And here's the money scene: Micah is trotting out with her stacked fat cylinder of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. The round of meatloaf is topped by a frosting-like spread of mashed potatoes, and as Micah sets it down, Colicchio -- his hands over his mouth to hide the gawping grin of incredulity that such an object has assailed his sight, I assume -- flares his eyes goofily. There is no doubt, he is laughing here and it cracks me up to see it. I wonder if -- with all the expressions he slaps on in this episode -- Colicchio isn't beginning to grow on me a tad. Micah's meatloaf is supposed to be Italian in some undisclosed way and she used 95% lean ground sirloin, "to take out all the cholesterol" and the "smashed" potatoes have garlic in them. People, can we stop saying "smashed potatoes"? It stopped being cute and clever about five years ago and means the exact same thing as mashed, so just stop it. Finally, the phrase that bent everyone all out of shape, "I know that Americans like to put ketchup on, so instead we did a roasted tomato, red, and yellow pepper sauce -- it's underneath."
Micah leaves and Portale leaps in with, "I don't like the way she said 'us Americans.'" Okay, but she didn't say "you Americans." Her tone might have been dismissive, sure. Although, it did seem gently dismissive, so maybe Portale should look into seeing a dermatologist -- a chef of his stature should have a thicker skin. Ted Allen agrees with Portale, because to disagree with the Outstanding Chef of the Country would be career suicide for him, and Portale goes on that he detected a bit of an attitude. Portale pretends to quote Micah, "I know you like to put ketchup on it." "You know, every time he opens his mouth in this scene, he just seems to add something that wasn't even there in the first place. He now needs to get up and do a little attitude dance: 'Look at meee! I'm an American South African who disdains putting ketchup on meeeeatloaf!'" the Evil Dr. Mathra blusters, favoring us with his rendition of Portale imitating Micah's attitude in an interpretive "attitude dance." It's time for his nap. Colicchio just smiles through Portale, Ted Allen, and the Evil Dr. Mathra and doesn't say anything about Micah's perceived attitude. Looking at the food, he just notes, "It's terrible." "It's terrible," Padma parrots. Someone give Padma a cracker already. The Elks find the meatloaf dry and crunchy. See, forget Micah's attitude about Americans or whatever she supposedly did, her biggest crime is ruining something as delectable and homey as meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Meatloaf should only ever be crunchy on the outside and even then, it's a very, very thin line of crunchiness before it devolves into moist beef-lamb-veal-pork happiness, studded here and there with translucent slivers of onion. Oh, man -- I can't resist the opportunity to point you all to one of the greatest meatloafs found on the Wide, Wide World of Web: the meatcake. You have to scroll down and watch the progression to fully appreciate the complete and total awesomeness of this creation. My favorite part is when Black Widow Baker notes that the T-bone design in the "frosting" has a "uterusy" look about it.