November 4, 2012 at 8:46am
FOOD NETWORK VS THE SOUTH SOUND >>>
There's been some excitement buzzing around the South this week about a certain 1967 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible cruising through Tacoma, Puyallup and Olympia. Not because it's a sexy hue of red and hot, but rather it sports the license plate FLVRTWN.
Guy Fieri - champion of season two's Next Food Network Star, and host of the Food Network series Guy's Big Bite AND the ever-popular Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - has been known to appear in one such vehicle.
Fieri and the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives crew spent the last week interviewing, eating and hugging the South Sound.
Nearly two months ago Chef Charlie McManus learned Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives was interest in the neighborhood pub he and his partner, Jacqueline Plattner, transformed from a beloved breakfast joint then semi-beloved steak joint into their street-food slinging, buttermilk fried chicken cookin', craft cocktail pouring Crown Bar on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue.
Then nothing. Nil. Not a peep from food-centric producers. The word out of food central was as dark as the paint on the Murray Morgan Bridge.
TGIFood Channel. Word came the preceding Friday the show's crew would be arriving Sunday, Oct. 28. McManus and his fellow chef spent that Sunday in the kitchen preparing dishes for close-up shots; Monday, producers filmed crowd responses while long-time cheerful Crown employees Chelsea and Kevin darted between cameras; Fieri dropped Thursday sharing his humor, appetite and amped-up rasp of a voice with McManus and crew.
After the Crown Bar, the cast and crew jumped into the convertible and drove down the street to Dirty Oscar's.
Though almost neighbors, both "dive"(?) bars prove that approachable ambiance and comfort does not equate to having to serve up traditional bar grub. As a matter of fact both establishments use adventurous ingredients and unconventional flair to make dishes anything but what one expects from bar bites.
Chef Aaron Grissom of Dirty Oscar's tells me of Fieri that the guy has a sense of humor. Boys will be boys after all and jesterly behavior is expected in a kitchen. Fieri was no exception. If you've every viewed the show Fieri's playfulness and exuberance is not merely showmanship.
After Dirty Oscar's, Fieri headed toward Puyallup to Crockett's Public House for pub style nibbles. Crockett's posted photos on Facebook of its Diners, Drive Ins and Dives entrees - including its signature Public House Meatballs.
After a stint at Tacoma's Bruno's European Cafe for authentic German cuisine, the convertible drove south for visits with Fish Tale Brew Pub and Darby's Café in downtown Olympia. At Darby's someone may have overheard some talk about Oysters Creole, though one of its many vegan delights as a feature wouldn't surprise me. The tiny café has quite the selection for the non-meat eaters.
Word on the street is the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives crew whooped it up once filming finished. Apparently some South Sound fans died and went to Food Network groupie heaven.
During all of the filming and noshing Fieri made time to do some good by making an appearance at Saint Martin's Gala, held in Lacey's Saint Martin's University, where he hosted a black tie auction with proceeds benefiting student's scholarship funds. Fieri also met with soldiers and culinary specialists at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Though no date has been announced you can expect the show to be featured in the spring with a start of a new Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives season.
Pappi Swarner contributed to this story.
Off duty rules.
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