Monday, January 26, 2009

Diners, Drive-Ins Dives by Guy Fieri with Ann Volkmein

If you love to watch Guy Fieri on the Food Network, while he is crisscrossing the country to bring you the best diners, drive-ins and dives, then you will love his book. The Book takes you to many of the places that are featured on the show, and because his visits, their success now mirrors the success story of Guy Fieri himself.

As he says, what were the odds of him winning the Food Networks Next Food Network Star, and from there, being asked to host a special called Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. When he got to the first diner, a place in Linden, New Jersey called Bayway Diner, he had no clue as to what he was supposed to do. Nothing was scripted, he went in, adlibbed, the crew loved it, asked him if he could do it again, and again, and the rest was, as they say, history!

I think what people love about Guy is that he is one of us, everybody’s dream, everyone’s success story, the man who turned fifteen minutes of fame into a career. He does the same for the diners that he visits, returning to them after their initial appearance on the show, only to find that they have now achieved the same level of success that he has… ah, the wonder of television and the internet.

Personally, I bought the book because I am a comfort food kind of girl, love diners, (who could grow up in Brooklyn and Long Island, and not be a diner girl) and really was hoping to find the recipe for the creamed chipped beef featured on one of Guy’s show. I never ate creamed chipped beef until I met Marc, and now I love it! Guy featured it on one of his shows and I was hoping to find it in the book. I’m sorry to say, it wasn’t there, but my second favorite diner food (chicken croquettes) was, so I am a happy camper.

This book features “American” food, that is, the foods from every ethnicity that had made America the great nation she is, a place where all ethnicities, instead of being enemies, have learned to live and love together, share their heritages, their, customs, and most importantly, their good.

From a Greek spanakopita, to tabbouleh, to a bacon cheeseburger, pollo Diablo, to crab cioppino, to mac and cheese, that is what a diner is, reflecting the melting pot of our own culture. Have you ever been to a diner and not found something to eat???


How I Got My Wheels
Take a Trip to Flavortown
Meet the Crew

Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
(featuring the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island)

(featuring the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennesee)

(featuring the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missiouri)

West and Southwest
(featuring the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington)

Recipe Index
List of Restaurants

The book, like the show, won’t disappoint you. You can feel the exuberance of Guy Fieri on the screen, you can almost taste the food with him, and when you read the book, you will feel the same way. You will see the heat coming off the grill while the hamburgers are frying, see the crispness of the fried clams, (and that’s hard because the pictures are black and white) you can smell those cinnamon buns, and if you inhale, you can place yourself right in the middle of these greasy spoons, because you have been there.

Even if you haven’t been to the restaurants, in the book, you’ve been to others like them. I’ll bet that more than half the people who by the book have been to at least one of the place, I know that I have been to The Dining Car on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia (my hubby is a Philly boy) and eaten the Chicken Croquettes there too. I’m sure you will also find a place you’ve been, or a few that you want to try.

I’m thinking, I should have bought two of these books, one for my kitchen, and one for my car, so the next time I am traveling, forget the GPS, let me check the back of the book and decide where we are going to eat!

Recipe from the Book:

If I can’t do creamed chipped beef then of course, my choice has to be chicken croquettes…just had them here at our local diner last week. They are the ultimate in comfort food for me, because all though I have eaten them in a lot of diners, no one has ever come close to my mother’s chicken croquettes – they were the best and I always think of her when I eat them…

The recipe makes 14 Croquettes:

Chicken Croquettes:

Croquette Batter

1-cup milk
1-cup fresh chicken stock
2 teaspoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Salt (only if using fresh chicken stock)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 celery stalk, minced
1-cup all-purpose flour
1¼ pounds chicken meat, cooked, and ground in a food processor


2 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour or cracker meal
3 cups large bread crumbs

Chicken Gravy:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh chicken stock or canned broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Pinch of salt and white pepper

Oil for frying

Serving Suggestion: mashed potatoes

1. For the croquette batter: Heat the milk and chicken stock in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, and season with the parsley, white pepper, and salt (if using). Melt the butter in another saucepan over medium heat and add the celery; cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the flour to the butter and celery and cook, stirring, to make a paste (or roux) about 3 minutes. Gradually add the hot liquid, while whisking, and bring to a boil; cook until thick and smooth. Fold in the chicken meat and set aside to cool.

2. For breading the croquettes: Shape the croquette batter into 14 (3 ounce) elongated cone-shaped portions, and stand them on a waxed-paper-lined rimmed sheet pan or tray.

3. Whisk the eggs, milk, and salt together in a shallow bowl. Put the flour in another bowl, and the breadcrumbs in a third. Dip the croquettes in the egg mixtures, then into the flour, turning to coat evenly.

4. For the chicken gravy: Melt the butter in a saucepan and then stir in the flour. Pour in the stock and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until slightly thick, 20 minutes. Add fresh parsley and the salt and white pepper to taste.

5. Cook the croquettes: Heat about 4 inches of oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pot until a deep fry thermometer reads 350º F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fry until golden brown about 3 minutes. Drain and blot on paper-towel-lined baking sheet.

6. Serve the croquettes on a bed of mashed potatoes, if desired, top with chicken gravy.

Buy the book, and the next time you are in need of some good comfort food, turn the pages, pick out a recipe and go for it, you can't miss!

Book Title: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Author: Guy Fieri with Ann Volkwein

Category: Celebrity Cookbooks

ISBN: 978-0-06-172488-6

Publisher: William Morrow – An Imprint of Harper CollinsPublishers

Publishers Address: 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York 10022


Published: 2008

Edition: First

Description: Softcover

Illustrations: None

Photographs: Black and White

Price: $19.95

Reviewed by: Elise Feiner

Date of Review:January 26, 2009

Diners Drive-Ins and Dives can be ordered by scrolling down to the bottom of the blog to our Foodfanataholics Cookbook Nook

go to the sidebar on the right and click on Cookbook Reviews.


  1. I don't know why, but I just can't stand him! I have to change the channel every time I see him, even on a commercial :)

  2. Great review Elise. I enjoy Guy on both Guy's Big Bite (have made some of his recipes and love them, waiting for a cookbook from that shoe), and Diner's Drive In's and Dives. It's nice to know NC is featured in his book. I have it on my wish list. BTW I've been making Chip Beef Gravy most of my life and it's very easy. I just make cream gravy, with milk or evaporated milk, flour and either oil or butter, or if I'm being healthy with butter spray and shake the Fat Free evaporated milk or 1% milk in a jar with the flour first. Then I add the diced chip beef to the gravy with a little pepper and heat till warmed. We love it on toast.

  3. Thanks Joan,

    I will try the creamed chip beef and you'll hear a yell for help if I get caught in a mess, lol