Top Chef D.C. Episode 9: The Beast Has Left the Building

TCDC9 Kenny Top Chef D.C. Episode 9: The Beast Has Left the Building
"Chin up, Kenny. You can still try out for 'Top Model.'"

So, this week on “Top Chef” — my DVR failed me. Totally weird. It said it taped an hour, but when I tried to watch it on Thursday a.m., it would only jump to 35 minutes in. Apparently, I missed some major drama involving — shocker! — Alex. I also missed my second favorite critic on restaurant wars (The first is San Francisco Chronicle scribe Michael Bauer). So, as this post is a bit late on the uptake, I figured it would be safe to indicate in the headline that Kenny is no longer with us. I also figured that, instead of rehashing who did what to whom, I’d call cheftender Ed Hardy for his two cents.

Ed, they killed Kenny!

Let me begin by saying that I have never seen such a disparity in the ”Who deserves to go” index as I saw between Kenny and Alex in this episode. Anyone who does what Alex did to that ribeye should be gone. When cutting large portions you must use long, confident, thoughtful strokes. Alex was whittling away at that ribeye like it was a piece of rough wood. If what Tiffany said about the striped bass is true then it just confirms that Alex is having trouble with butchery 101.

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Vote for OpenTable as Your Top iPhone Travel App on FareCompare.com

iphone badge Vote for OpenTable as Your Top iPhone Travel App on FareCompare.comWe’re pleased to announce that FareCompare.com, an independent airfare shopping site that helps consumers find cheap flights quickly and easily, has nominated the OpenTable iPhone app as a top iPhone Travel app. Vote for us in the “On the Ground Apps” category through August 23, 2010, to show how much OpenTable helps you when you’re on the go on the ground.

Enter the ‘Eat Pray Love’ Giveaway: Win 4 Tickets + 10,000 Dining Rewards Points

EPL Enter the Eat Pray Love Giveaway: Win 4 Tickets + 10,000 Dining Rewards PointsEat Pray Love opens this Friday, August 13, and OpenTable has teamed up with the friendly folks at Fandango to give away four free passes to ‘Eat Pray Love’ plus 10,000 OpenTable Dining Rewards Points (kinda like dinner and a movie!). Entering is easy. Just watch our interview with the film’s food stylist Susan Spungen as she shares her Eat Pray Love — and then share yours on Facebook. What do you love to EAT? Where do you PRAY you’ll find an open table? What cities or restaurants do you LOVE for dining? Tell us over on Facebook and you’re automatically entered to win. You must be a registered OpenTable user to claim your prizes electronically.

The Eat Pray Love Dinner + a Movie Giveaway ends Friday, August 13, 2010, at 2:59PM PST at which time a winner will be chosen at random. Make sure you’re online and checking your Facebook inbox between 3:00PM and 4:00 PM PST to claim your prize. Another winner may be selected if we are unable to reach you. Click below for the fine print!

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‘Eat Pray Love’ Food Stylist Susan Spungen Talks to OpenTable

The eagerly anticipated film Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts arrives in theaters on Friday, August 13, 2010. Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of the same title, Eat Pray Love found an audience in foodies, many of whom are looking forward to seeing Ms. Roberts follow in Gilbert’s yummy “foodsteps” throughout Italy. The film’s food stylist, Susan Spungen, shared some of her experiences working on location, as well as a few of her favorite foodie things. A food editor and editorial director for Martha Stewart Living magazine for 12 years, Spungen’s mouthwatering work has also been featured in Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated. Watch our exclusive video interview and tune in tomorrow to find out how you can win dinner and tickets to Eat Pray Love for four.

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2010 Restaurant Weeks Continue to Add Sizzle to Your Summer

Summer is halfway over — or just about. But before you start getting the back-to-fall-weather blues, take advantage of the hottest weeks for dining out in cities all over the U.S. COOLinary in New Orleans and Miami Spice kicked off two-month long celebrations with steals on meals. Not to be outdone, Boston Restaurant Week begins on the 15th, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth/KRLD Restaurant Week and Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week on August 16. Alexandria, Virginia, joins in on the fun on August 20, running through August 29.

Remember to stay tuned for extensions, such as the fine foodies in New York have done, with NYC Restaurant Week now running until September 6, 2010!

And, keep checking our national Restaurant Week page to find out when your city is celebrating its dining scene.

Top Chef D.C. Episode 8: Brazilian Whacked

TCDC8 Padma Top Chef D.C. Episode 8: Brazilian Whacked
"Has anyone seen my other sleeve?"

With just nine cheftestants remaining, the herd is seriously thinning – and worrying.  Kelly promises to step it up and Tiffany sets her sights on winning some challenges. Alex denies all knowledge of Ed’s pea puree. Poor, spineless Ed isn’t angry (which he should be), but he is confused (which has me confused). This show needs some controversy. Note to casting agents: You need to cast better villains and we need more hook ups in future seasons.

The QFC…

Marcus Samuelsson, formerly of Aquavit and winner of “Top Chef Masters,” is this week’s guest judge. In the least surprising QFC ever, they’re asked to cook Ethiopian food. What is surprising (to me, at least) is how very popular Ethiopian food is in our nation’s capital. (Bethany, is that true? It must be if they said it on TV!)

Chef Samuelsson gives us a quick lesson in Ethiopian food. In a nutshell, it involves a spice blend called berbere, injera, a sour, spongy bread that acts as a delicious utensil, and spicy stews. With 90 minutes to cook, Amanda gravitates toward the goat. Fork-tongued Alex goes for the tongue. Angelo has an advantage as he’s well-versed in Ethiopian cuisine, and Ed and Kenny seem pretty comfortable with what they’re cooking as well. Some of the others, including Amanda and her goat, are sort of lost.

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OpenTable Spotlight: $50 for $25 at Metrazur in New York + Boston’s Ginger Park

It’s on! OpenTable Spotlight is shining bright in Boston and New York. Our now-not-so-secret-Spotlight-restaurants, Ginger Park in Boston and Metrazur in Manhattan, are offering OpenTable diners $50 worth of food and bev for just $25! The sale ends Thursday night, so buy now to dine at a discount later!

Read all about Charlie Palmer’s crown jewel in Manhattan’s grandiose Grand Central Station and take advantage of this great way steal on an amazing meal at Metrazur. And, don’t miss Patricia Yeo’s famed son-in-law eggs and much more at Ginger Park, which draws in diners from all over Boston.

And, of course, don’t forget to book a table at Ginger Park or Metrazur after you print out your Spotlight certificate.