Posts Tagged ‘Bravo’

Top Chef Texas Premieres

Posted in TV, Uncategorized on November 8th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

I can only hide my love of reality TV for so long.  I know, it’s shameful but I just can’t help it.  Last week, Bravo started its new season of Top Chef, and this time they’re filming in Texas.  As you know, Top Chef is one of my favorite shows, but I just wasn’t into it last week.  Starting out with 29 chefs, and only giving our 16 chef jackets makes for quite an anti-climatic premier, especially when you don’t even see everyone cook on the first episode.

I’m not a quitter though, so I won’t give up on the season yet!  Read what the AJC’s talented and witty Jon Watson had to say about the first episode:“Top Chef Texas Recap: Trimming the fat, part umlaut”


Posted in travel, Uncategorized on August 15th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Re-entry is tough, especially after vacation.  We’ve been back in Atlanta for a week now and it’s been hard to adjust back to “normal life.”  School’s starting, work is ramping up, and I’m longing for Laguna.

David and I spent the most amazing week in Dana Point California, about ten miles south of Laguna Beach, California.  David had accumulated some free nights from his past work travel so we enjoyed the luxuriousness of the St. Regis.  (Yes, I know, I know…I’m officially a yuppy.)

We made a bet before hand about how many celebs we’d see.  Let’s just say I’m pretty disappointed by the fact that we basically saw a total of ½ a celebrity.  We came across one of the women from Real Housewives of Orange County but I don’t think she deserves to be counted as a full celeb.  Do you?

Our half celeb sighting...


Our week in luxury was unlike our typical Metcalf trips.  A friend recently said there are “trips” and there are “vacations.” This was absolutely, unashamedly a vacation.  Zero cooking, no camping, not even a rental car.  It was amazing.  Completely relaxing and rejuvenating.

I love sending postcards and I literally didn’t have anything to say on the cards I wrote.  A typical day in Cali involved sauna and steam in the morning, followed by a long coffee on our porch, a trip to the pool and an afternoon of golf for David.  (I would ride in the cart for 9 holes.) I read three books over the course of the week and got lots of quality time with my favorite person in the world, David.

Oh and of course, my favorite part, cocktails and dinner…

We wined and dined, at the St. Regis and cabbed it into Laguna some nights as well.  There were many delicious meals to share with you and some GF gems as well.

It was a lovely week…

All Good Things Must Come to an End: Top Chef All-Stars Finale

Posted in Atlanta, TV on March 31st, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

As you know, I love all things culinary and all things reality TV, so Bravo’s Top Chef is the perfect combination for me.  Last night’s finale of Top Chef All-Stars involved a show down between Washington D.C.’s Mike Isabella and Atlanta’s Richard Blais.  My adult life flashed before my eyes as my two cities battled it out!  Who was I rooting for?  Well, Mike Isabella hasn’t done himself any favors in the personality category (even once he and Antonia established their ‘cousin’ bond) and since Richard and I are basically BFF (ok, I’ve met him three times), I had to cheer for the home team.  ATL!

The final Judges' Table: so sad it's coming to an end

The final Judges' Table: so sad it's coming to an end

Both Mike and Richard produced amazing 4-course dinners with the help of their sous-chefs (former All-Star conestants).  I was particularly pleased by the ‘simplicity’ and elegance of this challenge, as I felt that most of this season involved buffet-style/too casual meals, involving crock pots, nachos, and comfort food, so I was happy to see these two really produce their most quality food.

Richard’s mind games almost got the best of him, but he made the right decision to re-work the foie gras ice cream (yuck) for round two of judging. (Thank you, Spike!)  I’m psyched to see how Richard will put his 200 G’s to work, and happy to be in Atlanta so I can experience it for myself.

The entire cast watches as the announcement is made.  Casey, what are you wearing????

The entire cast watches as the announcement is made. Casey, what are you wearing????

If you enjoy Top Chef, and all of its quirkiness, you must check out Jon Watson’s Top Chef Finale Recap.  He puts into words everything you’re thinking while watching the show.  After reading Watson’s recap, I’m just sorry I didn’t watch the after show.  (I’m sure it will be on Bravo ten times this weekend.)

What a week!  Top Chef finale AND the NCAA Final Four.  A-Mazing.


Living Without Magazine Features Atlanta as Travel Destination

Posted in advice, Atlanta, local food, reading, Restaurants, travel, Uncategorized on November 15th, 2010 by Betsy – 12 Comments

Guess What?  The most recent issue of Living Without Magazine (Dec/Jan) features Atlanta as its travel destination.  Of course, you and I know how many awesome gluten-free options Atlanta has, but the rest of the country might not realize the plethora of restaurants that go above and beyond to help out those of us with special dietary needs.


You can get a teeny glimpse of the article by clicking here but you have to purchase a copy for yourself in order to read the entire article, and see if there are any spots you’re missing.  You can find Living Without on shelves at Whole Foods and other natural food stores.

