Monday, March 21, 2011

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

This is the title of a show on The Food Network where a fast talking, punk haired guy goes around America visiting these iconic eating places and takes us behind the scenes to see how their signature menu items are prepared. And then he tastes them all !

Considering the composition and size of these speciality items and despite only (seeming) to take a few bites of each one, I'm amazed he's not obese but maybe he spits the food out when the cameras stop rolling or goes into the restroom to.....well you know.

Anyway after last night, I'm in NO position to cast the first stone.....or maraschino cherry.

After a gruelling Sunday afternoon game of golf played out in the mid 80's heat, I was pretty much wrecked yesterday evening. With the temp still above 80F in the house, we didn't fancy cranking up the stove for a meal and so Deb and I went out for supper. I'd actually had something earlier (by now it was 8:30pm) so only wanted a nice dessert but Deb wanted a proper meal as she's not had any supper at all.

The first place along US-27N that we approached was The Sebring Diner which we'd been to twice before and hadn't been impressed. If you checkout the photo on the link, you'll see it certainly LOOKS the part and at night, can almost be seen from space !

As we really wanted fast food in the less usual interpretation of the word, we pulled in. The place is open 24/7 and during the day, you usually have to stand in line for a seat. At almost 9pm last night, there was no such wait and only a few tables were occupied. A good start.

The dessert section of the menu (again see that link above) wasn't exactly comprehensive and after asking what was included in a chocolate float and deciding it wasn't for me, I was persuaded to try the banana split, especially after our server said it would be 'huge.'

Now I usually take size comments with a certain amount of scepticism but when an American server says a food portion will be huge, I'm prepared to be impressed if not totally overwhelmed.

Our orders were taken and while the chef worked on preparing Deb's cheeseburger deluxe ($4.99) with onion rings ($1.79), I watched as our server went behind the long diner counter and got out the ingredients for my split. She worked like one of those assembly line robots that can put together the tricky parts of a car in 20 seconds as her arms were just a blur adding scrumptious sweet item after sweet item to create my dessert.

Slice...went the bananas to form the base.

Gloop...went the generous dollops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.

Plop...went the pineapple and strawberry extras.

Squirt...went the whipped cream on top of each ice cream dollop.

Ooouse...went the chocolate sauce over the whipped cream.

Sprinkle...went the nuts.

Boingg...went the 3 maraschino cherries to top off the delight.

The server came along with this structure and placed it in front of me and immediately I felt like asking for a few more spoons and inviting the other customers to tuck in ! OMG it was huge and all for $4.29.

Thankfully this photo was taken before I started to tuck in as after a few seconds, it looked completely different !

For one thing, I made the mistake of running the spoon ACROSS the dessert to scoop up a little bit of every ingredient and although this worked well in a taste sense, it was a disaster in a construction sense. After a few "runnings", I'd seriously eroded the foundations and the edifice started to slowly collapse towards me. With an undignified splat, my glorious dessert ended up in a muddled heap that although still tasting awesome, lost all of its impressiveness.

At least after that it was much easier to get a spoonful of every ingredient as it was actually harder NOT to.

Deb had a few small spoonfuls but I hold up my hands on this one......I basically ate the lot all by myself. I told myself that it contained one or two of my "5-a-day" intake and I'm still pretty much convinced that in some parallel universe, 3 huge dollops of assorted ice cream with whipped cream, nuts, chocolate sauce and cherries on top HAS to be healthy !

Anyway as far as reviewing this diner is concerned, my dessert was top notch and for the price, was amazing value. From my cardiologist's point of view, maybe not so good

Debs burger wasn't anything to write home about so the jury is still out on this place....although to be fair, it's a diner offering diner food at diner prices !

Receiving that much ice cream and other goodies so late at night, my stomach protested a bit before bedtime.

And as it's now noon the next day and I've had no breakfast AND I'm still not in the least bit hungry, I guess it's been really value for money.

The dessert that just keeps on giving.

Probably a coronary.


Milo said...

What happened to all of your hair and when did you lose the beard? I do tend to think I keep up with your blog but perhaps I missed that bit of news.

When I move to the US later in the year for work I have visions of my weight rocketing. I love American food (breakfasts, burgers, ice cream, cookies, bagels, pretzels - you get the picture) - and I'm quite happy tucking into very large portions.

As a child (like you, at boarding school for a large part of it) - I remember being hungry - a lot. This means that even now, as an adult, I can quite happily keep eating when food is in front of me irrespective of whether I'm technically full.

Lisa said...

At least you had a bit of calcium and vitamin D that day. :)

Silverback said...

This is the post you needed to see, Milo. Sorry for the shock !

Calcium !? Vitamins !? Spit, spit.
All sounds too healthy even in this universe, Lisa. Calcium with a cherry on top....maybe.

rhymeswithplague said...

You want a great diner? Come to the Marietta Diner in Marietta, Georgia...but bring lots of money. It ain't cheap. It is owned by a Greek family that moved here from New York. And Guy Fieri featured it on his show a few months ago.

Jennyta said...

I was afraid for a moment that you were going to say it toppled forward into your lap.
'five a day'??? Well that is self-delusion on the grandest scale! :)

rhymeswithplague said...

I've been looking and looking at that picture of you in the diner and I finally figured out what it is that is different about you:

You look American.

Silverback said...

Bob, I've been to Marietta but never the diner. Its menu does seem a bit pricey but then it looks a bit la-di-da for a diner too !

Delusional ? Me ? Hell yes, Jenny.

Ok Bob that is the most disturbing comment I've ever had ! Not that you think I look American...but that you've been looking and looking at my photo. I'm drawing up a restraining order so don't make me use it !

humtv said...

Diners Drive Ins and Dives (DDD, The Triple D) are a United State American food television series show. The host of this show “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” is Guy Fieri.

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