Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run

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EliseT
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2003/07/15 00:25:35 (permalink)

Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run

I am loving this show on the History channel! No sooner did I think, "Roadfood" than Michael Stern showed up on it! Great job! I was so excited to see Tito's Tacos highlighted!
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    mayor al
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/15 12:29:46 (permalink)
    Elise,
    I agree... Great show... The Dixie Truck Stop in Illinois is one of my favorites !!
    #2
    EliseT
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/15 13:45:41 (permalink)
    My boyfriend was passing through the room when that segment was on and said, "There's a place called Tipsy Truckers' Home???"
    #3
    jpatweb
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/16 08:36:35 (permalink)
    Later in the week, History Channel will be running a series on Route 1, shown in 3 or 4 geographical segments (e.g., Maine to CT, NY to DC). Probably won't be as food-oriented as Highway Hangouts but should be interesting just the same. Prior to construction of I-95, Rte. 1 was the primary north-south roadway serving the East Coast.
    #4
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/16 08:53:34 (permalink)
    I missed that show; wish I knew about it. I will watch the show on Rt. 1 coming up this week.
    #5
    jpatweb
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/16 10:54:19 (permalink)
    I think Highway Hangouts will be rerun this Sunday (7/20). Set your dial.



    quote]Originally posted by CheeseWit

    I missed that show; wish I knew about it. I will watch the show on Rt. 1 coming up this week.
    #6
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/16 10:57:20 (permalink)
    Thanks!
    #7
    Route 11
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/21 13:09:17 (permalink)
    Dixie Trucker's Home rocks! I can't wait to hit it on my Route 66 trip.

    #8
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/21 14:22:54 (permalink)
    Ohcrap. I knew there was something I forgot to TiVo.

    Eric
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    EliseT
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/21 23:43:48 (permalink)
    If your TiVo REALLY loved you, it would know what you wanted without you having to tell it all the time.
    #10
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/22 13:19:51 (permalink)
    *sigh* My TiVo *does* really love me, but due to some freak occurence, it forgot I receive Bravo, A&E and the History Channel. And I'm too cheap to upgrade to a Series 2, so I can't schedule programs over the net. I love my TiVo, my TiVo loves me, and given the chance, I'm like a new Hare Krishna, waxing rhapsodic about how TiVo has changed my life.

    Eric
    #11
    EliseT
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/22 15:54:03 (permalink)
    Hmmm, maybe there's something it's trying to keep from you...
    #12
    DinerMike
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 17:53:28 (permalink)
    I found this information on the web site of Randy Garbin who took
    part in the History Channel show. Very interesting read.

    Highway Hangouts: Biting the hand

    For those of you that missed it, the History Channel
    aired a third installment of its Highway Hangouts
    series last week. Entitled "Eat and Run," this show
    focused on roadside eateries, including the "great
    American diner."

    The show also included shots of yours truly as one of
    the several "experts" on roadside culture. The program
    also included Peter Genovese, Brian Butko, Jim
    Heimann, and a smattering of the folks that actually
    operate some of the roadside attractions featured as
    examples of the genre.

    Given the show's pedigree as a commercial program on a
    low-budget cable network, we shouldn't expect much.
    Riddled with cliché, rife with incongruent supporting
    video, and narrated by the 84-year-old Mason Adams,
    who's down-home voice now sounds like a thick coat of
    frosting on a bucket of saccharine, the program yanked
    just about every nostalgic string it could grasp
    during its two-hour run.

    OF COURSE, the producers just had to show diner
    waitresses speaking "diner lingo." OF COURSE we had to
    see people sitting in '57 Chevy's. And OF COURSE, we
    had to devote a quarter of the program to Route 66. I
    guess people drove along no other road in this
    country, though I faintly recall reading a few things
    about something called the Lincoln Highway which
    actually stretched coast to coast.

    I did learn a few things. The show spent some quality
    time with a few attractions that haven't had much of
    their own publicity, including the Clam Box and the
    Java Jive. Also, seeing Harold Kullman of Kullman
    Industries and Jack Mulholland of the Mayfair Diner
    talk about their respective businesses of building and
    operating diners gave the diner segment most of its
    credibility. In fact, I wish the producers spent more
    time with folks such as these and less with the
    talking heads. After all, those in the trenches of
    this culture have much more interesting stories to
    tell, and in fact, provide all the source material
    anyway.

    The show also lavished considerable screen time to
    John Margolies and Michael Stern. Margolies has
    authored nearly a dozen books on the subject of the
    American roadside, covering everything from mini-golf
    to travel brochures.

