P.C.Pop with Pablo

Family TV-Food Road Trip

In Food, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, parenting, Pop Culture, Summer for Renewal, TV, TV shows, Uncategorized on August 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm


Food — Travel — Family; the combination defines me. So when we were deciding what to do this summer, our Summer for Renewal, we knew it had to include all three. All of my family is in Connecticut (and a bit of New Jersey) and to fit the budget of a family of four, we drive. Travelling by car from Indiana to Connecticut is a drive into which you must put some thought. I guess you can just get in the car and go; but when you have two kids, you should think a little bit about getting there without killing each other. The more you plan, the easier the Road Trip part of your vacation will be. After all the drive to your destination is not really your vacation; so, if the trip is a disaster it could potentially ruin the “actual” vacation. Regardless the Road Trip is a part of the overall experience — a part of the family vacation memories that will last a lifetime (good or bad). The most recent strategy we tried actually worked — for us, that is. We are big fans of any TV shows about Food, Cooking and Restaurants. We find ourselves watching hours and hours food related TV on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, PBS, TLC, OWN, and Travel Channel.



Some of our favorites TV Food Shows are as follows:


I even watch PBS’s Check, Please! which features review of Chicago restaurants and classic Julia Childs’ cooking and baking shows. And lucky for us there are new shows popping up each day like the latest — All You Can Meat and Invention Hunters.


“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”

– James Michener


Actually searching out restaurants all along our 1600 mile round-trip, Road Trip to the east coast from the mid-west is a first for us. In the past we have searched the internet before we go on vacation to a new city to find out where Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Adam Richman or Guy Fieri had been in that city, and it wasn’t easy. Today thanks to two guys from New York who love Foodie TV as much as we do, the process of finding restaurants featured on most national TV programs is much easier.  These two guys created a website that is such a great idea and so easy to use — you wish you had thought of it first. TV Food Maps is their website which allows you to search for restaurants featured on TV by location, type of food and/or TV show. And if that weren’t easy enough, they launched a mobile app in its second version. There are other sites and blogs about Food TV but this is my favorite; again, because it works for me.


“The air you smell, the sights you see, the food you taste, the language you hear, and the feeling you get…nothing familiar. That is true freedom.”

~ Anonymous


Whenever we take a car trip that is focused mostly on family, we make a deal with our kids. The deal is we will try to see something interesting on the way there and on the way back. For the past few Road Trips eastward, we have spent a day in New York City because we are so much in love with this city. On the way back to home to Indiana we pick a different city each time and go exploring for a day or two.  The last two trips (this one and the Road Trip this past January), we have stopped in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively. On this particular Road Trip we also managed to spend a good part of a day in Hoboken, New Jersey – birthplace of Frank Sinatra and Buddy Valastro — the Cake Boss.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain


Now, I don’t want you to think that all we do is eat — our Road Trips also include fun, history and culture. For instance  in New York City between lunch at John’s Pizzeria (of Bleeker Street), a sweet treat from Dylan’s Candy Bar  and dessert in Little Italy at Ferrara Bakery, we have visited all of our favorite places in the Big Apple including the Statue of Liberty, Belvedere Castle in Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Whitney Museum, and South Street Seaport; to name a few. Getting our kids excited about touring a new city or taking a 15 hour Road Trip to see family is a challenge. But when you can tie the trip to pop culture it sure does help — like visiting the Abby Lee Dance Company (home of Lifetime’s Dance Moms) while in Pittsburgh. In New York City finding pop culture references is a bit easier. Walking through the Central Park Zoo and finding some of the animals from the movie Madagascar or exploring the American Museum of Natural History and looking for exhibits featured in the movie Night at the Museum have also been strategies for us. Now we add getting a corned-beef sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen which was recently featured on the Travel Network and also is famous for a scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally — which we will consider discussing with our kids when they are much older, if you get my drift.


“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

– Henry Miller


For our family Road Trips and hectic sight-seeing days in new cities are now a bit more enjoyable. Following the food just adds another dimension giving us something to do together, a new memory to create, and another page in the photo album and scrapbook. We can’t wait to try this out on our next Road Trip south to the in-law’s home and west to my brother-in-law’s. As long as there’s a PBS, Food Network or Travel Channel — there will be funky restaurants to explore and unique foods to eat. If you want to see the lists of restaurants we have explored on our various Road Trips, check out my posts featuring the restaurants’ names and locations as well as reviews of our visits (coming very soon). And next time you head out on a Road Trip with your family — consider making it an official Family TV-Show Road Trip.


Happy Trails — and Buon Appetito!


This PC Pop Blog post is a part of a series called the Summer for Renewal. Read the other Summer for Renewal posts too.  They are as follows:


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