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S18.E10: Tournament of Tofu

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14 hours ago, Fukui San said:

Is it just me, or were the two 5 on 5 judging panel sojourns into the dojo the funniest visual in Top Chef history? The two teams lined up in a group like they're about to square off? I was like "Season 4 of Cobra Kai looks LIT!"

I was hoping for a Sharks v. Jets dance off *snap snap* *toe point* (knowing this group, they'd have found a way to get an endorsement from the West Side Story remake, before driving to the theater in their BMWs after an early dinner at Chipotle, lol). Agree with those who think it sounded like Dawn may well have survived her earlier grouping without the missing plate, and, like others, I am glad she made it through since she's seemed like the stronger chef throughout.

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16 hours ago, avecsans said:

First of all, so many of the judges looked spectacular in the elimination round. There were a lot of great jackets, and can we talk about Kwame’s coat? It was gorgeous!

I don't normally pay attention to what people are wearing on this show, but I agree 100%.  I loved Kwame, Gregory and Padma's jackets and I also don't usually go for bright clothing.  There was one shot with all three of them together and they looked great!

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14 hours ago, Fukui San said:

Is it just me, or were the two 5 on 5 judging panel sojourns into the dojo the funniest visual in Top Chef history? The two teams lined up in a group like they're about to square off? I was like "Season 4 of Cobra Kai looks LIT!"

Not just you. I thought it looked like they were going to go at it West Side Story style.

giphy.gif?cid=ecf05e47vn2icsdi2yollzv7ya

 

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2 hours ago, Rai said:

It was weird to see Edward Lee without his shaggy facial hair. That just seemed so signature to him. He's a Top Cheftestant who really seems to have gone on and built his business independent of the show, unlike Richard Blais or the Voltaggios. No shade intended on either side of that. It does confer an air of authority to Lee though that the others never have quite achieved to me despite their successes. Like Christian Siriano's career post-Project Runway would be my analogy.

His cookbook Smoke & Pickles is really good. I need to remember to make a batch or two of the spicy jasmine pickled peaches this summer.

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20 hours ago, Bastet said:

I don’t like tofu (yes, it has its own flavor), so I thought I might find a lot of the dishes visually appetizing but perhaps not something I’d enjoy eating, but I didn’t even like the look of most of them in the first round.  Jamie’s was the only one I’d voluntarily eat, so I was pleased to see her as a nearly-unanimous winner after two ties.

Such a bummer.  I cannot digest soy or tofu so this entire episode was going to be a waste to me.  I was so sad to read the title.  At least I had the QuickFire challenge to pay attention to.  At least with milk I have many options - I can digest some of it, I can use Lactaid, I can use lactose free stuff, so milk at least interests me.  Soy and tofu I have zero interest in whatsoever.  Wah wahhhhhhh.

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5 hours ago, carrps said:

I wanted Gregory to take his coat off and give it to me!

Byron is nice and sweet, but I honestly can't remember anything he's made in previous episodes. I can barely remember what he made in this episode. Just forgettable. I kept forgetting he was from Costa Rica, and my brother lives in CR.

I want to visit the places they went to that were outside Portland. The city itself has never looked appealing to me. It's kind of grungy industrial looking to me? I remember an old D. B. Sweeney/Marlee Matlin movie that gave me the same vibe -- grey, gritty, depressing. Does it look more appealing in person? That said, the country side is drop dead gorgeous.

 

It's gorgeous at night.  It definitely has a lot of ugly (just like San Francisco) but there are some really gorgeous parts.  My sister lives in Lake Oswego and my cousin lives in Tigard.  Both beautiful southern suburbs of the city. 

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The Portland Japanese Gardens!  Finally somewhere I've been.  They are incredibly beautiful, part of this huge park complex on the side of a mountain.  They are adjacent to the International Rose Test Garden. 

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It was surprising to me that Dawn and Byron's desserts were so similar in so many ways.  I agree with those of you who said it would have been better to have a tournament of champions and then the judges could have sent home one of the chefs that didn't make it past the first round.  Sorry to see Byron leave... it's going to be difficult each week because we have become acquainted with these chefs and they all have a lot of skill and personality.  

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We all have our things, but in Maria's defense a lot of minority people become so accustomed to jokes and stereotypes that they start to make them about themselves as a protection, sort of let me say it about myself so you won't say or think it....and some others have become so accustomed to being made to feel ashamed of their heritage that they want to remind people of it all the time because they have spent years trying NOT to talk about it. 

Don't know if either of those is Maria's issue, she may just be annoying, but I feel the same way about people who talk about their kids or spouse all the time.  I think she does it because she is uncomfortable. 

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I like all of these chefs; I knew I'd be sad whoever went home but I would have been gutted if Dawn had been been the one to pack her knives.  She is so impressive.

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11 hours ago, sugarbaker design said:

How is his name pronounced?

Sho-ta. The "o" is a clear long o sound without a diphthong at the end, the way Padma pronounces it. The second syllable starts with a "t", not a "d". The way Padma pronounces it, it rhymes with "soda".

