“Where are you guys filming next?” That’s one of the most frequent questions we are asked. It is also, at times, one of the hardest to answer. Not because we are flying blind, but because we have an ever expanding list of fan suggestions, owners’ invites and the want to build some suspense!
The process has evolved quite a bit since our first season. Season two began by compiling a list of names and places that we had gathered over our six months shooting season one. Dan created a handy chart for Greg and I to look over. Close to 70 suggestions! The three of us combed through the list, picking and choosing about twelve places a piece. Believe me when I say, this is one of the hardest parts of planning. Somehow, after many meetings, phones calls, emails and texts...we had our list narrowed to the eight eateries we wanted to feature.
Everyone was on board, and first stop? Brewtus Brewing Company in downtown Sharon, PA! The old saying stands true, “Any more fun and it would be illegal.” To me, there was no other way to kick off a new season than by featuring Brewtus right out of the gate. The beer was phenomenal, the food blew me away and the staff was kickass.
Some of my favorite memories however, never make it to film. Like how Greg and I had a meeting with Camille and David prior to our Nonni’s shoot. A quick meet and greet ended up being a two and a half hour tour/luncheon. We got to know each other over authentic Italian espresso (served with lemon rind) and sampled some delicious homemade cookies. We left with smiles AND meals for the road.
Our shooting season dragged on into winter. The three of us holding full time jobs, outside of Food Unchained, puts a strain on our schedule sometimes. I had a terrible cold for the filming of Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse so I was barred from any of the behind the counter viewing, but I did get to cozy up with as much specialty coffee as I could handle. Here’s a secret, I can drink a lot of coffee! Especially when it’s as good as Fresh Grounds.
Finally we arrived a Twin Temptations, our first and only bakery to date. Greg was in Heaven. Being surrounded by so many sweet treats was almost too much to handle. Going off of a “sugar high” we put in not one, but two days worth of shooting. Cheryl kept us well supplied during and after our shoot, sending us home with a dozen handmade cupcakes a piece.
New Year, same season. We were on a long stretch of filming every weekend (except for New Years weekend. We all had to….celebrate properly.) After a week long hangover it was time to head to North Country Brewing Company in Slippery Rock. You can check out my blog about this place or the full episode for a deeper look into our visit there.
Up to this point we were having a rather mild winter. Of course when the scheduled shoot at Erie Ale Works and The Que Abides up in Erie PA arose, winter hit us full force. It was no matter, thankfully my old faithful Jeep braved the wintery roads. Dan and I met Greg at his apartment and we quickly headed for the studio, where we filmed the cold open for the beer and BBQ themed episode. It was blistering cold, but The Que Abides smoked meats and mac and cheese along with the tasty craft beer from EAW kept us warm.
A few more weekends of filming cold opens, skits, fillers and live chats we ended our shooting at Julian’s Bar and Grill in Meadville. What a cool place to hang out. I was ecstatic when I saw the artwork. The tabletops and walls are adorned with classic rock and blues icons. Out of this world dining with an affordable price tag. You simply can’t go wrong. We ended our five star season at a five star restaurant.
As always, it was one hell of a ride. Being a part of this web series is literally an adventure of a lifetime. I get to hang out with my two best friends as we meet with some amazing people and eat the greatest food around. The best part about this journey? It’s all being filmed! Stay tuned for more updates and STAY HUNGRY!