Frequent business traveler David Condon is ecstatic about the "best eggs Benedict" at the Gaffey Street Diner in San Pedro, Calif., and the "garbage plate" at Frank's Diner in Kenosha, Wis.[both from Breakfast (DV0104)]
The garbage plate — "hash browns, eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage and God knows what else" accompanied by homemade toast — "is a totally decadent experience," says Condon, of West Haven, Conn....Moreover, I had to chuckle at Gadling.com, who only recently figured out there are iPhone apps for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Condon, who travels on business about 200 days a year, says his "decadent pleasure" is seeking the greasy-spoon restaurants Guy Fieri visits on his popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Dr. M (a.k.a Dr. Robert McCleland) is one of these "road warriors," traveling some 300,000 miles on United in the last couple of years. He wrote to me, "thinking about it on the airplane today, I came up with my top 10 reasons that I LOVE this hobby. ... I've now been to 66 places that Guy has featured."
And Dr. M is generously helping me to collect the Guy Ate Here tags, stenciled and spray-painted somewhere on a wall or door in the more recently-filmed DDD locations.
He's allowed me to post his reasons for indulging in this travel decadent pleasure with full editing rights. However, nothing I could conjure with words and imagination would surpass his own. And they are:
Dr. M’s TOP TEN reasons that visiting Triple Ds is a great hobby!
1. I now eat far better when I'm on the road.
Last night I had fresh hummus, grilled lamb and salad (Prince Lebanese Grill). The night before I had duck in orange sauce over fresh spinach (Chef Point Cafe). Two years ago I would have had McDonald's one night and Burger King the next.
2. I have actually lost weight doing this!
I thought I had gained 5 pounds, but when I got on the scale recently I found that I have lost about 5.
3. I get to support local places that are doing it right.
These are not big chains, but are local joints with hard working people that care about their customers and their product... and it shows.
4. I get to meet some very thankful owners.
The day before the LA Roadshow I went to Mambo’s and I met Raul, Sr. I told him that I was going to meet Guy the following evening. Raul said, "Please tell Guy how thankful I am for all he has done for me." He is not alone. I have often heard how thankful people are to have become part of the Triple D family.
5. I learn about food and cooking.
As a result of watching Triple D I began some chef lessons, I use fresh ingredients for the first time, I cook with my daughter, and I purchased some really cool knives with red flames on the handles!
6. It gets me off the couch at home.
I watch less TV as a result of this TV show! While that sounds oxymoronic, it's true. Now I cook more, I’m reading and studying about food, I go to farmer's markets, etc. I have taken some chef lessons, and I’m cooking once in awhile. Most of all I enjoy cooking with others.
7. When I'm on the road, the local Triple D gives me a place to meet people.
This week I was in Dallas. An old friend wanted to get together so I said, “I want to check out this great restaurant I heard about… Over the meal he asks how I heard about the place and I’m thinking ‘don’t get me started.’ My friends or business associates then start checking out the other Triple Ds in their respective areas. Then I get emails from them telling me about joints I need to visit.
8. The price is right.
My meals at Triple D establishments average about $10. Even when I’m generous with the wait staff, these places are easy on the travel expense budget.
9. The extra kindness shown by the proprietors.
I introduce myself to the owners when possible. Inevitably they ask about other places I have visited, they tell stories about filming their episode, and they talk about how much their business has increased (at least 30%!). Many times, before I leave, a complimentary dessert shows up at my table or some other nicety occurs. It is never expected, but these people are just so nice, they can’t help themselves.
10. The incredible food!
We’re talking good eats. Ultimately, it’s all about the food. So far only 2 places have disappointed. There are 2 others that I considered average. That means over 90% of the Triple Ds I have been to have had really good food (and many times I have said, “This might be the best thing I have ever tasted!”). What other road warriors have that kind of good meal percentage?!
I would have never experienced the halibut fish tacos at Bluewater Grill, the pork ribs at Gorilla BBQ, or the pozole soup at Avila's. Words just can’t express how good these dishes are… the gingerbread waffles at the Fly Trap, the butterfly shrimp at Joey K’s, the Bacon Burger at Hodad’s, the Swedish delights at Tre Kronor… are you kidding me?!
We are talking outstanding food eaten in funky joints while meeting some great people all over our country. It’s a great hobby, and I highly recommend it!
Robert C. McCleland, PhD
of Wheaton, IL
Listen to Dr. DDD on Restaurant Radio. Click here.
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