Here is a recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjOlk5TKzH4

 

Edited by AnnaBaptist
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5 hours ago, tljgator said:

I was hoping for a Sharks v. Jets dance off *snap snap* *toe point* (knowing this group, they'd have found a way to get an endorsement from the West Side Story remake, before driving to the theater in their BMWs after an early dinner at Chipotle, lol). Agree with those who think it sounded like Dawn may well have survived her earlier grouping without the missing plate, and, like others, I am glad she made it through since she's seemed like the stronger chef throughout.

Normalize dance battles to settle things. 

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54 minutes ago, jpgr said:

I agree with this and also we need to remember that producers are asking her questions that lead to these responses, and editors are choosing what segments to air. It feels like she's talking about things more than Gabe is, but that's only because the editors are not showing Gabe's talking heads nearly as much as Maria's. They are creating the storylines they want us to see.

Absolutely this!  Many people who have been on these shows say this all the time. Frequently people are shown giving a response to something that they actually did not give a response to, rather a different question! 

They create "characters" from contestants on reality shows all the time....Jaimie is the odd quirky one, Dawn is the remote one, Shota is the "cute" one, Maria is the "feisty" one, insert name....is the "humble" one,  etc. etc.  They do it all the time. 

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21 hours ago, JenMcSnark said:

That is only for vegan/vegetarian eaters.  My personal favorite is Korean Soondubu Jjigae.  Tofu Soup.  I absolutely love it.  If you get it in a Korean restaurant, it almost always has some diced meat in it.  When I make it I add extra mushrooms instead of meat (or will add pork belly or bacon if I'm feeling bad).  

It's so so good. 

Please don't take this explanation as me being snooty. I thought I'd fill in a small blank in what you said. Soondubu Jjigae more specifically translates to "Soft Tofu Stew" or "Silken Tofu." The Dubu in Soondubu (순두부) is "tofu," and the Soon refers specifically to the fact that it is is "soft" or "silken." And Jjigae (찌개) refers more specifically to a "stew" rather than a soup, which is more like a 국 or 국물. It's a great dish! Lots of comforting flavor and texture without being inherently oily or fatty. How cool that you make your own!

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15 hours ago, Leeds said:

This is a message for the Magical Captioning Elves:  Every time I read that Sara is "Chef, Soter Vineyard, Portland, Oregon" I cringe.  That's like saying of Thomas Keller "Chef, French Laundry, San Francisco, California."

LOL!  I had to look it up - I assumed it was somewhere in Yamhill County or Polk County and I was right - Carlton!  Sooooo not even close to Portland proper.  

10 hours ago, carrps said:

I want to visit the places they went to that were outside Portland. The city itself has never looked appealing to me. It's kind of grungy industrial looking to me? I remember an old D. B. Sweeney/Marlee Matlin movie that gave me the same vibe -- grey, gritty, depressing. Does it look more appealing in person? That said, the country side is drop dead gorgeous.

 

There are some parts of Portland proper that are really lovely - Washington Park (where the Japanese Garden is located) is stunning and offers some of the really iconic vistas of downtown and Mt Hood you see on postcards.  And there are many neighborhoods that are just beautiful.  I think part of the problem is that their "driving" montages are along I-205, I-84 and I-405 - and none of those are anything beyond grungy industrial.  I-205 is a partial ring road and is fairly suburban in character - down in Clackamas County 205 is actually very picturesque but not the parts we've seen, and we haven't seen anything of I-5 south of downtown (green, lush and curvy as heck, lol).  

9 hours ago, Fukui San said:

I love Portland proper. I haven't lived there for years but have visited whenever I can. Green trees, mountains just in the distance, not overgrown or overbuilt (yet). A bunch of little neighborhoods with, yes, some not as nice areas.

The day trips from Portland are spectacular. Mountains, deserts, rivers, the coast. It's an outdoorsy person's dream.

Agreed - there are lots of things to do within easy driving distance of Portland.  And you are correct, lots of little neighborhoods and many have a character all their own.  

4 hours ago, JenMcSnark said:

It's gorgeous at night.  It definitely has a lot of ugly (just like San Francisco) but there are some really gorgeous parts.  My sister lives in Lake Oswego and my cousin lives in Tigard.  Both beautiful southern suburbs of the city. 

When you say they live in Lake O and Tigard - do they have a Portland mailing address?  LOL.  My zip code comes up as Portland on a lot of websites with auto-fill for your address but my house is so clearly in Tigard it's not funny.  My former employer's main office was located right off of Carman Drive on the Tigard side of I-5 but the zip code and mailing address was Portland.  And while I would definitely classify Lake O as a beautiful suburb, I can't say that for all of Tigard - most of it is pretty nice but there are some dumpy places (especially along and right off of 99W).

If I were to pick a part of Portland in which to live it would be anywhere in SW Portland - Raleigh Hills, Garden Home, West Slope, Multnomah Village, Hillsdale (okay, maybe not Hillsdale - that area lives up to its name, though now that I'm WFH permanently, the steep hills wouldn't matter so much, lol).      

