Monday, June 30, 2008

The Next Food Network Star Recap: Pippi Jen is headed home to Lyric

I may be in the minority, but I thought last night's Next Food Network Star was a big snoozefest. The food didn't look good and the contestants were boring. Even Posh Dallas Lisa has been so beaten down by the judges--especially Bob the Tusch--that she didn't feel it was appropriate to let Pippi Jen have it when Pippi broke an entire jar of juice over a cooktop and ruined their faux-Turducken. (I think maybe you had to have been watching to understand that last sentence.)

Anyway, I keep asking myself, are these really the best folks the Food Network could find to duke it out for their own show? I know lots of people with better cooking skills, more creativity, and more interesting personalities. Tush! Susie Jolie! Call me! Email me! Respond to my blog!

I've noticed that the Food Network is looking a lot more like the Travel Channel these days, anyway. Everyone's been on the road. Rachael Ray Ray, Little Big Head Giada, The (talent-less) Deen boys, the unwatchable, overgrown, overdone Surfer-wannabee Guy Fee-aid-dee, even my favorite Bobby Flay. Maybe the challenges should be about who can read a map best, or who can find the best deal on a hotel room, or who's able to flag down a cab in NYC, or who can talk their way into a first-class seat on an airplane. Just a thought. Maybe the folks on The Travel Channel are cooking.

1st challenge:
Chef Cat Cora shows up and tells the contestants they have to develop a dish out of a basket of ingredients in front of them and present it on camera. But...after they make their dish--there's a switch!! Imagine that. They won't be presenting their own dish, they'll be presenting someone else's. I don't understand how that translates into who will make the best tv host, but okay.

Those cute kids Shane and Kelsey present each other's dishes. Shane talks about ingredients and Kelsey talks over and over about a big burst of flavor. I'll trust her on that.

Adam and Aaron are paired up. I lose interest in Adam immediately. Aaron just eats the food for at least half his time and finally says the dish was very good. Thanks Aaron.

Posh Dallas Lisa and Jen (again with the Pippi Longstocking braids) are partners. Lisa does an okay job, but telling us the almonds give Pippi's salad a nutty flavor isn't exactly revealing. Pippi Jen is completely wrong about all the ingredients. She blows it when she calls the Udon noodles fettucine...clearly, the Pipster will never be hired to work in Cat Cora's kitchen.

Sweet baby face Shane wins.

2nd challenge:

Each team has to reinvent a classic and complicated dish to make it accessible. (Someone, please tell the Food Network this is not always a good idea! What's wrong with the classics? Sometime it takes longer than 30 minutes to make a good meal.) The choices are coq au vin, beef wellington, and turducken. Because he won Challenge #1 Shane picks first and wisely chooses the beef wellington for him and Kelsey to reinvent. Aaron and Adam choose the coq au vin. Posh Lisa and Pippi are left with Turducken.

Crazy Kids Shane and Kelsey are just so cute and such a good team. They've been to Culinary school, you know? And, they're also really young, you know? So they do their cooking and I think they should go out on a date. For real. Wouldn't that be cute?

Aaron and Adam are a disaster. First, neither one of them can pronounce coq au vin. We hear cocoa van, and coke divan, and a coca vaughn. Hmmmm. First step, contestant must pronounce dish correctly. Aaron and Adam fight a little in the kitchen and do a nervous job presenting to the judges' panel.

Posh Lisa and Pippi Jen are running around the kitchen like two frantic, over-caffeinated, Stepford wives. Posh is wearing flats this week. Pippi Jen's big moment is when she tries to loosen the lid of a glass jar of juice. Instead of 1) running said jar under hot water for a few moments, or 2) lightly tapping the edge of the lid with a butter knife, Pippi Jen decides to 3) bang the glass jar on the edge of the metal cook top. Wham. Wham. Wham. And then, yes, it happens. The jar explodes. I can't help but wonder if this is how Pippi opens her daughter Lyric's baby food jars? But I digress. Jen has ruined the faux turducken. I forgot how she did it, but she also ruined the only other thing she cooked which was some roasted squash.

Thank heavens Bobby Flay is back with Bob the Tusch and Susie Jolie Fogelson. Not surprisingly, that fun, little twosome of Shane and Kelsey win the second challenge and are safe until next week. Bob the Tusch tells Kelsey to quit reminding people about how young she is. Huh?

