Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our own food network experience

Do you watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (or Triple D, as Guy likes to call it)?

We do - so we were pretty pumped when Chad's brother Bill let us know a few months ago that he saw an episode featuring a restaurant in Charlotte. We knew we had to make a pilgrimage to the holy ground on which Mr. Fieri trod. The Saturday before Father's Day was the perfect occasion for such a trip. We headed downtown to visit....

....what was truly a "dive"....

Penguin Drive-In (which actually isn't a drive-in)

Finding parking on a Saturday in this somewhat seedy neighborhood was our first challenge. The next challenge is getting a seat. The seating area is not large at all. As soon as you open the door, the hostess ushers you in, asking you to shut the door quickly. There is no foyer or waiting area so you smash yourself up against the wall with the thirty or so other people who are waiting ahead of you. After we put our name on the list, I took the already restless kids and sat in the car while Chad waited inside. It was amazing to sit out there, watch more and more people pile in, and wonder where everyone is waiting. By the time we got a seat, there were thick lines of people inside along one wall and between the bar and tables.

We were excited to order our food to see if it was"out of bounds" or "off the hook." Everything on the menu was very reasonably priced (so reasonably priced, in fact, that Chad was a little ticked off - why not raise your prices a little if you have lines out the door? - he was dumbfounded).

Chad got the "Hemi" - three hamburger patties on a bun with the usual fixin's.

Colin and Gabe got the corndogs - huge, greasy, and freshly made.

It looks large-but Chad had no problem eating it, though it completely fell apart half-way through. The taste? Basically like regular ol' ground beef. Not exactly "money."

I got the pork chop sandwich - it was good, but pretty bland. I really wanted some kind of tasty kick -some sweetness like coleslaw or some acid, but it was just basically what you see in the picture with a little bit of mayo on it.

The onion rings were the best part of the meal - generous, flavorful, with a light batter that was far from typical. Even Colin, who normally won't go near onions, liked them. We also got the hush puppies, which were good, but not the best we have had in the four years since we first tried this southern appetizers.

Would we go again? - the price was right and the food was about what you expect from a greasy dive (I felt sick for the rest of the day, and Gabe later lost his lunch in the Target parking lot -after we piled Chick-fil-A on top of this). If we had friends who were fans of the show who wanted to go, we would probably go again, hopefully on a weekday this time!

Not sure when the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Penguin Drive-In airs again, but the title of the episode is "Blue Plate Special" if you want to keep your eyes open for it!


em said...

i once saw an epidsode where there was a ribs trailer restaurant that you could go to while your car was getting serviced. they would bring windshields and bumpers through the restaurant to get to the shop. looked pretty fun. sean wanted the ribs.

mom and grandma of BOLTON BUNCH said...

I love Triple D- one of my favorite shows but I don't remember seeing that episode. But I did see one of a place in Norfolk and insisted that Gentry and Cami take me there when I went for the visit. Unfortunately, each time we were "in the neighborhood" we had just ate or were on our way to somewhere else and it didn't work out for that visit. But it was best known for it's Limeaid and ice cream creations, so we can go anytime. Some of those places look like exactly a place I would love to stumble upon when I am hungry.

Ashley said...

I don't do well with crowds like that, so I probably wouldn't want to go there. The corn dog looks really tasty though. I always want to try the BBQ joints he goes to.

Audra said...

I would love to go on a day other than a Saturday... but at the same time that pork chop sandwich does not look like it compared to "Snappy Lunch"!

We love that show! It always makes me hungry!

Billy said...

Stop blaming the Penguin for Colin's mishap at Target. It had to be the Chic Filet!

Carmen said...

Oooo...I wanna try that place now! :)