4 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

The Portland Japanese Gardens!  Finally somewhere I've been.  They are incredibly beautiful, part of this huge park complex on the side of a mountain.  They are adjacent to the International Rose Test Garden. 

And the Oregon Zoo!  Well, the zoo isn't exactly adjacent to the Rose or Japanese Gardens but same park complex.  OMSI used to be located there way back in my youth (might be aging myself with that, lol).  The absolute highlight of my youth was when our parents would take us to Washington Park (either the zoo or OMSI) and we'd honk our car horn as we drove through the Vista Tunnel, lol.  Ohhhh, such were the halcyon days of old.

As far as the episode goes - I was fine with Byron going though I was rooting for Maria to go.  I'm guessing she's probably next to go though and it won't be soon enough.

I thought Dawn called for extra bowls/plates so I think she did remove the ones that had blood dripped on them, which is part of why she was scrambling and wound up not getting that 10th dish plated.  

Edited by HighQueenEB
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5 hours ago, Ms Blue Jay said:

Such a bummer.  I cannot digest soy or tofu so this entire episode was going to be a waste to me.  I was so sad to read the title.  At least I had the QuickFire challenge to pay attention to.  At least with milk I have many options - I can digest some of it, I can use Lactaid, I can use lactose free stuff, so milk at least interests me.  Soy and tofu I have zero interest in whatsoever.  Wah wahhhhhhh.

You and me both. I also have tofu/soy-related digestive problems, and feel horrible if I eat it. I couldn’t get excited about anything any of them made because all I could think about was being in pain!

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11 hours ago, carrps said:

 

I want to visit the places they went to that were outside Portland. The city itself has never looked appealing to me. It's kind of grungy industrial looking to me? I remember an old D. B. Sweeney/Marlee Matlin movie that gave me the same vibe -- grey, gritty, depressing. Does it look more appealing in person? That said, the country side is drop dead gorgeous.

 

Yes, Portland is a special place.  There are many neighborhoods with houses that are 100 years old.  Each has character, all are loved.  The tree canopy is 30% in residential areas, so you feel how green it is.   It is impossible to kills roses, they are like weeds here.  The Japanese Garden is in the city, so is Forest Park. There are streets with great boutique shopping and the food scene is stellar.  I have lived in Germany, England, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH and Oregon.  Other than my years on Cape Cod I have never felt so at home.

Yes, there is homelessness and protests and other big city problems, but Portland can captivate you.  The whole Pacific Northwest is magical. I came here a dozen years ago and I don't plan on leaving.

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2 hours ago, Werehauzen said:

Please don't take this explanation as me being snooty. I thought I'd fill in a small blank in what you said. Soondubu Jjigae more specifically translates to "Soft Tofu Stew" or "Silken Tofu." The Dubu in Soondubu (순두부) is "tofu," and the Soon refers specifically to the fact that it is is "soft" or "silken." And Jjigae (찌개) refers more specifically to a "stew" rather than a soup, which is more like a 국 or 국물. It's a great dish! Lots of comforting flavor and texture without being inherently oily or fatty. How cool that you make your own!

Thank you for the extended explanation!  I always appreciate learning!  I do know that it's made with silken Tofu.  I buy mine at the Korean store and it comes in a long tube instead of the normal container.  I absolutely love it.  I also have heard that it is considered a stew, but the liquid (in every version I have had from multiple restaurants and also homemade from a couple different Korean recipes) is very thin - which is more like soup to me - so I guess it's hard for my brain to reconcile it as a stew.  :-)

Fun fact:  I used to dislike Tofu because I had really only had the firm or extra firm varieties.  In fact, I used to think they were more palatable.  One day, I found myself in San Francisco at Japantown on the day of the annual Tofu Festival.  For some reason, normally antisocial me joined in and was chosen for a contest.  Each person had to drink a cup of (very high quality) silken tofu through a straw.  The one who did it the fastest won a price.  I got second (and a smaller prize) and discovered that I found high quality softer tofu delicious!

I also agree with the person upthread who suggested adding tofu to other proteins in Thai food.  I have to have tofu in my Thai food.

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After some thought, here’s how I’d rather the tournament be structured:

Three first round bouts, same as before. 

The three winners square off and cook fried tofu to win some sponsored prize. 

The three losers square off and cook silken tofu desserts to avoid elimination. 

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Thanks, AnnaBaptist. That was a much more detailed explanation than I would have given. I now feel compelled to start writing it as Shōta. 

Not much new in Jamie's Eater comments.

Quote

Tran made banh xeo with sautéed tofu and fresh herbs and won her bracket, so she didn’t have to compete to make fried tofu or a dessert dish with tofu. Nine of the 10 judges picked Tran’s dish. “When they put up paddle with my color, I didn’t realize that was my color at first,’ she tells Eater Vegas. She says she looked at Gomez’s apron, which corresponded with the color of the paddle, and realized she won.

 

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1 hour ago, HighQueenEB said:

LOL!  I had to look it up - I assumed it was somewhere in Yamhill County or Polk County and I was right - Carlton!  Sooooo not even close to Portland proper.  

