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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, December 3

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« Eat Vegan and Don't Cross-Dress Friday Foodporn: MingHin Beef Shortribs Hotpot »

TV Wed Nov 16 2011

Top Chef Texas, Episode 3: Snakes on the Plains

I have eaten a lot of things in my day -- good things, weird things, chewy things... And the plate of rattlesnake I encountered as a pre-teen at some Sedona taco joint still sort of haunts me to this day. Flavor-wise, it tasted mostly like the sauce it was stewed in. Texture-wise, it had a memorably chewy yet pre-masticated quality to it. Shudder. So seeing the "Top Chef" cheftesants tonight create barbequed snake fillets, snake nigiri, and a frenched half-rack of snake was both nervy and impressively envy-inducing. Quickfire winner Dakota Weiss claimed that the inspiration for her battered snake fritter was beer, which seemed totally logical (to her), and seemed to have worked. Take note, Sedona. Take note.

As usual, three thoughts on this week's Top Chef:

Chicago chefs are holding strong, with Chuy Valencia even leading his team to this week's victory. Things were rockier for Sarah Grueneberg, who was faced with the terrible double sword of team-leadership and self-preservation at Judges Table. "That was awful," she says after the danger has passed, and we can feel it too. Safe for now, but the psychological damage has begun. And this week, 15-year olds were even getting in on the "my chicharron is soggy" action. (Tom Colicchio is totally thrilled about this.)

Grayson Schmitz was nigh-invisible for this episode. Until a final "Vote for Your Favorite" bumper listed as the masses' number one cheftestant. The only way I can explain this is that her name sounds like it was ripped from a CW spec script and people are just anticipating her bringing some witch/vampire/prep school queen bee skills to bear in the kitchen.

In theater, the well-worn aphorism goes something like, "If a gun appears in the first act, it must go off by the third." In the theater of reality television, it's sometimes difficult to tell what the gun is. Is it Beverly Kim's homemade Top Chef certificate? Is it Chris Crary describing the TC kitchen as an "explosion of body parts and knives"? As it turned out, this week's guns were Keith Rhodes's pre-cooked shrimp and flour tortilla-swaddled enchilada, and they went off at Judges Table as the big guy was sent home. To bad, though generally, seafood tend to be guns on Top Chef -- let's hope the Chicagoans take heed.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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