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‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ takes fans on ‘Guy’s Hometown Tour’

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On last night's Food Network special episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” Guy Fieri took the Camaro right to is old backyard of Ferndale, Calif. on this episode titled “Guy’s Hometown Tour.”

As the episode began, Guy was standing in the front of the house he grew up in, located four hours north of San Francisco by car, to a Victorian village with an historic bridge constructed in 1911. The village has a population of about 1,300. His parents, Jim and Penny moved to this dairy town in 1970, when Guy was just two.

Guy took fans to Hotel Ivanhoe, the first place he ever worked. Back when Guy worked there, it was a Mexican joint, where he started as a dishwasher. He knew that was not his calling, and he had his big chance when a line cook did not show up for work one day. The rest is history. The current owners are Barb and Dave Mogni, who serve up Italian-American dishes for the locals. Dave made his chicken cacciatore for Guy and risotto with local Italian sausage. Guy also was happy to meet up with Lino, Dave’s father, who owned the gas station, and always fixed Guy’s bicycle tires for free.

On his next trip, that took only a U-turn; he went across the street to Ferndale Meat Company, where he worked after school as a fifth-grader. Guy met up with his childhood friend Dan Sisemore and his family, who were enjoying lunch there. Guy showed the current owner Curt Terribilini, who bought the place in 2001, where he used to load the beef jerky into the smokehouse. Sadly, Curt does not use the smokehouse, which Guy would gladly haul away and keep in his backyard. When Curt made their sausage for him, it was a different sausage than the normal Italian sausage, but a family recipe containing, spices, garlic and red wine; it tasted just awesome.

Guy’s foundation, CWK (Cooking with Kids) donated a pretzel cart to a Ferndale school a while back, so Guy just had to stop by. His father, Jim helped him build his first pretzel cart when he was twelve. Since then, the cart has been helping fund the eighth-grade trip to San Francisco. Guy spoke with Fran Moriarty, his eighth-grade teacher, who inspired him to write a report on the history of the pretzel. Guy won and went to the state championship and won that and went on to Nationals. This cart is just the first of many carts CWK has donated to various schools across the country. When the student could not make change for his $100 dollar bill, he let her keep the change toward their trip.

About five miles from Ferndale, Guy went to Fortuna, to Clendenen’s Cider Works, where Guy swears they make the best apple cider in the world. Guy met with Clif and his son Drew, whose family has been in the orchard since 1869, when the trees were planted. Many have been replanted and more varieties added, as they continue their famous operation. They pick all fruit by hand and eat a few while picking. Guy got a lesson in cider making using the 1916 press in the same method the family has been using for generations. The two-man operation was just amazing to see, as they worked in sync to complete the job of making this sweet nectar. Guy has loved visiting here since he was a kid, but to get the inside scoop, was a dream come true.

While on the other side of the river, Guy visited the Loleta Cheese Factory. Bob Laffranchi was an agriculture teacher, when a student asked him how to make cheese. He told the student to go to the library, get a book, and they would both make it. That was the start of an enterprise. As Guy helped make a humongous tub of jack cheese, he was astounded at the process, never believing how much work it took to produce his favorite kinds of cheeses.

Back in Ferndale, Guy pointed out the town that was used to film the Dustin Hoffman movie “Outbreak.” However, before he left, he wanted to point out a newcomer to Ferndale, and something rarely seen on Triple D. Humboldt Sweets, is a bakery and café, where Tammy Pichulo, husband Tony, and their five kids have been cranking out some of the most delicious treats in Ferndale. As she showed Guy how she makes their caramel-pecan cinnamon rolls, he could not believe the size of the finished product. He was warned to save room for the ham and cheddar cheese scone, and the bacon gravy was the addition that made them the bomb.

If you cannot hop in the red Camaro with Guy, tune in, and he may be coming to a place near you on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

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