There are some parts of Portland proper that are really lovely - Washington Park (where the Japanese Garden is located) is stunning and offers some of the really iconic vistas of downtown and Mt Hood you see on postcards.  And there are many neighborhoods that are just beautiful.  I think part of the problem is that their "driving" montages are along I-205, I-84 and I-405 - and none of those are anything beyond grungy industrial.  I-205 is a partial ring road and is fairly suburban in character - down in Clackamas County 205 is actually very picturesque but not the parts we've seen, and we haven't seen anything of I-5 south of downtown (green, lush and curvy as heck, lol).  

Agreed - there are lots of things to do within easy driving distance of Portland.  And you are correct, lots of little neighborhoods and many have a character all their own.  

When you say they live in Lake O and Tigard - do they have a Portland mailing address?  LOL.  My zip code comes up as Portland on a lot of websites with auto-fill for your address but my house is so clearly in Tigard it's not funny.  My former employer's main office was located right off of Carman Drive on the Tigard side of I-5 but the zip code and mailing address was Portland.  And while I would definitely classify Lake O as a beautiful suburb, I can't say that for all of Tigard - most of it is pretty nice but there are some dumpy places (especially along and right off of 99W).

If I were to pick a part of Portland in which to live it would be anywhere in SW Portland - Raleigh Hills, Garden Home, West Slope, Multnomah Village, Hillsdale (okay, maybe not Hillsdale - that area lives up to its name, though now that I'm WFH permanently, the steep hills wouldn't matter so much, lol).      

And the Oregon Zoo!  Well, the zoo isn't exactly adjacent to the Rose or Japanese Gardens but same park complex.  OMSI used to be located there way back in my youth (might be aging myself with that, lol).  The absolute highlight of my youth was when our parents would take us to Washington Park (either the zoo or OMSI) and we'd honk our car horn as we drove through the Vista Tunnel, lol.  Ohhhh, such were the halcyon days of old.

As far as the episode goes - I was fine with Byron going though I was rooting for Maria to go.  I'm guessing she's probably next to go though and it won't be soon enough.

I thought Dawn called for extra bowls/plates so I think she did remove the ones that had blood dripped on them, which is part of why she was scrambling and wound up not getting that 10th dish plated.  

They both come up in Lake O and Tigard, as far as I know anyway. :)  But I know my friend's mom's house in Tigard comes up as Portland with her zip code.  

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1 hour ago, Fukui San said:

After some thought, here’s how I’d rather the tournament be structured:

Three first round bouts, same as before. 

The three winners square off and cook fried tofu to win some sponsored prize. 

The three losers square off and cook silken tofu desserts to avoid elimination. 

I think that your proposed structure is better than what we got because it provides a winner in addition to a loser. I've watched a lot of TC, but it is a blur -- has there been an episode where someone was not designated the favorite chef of the episode?

But IMO there are a couple problems with either such format.

1. Luck of the draw is too prominent. Especially with the battle being over an ingredient that some chefs were absolute masters with and at least one that had no real experience with. Byron was going to probably be a bye for anybody paired up against him. 

2. As viewers, it's more interesting to see more dishes than fewer. 

3. As viewers, it's better to see the cheftestants stressed out than cheering from the sidelines and safe after one round.

It would have been better to just have everyone make all three dishes that they conceptualized, pick a winner and a loser as normal. 

The only think the tournament added was an alliterative title.  

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3 hours ago, HighQueenEB said:

 And while I would definitely classify Lake O as a beautiful suburb, I can't say that for all of Tigard - most of it is pretty nice but there are some dumpy places (especially along and right off of 99W).

If I were to pick a part of Portland in which to live it would be anywhere in SW Portland - Raleigh Hills, Garden Home, West Slope, Multnomah Village, Hillsdale (okay, maybe not Hillsdale - that area lives up to its name, though now that I'm WFH permanently, the steep hills wouldn't matter so much, lol).      

And the Oregon Zoo!  Well, the zoo isn't exactly adjacent to the Rose or Japanese Gardens but same park complex.  OMSI used to be located there way back in my youth (might be aging myself with that, lol).  The absolute highlight of my youth was when our parents would take us to Washington Park (either the zoo or OMSI) and we'd honk our car horn as we drove through the Vista Tunnel, lol.  Ohhhh, such were the halcyon days of old.
 

Aww, love all these stories of my hometown. I lived in Tigard during my teens,  so it will always have a place in my heart,  but, yeah, it's not exactly the prettiest town in the area. 

So many Portland neighborhoods are just gorgeous.  I love all the big old houses in N, NE, and SE. The International Rose Test Garden rightly gets a lot of attention,  but the Peninsula Rose Garden in N. Portland is even prettier,  IMO.  It's in a slightly sunken area in the park,  so it's somewhat hidden. When you happen down into it, you breathe in the roses, hear the fountain, walk the pathways...a true gem.

