Food Network
Chef Morimoto rocks it in the Kitchen Stadium

I heart Iron Chef

Ooh, did you catch that episode of

Iron Chef America


Masaharu Morimoto versus Homaru Cantu

? I finally watched it last night after having in my DVR list for a few days. (I got a little behind last week, and was more preoccupied with drinking Emergen-C , sucking on green tea Cold-Eeze, and taking naps to fight off that awful thing that was going around.)

It was one of the most exciting episodes ever -- just a total showdown of weird science and culinary creativity. I've read about Chef Cantu for and his Chicago restaurant, Moto, seemingly everywhere, and not just in foodie rags. (Fast Company ran an interesting piece last year.) Apparently his kitchen is more like a laboratory, and his edible concoctions completely defy traditional notions of cuisine -- or food in general, for that matter. How about an edible menu printed with food-based inks, or a bowl of soup frozen with liquid nitrogen? Dinner at Moto would cost about as much as a plane ticket to O'Hare, but what the hell -- I'd go in a heartbeat if I hit the jackpot.

Meanwhile, Chef Morimoto is just all-around cool, up there with Tony Bourdain in my short-list of culinary crushes. Before he was a restaurant world rock star, a friend and I had a nice chat with him when he was still at Nobu in New York. Then in 2002, my uncle took me to his new restaurant in Philly, which turned out to be one of the most memorable and mind-blowing meals of my life. I still dream about wasabi tiramisu from time to time. And these days I can't get enough of his beer. That's right, the dude has three different brews from Rogue, and man are they good. Try the Morimoto Soba Ale the next time you hit up the Roosevelt Tavern.

Along with the incredible chef matchup, I was psyched to see Jeffrey Steingarten as one of the judges. He's the food columnist at Vogue, an adventurous writer and gourmet. I have a culinary crush on him, too. Even if you have no interest in fashion (but how could you not?), Vogue's worth the subscription just for his obsessively detailed articles.

Anyway, I won't reveal who won the super-close competition, in case you can still catch a rerun...

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