Cooking shows of the old are filed away into the archives where the nostalgic Yan Can Cook is still a reminiscence to my childhood days echoing his closing line to the show, “If I can cook you can too!” The evolution of cooking shows have elevated to new heights. No longer on PBS, we’ve come to see cooking channels emerge in this era of the rivalry of cable and dish networks offering an array of cooking shows. To the wonders of televisions, chefs and restaurateurs have catapulted to become b-list celebrities.
One of the many recognizable chefs that has become a prominent figure for the Food channel is Guy Fieri, the host on the cooking show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. A quick synopsis of the show is that he travels throughout the United States to find creative eateries that are beyond the norm and highlights the popular dishes that they offer. It’s become the bland without criticism, but a great marketing strategy for the benefit of increasing consumers to these diners, drive-ins, and dives for a fleeting moment.
So my story begins here, in challenging this notion and really seeking out the truth behind Guy Fieri’s findings from these 39 fine eateries that he has visited in MN. My first lamb to the slaughter is Prairie Dogs located on 610 W. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408 close to the corner of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street.
Prairie Dogs boast on their web: “We’re taking an approach to hot dogs that elevates the simple sandwich of ball park and backyard days with ingredients and flavors usually reserved for small chef driven bistros and fine dining restaurants.”
For starters I’ve ordered their sticky hot wings as well as the double fried fries foietine. Their sticky hot wings were fried wings covered in a thick dark molasses-like sweet concoction sprinkled with a plethora of chili flakes which is similar to the tasty popular sauce blanketing a Chinese dish known as General Tso’s. The second appetizer was their double fried fries foietine featured on Diner’s, Drive-ins, and Dives, and one of the main reason for this establishment to be my first visit, a Triple D approved dish they have inscribed on their menu. The double fried fries foietine was no ordinary fries. The double fried fries had a layer of cheese curds with a hearty topping of braised lamb neck meat, and to finish off, a molten ladle of foie gravy completes the dish as the gravy keeps the lamb meat moist with the heat melting down the cheese curds. The wings were okay, while the double fried fries foietine was forgettable as the insipid gravy was needing more salt or seasoning to bring out the pizzazz.
For the main course I ordered another Triple D approved item on the menu, the Jimmy Two Times Sausage and Beef combo. The bun blanketing the meats had a crackling crust with a stretchy interior to a moist and spongy exterior of the inside loading of the dog where the Italian sausage lies, and where juices of the Italian beef along with the house made giardiniera settles. The oversized hot dog was a little overwhelming due to the sheer size, as the sandwich isn’t a hold and eat hot dog, but a knife and fork meal. This was a typical tasting Italian beef sandwich that happened to be paired with an Italian sausage. It was palatable, but nothing special that would excite my taste buds.
All in all, the food was mediocre at best. I was disappointed because I had higher expectations from a featured eatery on Diner, Drive-ins, and Dive. Sometimes when you expect too much, it seems the majority of the outcomes will resolute to being disappointed in the end. So for my future mission in tackling this, I will accept to not take in the worth of higher expectations into consideration to avoid any prejudgemental propaganda that can sway my decision. In saying this, I’ll be traveling around Minnesota to visit the other 38 restaurants Guy Fieri has visited, simply to eat and let my taste buds do the talking. Bon appetit!