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there’s something to be said about the marriage of food porn and reality television.  the perfect union may just be top chef, a reality show where small-time chefs from across the country battle it out in head-to-head cook-offs for cash money and “the title of top chef“.  after five exhilarating seasons, bravo upped the ante with top chef masters, where culinary rock stars returned to the kitchen to regain their street cred and bragging rights– now that’s what i call entertainment (and let’s face it, it’s way more exciting to watch the glitterati sweat it out).  season two of top chef masters put seattle on the map, featuring three of the emerald city’s finest, including jerry traunfeld of poppy.  leaving the executive chef roost at the herbfarm after 17 faithful years, traunfeld opened a thali-themed eatery to feature all the pleasures of small plates, with none of the hassle of sharing.  i’d been dragging my feet after hearing mixed reviews , and it wasn’t until i got wind that the highly-acclaimed pastry chef was leaving that i finally high-tailed it over.  the food was decent, not stellar, with the exception of a corn soup with lemon and basil that translated to a velvet dream; however, we were here for the main event, dessert.  after chatting with the bartender over a fernet and coke for some time, pastry chef dana cree herself came out for a visit, and we soon discovered that her resume was more gilded than a religious temple.  staging at food meccas like wd-50, fat duck, and noma, cree was most humble, and was more than happy to provide recommendations for my upcoming trips to spain, chicago, and of all places, charleston.  and if that wasn’t enough, she sent out her prized caramel corn sundae, something i would have never thought to order, a knockout blow to my tastebuds and my mind.  i’ve never been so happy to be down for the count.

thali for two