Monday, September 7, 2015

How the Phantom Gourmet Failed Me

Hey local folks, so it's Labor Day and whether you're planning to head out there or have still yet to make plans for your day, please do yourself a favor and skip The Phantom Gourmet's Junk Food Jam at the Mendon Drive in. The Phantom Gourmet has whipped up some tasty food events in the past. We ate our weight in hot dogs at The Hot Dog Safari. We bathed in BBQ at the BBQ Beach Party. There is the food festival outside of Fenway... We loved them all so why would we pass up the chance to hit the Junk Food Jam with our family on Labor Day weekend? If the Phantom Gourmet is involved, we are game! Heck, I was so excited, I told the baby's daycare teacher about our weekend plans and she even wrote down the info... but I hope and pray that she didn't drag her whole family to the Junk Food Jam on my misguided recommendation.

Here is how the event is posed to the general public.... seems tasty right?

We’re excited to announce a new food and fun event:  The Phantom Gourmet Junk Food Jam! Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend at the Mendon Twin Drive-In, we’ll serve up the craziest, tastiest, phattest menu ever!  Potato Heaven will features several kinds of fries from German to Hamburger; Cheese Fries.  Pig Plaza is everything bacon.  Fried Sensations include fried mac & Cheese and Deep Fried Corn.  Fried Indulgence is frying up all your favorite candy bars…and Twinkies.  And there’s more:  Ice CreamFried Dough, we could keep going and going, but we don’t want to make you salivate any more than you already are.

The Andleman Brothers would have you believe that there are TONS of food vendors for you to sink your teeth into! I mean, look at all that food that they list. You want to have fun with the family? They have got you covered!

Here is how the event actually played out for us: You pay $5 per car to get into the event. You know you'll be paying more for the food but not a bad deal if there is a lot to choose from because you know they have to cover their costs (even though the Andleman brothers do own the Mendon Drive In but I digress). You walk from one side of the drive-in, where you parked, to the other side, where there are literally four tables across the tree line with signage that gives you an idea of what kind of food they are offering. In the blazing sun, this set up looked pretty pathetic but we were hungry and not willing to get discouraged right off the bat. My uncle excitedly went to the "Pig Plaza" table because he had a hankering for pulled pork. But much to his dismay, they were out of it, at 1pm on Saturday, the first day of a three day event. We forged on.

Everyone decided on some manner of fried food that was not prepared to order but rather was being pushed out of one single food truck set back behind our four food tables then left to sit on said tables waiting for some poor schmuck to pay way too much to eat the mediocre food. They had a decent sized tent where you could eat your sad food and I have to give them props, at least, for having beer. The only reason we remotely enjoyed ourselves was because we were with each other not because of anything that The Phantom Gourmet did. Do you want to spend $6 on five lukewarm mozzarella sticks, then this is the food event for you. Can you stay home and get some frozen mozzarella sticks from the box and enjoy the same quality? Yep. 

My husband and I looked at the way this event was set up and would have changed a handful of things that would have made it marginally better. A couple of notes for the Andleman brothers if they choose to embark on a Junk Food Jam again next year: 
  • Bring in more than one food vendor- the people of New England have come to expect variety from The Phantom Gourmet events and this one was seriously lacking. 
  • Prepare- If you're only going to bring in one food vendor, then be prepared. You shouldn't run out of pulled pork two hours into an event, when nearly every man I have ever met is pretty much obsessed with pulled pork.
  • Provide entertainment for kids that is not only affordable but maybe even included in admission- Hey, I am a parent and if I am paying to get in, shouldn't I get something for it? If you're going to charge admission to the event, provide something worth paying for.
  • Make food to order. It was pretty hot on Saturday yet even as our fried pickes sat in the sun, they still weren't warm when we went to eat them. Nothing like overpaying for food that is the opposite of fresh.
If you're planning to wing it today, please don't waste your time on the Junk Food Jam. I am sorry that I even talked to people about it before I had experienced it for myself. I am also sorry to The Phantom Gourmet and the Andleman brothers for being compelled to write this post but I just can't believe that we spent so much money on admission + food this past Saturday and were left just wanting so much more from the event.

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Gimme Gimme Some Lovin'