The judges ask Posh and Pippi about their lousy and tasteless faux turducken. Posh doesn't throw Pippi under the bus for being a big mess in the kitchen and breaking glass all over her hard work. But, Pippi speaks up and says she's to blame. Tusch still yells at Posh for being a perfectionist--even though she wasn't. I've got an idea, Posh. Next time leave the glass in Tusch's meal and see how he like it. Nevertheless, Posh is safe until next week, because the judges know she's one of the three contestants who can actually make edible food.

That leaves Pippi Jen, Adam, and Aaron. It's really no contest at this point. As bad as both Adam and Aaron are, no one's as bad as that walking disaster Pippi Jen. She's sent home to take care of Baby Lyric.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Am From

I am from sharp yellow #2 pencils, corduroy jumpers made from Simplicity patterns, wooly mittens wet with melting snow, and stacks and stacks of library books every week.

I am from summer at the pool, pony tails, roller skates, Schwinn bicycles, and hand-me-down blue jeans. I am from watching drive-in movies from the back of a station wagon, wiffle ball tournaments in the backyard, and perfect attendance in grade school. I am from church camp and summer boyfriends and long car trips to the Black Hills, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, and Minnesota.

I am from the heart of the Midwest, flyover country, a red state with a Democratic governor. The pledge of allegiance, `you are my sunshine’ and a school prayer every morning.

I am from piano lessons and band concerts and running through the sprinkler and playing tetherball at the neighbors. I am from hand-cranked, homemade vanilla ice cream, hot dogs and hamburgers on a charcoal grill. I am from slumber parties and football games and pep rallies and track and field days.

I am from petunias planted around oak trees with dew drops clinging to their petals every morning, long clover chains, blowing dandelion seeds to earn a wish, chasing fireflies on summer nights and putting them in a jar so they’d light up my room at bedtime.

I am from a prayer before dinner at six, served by hands that smelled like Jergens lotion. I am from adult conversations about war and religion and neighbors and bills and politics and dreams and books and `the office.’

I am from warm, glazed donuts on Saturday morning, pot roast after church on Sunday, chili, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, meat loaf, and apple pie. I am from tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, green beans with real bacon, tuna and noodle casserole, and spaghetti, but no meatballs.

I am from telling the truth even when it hurt.

I am from a blonde, a brunette, an introvert and an extrovert—making me something in between.

I am from the careful one who’s still with me and the risk taker who left this earth too soon.

I am from advice like `duck and cover’ and `look both ways’ and `wash your hands’ and `pretty is as pretty does’ and `study hard’ and `work hard’ and `don’t forget to say your prayers tonight.’

I am from God. Protected by angels. And now I know I’m led by His Spirit.

From the heart of it all…a place that’s good to be from.

I am from generations who grew their own food, made their own clothes, built their own homes to lawyers and engineers and writers, who do none of that, even if they can. I am from the ones I love still living at 98. I am from the one I loved the most who died when he was just 66 and took a part of me with him.

From a family I was born into, to a family I constructed.

I am from boxes and boxes of photographs, the names and the nameless, of generations past and present that alternately thrill me and haunt me. I am from other people’s dreams I never shared to living my own. I am from small successes, big failures, and multitudes of experiences between those two extremes.

I am from guilt that never quite disappears to a hope that no one can steal.

[Geggie from So, What Else? What Else? What Else? says lots of bloggers are writing their own `I Am From' poem based on a poem by George Ella Lyon.]

You can write your own version of George Ella Lyon’s poem. Follow these instructions:

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I’m from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Funniest blog I've seen in awhile

I don't know how I happened to land at Fattened Male Celebs, but it's a big must-see. It's chock-full of before and after photos of A, B, C and D-Listers who've let themselves go. I know, I know, it's kind of mean, but these are all guys who've been packing on the pounds and it's nice to see them (instead of the gals) in the spotlight for a change.

K-Fed skinny.

K-Fed not skinny.

Pierce Brosnan hot and not.

Joel Madden before the baby.

Joel Madden after the baby.

Clay Aiken before.

Clay Aiken after.

Tyler Florence, hot.

Tyler Florence, not so hot.

Barack-Star, which way are you going?

Hoping he doesn't alienate his leftist pals, Barack-star is tilting to the center aisle.