    Michael Stern constitutes the male half of the
    RoadFood royal couple along with Jane, his wife. The
    pair write books and articles that have appeared in
    many major magazines and newspapers, which have
    established them the nations preeminent over-the-road
    dining mavens. I've previously called the Sterns to
    task for their snide, condescending, almost nasty
    commentary about local food and the people that work
    the business. Seeing them trotted out as experts on
    diners frankly does a tremendous disservice to their
    readers and especially to the diner industry.

    I give the couple credit for shining the spotlight on
    many deserving gems. But too often they bestow their
    praise in snotty, backhanded fashion delivered high
    from their Fairfield County perch. On the radio, the
    drawling whine of their voices could only find fans
    among those who'd rarely risk leaving their Hummer H2
    to chance a mingling with the lowly plebeian regulars
    in such places. But if Jane and Michael says its okay,
    then it's time to go slumming.

    At least Stern has a palatable on-screen persona. The
    producers of this program nearly shot themselves in
    the foot by allowing Margolies to get so much face
    time on this program. Is it just me, or did you also
    squirm every time the camera cut to this guy?

    John Margolies is one of several authors of the past
    decade who has churned out book after book that I
    would describe as "gee whiz" displays of their
    personal collections of photographs and ephemera. In a
    sense, these books -- which also include those by Karl
    Michael Witzel -- do some good by calling the
    mainstream's attention to threatened roadside culture
    and enterprise.

    While it's generally easy to dismiss Witzel's efforts
    out of hand as pandering, poorly researched, badly
    produced, albeit pretty picture books, Margolies has
    established a notable career for himself as the New
    York Times puts it, "America's premier chronicler of
    architectural kitsch." He's currently an Alicia
    Patterson Foundation Fellow, which has awarded him a
    one-year grant of $35,000 to pursue independent
    projects of significant interest and to write articles
    based on his investigations for the APF Reporter. The
    Highway Hangouts series is based largely upon
    Margolies's body of work.

    Yet Margolies may have based his career on a false
    pretense as well. When Witzel published the otherwise
    awful American Diner, he used a great deal of the work
    of a photographer named Pedar Ness. Ness's photos of
    diners and other roadside gems dated from the 1960s
    and 1970s, a period when only a handful of people
    recognized the value of this type of architecture. I
    met with Ness three years ago when I traveled to Los
    Angeles, and he claims that his early photographs
    provided Margolies with a kind of visual reference
    from which to base his own work. Ness had claimed that
    he sought to publish a book of his photos and happened
    to submit his proposal complete with original slides
    to an agent who also worked with Margolies.

    According to Ness, the agent rejected his proposal,
    but his slides came back to him in complete disarray
    -- as if someone had pulled apart the portfolio to
    make copies. Some time later, Margolies had published
    his first book and began presenting slide shows using
    photos identical to Ness's, except, as Ness explained
    it: "He cleaned up the scene. Swept away the trash."
    Ness says he later attended one of Margolies's slide
    presentations, but when he introduced himself,
    Margolies wouldn't so much as look at him.

    It's a sad irony that some of the most successful and
    notable chroniclers of this proud and honorable aspect
    of our history and heritage -- rich with tales of
    honest, hard working folk struggling to do something
    good for themselves, their families, and their
    communities -- have fashioned careers upon such thin
    or dubious credentials.

    With that in mind, I look forward to seeing Rick
    Seback's next production due out next summer. As I
    write, you can find Rick roaming the country visiting
    large buildings "that look like something else." Rick
    has already produced an impressive body of work for
    his station WQED in Pittsburgh and for PBS with
    programs such as the "Pennsylvania Road Show," "A Hot
    Dog Show," "The Ice Cream Show," and "Pittsburgh A to
    Z." While not exactly scholarly, the programs are
    honest, and at least I know that Rick really loves
    this stuff.

    And so it goes.

    Randy Garbin
    #13
    Texicana
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 19:22:47 (permalink)
    Ouch! Someone sounds a tad bit bitter

    I have never detected a trace of snobbery in any of the books I've read, and though I haven't heard their on air stuff, I would venture a guess that there isn't any there as well. Matter of fact, I've really enjoyed the History Channel's History on a Bun which was also narrated by Mason Adams. Can't account for some people's taste...
    #14
    EliseT
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 19:38:16 (permalink)
    Wow. WHO is snide, condescending and a little nasty? Didn't we learn something about "projection" in community college Psychology class?
    #15
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 19:56:07 (permalink)
    The writer of the article has an axe to grind for some reason. I do not understand his comments or why they were written. Perhaps he is professionally envious.

