So last night, the smoke was thick in the back room and I decided to pop on an absolutely CLASSIC Iron Chef America. Up there with the legendary Batali Parmesan Wheel & Morimoto Ice Smoker battles, this one is one of the all-time greatest:
Iron Chef Bobby Flay vs. Rick Bayless, Battle Buffalo.
This is the first episode in the “new” Kitchen Stadium set, now filmed in New York.
This is the first episode of the show after the “Battle of the Masters” miniseries.
This is the season where The Chairman has a sleek, bald head.
One of the judges was Jeffrey Steingarten. Yes, the curmudgeonly, slovenly, culinary wordsmith that does not withhold thoughts to spare feelings, even in the face of legends.
Worth noting: Flay was a relative neophyte with an (at the time) lifetime 3-1 record in Kitchen Stadium.
The ingredient, Buffalo (nee, Bison), represents the most significant mammal in North American history; appropriate for two chefs that are unabashedly NorteAmericano in style, presentation & usage ofingredients (chile peppers, anyone?).
The wacky professor Alton Brown‘s always informative narration was highlit by a sidebar on the differences between chile peppers (a chipotle is a smoked, dried jalapeno & an ancho is a smoked, dried Poblano, radically altering texture & flavor of both chiles).
Kevin Brauch was even notable, mostly for his gross mispronunciation of the names of the chile peppers (pasillo? rell-eno?), but his Canadian charm and shameless mid-chefery interviewing were in full bloom, and his role is minimized enough to keep his value high.
Mostly, though,what ensued was a culinary how-to on preparation of the most American of all ingredients, with the most excitingly authentic regional preparations. The chefs used nearly identical base ingredients (chile peppers, tons of ‘em; heads upon heads of garlic; cilantro), but the differentiation was with Bayless’s use of the native-to-Mexico huitlacoche & epazote, while Flay focused on his forte; grilling & sauces. The end result was drastically differing dishes, but a high-level competitive battle that pleased all judges. . .including Steingarten
The result was a one point victory (the sole difference being in the Plating category), but you’ll have to pull it up to see who wins. Here’s Part I of the episode; watch and enjoy:
(thank you Jose Bernstein of Bel-Air for the tip)
With the lackluster & overrated Doug Gottlieb subbing in for the woebegone and past-his-prime-because-he-went-Hollywood Colin Cowherd on ESPNRadio this morning, Jim Mora completely disrespects the fill-in host ON-AIR with such gems as “Is this your first interview? Jesus Christ, what kind of questions are these?” Mora closes with: “You were a real joy, thanks.”
This is incredibly good – here’s the video:
There was not much to celebrate in the baseball element of Ken Griffey Jr.’s 40th year in life – and 22nd in the Major Leagues - as his .184 batting average, zero homeruns and spotty/erratic playing time have left The Kid with time to snooze and reflect on his Hall of Fame career.
Far superior career eulogies will be written than what you’ll read in the space/time allotted here, so permit YKI to reflect fondly on the impending finality of the chapter entitled My Generation’s Baseball Heroes. Along with Frank Thomas, the sport has lost perhaps the only two offensive juggernauts of the 90′s who escaped the stigma of The Steroid Era.
Griffey’s career spanned four decades, providing copious highlights, gems, lasers and bombs to fans throughout the world, who marveled at the growth & maturation of June-Bug. A list of Griffey’s greatest moments as a Mariner is presented here, apt insomuch as despite productive stops in Cincinnati & (south side) Chicago, Jr. will always be remembered as a Mariner. The back-to-back homeruns with his father, the dash home versus the Yankees, his countless Gold Glove catches. . .defined baseball to a generation further sidetracked by the more action-laden basketball & football, always reminding us that the Summer belonged to the Kids.
And without further adieu, YKI’s rememberences of Griffey Jr:
Actual quote from everybody’s-hero-yet-owner-of-zero-rings Lebron James, after last night’s debacle:
“I spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have three bad games in seven years, it’s easy to point them out.”
Also note that James proclaimed July 1, 2010, as the biggest day in the history of basketball, ramping up suspense of his ultimate decision: Do I stay or do I go?
Are you serious, Lebron?
Look – everybody knows that in overall physical talent & ability, you really are the greatest player to walk the court. The difference – and why YKI will continue to harangue you – is that you’d rather be a billionaire, a ‘Brand,’ a ‘Global Empire’, rather than win rings.
You keep the entire basketball world hanging on your decision of whether forsaking your childhood home, your friends that love you and your foundational support base is a good idea, as opposed to conquering Madison Avenue or South Beach.
In short, Lebron – Grow Up. You really do have the world at your fingertips, now own up to it and start acting like a Man.
Duke vs. Butler last night: a Championship game of historical proportions.
