Gail Simmons

Restaurant critic Andrea Strong offers her picks for the best tacos in New York City.

on Mar 27, 2008

I think most of us felt that last week's removal of Valerie was the wrong call; in my mind, it should've been Nikki, and those heinous turd-like cheese-smothered mushrooms, who got the boot. This week I was also at odds with the judges' decision. Zoi should have gone home, not Erik. Here's a guy who executed a perfect corn dog, but had it suffer from the elements. Sure, he could've predicted that they might get soggy, but that's not as grievous an error as screwing up something as simple as pasta salad. No, her pasta salad was not in danger of damage from the elements, but it was lousy from the get-go. As mush as I like Zoe, she should've been asked to pack her knives and go. Pasta salad is fairly elementary and its mastery relies on basics of cooking -- cooking pasta properly, adding some fun extras (veggies, cheese, olives, what have you), and seasoning it right. Her failure to execute such a simple task should've sent her packing, not Erik.

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I was also at odds with the judges with their overall decision about the winning team. If I were at a block party, I would've rather had sliders, BBQ, and s'mores on a stick than rice pilaf, a mac 'n' cheese "brick" (according to the judges), and fruit salad. It's hard to judge food on a TV set from a couch, and while I do trust the judge's palates, still this decision seemed off.