beer Bong's brick-red belly, double chin, asymmetrical nipples, and unbalanced whorls of chest hair as he plays "Look! I'm a ghost" are absolutely the last things we want to see. Really, Bravo, it's like, gag us with an absinthe spoon.

(Miss XaXa, being Miss XaXa, wondered where he could have gotten the sunburn, and then was vaguely titillated by the idea that he must have lain out on the beach after the surfer breakfast challenge. We let the matter drop.)

His Name Was Dave Martin; He Was a Show, Girl!

We are, of course, delighted whenever we see news about Season 1 contestant Dave Martin, since, if you recall our very first post ever on this blog, he was the reason Amuse-Biatch was born in the first place. Well, that, and a quickie in the back seat of a Camry + a bottle of Shiraz + a broken condom + a Catholic grandmother who made us keep it.

But we digress.

We learned today from New York Magazine and Gawker that Lola, the New York restaurant for which walking gay tear duct Chef Dave will cook, has just gotten its liquor license, and will open in early February at its new, Soho location. We're not your bitch, bitch, but congratulations, Dave! Get us a Kleenex.

Lola, 15 Watts St., nr. Thompson St.; 212-675-6700.

Amuse-Biatch Goes AWOL

Possums, don't you hate it when real life interferes with blog life?
Of course, it would happen on The Night That All Hell Broke Loose on Top Chef, Dolce & Gabbana Were Guest Judges, Padma Lakshmi Wore Yet Another Whorendous Outfit, and Race Reared Its Problematic Head.
So, possums, the long and the short of it is that we were unavoidably detained and missed the show last night.
We know, we know. We did penance this morning not just by donning sackcloth and ashes, but by watching Matthew Perry smirk his way through the Golden Globes nominations, and even underwent that most painful of mortifications, ten straight minutes of The Early Show on CBS.
But we promise we will watch the show tonight, and post, post, post on the morrow to make up for letting you down.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rachael Ray Stumps for Heifer Organization; Loogie-Loving Hubby Tells Her to Put on Some Clothes

We swear we don't subscribe to OK! Magazine.

It just so happens that Miss XaXa nicked one from the hair salon, and we were delighted to find in its glossy, large-format pages an interview with the Clydesdale Horse of the Apocalypse, none other than our beloved multimillionaire-woman-done-wrong-by-hubby-who-loves-paying-women-to-spit-on-him, Ms. Rachael Ray.

As part of the holiday spirit, as our gift to you, Amuse-Biatch hereby presents the choicest bits from the OK! interview. It's our way of giving you all the liquor-filled chocolates in the Whitman's Sampler box. That's how much we like you, Gentle Readers. Our comments are in brackets, in bold, and in red.

Q: Do you have a dream gift?
A: I don't want anything. I love it when my dog, Isaboo, gets a new chew toy. My family always gives me animals through the Heifer [International] organization. It's a charity where you buy tractors or animals like geese, ducks, goats or cows for villages around the world. I'll get some more barnyard animals I'm sure.
After Rachael admits that she was a cheerleader in high school, OK! comes back with the hard-hitting questions:

Q: Did you keep your pom-poms?
A: No, I didn't keep any of it.
[We beg to differ. Her pompoms look, per Lindsay Lohan, quite "adequite."]
Q: Your husband must be disappointed!
A: Actually, John doesn't groove on any of that stuff.
[Apparently he just grooves on being spit on by possible lesbians.] On our honeymoon, I put on a
Cosabella nightie and he said, "What the hell are you wearing? Go put on your pajamas."
[We just don't have the heart to make a joke; it's Christmas, people, give us a break.]

99 Bottles of Beer, Off the Wall: Tom Colicchio's Subtle Argument for Repealing the 21st Amendment

Is it us, or is Tom Colicchio feeling a little contrite?

