I admit to not liking the bit of snobbery on both sides. One side saying they were cooking for the judges, the other side for the neighbors. I can see wanting to do things for the kids, since they were mostly there. I think the judges should have taken the neighbors feelings into account when judging.
It just drives me crazy when people think because you are not a chef or in the business, that your palate has no sophistication. I know on our block we had an ex-chef and several women who were very talented amateur chefs. If our get togethers involved homemade pizza, the toppings usually included goat cheese, clams (hey, it was really good), and other fun stuff. Most of the kids liked the same stuff as the adults (not mine, but more for medical reasons).
And I would have kicked the pasta salad cook out for her attitude. She should have been able to make that salad sing. I've had gourmet pasta salad before.
One of my favorite restaurants does an upscale comfort food. The base idea is familiar, then they jazz it up with surprising ingredients.
If it was so close between the two teams as to who won, then I think the block party people should have had a say in it.
That being said, I'm rooting for Dale to make it far for mostly a shallow reason. He's kinda cute. And I love Asian food. I've only watched two shows, though., so I have no idea about his attitude.