The philosophy of the Food Network’s popular “Diners/Drive-In” realty show – that spotlights eclectic diners and “street food” trucks around the country – is the fundamental appreciation of good fast-food that’s now “hip” or “chic” due to a steady rise in clever food truck operations that take the West’s old chuck wagon concept to a higher level. For instance, tune in for tonight’s smorgasbord of six 30-minute “Diners/Drive-In” episodes that air back-to-back beginning at 8/7c; while this Food Network’s program has a regular Monday airtime at 10/9c. Thus, the schedule has changed recently to allow for more episodes to be featured Sept. 10 when Diners/Drive-In returns for yet another six episodes featured back-to-back, starting at 8/7c.
According to the programs website, tonight’s offering of Diners/Drive-In’s includes “sweet and savory eats, a Hawaiian pike joint and a cool bar in Philly,” with the show’s over-the-top host Guy Fieri making his regular visits to various “greasy spoon” joints almost viewed like a life-changing experience with Fieri’s hawkish face seeming to know when to smile or wink when the food is extra spicy or greasy.
In turn, Fieri also visits a Greek diner, a brick-oven pizza joint and what he calls “time-tested eateries” during the Food Network’s marathon of Diners/Drive-In episodes that air Monday, Sept. 10.
Modern “chuck wagon” diners popping up everywhere
Look for Debby Nasburg eating one of her favorite veggie wraps at a purple catering truck along the Pacific Coast Highway in central Oregon that offers customers “interesting nosh,” says food truck fan Nasburg who told Huliq during a Sept. 6 interview that “I’ve made it my goal to try each and every one of these joints just for the heck of it.”
Nasburg, a retired high school teacher, says she has a “strong gut” from years of eating cafeteria food and today enjoys such treats as veggie and pulled pork wraps, chocolate covered salty bacon strips and lots and lots of various types of fish tacos.
In turn, Nasburg thinks the ongoing recession and a generation of on the go eaters has made “street food desirable.” Also, this “Baby Boomer” thinks it’s ‘sort of hip or chic’ to eat out this way like "when you’re, say, in the Big Apple and get a hot dog with everything or a dipped something or other from one of those foreign-looking street vendors.”
Also, Nasburg recommends the “street vendors in Eugene (Oregon) who make this lovely grilled chicken with slaw sandwiches or these huge burritos stuffed with fried potatoes and onions with lots of brightly colored peppers and egg-plant if you want to go veggie.”
Diners/Drive-In host “Guy” really gets you hungry
The problem with watching the “Diners/Drive-In” show late at night – when it airs on the Food Network – says Nasburg “is you’re like an animal in a cage who, given the chance to go out and eat, one would in a heart-beat after watching that guy ‘Guy’ gobble-up those really greasy cheeseburgers that he always gets in those late-night big city diners, or those late-night food trucks. On the coast, we don’t have any food place serving after 9 p.m.”
Thus, Nasburg now “stocks up” her kitchen as she awaits “Diners/Drive-In” host Guy Fieri start to an “evening of eating.”
“I usually have lots of frozen mini-pizzas, frozen White Castle mini-cheeseburgers and chips and dip handy before Guy starts pigging-out,” adds the Baby Boomer of the high cost of watching this Food Network series. “I’ve progressed to the chubbo phase watching those shows, and gained nearly 20 pounds just this summer,” she says as her joke fell as flat as a coffin lid with her and friends who now want to lose weight again.
While the price for watching “Diners/Drive-Ins” might be a “few added pounds,” it’s still family “G” rated entertainment that features lots of food without the usual “horrible personalities of those super-sized ego-chefs who think they’re gods,” adds Nasburg who prefers her TV cooking show on the order of Diners/Drive-Ins that’s “in and out fast,” she quips.
They’re also called “Roach Coaches”
They were once nicknamed “Roach Coaches” because many of the food trucks, mobile canteens – that often visited factories, college campuses and military bases in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s– usually featured “un-inspected food preparation areas” where sandwiches, soup and coffee and donuts were prepared and served without much attention placed on sell-by dates.
