Top Chef

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Flop Sweat

They've got $150 and half an hour at Whole Foods, where Mark and Nikki (aka Team Sunglasses Inside) eye a glistening pink slab of pork, as Nikki explains that, for Purple Depressed Bacon, they will use "pancetta that's glazed with honey and ginger" with pork loin as the protein, and they'll go from there. Jen and Stephanie pillage the store's asparagus supply, grab large quantities of orange juice, and head for the cheesemonger, where Jen gets her mitts on a large $53 log of bucheron cheese, which should pair well with asparagus and orange. The triple threat leads to thoughts of a ménage a trois, which fits with the turned-on theme, which also works since the curvaceous spirit of Zoi will inevitably be in the kitchen with Jen, all of which leads Jen to overshare the news that "I am feeling pretty good about having a ménage a trois in my future."

Dale and Richard, galloping around the store in his stupid pink Crocs, have green perplexed tofu -- Dale digs green and tofu and says that "perplexed is, a lot of times, what Richard and I bring to a table." They decide to go with a green curry, due to the complexity (or perplexity) of the flavors, and Richard has the very smart idea to ask the butcher for some beef fat, in which they will marinate the tofu steaks. If it works, that's a pretty genius way to embody perplexed -- Richard explains it as a Seinfeld skit (you can recreate the moment by using your best Jerry Seinfeld impression), "This tofu tastes like beef, what's up with that?"

Antonia and Lisa, meanwhile, get all snobby about magenta drunken Polish sausage (Antonia doesn't want to do it, while Lisa makes sure we're aware that "I'm not going to dumb down my food because of what some drunken schmuck screamed out in the audience"). They also don't want to cook with beer (again), even though domineering Lisa claimed to "love" doing just that last week. Because Lisa's experience with Polish sausage has always involved nasty meat and nastier gravy, they decide to serve ... fish. Drunk or not, that makes no sense. They'll use tequila in the sauce for the drunken part, and chorizo, which Lisa maintains in "very similar" to Polish sausage. "We're improv-ing," says Antonia -- hey, I know a cruise ship comedy troupe where you'd fit right in.

Spike and Andrew cruise around the store looking for inspiration or their inspiration -- yellow love vanilla. They're taking the "improv" theme to heart. Andrew explains, "We basically formulate the dish in the Whole Foods" -- hey, it worked for Lisa, Dale and Stephanie -- selecting as many things as they can buy with their allotted budget and figuring it out as they go. At the register, they're over budget, so they have to pick and choose what to forego (goodbye, beets) and what to take back to the kitchen (oh, look at all those butternut squash). Ever impressed with himself, Spike calls it "another ballsy move" and "truly an improvisation."

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Top Chef

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