(OPENING PARENTHETICAL: I just checked Food Network's site and yep, it's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," no Oxford comma, TYVM.)
At the risk of this blog turning into a TV-only affair, let me say a few things about "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," which airs virtually nonstop on Food Network. I know that Guy Fieri is an easy target; I've made fun of him myself. How could you not? The hair, the backwards sunglasses, the dog named "Rockstar." It's all too easy.
BUT let me make the audacious claim that DD&D is actually a pretty good show. Here's the basic format: Guy goes to one of the aforementioned types of places, talks to the clientele about why they like the place so much, and then gets the owner or operator to show him how to make one or two of the place's signature dishes. Here's an example, featuring the Tune Inn in DC:
It's not rocket science, but here are the good things about the show: First, the places he's featuring are all non-chain, usually owner-operated small-time restaurants. It's good to see those kinds of places getting some love. I am ancedotally informed that when he featured the Tee Off and the Broken Record here in SF, it helped out both places tremendously. (Both are pretty good, BTW, and worth a visit.)
Second, for whatever reason, Guy Fieri is really good at describing what he's eating. Any TV dork can take a bite of something and go "Mmmmm, crunchy," but Guy is uncommonly good at conveying verbally how something tastes. It doesn't seem like rocket science, but it's surprisingly hard to do! Here's a (somewhat below-average) sample. I could find a better one but what am I supposed to do, watch YouTube clips of Guy Fieri all day? Anyway, Guy's describing the Guinness beef stew at this Irish pub, and he says it's "rich, flavorful, full of depth," that it has "really nice rounded, roasted flavor . . . nice velvety texture from the mushrooms, and the meat just completely dissolves-in-your-mouth tender." OK, I know, it's not M.F.K. Fisher but M.F.K. Fisher didn't hit three spots per half hour episode.
And third, yes, Guy Fieri is a total dork and can be completely irritating, but the man brings the enthusiasm to every place. You got to admire that.
Oh, and fourth, for someone who's into food like me, it's pretty interesting to see how these restaurants make their dishes. In fact, after seeing one segment I actually hunted down the recipe they made and did it up at home. I can't remember which restaurant or what dish so don't even ask.
That's it. I'll try and write about non-TV matters soon. Have a good weekend.