Oh, right, the episode lol. I would totally love til try Dawn's Nashville hot tofu. And her brother is Leroy Burrell! I'm an Olympics junkie, and I geeked out over that. He was one of my many Olympic crushes!

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Quote

And not to be forgetting the formidable Mapo Tofu, which has ground pork in it.  Oh to die for!

My brother makes this, and it is so good. I'm going to visit him in San Ramon, CA in July and have already put in a request. Whenever he makes it, he posts photos on Facebook and gets meany jealous comments from those of us who have had it.  

Living in NJ, I also didn't get the problem with the restaurant locations, not knowing any better. 

I like Shota and Dawn the best. Byron didn't really make much of an impression on me and Jamie is kind of annoying. (though the other chefs seem to love her, noises and all) Maria is kind of a lot.

The way I saw it, Dawn sliced her finger. A cut like that bleeds like crazy. Before she could stop the bleeding,, blood dripped into the pickles. She threw out the pickles, and I didn't notice any on her dish when served, and threw out a few plates of food as well. The judges would never touch anything that had blood on it.

I am really enjoying this season. My niece lives in Portland but i have never been there. I would love to go to those Japanese gardens. 

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11 hours ago, HighQueenEB said:

 

There are some parts of Portland proper that are really lovely - Washington Park (where the Japanese Garden is located) is stunning and offers some of the really iconic vistas of downtown and Mt Hood you see on postcards.  And there are many neighborhoods that are just beautiful.  I think part of the problem is that their "driving" montages are along I-205, I-84 and I-405 - and none of those are anything beyond grungy industrial.  I-205 is a partial ring road and is fairly suburban in character - down in Clackamas County 205 is actually very picturesque but not the parts we've seen, and we haven't seen anything of I-5 south of downtown (green, lush and curvy as heck, lol).  

 

I wonder whether they'll go to Wankers Corner?

I eat a lot of tofu so enjoyed the episode, but just because I don't eat a specific ingredient (say beef) doesn't mean I can't appreciate an episode featuring it.

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12 hours ago, HighQueenEB said:

LOL!  I had to look it up - I assumed it was somewhere in Yamhill County or Polk County and I was right - Carlton!  Sooooo not even close to Portland proper.  

There are some parts of Portland proper that are really lovely - Washington Park (where the Japanese Garden is located) is stunning and offers some of the really iconic vistas of downtown and Mt Hood you see on postcards.  And there are many neighborhoods that are just beautiful.  I think part of the problem is that their "driving" montages are along I-205, I-84 and I-405 - and none of those are anything beyond grungy industrial.  I-205 is a partial ring road and is fairly suburban in character - down in Clackamas County 205 is actually very picturesque but not the parts we've seen, and we haven't seen anything of I-5 south of downtown (green, lush and curvy as heck, lol).  

Agreed - there are lots of things to do within easy driving distance of Portland.  And you are correct, lots of little neighborhoods and many have a character all their own.  

When you say they live in Lake O and Tigard - do they have a Portland mailing address?  LOL.  My zip code comes up as Portland on a lot of websites with auto-fill for your address but my house is so clearly in Tigard it's not funny.  My former employer's main office was located right off of Carman Drive on the Tigard side of I-5 but the zip code and mailing address was Portland.  And while I would definitely classify Lake O as a beautiful suburb, I can't say that for all of Tigard - most of it is pretty nice but there are some dumpy places (especially along and right off of 99W).

If I were to pick a part of Portland in which to live it would be anywhere in SW Portland - Raleigh Hills, Garden Home, West Slope, Multnomah Village, Hillsdale (okay, maybe not Hillsdale - that area lives up to its name, though now that I'm WFH permanently, the steep hills wouldn't matter so much, lol).      

And the Oregon Zoo!  Well, the zoo isn't exactly adjacent to the Rose or Japanese Gardens but same park complex.  OMSI used to be located there way back in my youth (might be aging myself with that, lol).  The absolute highlight of my youth was when our parents would take us to Washington Park (either the zoo or OMSI) and we'd honk our car horn as we drove through the Vista Tunnel, lol.  Ohhhh, such were the halcyon days of old.

As far as the episode goes - I was fine with Byron going though I was rooting for Maria to go.  I'm guessing she's probably next to go though and it won't be soon enough.

I thought Dawn called for extra bowls/plates so I think she did remove the ones that had blood dripped on them, which is part of why she was scrambling and wound up not getting that 10th dish plated.  

Thanks everybody! The bolded part is what I've been seeing. My niece and her family recently moved to Olympia, so, I hope to be visiting soon. Hopefully, we can swing a trip to Oregon, too. 

12 hours ago, PDXlulu said:

Yes, Portland is a special place.  There are many neighborhoods with houses that are 100 years old.  Each has character, all are loved.  The tree canopy is 30% in residential areas, so you feel how green it is.   It is impossible to kills roses, they are like weeds here.  The Japanese Garden is in the city, so is Forest Park. There are streets with great boutique shopping and the food scene is stellar.  I have lived in Germany, England, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH and Oregon.  Other than my years on Cape Cod I have never felt so at home.

