Episode 2 of Food Network Star:Tour Bus Challenge was not as daunting as opening a restaurant in 24 hours like we did in Episode 1 but it was not as simple as it may have seemed, either. Down a person with the loss of Cristie the week before, we were certainly considered the underdogs once again this week.
VIDEO FROM EPISODE 2
For this week's challenge, each team was given a neighborhood in Manhattan. We were to learn the food, the people, and the culture and teach a bus full of tourists about our neighborhood. We were also given an ingredient from a famous dish from a restaurant in the neighborhood and create our own unique dish with it to serve to our guests. The challenge was to be the most memorable tour guide and serve a dish that embraced the ingredient. TEAM ALTON was given the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which has been a center of Jewish culture in the city for many years.
Having learned a hard lesson from the first challenge, I jumped on the first thing offered up by Alton Brown and said I'd take the pastrami he offered from Katz' Deli. Since I had been to Katz' many years before, I knew a bit about it and felt happy about my choice. I was very happy I did not hesitate this time because the remaining options were pickles, Matzo, and bialys. None of those sounded as good to me as the Pastrami but I was a bit worried about what to do with the meat since it was already cooked. Our food needed to be portable, easy to serve on the tour bus, and we had to be able to keep it hot or cold for quite a while.
The challenge was to be memorable and the guests on the tour bus would vote for their favorite tour guide. Alton suggested we learn not only about the food but the history of the Lower East Side from the legendary restaurants we would visit. I had a wonderful time with Alan and Jake who told me about the history of the restaurant, the area, and what makes their pastrami so famous. Alan was dear and patient, listening to my story about having come to the restaurant years earlier. He walked me through how they make the pastrami but would not tell me the secret way the make the mustard. He did give me the list of ingredients... I used most of them plus some chopped pickles and pickle juice to make the spread for my dish, Puffy Pastrami Party Squares. Get the recipe...
Since Giada's team got Little Italy, I wasn't exactly shocked that they won the challenge. However, what was not shown (not sure why not) was that I was voted most memorable tour guide by the guests on the bus. I also got great reviews for my dish!
In the end, Kara from Bobby's team went home after the producer's challenge. Next week's challenge: CHOPPED DESSERTS! The dreaded mystery basket.