Obama Undercuts His Brand, The Huffington Post

Obama Moving Toward Center, The Chicago Tribune

Obama's Supreme Move to the Center, Time Magazine

Progressives and Netroots Feeling Abandoned as Obama Tacks Rightward, The Huffington Post

Squealing on the Left At Obama's Back Flips, Earl Hutchinson

Obama Tilts Toward Center, Irking Some Activists, Wall Street Journal

Friday, June 27, 2008

Joe Cocker with subtitles

In celebration of Joe Cocker appearing with The Steve Miller Band in St. Louis,
July 6th, enjoy this subtitled JC appearance at Woodstock. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Runaway election? Not so fast (or, why I love polls)

Newsweek Barack-Star: 51% Raising McCain: 36% Barack-Star +15.0
LA Times/Bloomberg Barack-Star: 49% Raising McCain: 37% Barack-Star +12.0
Rasmussen Tracking Barack-Star: 49% Raising McCain: 45% Barack Star +4.0
Gallup Tracking Barack-Star: 45% Raising McCain: 45% Tie

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drilling in ANWR 10 years overdue

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says drilling in Alaska is no silver bullet to the U.S. dependence on foreign oil. McCaskill also says it would be years before American consumers would get any benefit from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil. What Claire doesn't mention is that more than 10 years ago (1996) Congress approved drilling in ANWR. Then President, Bill-Dawg Clinton vetoed the legislation. Just think, if we would have started drilling in the 1990s we would have this oil now. Estimates are that opening up even a limited area of ANWR for drilling could mean up to 40 percent or more of the oil consumed in America would be produced in Alaska...the 49th state in the good old U-S-of-A.

Fun Facts:
* The proposed ANWR drilling site is 0.004 percent (four one-thousands percent) of Alaska's total land mass
* Prudhoe Bay and the coastal area of ANWR together is the size of a postage stamp on a football field
* Opening up the area for exploration and drilling would add approximately 700,000 new jobs for Americans
* More than 75% of Alaskans favor exploration and production in ANWR. The Inupiat Eskimos who live in and near ANWR support onshore oil development on the Coastal Plain.
* ANWR is America's best possibility for the discovery of another giant "Prudhoe Bay-sized" oil and gas discovery in North America. Estimates range from 9 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil
* In the words of Charles Krauthammer:

At a time when U.S. crude oil production has fallen 40 percent in the last 25 years, 75 billion barrels of oil have been declared off-limits, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That would be enough to replace every barrel of non-North American imports for 22 years.

Ronald Reagan warned us 30 years ago: "If we don't research, extract and refine our own resources right here at home we'll pay dearly in 20 years or so." No one listened and now we're paying $4/gallon for gasoline.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Next Food Network Star Recap: Bollywood, Pratfalls, Chocolate Tilapia, and a Runaway Kid

Tyler Florence is on the show tonight. Oh my! I can't get over how he looks! I think he's put on about forty pounds. He also looks like he spray painted bronzer on his face. Very distracting.

Challenge #1:
Each person has to do a technique demo in sixty seconds in front of the camera.

Adam is a total slob as he tries to clean an artichoke. He had one of the easiest demos to do and choked. Get it?

Aaron--looking like an African-American Mr. Clean with two gold hoop earrings--runs out of breath during his first technique presentation.

Kelsey has the hardest technique to demonstrate in sixty seconds. How to french a rack of lamb. She was really pretty good, a little rushed, but good.

Shane grew a partial personality in the last week.

Posh Dallas is good on the technique of trussing a chicken, but devoid of personality. Maybe Shane stole it.
Evil Oma-Nipa has to demonstrate how to clean squid and she has no clue. Ha ha ha, joke's on Oma-Nipa. As usual she thinks she's way better than she was.

Jennifer has a meltdown when she can't shuck an oyster. Tyler Florence talks her off the ledge unfortunately.

Tyler chooses Kelsey as the winner.

Challenge 2:
Iron Chef Michael Simon is in the Food Network Kitchens with the Executive Chef of Red Lobster and a boatload of fish. The winner's dish is going to be featured at Red Lobster. [Related note: Today I had one of Tyler Florence's salads at Applebee's. The California Grilled Shrimp with avocado. They forgot the avocado. It looks better in the picture than it tasted.]

The twist is one of the dishes has to use an "uncommon" element...white chocolate, caramel, cola, marshmallow, froot loops, other weird non-fishy foods.

Evil Nipa whines because she doesn't do seafood. Waaa-waaa-waaa. `If it's not Indian I'm not playing.' She can't even touch the trout. Go home, Nipa.