Yes, there is homelessness and protests and other big city problems, but Portland can captivate you.  The whole Pacific Northwest is magical. I came here a dozen years ago and I don't plan on leaving.

I live in L.A., so your last paragraph doesn't scare me off!

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1 hour ago, LeighLeigh said:

Where’s Carrie?

Where is Amar?

They got married!

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I really like miso soup but that's the extent of my tofu experience.  When I hear or see tofu I can't help but laugh and think of the Everyone Loves Raymond episode where Marie makes a jiggly tofu turkey for Thanksgiving.  Since I do like miso soup, I'm sure there are other tofu dishes I might like but I'll never know.  There are too many "not tofu" menu dishes for me to have.

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It looked to me and my daughter that the chef Tom chose for each of the 'tie' rounds was the one that ended up the winner.

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1 hour ago, dgpolo said:

It looked to me and my daughter that the chef Tom chose for each of the 'tie' rounds was the one that ended up the winner.

No surprise.  I have heard before that in the case of a tie it always goes Tom's way.  I think he continues to have the deciding voice in the decisions. And I am okay with that because he is the head judge.

Edited by PDXlulu
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On 6/3/2021 at 11:56 PM, Vermicious Knid said:

 

Really tired of the way Padma keeps pronouncing Shota as Show-da.

On 6/4/2021 at 6:10 PM, AnnaBaptist said:

Sho-ta. The "o" is a clear long o sound without a diphthong at the end, the way Padma pronounces it. The second syllable starts with a "t", not a "d". The way Padma pronounces it, it rhymes with "soda".

Here is a recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjOlk5TKzH4

 

I just watched the last two episodes, and since I'd already seen your post I paid attention to the pronunciation of Shota.  They all pronounce it "Showda".  This isn't surprising given typical north American pronunciation of words like bottle (baddle) or matter (madder).  As a British English speaker, I still can't make myself understood when trying to ask for water at a restaurant because I can't say "wah-der".

Edited by Leeds · Reason: Close parenthesis
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With two of my favorites left at the end I knew I was going to be disappointed either way.  Although to be honest I think Dawn is the better chef, so I'm not unhappy that she's still there.  And speaking of the editing, Byron may seem somewhat forgettable but I feel like there's a lot we didn't get to see about him.  Although maybe I'm biased because I think he's hot, LOL.

I spent a few days in Portland once and loved it.  Most memorable were the Japanese gardens, Powell's books, and although not in Portland but near the coast is the Tillamook creamery.  I had been eating their cheese for most of my life so it was really cool to go there and see how cheese is made.

Maria - how nervous she looked during the entire episode.  She did pretty well considering how tofu is not exactly her thing.  She is by far not my favorite but I have to respect that she actually tied with Shota. 

I love tofu and will eat any type and style of preparation.  I've actually been eating it since the mid 1960s.  My mother loved Japanese food and living in NYC we used to go to an excellent sukiyaki house on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  There weren't too many Japanese restaurants in this country yet at that time, and only a handful in NYC.  I think I was the only kid in school that had actually eaten Japanese food much less tofu, LOL.  I still remember how the food tasted there.  The waitresses in their geisha-esque costumes.....the tatami rooms.....how you had to take your shoes off and wear these paper slippers, LOL.  I have eaten some pretty phenomenal Japanese food in my life since then, but nothing has ever matched that restaurant in my opinion.  I think I would have to go to Japan to be able to do that.  Plus it was by today's standards very old school, but there was something very lovely about that that I miss.

I found the menu of that long gone restaurant online just now!

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1 hour ago, Yeah No said:

I love tofu and will eat any type and style of preparation.  I've actually been eating it since the mid 1960s.  My mother loved Japanese food and living in NYC we used to go to an excellent sukiyaki house on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  There weren't too many Japanese restaurants in this country yet at that time, and only a handful in NYC.  I think I was the only kid in school that had actually eaten Japanese food much less tofu, LOL.  I still remember how the food tasted there.  The waitresses in their geisha-esque costumes.....the tatami rooms.....how you had to take your shoes off and wear these paper slippers, LOL.  I have eaten some pretty phenomenal Japanese food in my life since then, but nothing has ever matched that restaurant in my opinion.  I think I would have to go to Japan to be able to do that.  Plus it was by today's standards very old school, but there was something very lovely about that that I miss.

I found the menu of that long gone restaurant online just now!

Thank you for posting this. It has been bothersome to read some people's post saying things like, "why would I eat tofu dishes when there are so many non-tofu dishes for me to try?" or "tofu tastes like nothing." Frankly, I know that most white Americans only know tofu primarily in the context of a meat supplement. Some of them may have tried things like "tofu hot dogs" or the like--the idea that tofu is a meat replacement. And of course, when people try to use tofu in the way one might otherwise use meat, it usually is not very good or totally sucks.

