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POLL: Which Team’s Picnic Lunch Would You Pack?

by in Polls, Shows, September 20th, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race
Much like the Truck Stop challenge in the second Food Trucks episode that tasked the teams with embracing regional ingredients, last Sunday’s cooking challenge was a celebration of Nashville’s local cuisine. The remaining four food trucks had just $100 and 60 minutes to prepare a Southern-style picnic lunch for two people who know a thing or two about Tennessee comfort food: country music stars Joey and Rory Feek.

A few teams chose to prepare classic takes on tried-and-true dishes, while others let their culinary points of view shine in creative twists on original recipes. Take another peek at what Momma’s Grizzly Grub, Seoul Sausage, Pop-A-Waffle and Nonna’s Kitchenette served to Joey, Rory and Tyler, then tell us which of their plates you’d pack on a picnic.

VOTE: Which of these picnic lunches would you pack?

Restaurant Revisited: Michele’s

by in Shows, September 19th, 2012

Restaurant: Impossible
In Corry, Pa., Michele Sventek needed Robert Irvine’s help to give her restaurant, Michele’s, a new look and better food. Perhaps more importantly, she needed Robert to teach her the basics of running a restaurant since she had no experience in the culinary industry. In just two days, Robert gave Michele’s a much-needed overhaul and taught Michele how to best manage her staff and maintain food quality. We checked in with Michele to see how her restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.

Michele says that compared to last year, sales have increased “about 40 percent.” Robert wanted Michele’s to achieve $12,500 per month in sales, and Michele is happy to report that she “can see it happening as we progress.”

The new decor at Michele’s has been well received by customers. “Everyone likes the brightness of it, especially the wall between the dining area and the bar, the fireplace (people are excited for winter to see it working) and the mirrors,” Michele explains.

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On the Road: A Tour Through Music City, USA

by in Shows, September 18th, 2012

on the road nashville
This week the final four trucks of The Great Food Truck Race took a small detour to Pottsville, Tenn., before cruising into Nashville. There they met on a farm owned by country musicians Joey and Rory Feek. Instead of sending the teams to sell, host Tyler Florence immediately introduced the week’s Truck Stop cooking challenge.

Once the teams pulled up to the curbs of Nashville, they then had to deal with an unprecedented Speed Bump: The lead cooks on each truck had to sell with two students from the International Culinary School at The Art Institutes, not their teammates, who were forced to watch the action from afar.

For the next couple of weeks, we’re following the Food Trucks city by city with our guide of the best eats, compiled by the On the Road app and website. Today we’re exploring the best that Nashville has to offer. Come back next week for our picks in Cleveland.

Bongo Java
Start your day at Bongo Java, Nashville’s oldest coffee company. It gained notoriety in 1996 when an employee discovered a “nun bun,” a cinnamon bun that looked remarkably like Mother Teresa. You can order a breakfast of bagels, burritos or baked goods, plus a hot cup of their fair-trade coffee.

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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Pasta

by in Shows, September 17th, 2012

iron chef america battle pasta
Everybody has their favorite memory of a perfect pasta dish. My own came during a visit to a small restaurant in Rome where I was presented with a plate of Bucatini All’Amatricana, made with the tubular pasta and a spicy sauce containing guanciale (cured pig jowls). As I travel the globe eating the weird and the wonderful, it is often this comforting bowl of pasta that I recall and crave the most.

Pasta is such a familiar ingredient in the United States that it is often all too easy to take it for granted. There are few people who don’t have at least one type of pasta in their store cupboard and if you were to walk down the aisles of any supermarket, you would have to take off your shoes and socks to help you count the fresh and dried varieties now offered.

Despite its ubiquity, however, there is something about a beautifully prepared pasta dish that is very hard to beat and I hope you were as excited as I was by the way that the Iron Chef and their challenger brought a new spin to such a classic ingredient last night.

Given that pasta is, I suspect, so familiar to everyone who will read this, I thought I would stray from the normal format for these features and instead give you 10 interesting things you may not know about pasta.

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Momma’s Grizzly Grub Says Goodbye — The Great Food Truck Race

by in Shows, September 16th, 2012

food trucks
This week, the remaining four food trucks thought they were cruising straight into Nashville, but Tyler took them beyond the city and into Pottsville, Tenn., where they met on a farm owned by country musicians Joey and Rory Feek. With a grand prize of $50,000 on the line and the chance to keep their truck, each team tries to pull out all their tricks to stay in the game, but ultimately one truck must go each week. Every Sunday night, FN Dish will bring you exclusive exit interviews with the latest Food Truck contestants to get the boot.

Seoul Sausage found themselves in the bottom this week for the first time, but their sales were high enough to keep them in the competition. Momma’s Grizzly Grub, however, wasn’t as lucky and after keeping up in the race for five long weeks, Angela, Adriane and Tiffany turned in their keys to Tyler.

