Has anyone seen Hurl! ? If you haven’t, you ought to sooner rather than later because I don’t expect it to last very long. But maybe I am giving reality food TV audiences too much credit. Hurl!, an extreme eating contest that just debuted on cable channel G4, has a simple premise: Contestants try to eat as much as they can in one sitting, and then they get up and immediately follow that chow session with some rigorous physical endeavor. Whoever eats the most and vomits the least wins the big money.
It is like the idea behind the original Rollerball, the ’70s movie starring James Caan. I say we cut to the chase and just have the players eat forty pounds of tuna-salad sandwiches and, despite their mothers’ plaintive advice, go swimming in a heavy rip tide off the Carolinas. That’s good TV.
Speaking of which . . . I am huge Deadliest Catch fan. Having met and hung out with the boat captains at several network functions throughout the years, I have a connection to the show that keeps me on the edge of my seat even during the dud episodes. But last night, I got the treat of a lifetime right here in the Twin Cities. The Oceanaire Seafood Room sent its chef, Rick Kimmes, up to Alaska last year where he made some friends in the crab business. This year, he bought more than 120,000 pounds of fresh—yes, fresh—king crab legs from the crew of the Time Bandit. Get ’em while they last. I cannot stand frozen king crab; they are lifeless, waterlogged, and taste like chemicals. But the fresh stuff is amazing, and you don’t have to fly to NYC and buy a whole live king in Chinatown (check out Fu Leen if you care to) to get a nibble of the primo crab; all you have to do is head over to the Hyatt.
Speaking of the Hyatt . . . that hotel is desperate need of a makeover. It looks downright beaten up and cheap. Now that Manny’s is moving to the Foshay, how long before Oceanaire gets out of that building? My guess is pretty darn fast . . .
By the way, as the State Fair approaches, I wanted to remind folks that the controversy at the Activities Building has spawned unwarranted ‘police action’ as far as I am concerned. Cooks who for years were deemed amateurs are now considered professionals. People such as Marjorie Johnson and John Lerma have been politely told not to bother entering contests this year; they are disqualified. FOR SHAME!
First, the rules are unevenly applied since there are many sweepstakes winners who enter and are not disqualified simply because they have not written a book. Second, the Fair folks have taken all the fun out of the pro-am nature of a cooking contest. If you feel the same way, let them hear it this year while you are out at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.