Like an enormous tattoo of Patrick Swayze, each episode of Top Chef is a conversation piece. So I recommend that you drop whatever you're doing and join our conversation about tonight's episode. This is one impulsive decision that you won't regret for the rest of your life!

Here's how it works: Just turn on your TV, watch the show — which airs at 10 Eastern on Bravo (and also online — see below!) — and post observations about the proceedings in the comments section under this post. The rest of us will be doing the same. Shirts and shoes are optional.

By the way, in case you're wondering, that is indeed a tattooed portrait of the late, great dirty dancer visible in the picture above (a scene from tonight's episode). It's inked onto the forearm of contestant James Rigato, who says he got it out of respect for Swayze's "craftsmanship and commitment to excellence." I was a bit puzzled by this tattoo choice when I first saw it — but given that explanation, it all makes sense to me now!

I have a few other things to share about tonight's episode below, but first, here are a few quick notes about last week's open thread:

  • Stacy Cogswell's sister joined us (at least, she says she's Stacy's sister, and I believe her), and says she plans keep coming back. So we're all officially "team Stacey here from now on. Everyone got that? #teamstacy! She's part open-thread family now!
  • Commenter dippitydoo mentioned something I wasn't aware of: host Padma Lakshmi is a "supertaster." Supertasters, it seems, are people who taste things more intensely than the average person — even when they aren't under the influence of appetite-enhancing substances.
  • Minnie_Van_Driver mentioned something I was aware of, once, but had totally forgotten about: The Beef Tongue Song. Remember the Beef Tongue Song? How could I possibly have ever forgotten about that?
  • As usual, people posted a bunch of funny comments. I've posted a few of my favorites here.

And here's a quick note about an important discovery I made a few days ago, which may affect the number of people who can participate this open thread: Apparently, you stream a live Internet feed of whatever's on Bravo at this URL — if you have a valid log-in credentials from a cable or satellite provider, of course. So if that actually works during tonight's episode (I haven't tested it for Top Chef yet), you can watch and chat along with the rest of us even if you don't have Bravo on your TV – because, for example, your TV is broken, or your cable is down. (I'm not suggesting that anyone who doesn't have a cable subscription should "borrow" log-in credentials from somebody else who does. That would be dishonest!)

OK, time for a few quick tidbits about tonight's episode:

  • The elimination challenge will feature a tribute to Boston police and other first responders.
  • One guest participant will be chef Todd English, who was probably be happier about this encounter with police than he was last August on Long Island.
  • During the quickfire challenge, Adam Harvey will be last in line to choose from a table of ingredients and get stuck having to use something called "dried crab snack." I can't imagine why "dried crab snack" would be the last ingredient chosen. It sounds delicious!

OK, time to get this conversation started. I'll see you in the comments!

[Image via Bravo]