The contestants have to serve their food to Coast Guard guys on a big ship.

Kelsey is as smooth as she's ever been.

Just like last week, Adam makes a fool out of himself. The Coast Guard dudes don't like him or his foods. Susie Jolie Fogelson is appalled.

Jennifer apologizes her way through her presentation.

Oma-Nipa's food looks like someone threw up on the plates. Cringe factor when Oma-Nipa starts doing a Bollywood dance. Is it a stereotype when the Indian girl makes Tandoori Trout and does a Bollywood jig?

Posh Dallas, wearing her signature 3-inch heels, takes a tumble in the kitchen and spills her special sauce all over herself. She's remarkably poised for someone serving fish tartare to a bunch of Coast Guard sailors.

Shane's food apparently tastes good so he's probably safe.

Aaron presents his food saying, "what you have in front of you is some cod and some rice." Seriously, that's what he said. Way to sell it, dude. Food Network Exec Bob the Tusch laments that they can't get any backstory out of Aaron.

The Tusch disses Posh Dallas Lisa for not connecting with the camera and serving tartare to the Coast Guard. But he likes Posh since she fell in the kitchen.

Shane is boring. Who cares.

Adam gets his back up when the Iron Chef tells him his crepe was inedible and his halibut was overcooked. Rule 1: Don't argue with an Iron Chef. Susie Jolie calls his presentation in shockingly bad. I like her earrings.

Susie Jolie and Bob the Tusch chastise Oma-Nipa for being disrespectful during her first technique presentation. They also blast her for wasting fish and making a fool out of herself with her Bollywood dance.

Kelsey gets props for not overdoing her presentation and cooking decent food.

Aaron gets slammed for making bad food and having a boring presentation.

Bob the Tusch makes Jennifer cry when he tells her she doesn't have any confidence. I don't think she has any personality or talent either, but the Tusch doesn't tell her that part. The other hopefuls are happy, because they're pretty sure it's curtains for Jennifer.

The Red Lobster competition winner is Kelsey. She even won with her Tilapia and white chocolate recipe. Way to go, Kelsey.

Lisa and Shane are safe.

Jennifer is safe. That surprises me.

Aaron is safe. He tells us his son has run away. I don't know what that has to do with food.

Oma-Nipa and Adam are the two in the hot seat. Oma-Nipa tells us she's an excellent cook. Whaaaatttt?????? No, you're not. Go home. Susie Jolie and the Tusch have had it with Oma-Nipa and send her back to Bollywood.

Cruise Horror Story #3

When you're leaving on a cruise in 1 month and 3 weeks, you do not want to read this headline:

Typhoon Sinks Passenger Boat
More Than 700 Are Lost at Sea

Cruise Horror Story #1 Mount Etna blowing its top
Cruise Horror Story #2 Man overboard

Happy Sunday!

From Thomas Arnold's diary, June 5, 1842:

[Of reading the newspaper] “So much of sin and so much of suffering in the world, as are there displayed, and no one seems able to remedy either. And then the thought of my own private life, so full of comforts, is very startling.”

[Thomas Arnold was a British historian and educator. He made several controversial statements in opposition to the High Church in England. A week after making this diary entry Arnold, age 47, died suddenly of a heart ailment. Arnold and his wife had seven children. One of his grandsons, who he never knew, was Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World.]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What I've accomplished while John has been in Honduras

1. Weeded the flower beds in the back yard
2. Finished knitting my pink shell
3. Started knitting a winter scarf for a friend who's moving to Boston
4. Read People of the Book
5. Read Stand By
6. Went to lunch with a group of people after church on Father's Day
7. Planned a fundraiser with the Salvation Army to raise money for flood victims in our area ($25,000+ !!!!)
8. Had lunch with my son
9. Sent invitations for our Ribfest III barbecue
10.Started planning a wedding shower I'm giving in July
11.Put gas in my car for the first time since John and I have been married
12.Worked through my six Italian CDs, again
13.Watched a DVD of Jules and Jim
14.Dead-headed the rose bushes
15.Visited a friend in the hospital
16.Got a manicure
17.Made a big breakfast for my mom every morning before I left for the office
18.Planned to play golf with my son, but got rained out and went shopping with him instead
19.Got the dog groomed
20.Made an appointment to see the eye doctor
21.Got my hair cut
22.Lost 2.5 pounds
23.Went to opening night at St. Louis' famous outdoor theater, The Muny, and saw The Producers
24.Started reading Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now
25.Started reading The House at Riverton
26.Went to lunch with my Mom
27.Had a golf lesson

