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.