I would hate to sound stuck-up with my perspective, since I have had the luxury to spend a year living in and traveling around Japan, about 9 years ago. I was already a fan of tofu-centric dishes like Mapo Tofu (which I also ate all over Japan and East Asia), but when I was in Japan, I was always excited and often caught off guard by the tofu courses during kaiseki meals. Tofu, along with many other ingredients you can't even find in America, is a total art form in Japan. One of my most memorable meals was in Kyoto at a Michelin-starred restaurant that served a multicourse meal of all house-made tofu dishes. It was incredible and totally memorable. I will say that, in East Asia, tofu has a more earthy flavor to me than tofu I taste in America. I don't know why that is. I have never heard an explanation for that, though I have heard other people voice the same opinion, that tofu tastes different in the East. 

I have never gone deep down the rabbit hole of Stinky Tofu in China, though I have tried some. I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment with any authority, although I have tasted some that had sort of a "cheesy" quality, in the way a steak that has been dry-aged for a long time has a sort of "cheesy" funk. 

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7 hours ago, Leeds said:

This isn't surprising given typical north American pronunciation of words like bottle (baddle or matter (madder).  As a British English speaker, I still can't make myself understood when trying to ask for water at a restaurant because I can't say "wah-der"

When I was a grad student (in California), we had a visiting scholar from Japan who shared an office with me and another grad student, both of us native-born Americans. He asked us why we (and everyone else) pronounced "bottom" as "boddum". We both had never even thought about it. It's the way we do it! (He had learned British-pronunciation English)

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13 hours ago, Yeah No said:

My mother loved Japanese food and living in NYC we used to go to an excellent sukiyaki house on 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.  There weren't too many Japanese restaurants in this country yet at that time, and only a handful in NYC.  I think I was the only kid in school that had actually eaten Japanese food much less tofu, LOL.  I still remember how the food tasted there.  The waitresses in their geisha-esque costumes.....the tatami rooms.....how you had to take your shoes off and wear these paper slippers, LOL.  I have eaten some pretty phenomenal Japanese food in my life since then, but nothing has ever matched that restaurant in my opinion.  I think I would have to go to Japan to be able to do that.  Plus it was by today's standards very old school, but there was something very lovely about that that I miss.

I found the menu of that long gone restaurant online just now!

There were a lot of Japanese restaurants when I was a kid in the 60s on the westside of LA. But none of them were schmancy like the one you went to! They were mostly hole in the wall places. I can remember a place called Japanese Fried Shrimp. Weird name, but it was a teppan yaki style place, and I can still remember the taste of that grilled (not fried!) shrimp. Simple, but oh so goooood. It's long gone, and Benihana's is not a good replacement.

How cool that you found the menu! Weird that they didn't have miso soup...unless that "bean soup" was really miso. Spumoni -- ha! Pretty standard otherwise, though. Gah, I'm drooling now.

 

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5 minutes ago, carrps said:

There were a lot of Japanese restaurants when I was a kid in the 60s on the westside of LA. But none of them were schmancy like the one you went to! They were mostly hole in the wall places. I can remember a place called Japanese Fried Shrimp. Weird name, but it was a teppan yaki style place, and I can still remember the taste of that grilled (not fried!) shrimp. Simple, but oh so goooood. It's long gone, and Benihana's is not a good replacement.

How cool that you found the menu! Weird that they didn't have miso soup...unless that "bean soup" was really miso. Spumoni -- ha! Pretty standard otherwise, though. Gah, I'm drooling now.

Interestingly that was the only Japanese restaurant I ever went to that didn't serve miso soup.  Instead they had "clear soup" which was just a clear broth with some tofu and seaweed in it, but oh, what a broth it was!  It was smoky and sultry and the tofu was soft and silken.  I found an interesting article in the NYT from 1974 discussing the recent interest in Japanese food and the new restaurants opening across the city.  They mentioned one older one I also remember called the Saito (the menu is here).  That place was even more fancypants than the Sukiyaki House and the menu more extensive.  It was also more expensive so we didn't go there as much.  I think the original sushi chef from there is actually still working at another NY restaurant now.  Of course Benihana opened up around 1969 or so and we found it to be a little too showy and Americanized for our taste.  We also liked Genroku sushi, which I believe was brought here from Japan.  It was the original conveyer belt sushi.  They had a few locations in Manhattan at one time.  We used to go to the one on 36th St. near B. Altman's.  Then some time in the mid '70s or so a bunch of traditional hibachi places opened up all across the city, which was actually a charcoal grill.

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1 hour ago, Yeah No said:

Then some time in the mid '70s or so a bunch of traditional hibachi places opened up all across the city, which was actually a charcoal grill.

I can't think of any hibachi restaurants that are Japanese off the top of my head around here any more. The brazier places are nearly all Korean. And I love Korean food, too!

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Just two things I wondered:  didn't it occur to Production that a panel of ten judges might end up in a tie?  So maybe have an odd number of judges?  And why wouldn't Dawn have been eligible in the second round?  Seems like at least the judges who actually got a plate from her should have been allowed to vote for it if they'd liked it best. 

And I'll repeat what I said last week:  this is definitely a kinder, gentler Padma this season.  Who snatched snooty Queen Padma and replaced her with this nice lady?

