Okay, I've said before that I'm not big on reality TV. Actually, I'm finding more and more, I'm not big on much of any TV.
I have to admit, however, that I've gotten caught up in the Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star" competition. I find the challenges to cook for a variety of people in addition to the judges and to create new dishes each week entertaining. Although there are a few competitors who for one reason or another I'd be happy to see go, I haven't been cheering for a particular chef.
Until this week, that is. This week is when reality/competition TV collided with my reality. You can go here to check out the whole show but the Cliff notes version goes like this -
The Main Ingredient - fish (Kelsey chose tilapia)
The challenge - two main dishes, one to compete for a spot on Red Lobster's menu and one with some bizarre ingredient. (Kelsey chose white chocolate)
The outcome was that the Red Lobster chef chose Kelsey's white chocolate challenge dish instead of the Red Lobster dish to put on their menu - available across the country on June 23rd.
Chocolate and fish? Really? I mean, I've always said that chocolate could make anything better but I meant situations, feelings, not food. Let alone fish! Since I do like to try new foods and this whole idea of chocolate fish and being able to actually taste one of the concoctions from a chef on the show intrigued me, my husband happily accommodated my desire to have dinner out at Red Lobster Monday night.
The hostess gave us our menus and about the time our waitress arrived to take our drink and appetizer orders I excitedly interrupted to announce to my husband, "There it is!" pointing at the Macadamia Tilapia with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc on the fresh fish menu. He explained that while we hadn't decided on the appetizer yet, I knew what I wanted for dinner and that was why we came. The waitress queried as to if that was really the reason we came in and said they'd gotten to try the dish a little earlier. She also said a few people had called during the day to see if it was on the menu yet. At some point my quest to try this chocolaty fish combination granted me minor star status as another waitress and the manager stopped by our table to see how I liked my meal. Let me explain the answer to that in bite by delicious bite detail.
The waitress placed my order in front of me and it looked very appealing with the toasted nuts and coconut on top and sitting in the creamy sauce that looked a lot like melted white chocolate. I took a small bite being sure to get some of the toasted toppings and the sauce to get the full effect. It practically melted in my mouth - my eyes got big - I swallowed as my husband asked, "Well?" "OH MY GOODNESS!" That's what I said. My husband looked a little puzzled (as in, was that a good "oh my goodness" or a bad "oh my goodness"). In response to his look, I sighed "Oh! My Goodness!" Obviously I wasn't at a total loss for words, just any that might describe this delectable delicacy. He grinned and I finally found a vocabulary greater than three words and said, "You've got to try this!" I gave him a fork full and his response - a hearty "Wow!" I'm telling you, the combination of flavors and textures in this dish is just, well, perfect. It would leave Webster at a loss for words. The best way I know to describe it is like this:
Yep, it was like that!
That's when the manager stopped by the table to see how I liked it (I suddenly felt like a Red Lobster VIP as the other wait staff in the room created a E.F. Hutton commercial). The only thing I could think or say was "How long will you have this?" To my great relief she said it would be on the menu until September when the Food Network starts the new NFNS. While I was telling her how good it was, my head was calculating how many more times I could afford to eat at Red Lobster before September and being grateful that I didn't have to try to dine there every night this week. I finished ooohing and aaahing through the rest of my meal, then leaned back in stuffed contentment.
As we left the restaurant the hostess offered a friendly thank you along with "come back and see us." "Oh, believe me, I will," I replied. She grinned knowingly.