After the Thanksgiving episode, when a drunk, raging El Bully (what else is new?) threatened to beat Marcel so badly that his mother would not recognize him, all because Marcel had the temerity to move El Bully's toothbrush and make-up bag, Tom Colicchio wrote on his blog that Frank ought to be aware that physically threatening your staff could get you brought up on charges.

On this week's blog, however, Tom seems to be changing his tune a little, saying of the cheftestants, "Is it any wonder that they flip out when someone touches their toothbrush?"

Of course, to appreciate our point fully, you ought to read the whole thing:
The chefs have few pressure outlets; they’re allowed limited internet access in order to research food, but they aren’t allowed to disappear for a long walk, or hole themselves away with headphones, etc. since the show depends upon their engaging with one another. They can’t even listen to music, since this would interfere with recording dialogue! One of the only ways the chefs can blow off steam is by drinking -- which only contributes to the exhaustion. To top it all off, they have been, by necessity, divested of their money to discourage independent forays out into the world and are kept isolated from other people (except the judges, crew, and the people they feed) which gives their world a surreal, hermetic quality. Is it any wonder that they flip out when someone touches their toothbrush?
So let us get this straight. The cheftestants are required to "engag[e] with one another." They have been "divested of their money." But "[o]ne of the only ways [they] can blow off steam is by drinking." So if they've got no money, how is it they can always get their hands on alcohol? (We'll leave aside the resourceful Beer Bong, who took money from his Elimination Challenge budget to buy beer instead of cheese for his cheese steak sandwich.) Who could be giving them the booze? Could it be...Satan?

Some would call it hypocrisy. As it is Wednesday, and a new episode is promised (and one where Padma appears to look good!), we are feeling charitable, so we will call it contrition.

We have a suggestion. If the drama of the competition requires the cheftestants to be sozzled, why not incorporate this need for alcohol into the competition itself? Bring on an oenophile, sommelier, or lush as a guest judge, and as an Elimination Challenge have each cheftestant create his or her own bathtub moonshine from the remains of the Quickfire Challenge. That's definitely a show we would watch.

What Is Love? These “Wild and Crazy Guys” Will Show You

Yes, we realize that now you're going to have that damned Haddaway song in your head all day long.

But why should we, Will Ferrell, and Chris Kattan be the only ones to suffer? Besides, we're proud that we managed to squeeze two Saturday Night Live references into one headline.

At any rate, this is the only photograph of Zafar Rushdie with Rushdie père that we were able to dig up. If you have access to other photos, especially where Zafar "has four girls around him," you know where to send them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Padma Lakshmi: Heady Role Model in "Topless Model" Family

Just when we think we couldn't love our readers any more, they go and do something super duper special.

In this case, our fairy godmother at Sorry Fugu sent us this story from today's New York Post, which we present to you in condensed form. Really, we have no words, as any comments we could make would be superfluous. We have only added the photographs for extra texture and chewiness. Enjoy.

December 12, 2006 -- LOCK up your daughters when Salman Rushdie and his son hit the party circuit.

The acclaimed author and his offspring are talking each other up as powerful chick magnets no woman can resist - with Zafar Rushdie, 27, even confessing he's used his 59-year-old father's prowess to score.

"Most people who go to a party with their parents try to run away from them. Not me. If I want to meet girls, I just stand near him," Zafar gushes in a unusually candid interview with London's Sunday Times.

"All the beautiful women want to talk to Dad, so I stand close and bask in the sunlight. Beauty loves brains."

Salman, who lives in Manhattan with his fourth wife, topless model and actress Padma Lakshmi, 36, is equally complimentary of Zafar, talking him up as a red-hot ladies man who can't be resisted.

"Every time I see a picture of him in the paper, he has four girls around him, so I think he's not doing badly," the author tells the paper. "He's absurdly charming - lethally, disgustingly charming. He has it like a weapon."

That's where the backslapping stops. Zafar confesses he won't take any advice from his father on how to conduct his sex life. "I don't consult him on my girlfriends. He doesn't like the fact that my relationships don't last long," Zafar says. "But I'm not convinced he's necessarily the best person to give relationship advice."

