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  1. Lived in Louisiana for about 12 years (7 in NOLA, 5 in Baton Rouge) and am really looking forward to checking this place out!
  2. I went tonight and was not overly impressed. The concept is cool, but the actual experience wasn't the best. Everything we had was fine on the first bite or so. Then as you ate it, it got less appealing. The farmhouse salad was OK. I got the fried clams and salsify; another had the clam scrapple 'wich; another had the roast chicken. I also had the rumspringa drink. Peach buckle for dessert. I too came home with a tummy ache and none of us were impressed enough to go back. My personal peeve this evening wasn't the service per se, which was erratic due to it being a pretty full house on a Friday at 7pm, but the GM. It's not a huge deal, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Here's what went down. The table next to us clearly were VIPs. I was close enough to hear one of them say something like "It's good sometimes to be a producer of Top Chef!" and he joked that he hadn't brought Padma, etc. He said this twice, so I assume it was probably true. Cool! They got some custom dishes sent over, etc. And the GM was all over them. Again, fine. But after they left, I was curious, so I asked GM if he could tell me who they were. Now, if he'd just said something like, "Well, I really shouldn't say...," I would have understood and been fine with it. But he kinda smarmed around and said, well, he likes to talk to all the tables and he just got into banter with them, etc. It was clearly BS and a turn off. Just my experience...
  3. I lived in Louisiana for quite a few years and had been to Carmine's back when it was in Havertown, so I was pretty excited to check it out. We had the salad with grapefruit sections, candied pecans, and goat cheese first. It is a sweet salad, but I like that sort of thing and enjoyed it. One friend had the creole crabcake special and seemed pretty happy with it. Me and other friend had the crawfish etouffee and it was pretty darn good for this far from the bayous. I'd have that again any day. The decor, however, is problematic, as my friend who does restaurant design for a living pointed out. Aside from the beautiful staircase, there's not really much ambience and parts of it are just sloppy and unfinished, like the budget ran out and they had to get cheap curtains (and one window was missing curtains altogether) and slap on a paint job. Friend said the whole space should be renovated, but that was obviously not in the cards. NOLA decor tends to be a bit casual, but once it was pointed out to me, I could see the shortcomings. The service was pretty good, but there weren't many people there (although it was after 9pm when we rolled in) and we had the whole upper dining area pretty much to ourselves. The drinks were fun: a sort of stawberry-pom-tini was good for the birthday girl (me) who wanted to go girlie; the boys had a martini with a spicy shrimp as the garnish and seemed happy with theirs too. I'd try the Sazerac next time, a classic NOLA cocktail made with rye. Would recommend and go again. I hope it becomes a success and imagine LaBan will get there soonish. Will be interested to see his thoughts.
  4. I had a surreal little Bob Barker moment when they drove that thing out. "A Neeeeeew Caaaaaaar!" ← Pax, I was right there with you...
  5. Interview with Spike at Grub Street: http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/05/banish...ld_ha.html#more He actually comes off pretty well, I think...he's obviously had time to ponder it and get some perspective and seems quite articulate and thoughtful.
  6. My online episode guide says tonight's ep is titled "High Steaks" and that Rick Tramonto is the guest...
  7. FYI, there's an interview with Dale up over at Grub Street. A few good nuggets in there. I'm sorry he's gone. Been watching replays this evening and I must say that Spike has been playing the "game" end of this like a pro. He'll have less room to hide now on this show, but he should really try his hand at "Survivor"!
  8. Oh, no! This one had "train wreck" written all over it once the teams were set...I liked the QuickFire, but have to think that if the other top QF cheftestant had won it and got to pick his/her team, the end result would have been so different...now that Restaurant Wars are over, I'm ready to see the individuals go at it.
  9. How nice to see Sam! I think he's the one that got me watching this show. I recall flipping channels, seeing him, and thinking I'd stick around a bit. The loser was, to my viewing, better in group challenges than solo. Would have been nice to see that cheftestant make it to Restaurant Wars...can't wait for that episode. The last two judges' tables have been like tribal council in Survivor...good TV.
  10. I think you're confusing Frankie and Memo(Manuel). ← Read it over again and you are right. Sorry to doubt. Apparently, my seasonal allergies are affecting more than just my nose and sinuses.
  11. This was the first episode for me this season that really had the Top Chef "vibe" and tension to it. It also ran a bit over an hour here--supersize! The elimination could have gone one of three ways and I can't say I disagree, but the other two will be on thin ice after this. Liked the relay, but maybe not as much as last season's. Nikki's whisking looked so awkward that my arm hurt watching.
  12. I'm not sure about this. I'm reading that early section now and it just doesn't seem like the same person. Wasn't Manuel Latino or Hispanic rather than Italian, as Memo is described? Also, the physical description of Memo (sort of like an early Sinatra) and his personality (ebullient and aggressive) just don't mesh with the Manuel presented on TV. Just sayin'. Maybe it was another "cheftestant"?
  13. I've also had African Peanut Chicken soup and it's good stuff! I thought of that also when Stephanie's combo came up. Maybe it just didn't come together in a tasty way like Richard's odd pizza in the first episode. I'll miss Mark. I liked how he described that he'd make "his lady" a vegetable curry to eat when he was light on cash. He just seemed like a good egg, if a bit of a shaggy mess who'd reached his level. If the challenge hadn't been so tailored to others' sensibilities, he might have skated by, but the end was coming soon either way. One thing the winners of all these shows seem to have is the ability to shine in challenges suited to their skills, but also to wrench an unfamiliar challenge into their wheelhouse.
  14. Just to wrap up on tailgating and clarify to David, I'm no Trojan...Tiger here! Now that you mention it, I think I remember that Oregon game. Much respect to any non-SEC team that even makes the trip, much less a game of it. I really liked tonight's ep a lot, but will defer and wait for the more experienced posters to get the ball rolling...I think it was the right result though.
  15. Hi, David! USC hasn't been to LSU lately (but wouldn't that be a matchup?), so I'm wondering where you're from? In all seriousness, LSU tailgaters bring it hard. The planning is almost militaristic in the assignment of tasks, timing, and preparation, including transit, parking, and on-site creation. Turkey fryers, grills, smokers, crawfish boils, kegs, you name it! Even visitors are welcome because folks are so proud to show off...until the game gets going, of course!
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