ICA: Battle Melon (spoiler)
Well this can't be a spoiler since both the 9pm and midnight airings are long gone on both coasts. (Still if you haven't seen it yet, don't read this until afterwards.)
Wow. Another very interesting one with the melons and also the spin on the required frozen component per dish!
Lots of complexity. Lots of interesting concepts and flavor combinations. Very close battle. And yea, a Philly chef won! (My home town, plus Philadelphia always gets lost by the culinary elitists of near by NYC. So, hahaha, in your face New York!)
To no suprise there would be one or two "carpaccios". One or two cold soups. And one or two something with ham/serrento/prosciutto and there were. But even there, interesting combinations. The shaved melon was interesting. Avacaco and honey dew shake was a wild surprise.
Flay continues to do well way outside his big beef and spice comfort zone, which I think is a testament to his skill. And Garces really showed he's a true talent. All in all a very enjoyable show.
My wife and I went to one of Garces' restaurants tonight and the only Iron Chef dish being offered was the kobe lettuce wraps (but without the frozen component). It was $20 and we ordered it.
The verdict? It was good...but not $20 good.
However, the pernil asado that we ordered was a comparative steal at only $12. Crispy skin with a layer of buttery fat underneath. And then you actually get to the meat!!!
Our server told us that they had been rotating the Iron Chef dishes all week. We were hoping to try the toro tuna/watermelon dish.
i've always liked Bobby Flay. i think he's a great chef, and a lot of fun to watch. when the first half of the judging was over, i was sure Garces had pulled off a huge upset...but as it turned out, the judges showered both chefs with a lot of praise. i couldn't believe my ears when Jeffrey called one of Bobby's dishes "amazingly good" - i think that's the best compliment he's ever given him - he always seems to pick on Flay :)
it was an interesting battle to watch, and i wanted to taste every one of those dishes [i might have even tried the coconut milk sauce...you all know how i feel about anything coconut - gag - but at least it had habaneros in it!]
I'd also like to say 'in your face' to Alton Brown, who audibly snickered when mentioning that Jose Garces' restaurant, Amada, is in Philadelphia. He also seemed a bit incredulous at the end after Garces defeated Flay.
I read a few weeks ago that Garces was planning on putting all five of his ICA dishes on the menu at his three Philly restaurants for a while after the ICA episode airs, though with all the frozen ingredients I'm not sure how well that will work out. I'd love to try the shaved frozen cantaloupe and serrano ham dish.