photo courtesy of Bravo TV
Yes, it is my fault that I turned on the show, but it was round one of the finals! At Atlantis, in the Bahamas! I love Atlantis! Make no mistake, I've never actually stayed there, but I have played slots in the casino and taken the obligatory cheesy photo in the gigantic golden chair. To top it all off, two of my all-time favorite contestants, Mike and Tiffany, made it into the finals this season. As a Washingtonian, I'm rooting for Mike, but if DC's favorite flannel-and-fedora-clad burger monger, Spike, was still in the running, I'd be rooting for him, too. I have a weird thing for hipsters.
For me, it was game over in the first three minutes with the start of the quickfire challenge. Each cheftestant was paired against the winner from his respective season, and they had to prepare a surprise - wait for it - animal protein. Of course. These weren't just any ordinary proteins - not a whole, organic, free-range chicken or its well-heeled friend, beef tenderloin. These were legit proteins. Delicious ones that are generally reserved for upscale restaurants and special occasions - rack of veal, duck, leg of lamb, and pork (the producers must have thrown that one in there so we commoners could relate). The slabs of meat all turned into succulent dishes, which I will refrain from discussing because it's a new day and I'd rather get this out of my head. However, I will say that the most memorable, for me, was a braised lamb leg with goat cheese and rosemary polenta, and a citrus-cured and smoked duck breast with a bacon vinaigrette. The latter dish was courtesy of Michael Voltaggio. I mean, really? Overachieve much? Even the pork, the country bumpkin cousin of this particular group of proteins, looked incredible. Thank God they didn't make duck confit or some kind of chorizo-stuffed tenderloin because at that point, I probably would have tried diving through the TV. Instead, I got up, got a glass of water, and went back to the couch. And you know what? Somehow, someway, I was fine. I won't comment on the rest of the show, since some of y'all may want to watch it, but there was much more meat involved.
So, all in all, it was a good first day! I know it will be easy for the first week or so, but it will certainly get hard after that. Thank you for the big, huge outpouring of support, friends. This is going to be a fun little journey for us all! Please send any tips and comments my way. And finally, I am cooking a delicious meat-free dinner tonight, so look for a recipe on the blog tomorrow morning. Until next time!