Friends and Readers, gluten and non-gluten eaters, who don’t reside in Hotlanta, this should give you even more reason to visit ATL.  If the Real Housewives, the music industry and Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full, weren’t enough to get you down here, all of these yummy food spots, should finally twist your arm.  The only trouble will be to decide where to go once you get here.

Oh, and one more thing…I wrote the article.  Yep, I’m pretty pleased as punch about it.


Yup, that's me, a 'Contributor.'

‘Top Chef: The Tour’ in Atlanta

Posted in Atlanta on April 21st, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Forget all of the hype in Washington, D.C. about the filming of ‘Top Chef.’  Atlanta’s got ‘Top Chef’ too!  Well, ‘Top Chef:’ The Tour, that is.


Yesterday I went to ‘Top Chef: The Tour,’ featuring Atlantans, Kevin Gillespie and Richard Blais. Under a tent in the Westside Provisions’ parking lot, Blais and Gillespie performed a cooking demo/improv comedy routine.  The rain could not keep me away from checking out the tour and getting a glimpse of two of my favorite local celebs.  Even though the closest I got to Padma and Tom were cardboard cutouts, I still thoroughly enjoyed my brush with fame and the opportunity to listen to Kevin and Richard’s banter, while watching Blais’ science tricks.


So what happened during the show?  For the first half of the show Blais created a ‘quick fire’ dish that was his twist on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course he did not disappoint in his use of fancy gadgets.  Every seat had a great view of the demo stage, and they had mirrors above the stage so you could get a better view of what was being prepared.

IMG_0767 First, Blais created a Thai-inspired peanut butter adding lime, fish sauce and cilantro.

Fancy Thai-peanut butter

Fancy Thai-peanut butter

Blais then moved on to liquid nitrogen-created ‘grapes’ made from preserves in a sous vide.  He shamelessly plugged this new sous vide that can be purchased for a home.  (Perfect for a wedding gift, right?)  Giving Blais a hard time about his marketing, Kevin then asked if any of us were interested in GE appliances.


Richard Blais' new marketing plug: the sous vide for the personal kitchen


Liquid Nitrogen...


Making 'grapes' with preserves

Blais served the Thai-peanut butter and ‘fruit caviar’ on a sponge cake made with CO2, using just three ingredients, and heated in the microwave.  (Apparently, Blais also made this sponge cake on his recent appearance on Iron Chef.)


Showing off the sponge cake, fresh out of the microwave.

Sadly, the sponge cake was not gluten-free, so no sampling for this girl.  Blais even managed to incorporate truffle oil into this dish.  (He glazed the paper cups that he used for heating the sponge cake with a mixture of truffle oil, brown sugar, and something else.)


After the cooking exhibition, Blais and Gillespie took questions from the audience.  A sampling of the questions included:

What’s your least favorite food?” Gillespie responded with hazelnuts.

What happens when you get kicked off the show?”  Contestants are sequestered in apartments, but they can go out to restaurants, hang out at the pool, and relax.  Unfortunately they still have to live with the fact that they got kicked off the show.

Was the show stressful?”  Of course it was!  Interestingly, they said that it was hard to be in empty bedrooms as the show got down to its final few contestants, a constant reminder that people were getting kicked off.


Of course the teacher in me couldn’t resist asking a question.   I’m fascinated by what happens behind the scenes so I asked how long judges’ table takes.  They said as the show gets down to fewer contestants, judges’ table gets longer.  Kevin and Richard both said that their final judges’ table took over nine hours!!  I knew it was long but that’s crazy!

Richard and Kevin made quite the team.  While Richard was the center piece of the demonstration, the two made a clever, and funny, duo.  They were goofy, made jokes (some good, some bad) and actually seemed like they wanted to be there.  If ‘The Tour’ comes to your town, I highly recommend checking it out.  I didn’t get tickets in advance, just arrived 20 minutes before hand.  They had lots of extra tickets, which are free, and you get to sample the food, if you’re not gluten free.  Let the stalking continue…


‘Top Chef DC’ Stalking Continues

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

2010-03 Top Chef DC

As a follow up to last week’s post about the filming of Top Chef in Washington, DC, my friend, Ellie, sent me the following link:

Top Chef DC: The Map:” This Washingtonian site posts and maps the sightings of Tom, Padma and other Top Chef folks.  Sightings include, Gail eating at Oyamel and filming at the Newseum. (Great museum but it needs all the press it can get with its steep price of admission!).  Most recent update: Crew spotted yesterday at 13th and K St, Northwest.  Oh, I wish I was there to do my own Top Chef hunting!  I’ll just have to keep a watch from a few states away.  Maybe it’s safer that way.

