Jan. 28, 2010

28 Jan

9:30 am

1 bowl of Reese’s Puffs cereal

1 pm

1 pan-fried chicken teriyaki breast

1 side of white rice

1 glass of water

6 pm


1/2 bianca verde pizza

side of fries

2 glasses of Allegash Curieux beer

I had reservations to Breadbar’s Hatchi dinner, featuring Ricardo Zarate from Mo-chica. These dinner reservations fill up quickly and it’s a good chance to check out some of the talented, young chefs in Los Angeles. Michael Voltaggio, last season’s Top Chef winner, cooked at the last dinner. I made these reservations over a month ago and really looked forward to it. Mo-chica, if you remember from a previous post, is one of my favorite eateries in Los Angeles. And yet, I willingly cancelled on dinner. You know why?

The Jeopardy! contestant test.

I unwittingly double-booked dinner on the same night as the contestant tests, and for me, it was a no-brainer as to what I would choose. As I’ve stated on Tuesday, being a Jeopardy! contestant has been a life-long dream of mine. The test is rather difficult, you have to answer 47 out of 50 correctly, and it’s 50 of the harder questions from the show. I actually passed it once, when I was 18-years-old, for College Jeopardy! I answered exactly 47 out of 50 right and got to play a practice-game for a camera test. I won my game, barely beating a girl from UCLA and crushing a kid from Princeton. I did very well except for on one question: What would you do with your winnings? “Probably pay off my student loans,” I lamely replied. Afterward, one of my classmates interned for Jeopardy! She told me that they look for contestants with just a bit of personality, enough to give a witty anecdote, but not be too much as to overshadow Alex Trebeck. Me saying I’ll pay off my student loans qualifies as not witty enough. That was the closest I’ve gotten. And as Minnesota Vikings fans can tell you after last week’s nut-kicker of a football game, getting close without actually winning is soul-crushing. That’s what drives me every year. Jeopardy! is my Moby Dick.

Last year, I answered 45 out of 50 questions correctly, which is my best showing since college. I was confident that I’d do better in 2010, a year wiser. Since I cancelled dinner at Breadbar, Kim and I went to happy hour at Boho instead. The primary draw for that place is a great happy hour deal, microbrews and appetizers are all priced at $5, food is $8. My Allegash Curieux, which is normally $9 a pint, was almost half off. They also have Duvels and several labels I’ve never heard of. Their pizzas are $8 and pretty good. I got a white pizza with preserved lemons and that combination worked surprisingly well. The crust is very thin and undercooked, but pleasing enough. Non-happy hour prices are very steep for what it is, which is yet another gastropub in Los Angeles. Before 7 pm though, Boho’s a pretty good deal.

Unfortunately, it seems that beer clouds your judgement. Two pints of Allegash should’ve been OK with me. But it dulled me just enough to bomb my test. I probably got 38-40 right. The William Faulkner novel Absalom, Absalom? It escaped my mind even though I’ve read it in high school. The author of Witches of Eastwick? I had a total brain-fart even though John Updike’s obituary appeared within the last year. It was a poor, poor showing. But I can consider this a lesson learned for next year’s test. Study more linguistics (it came up a lot on the test) and DON’T DRINK BEFOREHAND. I will succeed one day dammit! Or die trying. Please don’t mention how Moby Dick ended.

Also, Grubstreet has a slideshow of Zarate’s Hatchi dinner. Now I can place a mental image to the meal I skipped to experience abject failure instead. Sigh.


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