Asphalt food #4. Alton fell! Ouch!!
I just saw #4 and sure enough he fell. Cracked collerbone. He look's ok and he continued the run. I'm not going to review the whole eposide but reading previous posts I generally agree. A little too much Alton but I think it was a foot loose experiment that they got away with. I hope FoodTV had this show insured. I'll bet "The Boys" are now.
I think the show grew as it went on. Very culturally focused with a little ethnic but a good effort over all in my opinion. I liked the "cop" segument. That burger looked awful!! No taco trucks but a little story about moving food vendors and up to date travel cooking options. I liked #4.
I mostly thought it was a good series, but some things could've been done a lot better.
I thought that the focus was actually really lacking - to some extent, road food is whatever you get on the road, so perhaps that's ok. But going from a private party in Arizona to showing us how to cook hash browns on a non-stick pan in a modern RV to a chuck wagon reenactment... I dunno - just felt like each piece has been done better and more in depth, (some by himself) and that this wasn't showing us all the special places along the way. Was this a travelogue - On The Road with all the people and adventures along the way, or was this a food show about eating well on the road? But no doubt, it was entertaining.
I'm a road guy - these days it's a Winnebago or a Goldwing, but it started out with the thumb. One thing that Alton's show was all about is that from a food perspective, Interstates suck, and that you don't have to stop at truck stops and chains every time. Ironically his truck stop encounter leads to a great cooking device - I've found all kinds of travel aids at these places where the real "road pro's" go.
I had never thought of checking in with the cops to get the skinny on the local chow, but it's really a good source when you think about of it, (why, oh why, did I never consider that career path as a means to becoming the local expert on food?).
But dumping the RT on loose gravel... man, that just sucks... I guess he's not much of a dirt guy, given that his other bike was a SV650. Seriously, I hope he gets right back up and does this again - it's very entertaining!
I liked the episode but I agree with others here on what could've made it better....like talking with the two old gals at the cafe in Colorado. Loved that! Reminded me of a Saturday Night Live skit. He could've skipped showing the Pikes Peak deal altogether. I liked the guy making the Indian Flat Bread.
What episode was it that he ate fried brains? I must have missed that one.
I enjoyed the first three episodes better than the last. To me it seemed that after Alton took his spill the wind was not only knocked out of his sails literally, but also in terms of his subsequent "stand ups".
Being a southern California local, I really did not get much out of seeing his stops in the L.A. area. I also do not recall much discussion, if any, about the local joints he featured on the Chowhound L.A. board, which all seem to be the cop's local favs.
The cop, Chris Cognac, hangs out here sometimes, and is much more active on egullet, and if you find the thread on this board that runs something like "do food critics really read chowhound" you will see some postings from him. Chris also writes a restaurant column for a local paper. Apparently Chris has cut a TV syndication deal and has been on the road himself, filming. So it seems Alton's somewhat limited mobility when he was in the L.A. area was kind of serenpiditous for Chris, getting him some media exposure.
Getting back to the last episode, in all those segments, instead of Alton taking us in to a restaurant or kitchen, letting us see where the food is prepared and meeting with the staff, Chris just phones ahead, and then either fetches the food or it is delivered to the car. It seems that all of those vignettes were just thrown together, none of the insight, history or "interviewing" by Alton.
In terms of the "lunch wagon", if they had made the effort, they could have done a whole hour on taco trucks, those are really big in L.A. and San Francisco, that was just a missed opportunity.
I thought the pepper ball demonstration was gratuitous and stupid.
So last night was kind of a letdown, but I really did like a lot of the other episodes, and I just like almost anything that Alton appears in.
ChinoWayne, you won't see as much discussion about LA/South Bay joints because very few LA hounds seem to live or work here; there is almost overwhelming focus elsewhere (except for, say Japanese and Hawaiian food in Gardena). To paraphrase another restaurant reviewer, the LA/South Bay demographic is still dominated by suburban/corporate types who are *Not* adventurous food wise. Unfortunately, chains and yuppie bars rule in the area. Many great little places have come and gone that would have done much better in a different part of the county.
BTW I've posted several times on the LA board about the burger nirvana that is B&R Burgers. The Royal Burger shown on the FOA episode is definitely not for everyone, kind of the burger equivalent of the Oki Dog.
Your idea about reviewing taco trucks is excellent given the wealth of options, although due to their mobility it might be hard to set up filming segments. Dang, I would have like to see AB cook in one of those :-).
If anyone wants more chowish details of the Hawthorne locations shown, I'll post on the LA forum.
Hawthorne, CA. (which just got its 15 minutes of fame)
WE wanted to do more taco trucks, but they are hard to catch and many do not want to be on TV for various reasons...Alton was in serious pain the entire shoot and was a real trooper. The pepper ball segment was spontaneous and because it was made from capsicum (chili powder) they were interested in seeing what it felt like (notice I didnt partake in that stuff).
I am shooting my new show in Atlanta at the moment...hit some great chowish places, like Panahar Bangladeshi food, a great BBQ dive and a neat place run by a self professed "big old bull dike" named Ria...I hope you guys will like it....we are working hard on the show...its been an eye opening experiance for me....its a lot of work and there are lots of factors in choosing a place, like...do they even want a film crew inside!
Mike, hold down the fort for me in Hawthorne while I am gone...we are off to Charelston, then Miami before coming home...
Chris, I am sure, that some day if you have the time, and after you have a season "in the can" you would be able to tell folks around here what it REALLY means to produce 30 minutes of TV.
The truck stop that Alton and company stopped at is just down the road from me, maybe you can consider doing a season of truck stops if your show takes off.
The pastrami dog looked awesome, if I weren't on the diet I would like to try it. So I wonder how you feel after putting away one of those puppys? I'm good for about 1-1/2 of the Hat's pastrami dips, and then I get a stomach ache. Don't think its the quantity so much as the overdose on grease.
WE went to Panahar on Buford HWY...you guys are right, that area is ripe with amazing places....and as far as the shoot goes w Alton, he was in real pain and needed to get back to Atlanta and see a Doctor so we did the best we could...
My show is called the Hungry Detective and starts Oct 17th ...offf to Charelston now..then Miami...
Glad some of you guys like my column, its fun to write
I KNEW Chris' name sounded familiar... I've enjoy his column on occassion, and had no idea he was a cop, although now the title makes sense... LOL!!
I agree with you totally... after a great third, I was horribly dispointed with the fourth. It got Ham on the Street stupid at certain points... which I think is probably the worst thing one could say about a Food Show...