Eat Drink Love, Episode 7: The Pop-Up + NYC + Cold Soup
Editor's note: As many of you know, Bravo debuted a new show about the L.A. food scene recently. Since some of us spend our
Sundays Thursdays watching sports instead of reality television (yes, even if it's about food; especially if it's about food), we though we'd ask a writer who writes more about television than about restaurants to cover the series. Read on for her weekly updates.
This week's episode/season finale eve was more palatable than last, mostly because there was limited Lindsay, who now we realize was cast by producers to "Joffrey Baratheon up the place." For things all seem to be going smoothly until Lindsay of the Houses Mixologist and Milquetoast the First of Her Name (at least that's what it says in her contract), walks in the room and you know there's going to be a melodramatic, completely unnecessary conflict. This episode is no exception. It can be broken down into: The Trip to New York, The Dates and The Pop-Up.
The Trip to New York: Waylynn joins now full-on lover, chef Andrew Kirschner of Tar and Roses on a trip to New York City. He will be cooking dinner at the James Beard House and she will do the dessert, which is a twee edible nest, yogurt sorbet egg, pumpkin fōnut and sweet potato puree. She will also look into real estate for a second fōnuts location, as they get a million requests to open up a shop on the East Coast.
Waylynn gets to do something everyone watching in Los Angeles wishes they could do -- walk around a neighborhood in the rain, huddled in a big jacket, carrying an umbrella in one hand and a hot cup of coffee in the other, complaining that there aren't any fucking cabs right before one splashes your new pants. (Come on, you know you want to do that at least once a year for five minutes, Angelenos.)
Waylynn meets with realtors, John and Brian, to scope out about a thousand square feet of space. They traipse around SoHo saying things like, "you can put a vent here," and "$600 per square foot," and "it's available for twelve thousand a month," which is not what she wants to hear, considering her L.A. location is a fraction of the cost. After a few tears with John and Brian, Waylynn shares a dimmed dinner with Andrew, where she gets emotional about potential baby fōnuts before he kisses her mouth over orange margaritas. That's amore.
The Dates: Jessica has a work date with an old friend, Clint, Director of Operations at The Wilshire, who checks out her black power suit (that doesn't sound right) before they sit in the courtyard. She explains her situation and, with the snap of a breadstick, she has her first client! Clint needs to re-energize his social media and so they celebrate with shots, squeals and plans to Facebook.
Brenda has a date-date with Jessica's friend Michael, who meets Brenda at BLD. Brenda is pleased that he's not 350 pounds and he's not sure how to react to that. When offered a drink, Michael says he usually doesn't imbibe and that he prefers running, surfing, yoga, open water swimming and doing other really healthy things that will make him a survivor of the apocalypse. This man of wellness is refreshing to Brenda as long as he doesn't care if she throws a few back. When he brings up dating in L.A. she says, "I've had some really nice dates and then never hear from them again." (Aw, Brenda!)
This makes the viewers extra glad to hear that he's texting her the next day. When she and Jessica recap the date Jessica calls him "nerdy but charming." Brenda says he's "smart and successful nerdy," which is different than "I'm a schlub nerdy" -- and it's clear that we re-evaluate our definition of "nerdy" as a society.
The Pop-Up: We save the A-story for last, as it will take us in to next week's season finale. Lindsay and Nina dine at Starry Kitchen with co-founder chef Nguyen Tran, who got his start doing a wildly successful illegal pop-up with his wife, Thi. He offers Nina the restaurant to do a Monday night pop-up for herself, a trial run to see if she's ready for a real restaurant, which could also potentially lead to something big for her. The catch? It's in less than a week. With the help of Lindsay and Nguyen, they begin planning the menu and trips to farmers markets right then and there.
But, such a big restaurant, how will she fill the seats? There's only one woman who could do that. Her Godmother, Lauren Hutton? No. Kat Odell, who walks a fine line between friend, foe and a person she doesn't really care about but with whom she's on a TV show. With a loyal readership of 2 bazillion, Kat is her only hope of getting the food world in Los Angeles to listen in such a short period of time -- or, as Nugyen puts it, to their dismay, "The driving force to get everyone in the door." Lindsay thinks they can do better. Nguyen does not.
Nina goes to Kat's apartment to beat around the bush before she finally asks her help. Kat says she will, but since she can't just do favors for all her friends ("I can't write about something just because a friend is doing it, it can only make sense for my readers"), she won't do a big story on it. Instead she agrees to do a quick link/short post about it because she "believes in her as a chef."
Eternally grateful for her help, Nina goes to fōnuts to beat around the bush before asking Waylynn to help out and do the dessert. And even though it's the most inopportune time, Waylynn is a trooper and whether you need a dessert for dinner or to "bury a dead body in the middle of the desert," she is there, man. Besides, she could always just bring leftover fōnuts and serve them with ice cream and everyone would be happy, right? (I'm projecting.)
Lindsay and Nina meet at Starry Kitchen for a tour and Lindsay reads a personal e-mail Kat sent out, kindly inviting people to Nina's pop-up. There has been far too much camaraderie this episode and winter is coming so it's time to brawl! Lindsay reads Kat's e-mail aloud: "Hey guys! A friend of mine is cooking a pop-up this Monday night at Tiara Café, and I wanted to invite you all. The menu is pretty rad, I helped out with it a little bit." Can you believe she wrote that?! Off with her head!!!
What should have been met with a "Thank you, Kat!" was instead met with an "I'm really not cool with that," from Lindsay and a "What really bothered me is that my name was nowhere on that email, " from Nina.
Should Kat have written, "Heyyyy this chef Nina Clemente who you have never heard of is having a pop-up so, whatever, I didn't help and but she's cool so you should go," instead?
What the dynamic duo doesn't see is that they asked Kat for assistance and she actually went above and beyond -- risking her name and reputation by saying she helped with the menu, and it was going to be a great time, when she has no idea if it will be. Her actions are not taking anything away from the fragile egos of Lindsay and Nina, but instead just trying to help fill the seats and create some "buzz," since Kat has some swing through her loyal readers and friends in the industry.
"She needs to be put in her place," says Lindsay. Where is my dire wolf?
Nina has the girls over for a tasting the night before the event. The courses are served -- an ice cube in soup, pasta that doesn't wait, and Arctic char that is cold. Glances are exchanged, no one did a signature Padma "delicious," and the entire critique can be summed up by the first comment, "The soup should be warm." So you can guess where it goes from there.
We suspect that since this is all going completely horribly, next week's season finale will bring the group together, the event will be a success and they will all cheers like at the end of Entourage. (Except thank God this is not Entourage.) We can only dream that we live in a world where a group of six women can put aside their differences and come together at the end of a cable television series, teaching us important lessons in friendship, love and talking on camera while eating.
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