Thus, fans of food served from trucks and those old-school diners, are reminded to look for city safety and food inspection notices that must be posted so the public can know if such and such has passed various local health and safety food service requirements.
"We know that when you don't feel well; it's nine out of 10 times having to do with some sort of bad food you ingested," says food cart fan and retired high school teacher Debby Nasburg, who adds: "I've been sick more than I would like to remember, but when I did get the runs, it was from a dirty location."
Flash forward to 2012, and the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-In” program is putting the focus on this revival in people eating out at local or retro diners, and food trucks; with the show’s host, Chef Guy Fieri somehow matching the wide range of eclectic foods with his massive arm tattoos and spiked white hair.
Thus, fans probably would “try this,” that Fieri often exclaims when sliding some nosh down his throat in what’s become a staple thing to do on the wide variety of cooking and eating shows on TV today.
In turn, this show used to be called “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” or “The Triple D,” but the show’s producers caught some hell from those “dive owners” who resented the show calling their fast-food joints “Dives.”
Diners/Drive-Ins celebrates six years on TV
So the show’s title was shorted in recent years, with the Food Network now celebrating the sixth anniversary of Diners, Drive-Ins” that first aired back in November 2006.
It’s fun to go out and eat from a truck
Moreover, the program is now tracked on Twitter with fans of “Diners, Drive-Ins” tweeting or posting comments on Facebook about “the super Fab food truck that’s now parked at the cover of 11th and Main Street USA.”
In fact, many of the trendy food truck owners in Eugene, Portland, Seattle and other larger cities in the Pacific Northwest, point to social media as “our best way to market our trucks.”
At the same time, an e-mail or tweet will send groups of food truck fans starving to try the latest deep-friend treat or M-M-M Good fish taco that have become very popular in this area of the country when served from various portable food sources that visit concert sites, strip malls and anyplace people are milling about and hungry.
While fans of “Diners/Drive-Ins” note how the program’s main theme is also to focus on America’s #1 fast food – burgers, baby!
Also, host Chef Guy Fieri likes all sorts of comfort food, as revealed in recent summer episodes where he enjoyed lots of barbecue, smoked meats, deep fried deserts and yummy breakfast dishes at old-school ethnic styled diners.
TV and movie stars like truck food too
Maybe it's because many TV and movie stars are used to getting their food from catered services that are simply food trucks that cater to the star's nutrition needs on site.
However, for a food truck to really make it with "the in crowd," quips Fieri and other fast-food experts, "it has to be really, really good!"
And, of course, with Americans obsessed with celebrities, Fieri likes to match his food hook-ups with such stars as Rosie O’Donnell – who was a food truck fast-food nosh fan until her recent heart attack scare – and other stars such as Gene Hackman, Martin Sheen, Ricky Skaggs, Kid Rock, former baseball and football players and just about anybody who likes to eat with their fingers.
In turn, the somewhat strange and laid-back California guy “Guy Fieri” tells his celebrity buddies that his love affair with food started when he was just 10 by “selling soft pretzels from a three-wheeled bicycle cart named ‘The Awesome Pretzel.’” In turn, he just seems to smile to himself after sharing such stories about him and food.
Today, Fieri continues with that same zeal to get the good out to the people with this Food Network reality TV show “Diners/Drive-In’s” that puts the fun back into eating out, say fans. The show’s regular airtime is Monday’s at 10/9c, but with the summer and new fall season still in a state of flux, Diners/Drive-Ins is featuring a marathon of six back-to-back episodes tonight and again on Monday night, beginning at 8/7c.
Image source of a food truck – known along Pacific Coast Highway in central Oregon as simply the “Purple food stop” – that’s not yet been discovered by Guy Fieri and his Food Network “Diners/Drive-In’s” but locals say “it surely will because the food is real good.” Photo by Dave Masko