Saturday, February 6, 2010

Food... Now THAT's Reality!

When we think of "reality TV", the first thing that comes to mind is "Survivor", the granddaddy of them all, "Amazing Race", "Big Brother" and similar competition formats.

One "reality" genre I've recently become a big fan of is the assortment of food and dining related shows on the Food Network. A particular favorite is "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", where we go on a road trip with host Guy Fieri searching for unique and tasty food in unusual places. The funkier the better. As the title indicates, the focus is on the kind of places you might stumble across on an actual cross-country road trip, assuming that you're going "old school" and driving the back roads rather than zipping past on the Interstates, and are taking the time to actually sample the local flavor of the towns most drivers blink and miss.

Favorites are classic diners with their shiny machined aluminum interiors and neon lighting, the handful of remaining drive ins, some still featuring carhops on roller skates, and an assortment of other funky places under the catchall category of "Dives". Some of my favorites have been the dives that feature hamburgers that make standard fast food burgers seem like you're eating cardboard by comparison, and the little mom-and-pop ethnic food joints where you can get handmade tamales, falafel, perogies, or whatever other comfort food you might have grown up with in your old 'hood.

I've made an effort to check out the places featured on the show that are within reasonable driving distance from me, and Guy hasn't steered me wrong yet! I've added a couple of great burger dives, a diner, and a classic roadhouse grill to the rotation of my favorite "dine out" joints.

Someday I may just try a coast-to-coast "Route 66" run, and plan my stops around Triple-D recommended eateries.

I'm salivating already!

The Food Network also offers a range of cooking competition shows that can be a lot of fun to watch, but that's a topic for another day.


Lilies40 said...

Great heads up here, Thumper. I adore exploring along the way to where ever, and have found many a hole in the wall local place that knocks your socks off with the local fare. This is a great find.

My personal favorites are sprinkled all around the Atlantic seaboard where the seafood is truly divine. Heading East toward Delmarva from the DC area on Rt 50, the Kent Island bridge area is a goldmine with delicacies served up by the natives. Thanks for calling this to our attention! I'm on it!

Pepe said...

I've seen that show a few times. It's a pity that they don't come up here to Canada (at least I haven't seen any episodes from up here yet) as I'm always interested in checking out new places to eat.

My experience has always been that diners or local joints easily make for the best places to eat and they're usually cheaper than the chains as well.

When my family and I went out to the Maritimes on vacation last summer, we ate at a few local joints and they were, for the most part, better than anything we'd find in the chains. Of course, the down side is that some of them were rather atrocious. The odds are still on the side of the restaurant being good, though.