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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 8 – I Think Something Bad Happened To Babe

Monobrow, Tom, Padma and Gail are judging the challenge.
Huskey Porchetta. Padma thinks he did a great job.
Sara Pork Dim Sum. Tom says the dumpling is really good.
Justin Pork Breast Taco. It is lacking fat.
Carlos Chorizo Tacos. Monobrow said this is not typical for the area, but Tom thinks it has everything.
Chung Dumplings with Pork. Padma said it is delicious. A guest comments on the cracklings.
Louis Slow grilled pork leg. Tom doesn’t hink it is the best one, and Monobrow found it confusing and not authentic.
Cmar Pork Belly. Padma likes most of it.
Cap Pork Ramen. Monobrow wanted it homemade. Tom thinks it is tasty.
Carrie Crispy something, it seems the Bravo website has done a poor job with this week’s dishes – Tom thinks it is really good.
Nick Tete de Cochon – Padma has an issue with the veggies.
BB Pig’s head ragout. It’s liked.

On the Big Brother screen we learn that this is one of Tom’s most enjoyable meals in the history of the show. Wow. So basically, that’s a great thing for these chefs, but it is also a problem. This means someone is going home despite not doing poorly in the challenge. Everyone gets praise – except that it is clear that Cmar, Louis and Justin are going to be fighting for survival. The rest of them are all potential Top Three candidates.

However, going for the win are BB (of course), Chung and Carlos. Which means Carlos clearly won the Battle of The Tacos. Tom wants Chung’s mom’s recipe for dumplings. It seems like a mom thing as Carlos’ mom gave him the inspiration for the tacos. BB’s was “out of left field,” according to Tom, but was still really good. By a slim margin, Carlos earns the victory. A rare defeat for BB – and “defeat” is a relative term.

As expected, Justin, Louis and Cmar were on the bottom – and I was really worried here for Cmar. I thought my declaration last week that she is my season favorite was giving her a horrible jinx. The judges made it clear – these three dishes were not bad, but they were the worst of the really good. That’s why it usually stinks in these cases – when everyone is good, someone goes home despite not really deserving it. I would like to see the judges employ the non-elimination decision more often, and then put in a double elimination the next time around. Deserve should have something to do with it.

Justin was surprised to be on the bottom, but Padma said it was bland and dry. Cmar had something missing in her dish, said Tom, as if it wasn’t yet finished. Louis’ popcorn was a problem and just had too many things going on in his dish. Monobrow said the three bottom dishes lacked the passion the others featured. Cmar failed to express herself well, and Louis had too many elements, and Justin’s (I believe) was hurt in comparison to Carlos’ winning tacos.

In the end, Louis gets the boot. Cmar is saved for another day. Now he heads to LCK, where he battles Booth for the right to remain in the running for a triumphant return to the competition. Booth’s winning streak comes to an end – unfortunately – as Louis wins the duel and is now the LCK champion, ready to defend his title next week. Of course, Bravo does not post the dishes on their site this week.

Quickfire Hits
• Vega has only been cooking for three years! Wow. My respect level for her just went up substantially.
• Sara used the term “gooch” – someone who is a jinx. That’s pretty funny. It makes me think of Diff’rent Strokes.
• Wow. I forgot to talk about the Quickfire! Well, the legendary musician Dr. John is there to talk about hot sauce. He is from another planet and has his own language for things. He wants the hot sauce to be a “hip maneuver,” which is what I think ended Bo Jackson’s football career. And I don’t even want to talk about what “hip tang” reminds me of. Quick break from the hits…

Quickfire Challenge
Carlos feels the pressure as a Mexican in making hot sauce. Carrie is going back to her husband’s Trinidad roots for hers. Cmar has never made hot sauce before – but it is all basically water, distilled vinegar and chiles, so how hard can it be? Justin is putting anchovies in his. Interesting. Huskey is confident – he’s the lead saucier at his restaurant. Nick is very worried – he’s had an ulcer since he was 20 and can’t eat spicy food. Once again, Bravo has failed to place anything of use on the website, so just know that they all made hot sauce of varying kinds.

Huskey – It’s green. Dr. John wonders if the hip tang is from the yuzu. It is.
Chung – Hers is “off the hook end.”
Carrie – It “hits you first” but has no tang.
Nick – It has good hip tang.
Louis – He doesn’t have a handle on it at all.
Cmar – It’s pretty off the hook.
Carlos – You can tell he likes hot sauce.
BB – Ooooooh, it’s spicy.
Justin – Dr. John is “kinda diggin’ the anchovies.”

On the bottom – Nick (It was really a sweet and sour maneuver, not a hip maneuver. Got it.), Carrie (It was overly hot and over the edge), and BB (It was slamming over the top hot.) Criticism straight out of culinary school.

On the top – Huskey (Verily hip), Justin (It clipped his wings), and Carlos (It hit a lot of corners). Huskey’s hit Dr. John the hardest and he earns his second Quickfire win in a row.

Back to the Hits
• I need to mention the guests – Toby Rodriguez and Donald Link. Because why not.
• They are playing up the “Sara being annoying” angle, even with the previews next week, and I wonder if that’s going to be coming in to play in a substantial way soon.
• The rest of my notes make no sense whatsoever. Serves me right for watching the show in the middle of the night.
• Extra – It is all about Cmar being nervous and a bit clumsy. And being lit on fire.

Next week – Restaurant Wars. Game on.

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