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Toughen up Cindy and Michelle

Okay, so they trot their wives out day after day on the campaign trail. They proudly tell us their wives are their equal partners, their best sounding boards, their support, their this, their that. But then when we don't agree with something these First Lady wannabes say or do, we're out of bounds? I don't think so. Barack-star and Raising-McCain need to get over it when people criticize their wives. I'm sure both Michelle and Cindy are nice enough people, but face it, they've said and done some pretty wacky things. I think both wives would be better off if they'd stop acting like victims when people disagree with them. Frankly, I think they're playing into stereotypes and giving us women a bad name.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's fun fact from the parallel universe inhabited by Al Gore

According to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research: "Energy guzzled by Al Gore’s home in the past year could power 232 U.S. homes for a month. Gore’s personal electricity consumption is up 10%, despite `energy-efficient' home renovations."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Second chance spelling bee

I really, really, really want to sign up for the 2009 Senior National Spelling Bee. I didn't even know there was such a competition! I won my 4th grade school spelling bee in Omaha, but I choked in the city competition. The word I lost on in 4th grade was gazetteer. I spelled it with two z's. The loss was brutal. I want another chance.

The 2008 Senior National Spelling Bee competition just ended and 56-year-old Larry Grossman from Northwood, N.D. was crowned the winner. Larry won by spelling debouch. I could do that.

Registration is only $25. What do you think? I'm posting a poll.

See, jump!

Breaking News: Former democratic VP and now savior of the planet, Al Gore, is endorsing Barack-star.

Thanks Al.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Keith Olbermann Backlash

What do Neil Cavuto, Elton John Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Rupert Murdoch, Geraldo Rivera, Barbara Bush, Tom Cruise, Victoria Gotti, Joe Lieberman, Oliver North, Jerry Falwell, Bill O'Reilly and David Horowitz have in common? The man with the giant brain and even bigger ego, Keith Olbermann, has named each of them "The Worst Person in the World" in a nightly segment he's been doing on his show on MSNBC for the last couple of years.

No one said too much about the segment in the media until...drum roll...evil Keith named perky Katie Couric as one of the worst people in the world for saying she thinks there were instances of sexism in news coverage of Hill's primary campaign. Suddenly there are all kinds of news stories about Olbermann's segment being "out of bounds". Among the folks up in arms: Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times: >"Is Olbermann's snide act on MSNBC the future of TV news?" and a Huffington Post editor Rachel Sklar, `I find it a bit rich that Keith Olbermann would chastise anyone on the subject of "separating the hype from the news" or "the nonsense that Senator Clinton was a victim of pronounced sexism." And yet he did just that last night in naming Katie Couric his "Worst Person in the World" for speaking out about the sexism evidenced in some of the media coverage of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.'

About time for Keith's head to explode. Again.

Always remember: One man's meat is another man's poison.

The Next Food Network Star: Who's Up, Who's Down, Who's Out


Posh Dallas Lisa: Yes, she's still annoying and she's way too squinty, but at least her orange marmalade with brie was interesting and edible. If she had a show, I might watch her after she had a makeover and someone glued her eyes open.

Evil Nipa nearly cost Aaron the challenge by taking all the cayenne pepper at the market, but Aaron came through with a creative alternative spice mix the judges liked. I like Aaron. Next week I hope he takes all the curry powder as revenge.

Personally, I cringed when Adam started singing and playing the harmonica for Martha Stewart. But, she actually seemed charmed and his food didn't look too bad...mainly because it wasn't raw this week.


Nipa: Go home already. Combining sugar and a boatload of cayenne pepper is not making a product. Nipa continues to rise on the B meter, if you know what I mean.

Jennifer: I wanted to reach through my television screen and chop off those Pippi Longstocking braids. Really. When you're older than twelve and/or you don't look like Heidi Klum, DO NOT put your hair into two little braids. Also, Jennifer's "I'm doing this for my daughter" routine is getting old, old, old. [Just as an aside, I wonder about anyone who would name a baby `Lyric.'] Back to the food...mashed potato pizza? Enough said.

