This just in: Variety meats, the B-52s, the most exclusive party at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and Padma's succulent toes... But first: The first regular episode of TC3 last week got off to an, um, exotic start, no? Until I actually watched the show, I was a little wistful about not being there (Gail and I are alternating episodes, sort of -- I start showing up again on June 27). But I was perfectly happy to see that elimination challenge left to Gail, Tom, Padma, and Anthony Bourdain.
I am not a whiny eater, but I'm also rarely in the mood for 14 courses of monkfish liver, rattlesnake, geoduck, and crocodile tail -- especially coming from chefs who don't specialize in critters. A fun, fantastic challenge? Absolutely. But provocative ingredients like this have everything to do with provocation, and little to do with deliciousness -- I mean, if I wanted to eat bugs and snakes, I'd apply for a job on "Survivor."
Chef Tom assured me later that "it wasn't that bad." Whatever -- I'll have the green salad. One exotic dish that I never expected to hear discussed on "Top Chef" is, well, Padma. At judges' table she definitely scored the funniest line of the episode, critiquing Brian for taking the easy way out by simply breading his eel and rattlesnake and tossing it in the deep fryer. "You could deep fry my big toe and it would be delicious," said the lovely Ms. Lakshmi, which is undoubtedly true. And which, I'm sure, sent shivers of rapture through the nation's foot aficionados.