Food TV: The Great Food Truck Race Season 2 Finale

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I was on a fantastic vacation that you can check out over on my photo diary blog The Monkee Diaries and am working on some posts about the great food we cooked and ate on that trip. In the meantime, we got home in the early afternoon today, which meant we had plenty of time to watch The Great Good Truck Race‘s second season finale. In reality, I wound up missing the first 10-15 minutes because my wife was putting our daughter to bed while I was caught up in the Steelers/Colts game.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who read my previous post about this show, but I was rooting pretty hard for Hodge Podge. Not only are they from Cleveland–my mom’s home town and where my grandmother still lives–but the Lime Truck really didn’t sit well with me from the beginning. They just seemed so full of themselves, superior and looked down at every town they were in because it wasn’t sophisticated like California. I hate that shit. Did anyone else notice that the interview scenes shifted away from the really cocky kid–the hype man of the group–and shined the spotlight on the dudes who were actually the cooks? I wonder if that was a result of fan feedback or the fact that they wound up winning and Food Network didn’t want their winner to come off as total D-bags. By the end, I actually wound up liking the two chefs a lot more, but still had trouble with that guy.

Anyway, as I said, I missed the beginning of the episode. I think there was something about their trucks getting towed away, right? I do know that they had to get to a certain amount of money before running to meet host Tyler Florence and getting the prize money. By the time I tuned in, they were getting shut down for the first night and had to go fishing. They had to turn whatever they caught into a meal that would win them a substantial prize. Lime won that one, but Hodge wound up getting a pretty good spot, so it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. The next day’s task was to serve only dessert, which worked out fine for both trucks it seemed. They did some plucky editing to make it look like both trucks got to the money marker at the same time and then Florence did a whole schtick with the Lime guys who got their first about how, if they open this brief case and it has money in it, they won. As it turned out, Lime Truck did win and they only got there about five minutes before Hodge Podge, which was a bummer.I don’t remember a lot about the first season of The Great Food Truck Race other than that I did watch it and think I liked it, but I have a feeling I’ll remember this batch a lot more. We started off with the cute vegan girls and the upstart dudes from Boston who wound up coming in third. Lime Truck played the villain of the piece, being dubbed the Slime Truck by some of the other teams. Hodge was the boisterous guy who seemed to get by on sheer willpower and of course you’ve got the Korilla truck who cheated and got sent home. I’m still surprised that there was no footage of them cheating or interview explanation of why they did what they did. I mentioned something like this on Twitter the day that episode aired and someone responded back that they thought they weren’t going to win, so they put extra money in. Don’t you just love when people explain what was just explained on television? But, nope, we were left with something being said as they drove away and that was it. Wild stuff.

Much as I did like this season, I think there’s a helluva lot more interesting show going on behind the scenes here that would work on a different network. You’re sending a group of young, heady people out all over the country, making them wear goofy uniforms and putting them against each other in increasingly odd challenges. The real show should be what these guys and gals do at the hotel between stops. Let’s see that show.

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Food TV: The Great Food Truck Race Season 2

I haven’t had the pleasure of eating from too many interesting food trucks in my time. The first one I experienced was at the end of a long day of drinking cocktails in the Village with some friends (that sounds so trendy, it doesn’t seem like I should be writing it). Our NYC dweller friend was following some dessert truck on Twitter. My wife got all excited when she brought it up so we schlepped a ton of blocks (could have been two for all I know, I was blitzed on mojitos and whatnot) to find this truck. Not being a dessert fan, I could have cared less, but even through the diminishing haze I realized that this was a cool idea. I had heard how important the then-new Twitter had become to food trucks who would send out their locations to followers who could show up or pass the info along to their friends. A community sprung up and where there’s a community, TV cameras usually show up.

Instead of a reality show, which would probably be more expected, food trucks appeared last season on Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, hosted by Tyler Florence. I watched most of the episodes and thought it was a pretty good show. The challenges thrown at the contestants test their mettle and could possibly reflect real world problems, but are usually so over the top and ridiculous that you realize you’re watching a show that’s less about the food itself than it is about the competition. And that’s fine. I can feel tension through my TV, but I can’t taste or smell food.

The second season kicked off a few weeks ago with the second playing this past Sunday. Thanks to a rerun earlier in the evening, I got caught up. It seemed pretty clear right away who the first team to get sent home was going to be Sky’s Gourmet Tacos had the misfortune of popping a tire on the way to the first challenge location only to wind up in the same location as a more interesting truck that also sold tacos. I also wasn’t very surprised when Devilicious got sent home in the second episode because they seemed to be non-entities throughout both episodes. At one point during the first episode my wife asked what the red team had been up to. I responded with “I have no idea.” I didn’t exactly call it right away, but there was zero surprise in that reveal.

I’m sure like most of you, I’ve got a few favorites and not-so-faves already. I like Hodge Podge because the chef is from Cleveland (I’m from Toledo, my mom and grandma are from the Cleve), plus I want to put their food in my face. I’m also leaning towards the boys from Boston in the Roxy’s Grilled Cheese truck because they’ve been the underdogs so far and again because I want to eat their food. I’m kind of neutral on Cafe Con Leche (the woman’s a little much, but I want to try their Cuban coffee) and Korilla (who remind me of Korean Run-DMC for some reason). All of which leaves two teams: Seabirds and The Lime Truck. I don’t have anything particularly bad to say about the Seabirds, who make Vegan food, but they’re just so lovey and spacey that it pushes a button somewhere inside where my cynicism lives. I think the Lime Truck guys could relate to me because they are totally arrogant douchebags. I’m not even going to link to their page on Food Network, you can find it through the others if you’re so inclined. There’s a fine line between fun cocky and asshole cocky and these dudes are so far away from the line in asshole territory that they can’t even see it. You have to root against them or be drawn to their confidence. I’m sure the hipsters love them.

So, I’m sold for now. I’m a sucker for food shows, especially the competition ones, so TGFTR fits the bill and since I can either catch it in reruns or watch it when nothing else is on, we’re good to go. What did you guys think?