Kelsey: Martha Stewart does not eat Sloppy Joes. Or Sloppy Janes. Or whatever dumb thing you've renamed them. There's already one Food Network star (Rachael Ray Ray) who renames every food and utensil and has developed her own on-air language into something silly and perky. Example: Stoup (stew & soup), EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), spoonula (spatula that can also be used as a spoon), yummo, sammies (sandwiches). Annoying when Rachael does it, even more annoying when Cheerleader Kelsey does it.

White bread Shane: Shane was even more boring this week than he was the last two weeks. It's like someone came in and ripped out any shred of personality this kid ever had. Last night he looked like he didn't even care when the judges said his Vichyssoise had the consistency of primary school paste. Have some pride, man! Show some backbone! Them's fightin' words!


Jeffrey: A man with a lisp should not make seasoned salt. During his presentation he kept saying The Thole of Jeffrey, Theathoned Thalt (translation: The Soul of Jeffrey, Seasoned Salt). Pathetic. Besides, it was salt for heaven's sake!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

Tim Russert was a giant in broadcasting. He'll be missed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

All Quiet On The Friday Night Front

John arrived safe in Honduras...Here's what I've been doing:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mission Honduras

My John, along with Jennie, Ray, Joan, Tripper, Barbara, and Greg, leave early tomorrow morning for a 10-day mission trip to Catacamas, Honduras. Our friend Alaina has already been there for a couple of weeks. Click here for more info on the Por Los Ninos mission.

I hope you'll join me in praying for their safety and a productive trip!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the homeless and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Resolution Update: New Restaurants

One of my resolutions was to go to 8 new restaurants (in St. Louis) in 2008. Here are my reviews for our four most recent:

La Gra (Italian Tapas)
Food: ***
Service: **
Atmosphere: ***
Value: **
Location: Dogtown
Comments: Loved the small plates, but it's easy to go overboard on variations of the olive theme if you don't choose carefully.

Rasoi (Indian)
Food: **
Service: ****
Atmosphere: *****
Value: **
Location: Central West End
Comments: Definitely order the Bollywood Poppers appetizer. We had an Indian sampler for two, that was just okay. Skip dessert. Sit outside and enjoy the people watching.

Wapango (Pan Latin)
Food: ****
Service: ****
Atmosphere: ****
Value: ***
Location: Chesterfield Mall
Comments: Huge portions. Fun appetizers. Worth a trip just for their special seafood stew. Save room for one of Miss Mary's fabulous desserts. We had warm berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm.

Revival (Comfort food with a fine-dining edge)
Food: ****
Service: ****
Atmosphere: ****
Value: ****
Location: Chouteau Avenue (used to be King Louie's)
Comments: You can graze through their small plates, or have a full and hearty entree like braised short ribs with whipped sweet potatoes or mussels steamed with sausage and tomatoes. By mid-summer Revival should be serving freshly harvested vegetables from the garden off the back patio. Save room for dessert. You can choose from dessert "snacks": Cookies, fudge, sugared popcorn and doughnuts; or more traditional fare like bread pudding with a Dr. Pepper sauce, old-fashioned red velvet cake, or buttermilk pound cake topped with praline sauce.

Any suggestions for our next three?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Next Food Network Star Week 2 Recap and Power Rankings

Most improved: Lisa. I still want to scream every time Dallas Posh shows her over-rouged cheeks, but she seems to have lightened up a little since last week. Kudos to her for dumping the 3Cs for an understandable (albeit forgettable) culinary point of view. Her french toast actually seemed edible...which is more than several of the other contestants could say about their food.

Biggest prima donna in three seasons: Nipa. If the judging is already too much for our Indian princess, why did she even come on this show? I'm not even sure what she was whining about when she was saying she was different. Was she talking about being Indian? Being a lousy cook? What?

Grossest scene:Judge Susie Jolie Fogelson spitting raw eggs into her napkin. I think Adam should have been tossed off the train right then and there.

Okay, so Romance Guy got booted. RG getting voted off the kitchen island was deserved and no one will be sad he's gone, but Nipa, nipa, nipa. She has so many strikes against her...not the least of which is an enormous chip on her shoulder. It would be one thing if she could cook, but this is the second week she's insisted on whipping up some Indian dish that's turned out less than fabulous. Anyone who can make Dallas Posh look like a magnanimous team player has some serious issues. Still, I think Nipa's around for a few more weeks because there are other more boring contestants who are rotten cooks (Jeffrey, Jennifer). Face it, Nipa makes good tv.

