Monday, July 31, 2006

The Phantom Gourmet

I have quite a few guilty pleasures. Soap operas are one. Those marginal musical movies from the 80s such as "Beat Street" is another.

A third would be the television show, "The Phantom Gourmet." The show is hosted by Dan Andelman and was created by his brother Dave Andelman. The shows consists largely of restaurant critiques made by a critic known only as "The Phantom Gourmet." The brothers insist that neither of them are the purple outfitted caped foodie in disguise. The hook for the show is that the Phantom dines in the establishments that he/she rates as a regular Joe or Jane Diner so that he/she can have the same honest, dining experience as you would.

In addition to restaurant reviews, there are also segments that feature recipes of items that you might find on the menu in many of the restaurants profiled. The recipes are supplied by Newbury College. They also have guests on the show-owners, chefs, bakers, pizzamakers-you name it.

Each show has a theme. Last week's was 'Fast Food.' My fourth guilty pleasure. I was surprised to know that the Phantom felt that Wendy's trumped McDonalds and Burger King. I was also surprised that the Phantom liked Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits. The Phantom stated that this chain needed to expand in Massachusetts.

The Phantom seemed to forget that at least, under its previous owners, Popeye's did have restaurants across the Northeast coast. There was a restaurant in Porter Square in Cambridge and one at Roxbury Crossing in the 1980s. In fact, my mother bought a chicken meal from Popeye's to celebrate the Chicago Bears in the Superbowl in 1986. Both closed and it seemed that the restaurant chain retreated closer to the Mason-Dixon line.

I second the call for another Greater Boston area Popeye's though I must admit that except for the biscuits, which were always popular, the other items on the Popeye's menu can leave a lot to be desired. Depending on the fancy and the skills of the staff and depending on the restaurant, the quality varies from place to place.

In any event, while I like food, I am completely not a foodie. However, I tune in to this show almost religiously because...it's a good show.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a relative newbie to the MA, so thanks for the bit of Popeye's history. Just yesterday I had a hankering for a Popeye's biscuit (yum!) and got to wondering why there is ONLY one Popeye's in the whole state. I say, bring back the Popeye's, even if just for the biscuits alone!

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