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4 minutes ago, meowmommy said:

Just two things I wondered:  didn't it occur to Production that a panel of ten judges might end up in a tie?  So maybe have an odd number of judges?  And why wouldn't Dawn have been eligible in the second round?  Seems like at least the judges who actually got a plate from her should have been allowed to vote for it if they'd liked it best. 

They usually have 4 judges, Tom, Gail, Padma and a guest judge, so also might end up in a tie.

The brief was for ten plates, nine plates do not fulfill the brief.

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3 hours ago, dgpolo said:

The brief was for ten plates, nine plates do not fulfill the brief.

Right, they always disqualify from a win a contestant who does not get the requisite number of plates done. In this case, that meant Dawn forfeited her second round, so she had to be one of the ones to move on to round three. 

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8 hours ago, dgpolo said:

They usually have 4 judges, Tom, Gail, Padma and a guest judge, so also might end up in a tie.

The brief was for ten plates, nine plates do not fulfill the brief.

But when it's the usual four judges they don't "publicly" vote, as they did with this challenge.  Rather, they discuss behind the scenes and come to a consensus (even if the consensus is forced by Tom's final say).  As @meowmommy said, in this scenario having an even number makes no sense.  Maybe production thought it would add potential drama.  In my eyes it was a fail.

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So finally watched the episode, since youtube delayed uploading it.  Amazon and youtube have really been dropping the ball in this season lately.

I'm kind of sad they did so much generic medium tofu.  I would have love use some more interesting forms of tofu like tofu knots, but I'm guessing it might be kind of a copout since they aren't making those from scratch?  Probably one of my favorite dishes featuring tofu knots.

6433dbfc8bb498792d15726579106b83.jpg

Also using a tofu skin as a wrapper is another interesting method as well.

 

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18 hours ago, meowmommy said:

Just two things I wondered:  didn't it occur to Production that a panel of ten judges might end up in a tie?  So maybe have an odd number of judges?  And why wouldn't Dawn have been eligible in the second round?  Seems like at least the judges who actually got a plate from her should have been allowed to vote for it if they'd liked it best. 

And I'll repeat what I said last week:  this is definitely a kinder, gentler Padma this season.  Who snatched snooty Queen Padma and replaced her with this nice lady?

Padma might be nicer this season considering the COVID induced challenges the chefs were facing back home. 

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18 hours ago, meowmommy said:

Just two things I wondered:  didn't it occur to Production that a panel of ten judges might end up in a tie?  So maybe have an odd number of judges?  And why wouldn't Dawn have been eligible in the second round?  Seems like at least the judges who actually got a plate from her should have been allowed to vote for it if they'd liked it best. 

And I'll repeat what I said last week:  this is definitely a kinder, gentler Padma this season.  Who snatched snooty Queen Padma and replaced her with this nice lady?

Seriously.  When the ties were happening, it felt like Hell's Kitchen (I hate Hell's Kitchen) where every team challenge always coincidentally is a tie or a "close vote".  I was like okay who let the Hell's Kitchen production team take over?

Also I didn't realized the guest judge was Ed Lee.  He was unrecognizable when he shaved off his moustache and beard.

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On 6/4/2021 at 6:10 PM, AnnaBaptist said:

Sho-ta. The "o" is a clear long o sound without a diphthong at the end, the way Padma pronounces it. The second syllable starts with a "t", not a "d". The way Padma pronounces it, it rhymes with "soda".

Here is a recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjOlk5TKzH4

 

Have we heard Shota pronounce his name on this show a different way? In other videos I have seen,  pre Top Chef, he appears to pronounce it the way others do on the show and he wouldn’t be the first or last person to have chosen a pronunciation of their name that is slightly different than traditional, particularly when written characters have to be transcribed to English ones.

Edited by biakbiak
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I suspect this is going to turn into another occurrence of two people say a word; 50% of the people who heard it say the two pronunciations are the same; 50% of the people who heard it say the two pronunciations are definitely different. Never the twain shall meet. (and I'm intentionally not citing examples so we don't end up in that particular gordian knot)

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However Shota himself pronounces it is the correct way to pronounce his name.  We'll have to rewatch the first episode to see if he introduces himself.

I have a colleague who's first name is spelled Lief, but is pronounced Layf.  By all rules of pronunciation coming from Germanic languages, we should call him Leef, but he pronounces it Layf so that's his name.

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On 6/7/2021 at 7:00 AM, seltzer3 said:

So finally watched the episode, since youtube delayed uploading it.  Amazon and youtube have really been dropping the ball in this season lately.

I'm kind of sad they did so much generic medium tofu.  I would have love use some more interesting forms of tofu like tofu knots, but I'm guessing it might be kind of a copout since they aren't making those from scratch?  Probably one of my favorite dishes featuring tofu knots.

6433dbfc8bb498792d15726579106b83.jpg

Also using a tofu skin as a wrapper is another interesting method as well.

 

Yum! The beancurd roll is one of my favorite dim sum dishes! Yes, wish they would have used and shown more variations of tofu. 

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