Flower Power

Ask and ye shall receive. That is why we love our fabulous, wicked, gleaming-eyed readers.

Thanks to one of you, here is the picture of Sam Talbot in the flowered shirt. Definitely Keyser Söze, and thanks to the open collar and the necklace, even gayer than Kevin Spacey (and that's really saying something when you're up against Mr. I-Lost-My-Wallet-While-Jogging-at-an-Ungodly-Hour-in-a-London-Park-Notorious-for-Cruising-But-I'm-Not-Really-Gay-Despite-Wearing-a-White-Dinner-Jacket-and-Taking-My-Mother-to-the-Oscars).

And Anonymous, even though Beer Bong is your favorite, you do not have bad taste. Quite the contrary. After all, you are reading Amuse-Biatch, so how could you possibly have bad taste? In fact, you are a gorgeous, graceful, stylish individual, and thanks to you, somewhere, a little blogger cherub just got its wings.

Tom Colicchio with Hair!

Well, sort of. Frankly, though, we prefer the bearish version without hair.

Toad in a Hole: Sam I Am Keyser Söze

We were intrigued by the Gals' provocative post at Top Chef 2. They Cook, We Dish on Sam Talbot as Jack Sparrow, since we had also been having cinema-related thoughts about Sam. Only we had a completely different movie in mind.

For a few weeks now, the combination of Sam's greasy hair, brown-flowered shirt, odd, pseudo-gimpy (for lack of a more politically correct word) affect when speaking, and slyly treacherous behavior all the while appearing to be harmless, have been reminding us of someone we'd seen.

Then someone mentioned a Baudelaire quote, and we had it.

Of course! Sam Talbot was Keyser Söze, the devilishly treacherous mastermind played by Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects. They even have the exact same flowered shirt in shades of brown (we tried to get a photo, but we're useless at things like screen caps and the like, so if you've got a photo of Sam during the on-camera interviews in that shirt, please e-mail us and we promise we'll say nice things about you and how well you dress).

Sam originally came on the show as "the hot diabetic." (However, hotness in this case decidedly seems to be more in the eye of the beheld than in the eye of the beholder, and we find it increasingly difficult to control our urge to wash his greasy hair.) He was the harmless, Yankee-sounding Carolina boy, the Bono wannabe, the greasy, emo chef-boy in a culinary version The Outsiders. (May Coppola and Matt Dillon forgive us.)

But then the Keyser Söze began to come out. He threw the cat among the pigeons by launching accusations of cheating and squeeze bottles of olive oil without substantiation. He then tried the most Keyser Söze move of all, trying to eliminate a rival by having him killed by a drunk hothead with DeNiro delusions, i.e., inciting El Bully to go after Marcel for having moved his toiletries. (We found that super manly, by the way, threatening grievous bodily harm because your make-up bag got moved).

The episodes have become a fascinating game of Watch Sammy Run His Mouth.The attempted slurs against our beloved Miss Elia Aboumrad in this last episode were particularly amusing. He tried to get her in trouble for having used frozen waffles in her winning dish (interesting that he didn't go after his henchman, El Bully, for having used pre-made pie crusts). Now let's take a look at Sam's own dish. Ignore the cat-sick and the strawberry in the middle, and what do you have? Why, it's a bagel. And we certainly didn't see Sammy making any bagels on the beach. In other words, a very Keyser Söze move.

The quote from The Usual Suspects that jogged our memory was, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist." And it seems to us that the greatest trick Sam Talbot ever pulled was convincing us that he was harmless fun. However, it's clear that Sam I Am Keyser Söze has his eye on the ball. As he told The Boston Globe about being on Top Chef, "I have the mind of a chef and the soul of a chef. It's also a great way to win $100,000. HA! "

Somewhere on the streets of San Pedro, Kevin Spacey is straightening his limp.