Most of the time when I'm watching a food tv show that concentrates on a specific city or style of food (The history of pizza, Chicago, etc) and I personally know enough about the place to have an informed opinion, I end up annoyed and frustrated, which means I start talking to the magic box.
Why didn't they go to this place? What about that other, better place? Why do they immediately go to the tourist trap? Nobody that lives in Chicago goes there unless they are carting around visitors. I hate Gino's East. Giordano's is so much better for deep dish. My pockets hurt. I want my bottle.
After the whiny 5 year old takes a break, I usually end up getting sucked into the entire episode and wishing I was eating at Palermo's or Chi Tung. However, lately the tv programmers have been hitting home runs in my little culinary world. Anthony Bourdain's Chicago No Reservations was simply out of the park. He set the tone as one in opposition to the standard tourist slog.
Diners, Driveins and Dives visited Nick and Vito's on the southside of Chicago. I really do miss their pizza -- very thin and not greasy at all. It's almost like inhaling a cracker.
Man V. Food is my guilty pleasure in the lot. It's usually disgusting, but the host is pretty affable and his joie de vivre is exciting. His St Louis show had him attempting, and failing, to take down 5 milkshakes at Crown Candy. I've had the pleasure of eating their once, and I think I had either the monster blt or something smothered in chili. I do know that I had a chocolate shake, which was just perfection. The place was delicious and legit it every way possible. Maybe that is the root of my inability to avoid getting a shake every time I eat at the Snow City Cafe?