That proportion being, of course, “most white guys on the court in a Championship Game since the Peach Baskets were removed.” This was a phenomenal ‘matchup,’ precisely the type of game that would form an intriguing Sweet 16 matchup in the years prior to ‘One and Done.’ Both teams have nice stories (wow – an underrated, gritty Duke team that Mike Krzyzewski deemed one of his lesser-talented squads vs. the ‘Hoosiers’ Butler squad), but the caliber of talent was not nearly what should be expected in a title game.
Those expecting Showtime or something similar were severely disappointed: Last’s night’s game, while certainly thrilling, was clumsy, awkward, graceless, and at times downright painful to watch. Butler’s offense seemed to revolve around one guy: 20-year old Gordon Hayward who lunged his rickety frame gamely into the paint over and over again only to be rebuffed by someone taller, more athletic, and more avidly-recruited.
And Duke? All I’m saying is when a guy named Kyle Singler is a runaway force on offense (also lunging his rickety frame into the paint over and over again, but with more success) it’s not Showtime.
It’s. . . . . . . . . . Slowtime.
The game itself was great, and I appreciate the ‘purity’ of College Hoops, but seriously – I yearn for the days of serious Final Fours with superstars galore, or at least a Carmelo Anthony. But this year? We’ll be lucky if Singler, Hawyard or even Jon Scheyer grow into the status of say a Kirk Hinrich.
Following up on the McGwire steroids admission, Jay McGwire sat down with ESPN in attempts to confess (?) on behalf of big brother (and USC alumnus) Mark that he, in fact, is the reason Mark used performance enhancing drugs.
Mike Fish of ESPN Outside the Lines has the rest of the story here. To be honest, nothing about this was shocking – in fact, prior to Mark’s confession I recall there being an ‘in-house’ controversy between brothers about Jay going public. Speaking of brothers, what happened to quarterback Dan McGwire?
Back to the story, though – my favorite element was actually this:
Mark McGwire did not return phone requests left with his spokesman, Ari Fleischer, on Wednesday. Efforts also were made to reach McGwire through the Cardinals.’
Yes, THAT Ari Fleischer, he of the ‘GOP Dream/Nightmare Team’ of Rummy, Cheney, et al.
Frank Thomas is set to announce his retirement today.
Frank Thomas was Albert Pujols before there was an Albert Pujols. From 1991 – 1997, The Big Hurt was THE preeminent hitter in the game. The most feared – and consistent – right-hander since Joe DiMaggio, Thomas walked much more than he struck out, utilized his amazing plate discipline, raw strength and sublime hand-eye coordination to produce numbers that hadn’t been reached in seven straight seasons since Ted Williams.
I’ll always remember the agonizing decision over whether to draft Thomas or Ken Griffey Jr. first in our proto-fantasy leagues, front yard baseball. Being that Kirby Puckett & Don Mattingly were our respective ‘protected players,’ Jared would always draft the lefty, Griffey Jr. Being a right-hander, I was more smitten with the burly White Sox first baseman, the one who legend had it used to block for Bo Jackson when they played at Auburn together.
It was the awkward Frank Thomas 1990 Topps card – of him playing in the field, of all things – that first introduced me to the former fullback, but it was the clean, old school Comiskey, pre-gangsta White Sox unis Frank Thomas 1990 Leaf that had card collectors going crazy. That Walt Hriniak follow-through would come to symbolize Thomas’s swing, and help revolutionize the approach of the modern day power hitter. In his prime, he was the proto-Pujols.
Well-spoken and ready with an amicable grin, Frank Thomas is now pursuing a career in broadcasting as he awaits results of the 2015 Hall of Fame voting, of which he should be a first ballot inductee.
Michael Vick has told federal investigators that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, but Plano steroids trafficker David Jacobs told The Dallas Morning News before his death that he was Vick’s supplier when Vick played for the Atlanta Falcons.
The News did not publish Jacobs’ allegations against the NFL quarterback because authorities at the time declined to confirm Vick was part of the Jacobs investigation. But a newly released document shows that federal agents and prosecutors questioned Vick about steroids and human growth hormone while investigating his dog-fighting ring in the fall of 2007. Vick denied using the drugs.
I absolutely love John Hollinger of ESPN.com and his attempts to quantify basketball as if this was a Moneyball baseball type of sport. He comes up with such gems as
THE HAWKS BEING THE BEST TEAM IN THE NBA, while ranking the Lakers 11th.
He’s a decent writer and I laud his efforts, but there is something severely wrong with his formulas. For instance, he ranks Brandon Jennings as the 11th Best Player in the League, with Kevin Martin 6th. Both are fine players, but cmon buddy – this REEKS of ‘Moneyball says J.D. Drew is a great player’ mentality.
Get over yourself, and ESPN – GET OVER HOLLINGER’S PER AND POWER RANKINGS. Scout games with your EYES, not a calculator.