Monday, June 25, 2007

A Happy Home Depot Experience!

We went to Home Depot on Sunday. And we actually found what we were looking for! This HD is famous for its CVS-like tendency to never have what you want. For instance, we went there to look at lawn furniture. It had this fantastic set of table, four chairs, umbrella and stand for $99. Sign us up! Is that easy? Of course not.
The only one left was the floor model and the manager wasn't willing to sell to us. Think about this. You have none of the product left. Wouldn't it make sense to just sell the last remaining one? Of course not to this Home Depot management.
And then we had to special order a door for the closet containing our gas furnace. The height was a standard 79 inches. That's 6 foot seven. But the width we needed was only 21. So we put in the order for a 79-inch (the height of the masonite doors they sell in the back). We get it, bring it home. It's 77 inches, not 79. This was the day it was 72 degrees in January. So instead of enjoying the beautiful weather, we spent two hours at Home Depot. They claimed it was our fault because we should have told them it was 81 inches because they take clearance into account. Fine. We changed the order. A month later, the door is ready. We go to pick it up. Yep, you guessed it. 77 inches. I just figure there's a moron in the back who keeps equating 6'7" with 77 instead of 79. S did some tinkering so we could get the door to fit. Otherwise, winter would be over before we got the damned door.
So that's been the sum of our experience with Home Depot until Sunday. The floor crew told us the only charcoal grills they had were the dinky Websters. We wanted something bigger with storage. HD online indicated they did have something called the Santa Fe Grill at that store -- a rectangular box style charcoal grill with wooden shelves on the side. So we special ordered it and wandered the aisles looking for solar lights and other things to spend all our relatives' gift cards on.
I happened to look up as we went through one aisle looking for citronella candles. And there it was. Angels sang. A light shone down from the heavens. The one and only Santa Fe grill in the entire store sat there, waiting for us.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top Chef 3.2

So this week's Top Chef was fairly entertaining, though I'm already developing dislikes. Word of advice to Top Chef casters -- don't cast more than one bull-necked bald man with a heavy New Yawk accent next season, m'kay? One is interesting grit, two are an overload of testosterone and not in a good way.

Some observations:
Of the two bull necks, I think I prefer the BS artistry of Howie to the loud and loud of Joey.

Sandee, I really liked you, but girlfriend, Florida lobster tail is prime grilling meat! Why, oh, why would you poach a lobster tail in a grilling contest?! I mean, vanilla bean butter sauce sounds like a yummy thing to baste the tails with. Skewers when grilling the lobster in its tail is so good? nonononononono. And you live in South Florida, you should know better.
That said, I really wouldn't have minded them sending Bullneck 1 or Bullneck 2 home, cuz I thought Sandee's tai chi was really cool.

And CJ came across as a bit of a jerk, didn't he? I mean, OK, you weren't going to help Casey. And granted, she makes snippy, superior asides to the camera and maybe off camera as well. But why not shrug your shoulders and say, your guess is as good as mine? Why be mean?

Speaking of mean, Hung cracks me up and I don't know whether to hate him or root for him. I notice he has two personas. He's a total in-your-face, I'm number one to the camera. But notice how likeable he is with the rest of the crew. I wonder how many of his fellow chefs are watching tv in shock right now. He did help Sara N. Unlike CJ. Maybe it's Hung's supreme self-confidence. He doesn't see Sara as competition. And he definitely seems to have the cooking chops to back the bragadiccio.

I'd like to root for Micah, since I'm a former PBCer, though never a BO-CA Ra TONE fan. Boca is like the nouveau riche guy who wants to mimic the Palm Beach blue-blood who inherited his millions. For the Palm Beacher, it's effortless, for Boca it's all flash. (Boca is number one in telephone fraud, btw)
But anyway, Micah seems to have a wry sense of self in some ways, but in others comes across as a little too emotional and frazzled and we're only a week into the competition! I like a lot of her food, though.

And finally, you might have noticed how many chefs didn't know how to cook with a grill. It's a conspiracy, I tell you. Hank Hill has taken over corporate America and is pushing out charcoal grills. I sure can't find any. Home Depot has gas grill after gas grill with elaborate push buttons and knobs and gizmos. But if you want a charcoal grill that can hold more than four burgers? Outta luck. So with this corporate conspiracy to rid the US of its charcoal grills comes less and less experience with the art of charcoal grilling. Alas.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Top Chef

Top Chef is back. yay!
This season looks so much more promising. The chefs look as though they really can cook. I hope it's a return to the more skill-driven drama of the first season and not the soap opera of the second one.
It will take a couple of episodes to get a handle on everyone, but Tre looks like a sweetie -- and talented too. I might also root for Micah as a former PBC-er. Hung, I wonder if he's all bark and no bite. It's one thing to be arrogant about your talents. It's another to take it out on other people.
The elimination challenge was great. I loved learning about exotic ingredients. Never heard of geoduck or black chicken before. Already like ostrich and buffalo. And gator tastes like chicken!

In fact the past seasons of both Top Chef and Project Runway, about the only shows I watch with any dedication really were downers because of all the personality based drama. If I want that, I'll watch Hell's Kitchen. ugh. I tried to watch that once as a temporary fix while TC wasn't on the air. Lasted one episode. I hate screaming of any kind. Talk shows, radio shows, tv commercials, anything. Why would I want to watch someone scream at people?

I ended up rooting for Marcel, reluctantly, last season, just because I detested everyone else. But he ain't a picnic. Harold shut him down as the people in S2 should have. In a mature way -- telling him to act like a professional.

So here's to a season where one can root for chefs based on talent!