    I misread the article originally.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #16
    DinerMike
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 21:52:16 (permalink)
    I didn't write that. As I said in the first line I found it on his web site.
    #17
    Texicana
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 22:07:43 (permalink)
    Just to clarify, my above comments were meant for Randy Garbin. Welcome, DinerMike!
    #18
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 22:46:30 (permalink)
    I used to enjoy reading Randy Garbin's diner magazine (the name escapes me)that was available in diners and online before going under. After reading his comments regarding the show and especially about Michael and Jane, I would never waste another minute on anything he wrote, edited, or commented about.
    #19
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/23 23:01:44 (permalink)
    I just remembered Randy Garbin's magazine: Roadside. He sold it and it was mismanaged into the ground. He's trying to "rebuild" most of it. It remains to be seen if it will ever see the light of day again.
    #20
    RC51Mike
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 07:58:19 (permalink)
    Welcome to the nasty world of diner enthusiasts. That's pure Randy Garbin. He's worse than some religious sects when it comes to damning to hell those who don't agree with his viewpoints. Comments about John Margolies are somewhat true. He comes across as a pompous lord of the roadside. On the other hand, he's found a marketable niche, just like the History Channel, in selling nostalgic fluff. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not historical research. There are other real authorities on roadside architecture who would have been more credible. There wasn't a personal slight against Brian Butko thankfully. He's one who has done exhaustive academic research. Peter Genovese did a book on New Jersey diners that was fine. For what it was, I thought it was a nice show.
    #21
    Lone Star
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 10:02:31 (permalink)
    Thin and dubious credentials? What are his? What kind of credentials are required for reviewing roadfood? Is a license required? Is there a State Board for Eatery Review? Peer review?

    I demand a review by the credentialing commitee!

    Good Lord.
    #22
    RC51Mike
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 12:01:36 (permalink)
    I happen to like my credentials thin and dubious, with a sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning.
    #23
    EliseT
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 13:31:09 (permalink)
    If your credentials are thin, maybe you could add a flour slurry or a little masa.
    #24
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 16:00:42 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    If your credentials are thin, maybe you could add a flour slurry or a little masa.


    Roux, devil woman, roux.

    Eric
    #25
    chezkatie
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 16:27:59 (permalink)
    I wonder what this guy is smoking? He is so far off in his discription of Jane and Michael Stern. I could hardly believe my eyes. I own and have read every single food book that they have written and I have never seen one little bit of what he has described in the Stern's. Who in the world does Randy think he is to slam everyone?
    #26
    VibrationGuy
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 19:31:54 (permalink)
    Okay, not to rain fire down upon my soul from the heavens, but there have been times, reading the Sterns' reviews, where I've picked up a tiny trace of what I think is hilarious "oh my god, check out the natives" anti-provincialism. I'm a snob, and a mean one at that, sometimes, and I think it's amusing when the locals are ... exceedingly rustic. Making fun of women in sleeveless Wal-Mart tops doesn't mean your opinions about good roadfood are any less valid.

    Eric
    #27
    chezkatie
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 19:34:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by VibrationGuy

    Okay, not to rain fire down upon my soul from the heavens, but there have been times, reading the Sterns' reviews, where I've picked up a tiny trace of what I think is hilarious "oh my god, check out the natives" anti-provincialism. I'm a snob, and a mean one at that, sometimes, and I think it's amusing when the locals are ... exceedingly rustic. Making fun of women in sleeveless Wal-Mart tops doesn't mean your opinions about good roadfood are any less valid.

    Eric

    #28
    Michael Stern
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 19:42:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star

    Thin and dubious credentials? What are his? What kind of credentials are required for reviewing roadfood? Is a license required? Is there a State Board for Eatery Review? Peer review?

    I demand a review by the credentialing commitee!

    Good Lord.


    On my honor, I swear it is true that many years ago when Jane and I reviewed restaurants for the Hartford Courant and felt that it was our duty as consumer reporters to knock big-name restaurants off their pedestals if they didn't deserve to be there, a bill was actually drafted (but never introduced) in the state legislature requiring all restaurant reviewers to have either (a) gone to food school or (b) worked for X years in a kitchen. We said we would support the bill only if restaurant patrons had to meet the same requirements.
    #29
    chezkatie
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    RE: Highway Hangouts:Eat and Run 2003/07/24 20:09:39 (permalink)

    To Eric I do not think that mentioning sleeveless shirts from Walmart is any different from describing than describing Brooks Brother's shirts or a fancy Italian designers jackets in another type of restaurant. I think this is just a great way to give you a good picture of what the restaurant is all about.
    I sure as heck would hate to bother to get all dressed up if everyone in a place was in cut offs and T's anymore than I would want to wear my faded Capri pants to a restaurant that everyone got dressed for........I think it just adds to an accurate description of a place!
    #30
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