Baby Shane needs to quit crying and apologizing. Okay, you're the youngest. Big deal. Shut up and cook.

I liked Aaron a little bit this week. He was so right about the so-called `runny eggs' Adam insisted on making. The thought of them makes me gag.

Cheerleader Kelsey...give me a D give me a U give me a D...DUD. Kelsey is a big dud as far as I'm concerned. Other than being cute, I'm not sure what she brings to the judges' table.

Jeffrey and boring mom Jennifer don't even register on the radar. Go home already.

Can't wait for next week when Martha Stewart is guest judging. I guarantee nobody will be left standing if she's served raw eggs.

Here are this week's power rankings:
1) Dallas Posh (Lisa)
2) Aaron
3) Cheerleader Kelsey
4) Baby Shane
5) Nipa
6) Jeffrey
7) Jennifer
8) Raw Egg Adam

Monday, June 9, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Public Service Announcement: The Best Neutral Color Fingernail Polish

Okay, I've searched long and hard for the perfect neutral nail polish to use as an alternative to the ever popular French manicure. Ladies, I've found it and I'm willing to share my knowledge. This polish works with every color, lasts 8-10 days, doesn't show chips, and looks great on all skin tones.

This isn't the best photo, but it will give you an idea of how beautiful a single coat of this polish is:

It's from the Lippmann Collection and the color is "Prelude to a Kiss." Buy it at for $15.00. It will last forever.

You're welcome.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Nash Brennan RIP

I'm so sad. My favorite character on the soaps was killed off yesterday. Nash real life Nash's name is Forbes March, which is interesting because "Forbes March" sounds more like a soap opera name than "Nash Brennan". I don't watch One Life to Live I but I do have the show on in my office every day just so that occasionally I can look up and catch a glimpse of the GORGEOUS and HOT Forbes March. But, now Nash is gone. I'm just going to have to accept Nash's untimely demise (he was pushed--or did he fall--from a building). In memoriam I'm posting some pictures. Thanks Nash, you've made my days a little brighter. Click on Nash's pictures to get up close and personal.

Breaking News

For two days in a row...Hillary is not running for President!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Things I Don't Understand (cont'd)... & Take a quiz to win a prize

11. ...why people can't learn the rules of using apostrophes for possessives. I promise you I learned this in Mrs. Geisler's (notice how I did that 's ?) 3rd grade class at Hillside Elementary.

For those of you who don't get's a quick synopsis:

RULE ONE: Most words simply get apostrophe S ('s).
the box belonging to Steve -> Steve's box
the bedroom of the child -> the child's bedroom

RULE TWO: Plural nouns ending in S simply get an apostrophe (s').
the box belonging to the girls -> the girls' box
the bedroom of the kids -> the kids' bedroom

RULE THREE: For irregular plurals (not ending in S), add apostrophe S ('s).
the coats of the women -> the women's coats
the jackets of the children -> the children's jackets

RULE FOUR: For names ending in S, add apostrophe S ('s).

the cat belonging to Charles -> Charles's cat
the jacket of the Phyllis -> Phyllis's jackets

ALTERNATE RULE FOUR: For names ending in S, simply add an apostrophe (s').
the cat belonging to Charles -> Charles' cat
the jacket of the Phyllis -> Phyllis' jackets

Now that isn't so hard is it? We'll work on "its vs. it's" another day.

Now for the fun part. The first two people to successfully add apostrophes in the right places to the following sentences will win prizes. Leave your answer (retype the sentences) as a comment.

1. The two girls bicycles
2. This is the butchers shop
3. Sam Smiths old house
4. The companys logo
5. James cars engine


My Photo Mosaic

Kalisa at I Am Not My Hair has a great idea on creating your own photo mosaic:

Here's what you do:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

Here are the questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

Here's how mine looks:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hill and me...Team USA!

Hill is letting the Dems know she's willing to be Barack-star's V.P. Riiiigggghhhtttt...and I'm willing to receive the Olympic gold medal for my work on the balance beam, too.

My Hall of Fame Retailers For May

The ONLY place to get shoes is Zappos. Browse thousands and thousands of styles online. Free shipping both ways. Most shipments arrive in less than 24 hours.

Time for Dinner. They do all the planning, the shopping, the just put it together and leave with six or twelve dinners for the family in less than an hour.

After two massages at Pure Harmony Day Spa the kink is finally out of my shoulder.

