For the last few weeks, I've been powering through seasons 1 and 3 of "Diners, Driveins and Dives" with Guy Fieri. Yeah, I started watching the episodes a little out of order with season 3 first. But it's all the same setup basically.
It's a show that's on the Food Network and apparently it's on its 13th season. Unfortunately, only four of those seasons are on DVD. And the episodes are all short - just 20 minutes long. So it's been easy to get these DVDs watched.
Episodes may follow a theme - barbecue joints, places that offer big, hearty breakfasts, burgers, or "just like mom used to make." I get a kick out of Fieri rolling into some neighborhood in his classic Camaro. And he'll invade the kitchen and dining area with his sunglasses perched on the back of his head and funky, spiky blond hair. With every episode I watch, I keep thinking, "geez, I should cook more or bake more or experiment with a recipe." Of course, the cooks, chefs and owners of these places cook in large quantities. I don't think I'll be making 600 pancakes for breakfast any time soon. But it's fun to watch how some of these folks put together a barbecue sauce, a salad, or homemade macaroni and cheese. Ingredients just follow each other in a humungous pot. And there's always that "secret ingredient" that they don't even want to reveal to Fieri.
After watching several episodes, I actually found myself trying to identify ingredients in a chicken dip recently by smell alone. And the term "comfort food" is thrown around a lot on that show. And it's inspiring me to try and make some kind of ribs. Guess I'll have to get that smoker or barbecue pit someday.
Out of all the places that have been featured on "DDD," I've only been to one - the Anchor Bar in Superior, Wis., which is known for its burgers. It was referred to as a "dive." Yeah, I can attest to that, but it does have great burgers, including one that is topped with cashews. There's also the Ruebenburger, with sauerkraut and swiss, the jalapenoburger and the olive burger among the several burger items on the menu. And the fries are great too.
As far as restaurants that have been on the show - Minnesota has 25, Wisconsin has four, Iowa has one and South Dakota is still not represented (gotta find a place someday). It would be cool to hit up one of the places outside of the tri-state area. One of my favorites I've seen so far is a place that combines Chinese and Mexican food - the Chino Bandido in Phoenix, Ariz. It's run by a husband-and-wife team Frank and Eve Collins. Eve has a Chinese background, and one can get a mix of both cultures on one plate. It sounds delightful, just hope my stomach would be up for it.