"Which way are you headed?"
"I don't know. Out of town?"
"Buffalo Park is in the middle of town ... which side is the sun on."
"Good, keep it there, and head on down the hill. We are in the
shopping center at the light."
This telephone conversation is our roadmap to Brandy's, a Flagstaff
eatery so rich in personality and charm it's no wonder The Food
Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" tapped it for a show.
It's that connection that led us here. We want a neat place to eat,
so we google "Flagstaff" and "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" just to
see if the popular TV show ever made it to town. We hit on Brandy's.
So we're eating here, ordering the same food host Guy Fieri features
on the show (Tequila Lime Chicken and Flat iron Steak), but, in
essence, we're time traveling, because the show hasn't aired yet.
Today's April 9, 2009. The show airs April 13, 2009, (10 p.m. on the
West Coast). Cool.
Our very tall, blonde-haired, Nordic-looking Hawaii-born waiter thinks
it's cool, too (he's in the pic with our desserts ...yumm .. almond
grapefruit pudding cake). So he tells the chef we've preceded the
publicity. The chef, who wears a beautiful diamond stud in one ear (I
didn't see the other one), thinks that's cool, too, so his makes a
visit to our table and we chat about TV, producers and on-air "talent."
Here's some of the chef's insider talk:
* The scene that opens each show is of Guy driving up in front of the
eatery in a scrumptious red Camaro convertible. Well, that scrumptious
red Camaro convertible actually arrives ahead of Guy. It's inside a
truck, and is rolled down a ramp in time for the shoot.
* The producers spend two days at Brandy's (16 hours the first day,
12 hours the next); Guy (he's the on-air "talent") is there about four
hours at the end.
* Sixteen hours of taping boils down to 8 minutes on air.
We notice the chef talks to all of the diners, not just us, in a laid-
back, long-time friend kind of way.
Very, very cool.
And we notice our waiter chats with us a lot, too, and with the other
diners, too. He's got a lot to talk about. He's lived on the East
Coast, the West Coast, Hawaii. He's also a massage therapist and a
volcanologist. His dad owns a coffee plantation on The Big Island.
"Take my card," he leafs through his wallet for the right piece of
paper. "If you want to go to Hawaii, I'll call my dad and he can find
you a place to stay."
This is a very friendly, advant garde place, but it's not a diner,
drive-in or dive.
It's a trendy eatery inside a strip mall that attracts a steady flow
of locals because the food is inventive, moderately priced ($53 plus
tip) and the service, well, perfect. As is the conversation.