Hill's team says `not so fast'

The AP reports that Hill is set to concede the Democratic nomination to Barack-star tonight. But, true to form, Hill's camp says not true, not paraphrase Mark Twain `the rumors of her demise have been greatly exaggerated.'

Hill watch continues.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My new guilty pleasure for the summer...The Next Food Network Star

Surely you didn't expect me to just stop watching television now that the networks are in reruns???

You MUST see this show on Sunday nights on the Food Network. Last night there was a cat fight between celebrity judges Little Big Head Giada De Luarentiis and the Semi-Ho herself Sandy Lee (as in Semi-Homemade with Sandy Lee).

The winner of the competition gets his/her own show on TFN. Previous winners have been less than stellar...I saw season 1's "The Hearty Boys" a couple of times in really bad time slots a long time ago and I've never seen season 3's winner Amy Finley since she won last year. The highly annoying and obnoxious Guy Fieri won Season 2. He (unfortunately) does have a completely unwatchable show where he makes a sloppy pig out of himself visiting local eateries. Thankfully, he never cooks. If you don't watch the Food Network, you may have caught his annoying and obnoxious self on the new Fridays commercials.

This year Food Network execs Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson have been joined by Chef Bobby Flay as the panel of judges. Hopefully, Bobbly Flay as a judge will mean more emphasis on edible food and less on personality. The goal of TFN, I assume, is to find the next Rachael Ray--or someone like that. But still, it's a COOKING show. Show me some food. Some good food. Personally, I'd rather see another Jamie Oliver than another Semi-Ho or Rachael Ray.

Here are the three most annoying contestants from last night:

Kelsey Nixon: Think a TCU cheerleader on caffeine. Kelsey was the cause of last night's cat fight. Semi-ho Sandra Lee thought Kelsey was being "real" (this from a woman who's made a career out of making faux-food), but Little Big Head Giada saw right through Kelsey's sorority sister act.

Lisa Garza: This dominatrix in an apron is wound very tightly and could spin out of control at any moment. I'm expecting (and looking forward to) a major meltdown from this crazy woman.

Nipa Bhatt: I don't even know how to explain Nipa's complete and utter misguided self-esteem. Her feet are firmly planted in fantasyland. She actually expected us--and the celebrity chefs--to believe that grocery stores in NYC don't carry turmeric. Really??? Come on over to my house, Nipa, and I'll loan you some. Yep, we have turmeric right here in little old St. over country a long way from the big city. Bobby Flay appeared to be especially annoyed by Nipa and her overwelming self-esteem.

No surprise that Cory Kahaney was first to be booted off the food network island. She was billed as a stand-up comedian who's also a great cook. Well, not only couldn't she cook, she didn't have one funny thing to say all night. I'm not kidding. I think I'm way funnier and a better cook.

Put it on your TIVO. The Food Network, Sunday nights, 9pm central, 10pm eastern.

Beware The Super Delegates

In light of John's reply to my Hillary countdown (see below), I think it's probably a good idea to link back to my previous posts on Super Delegates and their Super Powers. John's right, they're really not committed to matter what they say. Click here for more.

2 more days..yes, folks, Curtains for Clinton

Finally, this interminable, never-ending Democratic primary season is drawing to a close. Hallelujah. Read this from The Politico:

Clinton camp converging on New York Tuesday, and shedding staff

Members of Hillary Clinton's advance staff received calls and emails this evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending, two Clinton staffers tell my colleague Amie Parnes.

The advance staffers -- most of them now in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana -- are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home, the aides said. The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed -- at least -- some of its staff. The advance staff is responsible for arranging the candidate's events around the country.

With the future of her campaign in doubt, Clinton hasn't announced her plans for the final election night of the primary cycle or beyond, but the aides said she would stage her election night event in New York City. Her entourage is currently expected to wake up Tuesday in New York and to arrive in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night.

Clinton's senior aides didn't respond to requests for comment on her Tuesday night plans.

Just more Bubba blaming everyone but his wife for her losing, no more Howard Wolfson and his self-righteous pronouncements, no more Terry McAuliffe and his Hawaiian shirts, no more Chelsea on college campuses not answering questions, no more Hill doing shots in pubs, no more Meet the Press with Harold Ickes (what an unfortunate name), no more James Carville likening Hill to Jesus and the super delegates to Judas, no more changing the rules after agreeing to them, no more, no more, no more. This is America, folks.