recap tagged posts

Food Court Wars Recap: Slanging Tacos and Island Flavors

After a charming, but relatively unremarkable premiere episode Food Court wars continues – in a new time slot. The show now airs before Food Network Star rather than after it. Also, just a quick note. The episode guide calls this “Season 1, Episode 3” because of the original pilot airing back in 2012, but that is nonsense. As far as I’m concerned, this is episode two.

Tyler Florence continues on his journey to host every type of alternative cooking show imaginable. At this rate, next year he’ll be hosting “Lemonade Stand Wars” by next summer. But this week, we’re in Spartanburg, SC at the West Gate Mall. We waste no time getting to the teams.

Tirado’s Empanandas, run by the mother daughter team of Jen and Trisch. As they explain, an empanada is “a stuffed savory meat pie.” It is “tasteful, but not spicy.” They already run a food cart, and while Jen was on her way to becoming a manager at a bakery, the family always wanted to have a family business, so she quit her job to pursue the dream. As she notes, because you can’t cook on the cart itself, they’ll never have a profit business.

Taco Spot, with owner JB and manager Michael is a “whole new brand of tacos” given the Southern twist that gets put into each taco. JB started the business over 4 years ago with his then friend Lindsay, who is now his wife – yay taco love. Taco Spot actually has two locations, a small 16 seat restaurant and a smaller delivery/pick-up only locale. JB really wants to win to provide extra financial security for his wife, and provide Michael with the chance to be a “business owner”.

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Food Court Wars Recap: Scars Before Stars

“Owning a food court restaurant could make you a multi-millionaire”. With that surprising statement, Food Network’s latest challenge competition show, Food Court Wars is off and running. Hosted by Tyler Florence, formerly of The Great Food Truck Race, each week two teams of “aspiring food court entrepreneurs” compete against one another with the winner earning a food court restaurant rent free for one year.Like the Great Food Truck Race, the two teams compete in both concept and marketing plan to make the most money over a single day.

It should be noted that this isn’t actually the first episode, despite the “series premiere” label. A pilot episode aired in August 2012, with the winning team – Kettle N’ Sprouts – earning a rent free spot for the whole year. However, as of late February 2013, the storefront had mysteriously closed.

The show moves around the country, and for this premiere episode we’re at the Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian Mississippi.

We’re introduced to the two teams, who both have a lot riding on the chance to launch their own food court restaurant. Po’ Boy Station is run by Erica and Stevo, two best friends (from the age of 3) looking to serve authentic New Orleans inspired sandwiches. Erica formerly spent time in New Orleans, but lost everything and was forced to move home to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

The other team, Suck the Shuck, is run by Thomas and Mary Jordan, former restaurant owners in Chicago in the 1980s who now serve Tamales and wings out of a gas station, in exchange for cleaning the bathrooms. They’ve been working on their tamale recipe for 45 years and are still holding onto the dream of getting another shot at running a restaurant.

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The Great Food Truck Race 2 Recap: The Finale

Last night marked the finale of the Great Food Truck Race 2 and maybe it was the state of exhaustion I was in having helped prep a few dozen cupcakes, or maybe the grilling of veggies and steak for lunch this week, but for a finale it didn’t seem that exciting. The combination of over the top editing made the whole thing feel artificially neck and neck.

Hodge Podge and The Lime Truck faced off on the streets ofMiamiand the real challenge was simple: first truck to earn $15,000 would win the grand prize of $100,000. Plus more than a few speed bumps along the way to mix up the game a bit.

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The Great Food Truck Race Recap: Welcome to Hotlanta

It seems like no one else is talking about The Great Food Truck Race, but people seem eager for some information on it. So with the penultimate episode airing yesterday, it’s worth recapping what has happened in quite possibly the greatest food-themed reality TV show on the air (though Restaurant Impossible is a close second). I mean, where else can you see stunningly adorable vegans compete against some Korean BBQ that will go as far as cheating to stay in the game? No where!