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The Great Food Truck Race Caption It: Staring Contest

by in Shows, September 14th, 2012

Nonna's Kitchenette on Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race

Come Sunday night, The Great Food Truck Race shifts into high gear as the final four food trucks cruise into Nashville, Tenn., more determined and confident than ever. There are only three weeks left in the competition, and Pop-A-Waffle, Nonna’s Kitchenette, Seoul Sausage and Momma’s Grizzly Grub must use everything they’ve learned so far to outsell their rival trucks if they want to make it out of Music City.

In the sneak-peek shot above from this weekend’s brand-new episode, it seems as though Nonna’s Kitchenette has lost some of its fire since their Truck Stop win last week. They’re no longer celebrating Randy the Razorback or reveling in their first-place earnings; instead, the New Jersey gals are sporting noticeably bleak stares, as they fixate on what’s immediately in front of them. On what are the ladies focused so intently? Are their blank expressions the result of seeing their next challenge or another crazy mystery ingredient?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out what’s going on, we’re challenging you, Food Truck fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Which is your favorite food truck team so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.

Catch Sunny Anderson on Her New Show This Fall: Home Made in America With Sunny

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, September 14th, 2012

sunny andersonJoin Sunny Anderson as she hits the road to track down the unsung heroes of the American culinary world: home cooks. Sunny travels across the country to discover the inspirational stories of the people behind the recipes, while learning a few tips and tricks of her own on her show Home Made in America with Sunny Anderson premiering Saturday, October 6 at 9:30am ET/PT. Whether Sunny tastes Grandma Williams’ authentic squash pie, which is the talk of Fayetteville, N.C. or Mary’s high-demand granola recipe, these homemade recipes tell a story, and each starts in the home kitchen.

This road trip will have Sunny traveling through Baton Rouge, La., to try a shrimp bisque family recipe, Oklahoma for award-winning barbecue brisket and Texas for the best home-smoked ribs in town. One episode has Sunny exploring her own stomping grounds in Brooklyn, N.Y., to find Carmen Rodriguez, a home cook turned business owner creating buzz with her unique cupcakes.

Tune in to this six-episode daytime series: Premieres Saturday, October 6 at 9:30am ET/PT.

Restaurant Revisited: Paliani’s Restaurant

by in Shows, September 12th, 2012

Restaurant Impossible
At Paliani’s Restaurant in Burton, Mich., Robert Irvine found a decades-old Italian eatery in desperate need of a Restaurant: Impossible overhaul. He had only two days to tackle the filthy interior and disorganized kitchen at Paliani’s, and help give owner Marina Bufalini the tools to improve her management. We checked in with Marina to see how Paliani’s is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.

Marina is happy to report that since the transformation, sales at Paliani’s have increased. In June and July, the restaurant saw year-over-year growth of 46 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Paliani’s has seen a mix of returning and first-time customers coming to see the makeover and taste the new food. While some longtime diners have struggled to adapt to the updated decor and menu, many new customers are pleased, as is Marina. Of the restaurant’s fresh look, she says, “I love the decor and how the light panels on the wall brighten everything and give the room more dimension.”

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POLL: Which Eliminated Food Truck Would You Bring Back?

by in Polls, Shows, September 12th, 2012

The Great Food Truck Race
Just four short weeks ago, Tyler Florence met eight eager teams of first-time food truckers, each with big dreams of running their own mobile business. But now, after a month of racing halfway across the country, only four of those hopeful teams remain after Under the Crust, Barbie Babes, Pizza Mike’s and Coast of Atlanta were eliminated in Los Angeles, Flagstaff, Amarillo and Fayetteville, respectively.

Though this competition is designed to separate the contenders from the pretenders, all eight teams were made up of food truck rookies with a similar lack of experience, so the race could have been anyone’s game. Do you think that the eliminated teams simply suffered a case of beginners’ bad luck, or did their tactics alone lead to their early exits? If you were to give just one team another chance at food truck royalty, which would it be?

Tell us: Which eliminated food truck team would you bring back if you had the chance?

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Road Trip: You Can’t Go Wrong With Comfort Food in Arkansas

by in Shows, September 11th, 2012

on the road map arkansas
Go big or go home. This week, contestants of The Great Food Truck Race took on the college town of Fayetteville and the students from the University of Arkansas. The challenge: Adjust their menus, prices and strategy to attract their demographic. The Food Truck teams learned a very important lesson this weekend: Good food doesn’t have to be pricey.

For the next couple of weeks, we’re following the Food Trucks city by city with our guide of the best eats, compiled by the On the Road app and website. Today we’re exploring the best that Arkansas has to offer. Come back next week for our picks in Nashville.

Whole Hog Café
Whole Hog Café founders Ron, Mike and Steve have long devoted themselves to the pursuit of barbecue perfection. Their devotion is reflected in the wildly popular dishes Rachael checked out when hunting for the best barbecue: pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked chicken and award-winning ribs.

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