Eno Restaurant & Wine Bar

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on November 25th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

This weekend David and I went to Eno Restaurant with our friends Jim and Jen who were in town for the weekend.  I must admit, the main reason I chose Eno was because all of us love the Bravo show, Top ChefEli, from the current season of Top Chef Las Vegas, is the chef at Eno.  Did you know there are three Atlanta chefs that were on the current season of Top Chef?  (Kevin from Woodfire and Hector from Pura Vida are the other two Atlanta contestants.)  I hope to try all three of their restaurants this year, to complete my Top Chef trilogy.  While we did not get to see Eli at Eno, because he was in California for the weekend, we still enjoyed a delicious meal, great wine, and quality service.

The atmosphere at Eno is great.  It has a wine and cheese shop attached to the restaurant and the bar has lots of space so you don’t feel crowded. We sat at the bar before dinner and enjoyed a glass of wine.  They have a great wine by the glass selection and you can get ‘tastes’ of wine for a smaller price, if you want to sample a multiple wines.

The menu had a large variety which was helpful since we had a vegetarian and a celiac in the group.  Lots of seafood to choose from and plenty of gluten-free options.  Eno’s menu changes every day and has a seasonal focus so there are always new items to sample.  They offer small plates and large plates.  I contemplated getting two small plates, the sunchoke soup grabbed my eye, but ultimately I went with an entrée. We all shared the octopus appetizer that was served on top of a pear grown in  one of Eno’s window boxes.  Pretty cool.  It was the first time I’d ever eaten octopus and it tasted quite nice.  I asked our patient waiter about a couple of options and she was very helpful and clear about what I could order and what would be gluten-free.  She checked with the chef (not Eli) to make sure she was correct.  I always appreciate a waiter that’s willing to double check with the chef and doesn’t assume to have all of the answers.

For my entrée, I ordered the pork with polenta, homemade charcuterie and greens.  So good and naturally gluten-free!  Definitely a hearty southern dish with all kinds of good flavor combinations that mixed well together.  The sausage charcuterie added a great spice and some heat to the sweeter pork and polenta.

Our waiter was great and nice to put up with us.  We had a great meal and did not feel rushed.  I will definitely return to Eno and hopefully next time I’ll get to meet Eli!


Eno Restaurant & Wine Bar

800 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30308
Eno on Urbanspoon

Richard Blais’ Flip Burger

Posted in Atlanta on August 20th, 2009 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Last spring David and I came to Atlanta to check out the city, as we knew we’d be moving here this summer. While on this trip, I had the opportunity to check out a couple of different restaurants. As a huge fan of Bravo’s Top Chef, the place I was most eager to see was Flip Burger, which is owned by Richard Blais, a contestant on Season 4 and personal favorite of mine. For those of you who’ve seen the show, Richard always used molecular gastronomy in his cooking and has a bit of a mini-Mohawk.

It’s clear from the name that this relatively new restaurant does burgers. They’ve got all kinds of burgers (turkey, faux lafel, salmon and lamb, to name a few) and they do them well.

Before we went, our friends called ahead to see if Flip Burger was willing to accommodate gluten free customers and they said they definitely could. Located right on Howell Mill Road, Flip is in an up and coming area on the Westside and it is filled with customers.

When we got to the restaurant we sat outside and could not have had a friendlier waiter. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable, she told me to pick what I wanted and they would see what they could do. I decided to go with the turkey burger which comes with avacado, alfalfa sprouts and pomegranate ketchup. The cook wrapped my burger in lettuce since I had to go sans bun. Definitely a thoughtful touch! We also decided to share the Caesar salad (without the croutons of course). Everything I ordered was delicious and looked beautiful. The presentation and menu creativity are some of the best parts of Flip besides the food.

The highlight of the evening for me was actually getting to meet Richard Blais! Like I mentioned earlier, I loved him on Top Chef. He was friendly and nice to us and I thanked him for being willing to make gluten free burgers. He said of course they accommodate the GF customer and that he realizes what a large population is becoming gluten free. He even mentioned that on the side he’s working with a friend to try to create a delicious gluten free pasta. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything more about that.

Flip was a fun and unique first dining experience for me in Atlanta. I was definitely star struck but also enjoyed the delicious food. Many of the burgers themselves are gluten free (if you leave out the bun), but you might have to make some modifications to the toppings. Sadly you’ll need to avoid fried things (fries, onion rings, okra, etc.) but the salad was yummy and they have a beet and goat cheese salad that looks good too. The potato salad and five bean salad might also work, but I’ll have to check.

The other component to Flip Burger’s menu are the liquid nitrate milkshakes. Full from my burger, I did not try or ask about the shakes. My guess would be that you need to stay away from the Krispy Kreme shake, but the others (Georgia peaches ‘n cream, foie grois, and spicy chocolate mole to name a few) are probably GF.

If you go to Flip, and I suggest that you do, remind your server about being gluten free and also ask them to clean off the section of the grill/pan that they’re going to use to prepare your burger in order to avoid cross contamination.

Enjoy! And maybe you’ll get to meet Richard too! (It’s still worth it even if you don’t have a Richard sighting.)
FLIP Burger Boutique on Urbanspoon