Top Shelf All-Star

I am a huge Top Chef nerd.

So this past week while I was in Philadelphia working at Helium Comedy Club (which was super fun by the way. Thanks to all of you who came out the the shows), I made it my mission to dine at Philly’s 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge by Eric Ripert where the fabulous and feisty Jennifer Carroll is the chef de cusine! I mean, wow! How could you not heart Jen, especially after this meltdown a few weeks ago on Top Chef All-Stars:

The restaurant is in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia and it’s beautiful.

I went for lunch. Because I’m poor. And they had a more affordable (albeit small) lunch lounge menu. I ordered a mini striped bass burger with fennel, oven-dried tomato and saffron aioli, their hand-cut fries and one of their signature cocktails. Sidebar, why is everything miniature in fancy restaurants? For their prices, they should be twice as big… Or maybe that’s just the puffy girl in me talking.

I had the Blackberry Manhattan — muddled fresh blackberries with Jim Beam Red Stag and Grand Marnier. It. was. amazing! Yummy to the tenth power. But no exaggeration, I was wasted after two sips. I love Red Stag but I knew if I finished that drink I’d probably still be drunk by showtime 4 hours later.

I love you Blackberry Manhattan. I will come back for you someday…

I had to take a photo of the drink menu so I could attempt to make it at home when I had a lighter schedule. But the former proofreader in me couldn’t help but notice all the typos. They spelled ‘Jim Beam’ wrong. They spelled ‘Captain Morgan Spiced Rum’ wrong. They spelled ‘Woodford Reserve’ wrong. At first I thought it was some high end find-the-spelling-errors-in-the-liquor game (and it may very well be). But then I realized they spelled ‘Ciroc vodka’ correctly. My friend Damo said that it was racial because they misspelled all the dark liquors and spelled the white liquor correctly.

I marvel at his ability to manufacture racist motivations where there don’t appear to be any. It’s truly an amazing skill.

For dessert I had the pumpkin bread pudding with spiced coconut ice cream. Yum and yummer! I don’t get to treat myself like this often, but I’m sure glad I did. I consider it my Christmas gift to myself! The only thing that could have made lunch better would be meeting Jen Carroll in person… Although she kinda scares me. ;)

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Eater SF — Hilarious!!!


Ok, so if yesterday was a blah day, this totally makes up for it. Check out the mention and link to this blog in the Eater SF’s coverage of Top Chef’s Jamie Lauren… Click to enlarge the image — it’s the third link down ;)

Also, in case you were interested in an update, we caught up on Facebook, so my stalking paid off ;) How cool is the Internet?!? ;)


Top Chef 5: OMG!

OK, so clearly I’m a little behind on this season of Top Chef. Thank you Bravo for today’s mini marathon! Because I saw that one of my old summer camp buddies, Jamie Lauren, is one of the contestants! What?!?!?

Not sure if she’ll remember me — I haven’t spoken to her in I’m sure 14 or 15 years or so, but Jamie and I both spent summers in Kezar Falls, ME at Maine Teen Camp as kids. MTC was an awesome place — an international sleep away camp where kids from all over the world came and participated in all types of activities, arts & crafts and just learned about people from other cultures. I know my parents really stretched to be able to send me there. But my mom saw the camp advertised in a newspaper or a magazine or something and said to herself that she had to send me. The first year I was soooooo not trying to stay. They took me up there to the middle of nowhere and I was like “UN-UH… No really is there one other black person here? For real.” But they left me. And I was miserable… Until I realized that I could be friends with anyone there. I don’t mean this to sound offensive, but Jamie was the coolest White girl I had ever met — sorry I can’t think of a more PC way to say that. She and another girl called Heather were probably my closest friends that first summer.

I would post old photos of us, but that would probably make me seem like a stalker. Plus she looks exactly the same as she did when we were 13 & 14 and… well, I don’t ;) Hahaha… Wish I knew how to get in touch with her. I’m totally gonna see if she’s on Facebook or something. Yeah… I don’t sound like a stalker at all.

Hope she wins the whole thing. Go Jamie!