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Will D.C. come across as a cartoon parody of itself? Will the cheftestants be forced to make their own chili for the District’s famous half-smoke? How often will the producers draft José Andrés to add some genuine “talk to the tomatoes” eccentricity to the show?  Will the Obamas make an appearance to show off the White House garden? Was the White House garden even planted when the show was filming?

We’ll start to get some answers to these questions, and more, tonight when season seven of Top Chef premieres at 9 p.m. on Bravo. What I’ve read so far about the upcoming challenges doesn’t give me a ton of hope. Cooking at the CIA? Since when are spooks known for their discriminating tastes?

OK, OK, I know. I”m pre-judging, so allow me to get back to basics, such as where to watch the show. Y&H will likely be camped out at home, so he can scream at the TV in private, but the Washingtonian is hosting a watch party at (where else?) former cheftestant Spike Mendelsohn‘s burger joint on the Hill, Good Stuff Eatery.

The Going Out Gurus has compiled a more comprehensive list of places to watch the show.

If you know of any other bars or restaurants or lounges hosting watch parties, let us know in the comments. Otherwise, here are a few cheat sheets for tonight’s program:

  1. The official Bravo biographies of the cheftestants;
  2. Washingtonian‘s more extensive biographies of the competitors;
  3. Y&H’s look at the local contestants;
  4. And finally, WaPo‘s words of caution after viewing the season debut: “[I]t feels as though ‘Top Chef’ has burned off a lot of its original allure.”