After traveling across the country with some bumps and bruises, three trucks remained in this episode: Lime Truck from the OC (don’t call it that), Hodge Podge from Cleveland and Roxy’s from good old Boston (I might be a tad biased [also, I’m sorry for all these asides in parentheses]). It’s been crazy, but this week the trucks were in Hotlanta, a city I’m slowly become more familiar with.

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Top Chef Just Desserts 2.1 Recap: Little Red Riding Hood and the Thrown Under the Bus

Remember when I had Wednesday nights free because Top Chef was finally off the air for the first time in months? Well, all was fine and dandy until I remembered at the last possible minute that Top Chef Just Desserts started last night. So I grabbed my ginger beer and rum and made a nice big Dark ‘N Stormy to get through it.

Just like every first episode of Top Chef, there are far too many people to even care about and all the chef’testants pretty much mix together. There’s sassy black woman, poised to be the villain Orlando and grossly incompetent Craig who can’t seem to do anything but sully the good name of Harry Potter. So the ever lovely Gail and Johnny show up with the first quick fire before anything has really begun.

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Top Chef Masters Finale Recap: Going out with a Whimper

The pain is finally over after months of watching Top Chef Masters. Remarkably, this was the most boring, least stressful finale I’ve ever seen on Top Chef (I blacked out during Just Desserts, so maybe that was worse). No games, no hoops to jump through, just an abundance of time to make three courses for twelve people.

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Top Chef Masters Recap: Do you even know your own family?

We’re finally here – the second to last episode of Top Chef Masters! Then the show looks to be going on break for awhile until Top Chef Something-or-Other debuts and makes me want to gouge my eyes our or drink heavily (if it’s Top Chef Just Desserts, it will be both).

With Curtis welcoming the chefs into the kitchen while wearing an outfit I’m 99% sure I own, the chefs are tasked with the final Quickfire. Each station was partitioned and the chefs would have to make a dish and the person on the other side would have to make the same dish with only verbal instruction.

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Top Chef Masters Recap: No seriously, I think the gas main is broken guys

After a week of glorious freedom, it was weird sitting back down to watch the chef’testants in Top Chef Masters dwindle once more. But with so few chefs and barely any drama, the show is running full steam ahead and jumps straight into the challenge.

Seeing the chefs scoff at commoner appliances and ingredients is nothing new, but this Quickfire challenge was cruel, unusual and delightful to watch. With only 10 minutes on the clock, the chefs had to make a breakfast using only a microwave to cook.

And the dish has to be served warm. And the dish has to be actually cooked in the microwave.

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Top Chef Masters Recap: Taste Test & Date Night

The final six chef’testants are still battling it out to earn the title of Top Chef Master. And since there are so few of them now, I might actually start remembering names! Jumping straight into the action, the chefs learn two harsh realities about the Quickfire.

a)      Immunity is off the table

b)      There is no cooking in this challenge

The taste test is always a fascinating challenge, but since this is Masters the dastardly Magical Elves decided that a blind taste test wasn’t enough – it was also deaf and odorless! Wearing masks, ear muffs and nose plugs, the six chefs had to identify five ingredients by taste alone.

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Top Chef Masters Recap: Seven Minutes in Heaven

I didn’t even realize it that last week started with the final 8 chef’testants. Or maybe I did and I just didn’t care because it’s taken way too many episodes for me to remember who any of these people are. Well, besides Hugh-ibrow. But thankfully, the streamlined version of Top Chef Masters seems to know that people want to see challenges and food.

It’s got to be tough on the chefs since they never have any idea what is in store for them when they get to the kitchen. One day it could be jars of bugs and another it could be the penny farmer market. But this time, the table of ingredients was heavenly – caviar, truffles, foie gras, etc. So the chefs got to make anything they wanted using these ingredients with one rule: they only have 7 minutes to do it. Inspired by Tom Colicchio’s astounding performance last season when he prepared an excellent fish dish in 8 minutes and 37 seconds.

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