September 19, 2011 | 8:00am
Last week on the Great Food Truck Race, there was anguish and drama, culminating in a revelation that one of the contestants cheated. This week's episode, by comparison, was feel good. There was levity as the show's trajectory, which was veering dangerously towards a bitter end, righted itself.
When the remaining three trucks, Hodge Podge, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, and The Lime Truck arrived in Atlanta, three mystery picnic baskets awaited for a Truck Stop challenge. The task: to incorporate the ingredients found inside with two of Georgia's most well-known foodstuff, peanuts and peaches, which they would have to scavenge for. The Lime Truck has to settle for dried peaches to make their surf and turf combo (the shrimp they found in their box became a Thai-inspired spin with crushed peanuts) and Hodge Podge had to make do with a peach cobbler donated by a local joint as a raw ingredient; but it was Roxy's who won with a peanut-crusted steak and peaches dish. Their prize: $1,000 in their till.
With that, they were off on their first day of selling. Hodge Podge immediately secures a prime spot at a popular mall called Atlantic Station where they're doing boffo business, feeding lines of people, which included the mayor himself. Meanwhile the other two trucks are floundering in the spots they've chosen. Lines dry up and much is made on the importance of "location, location, location." The lead Roxy's may have had with their Truck Stop winnings became moot. James of Roxy, faced with dwindling sales, considers begging passerbys to buy their food, but he simply can't do it. He can't beg.
The Lime Truck is also not doing well. Daniel Shemtob and Jason Quinn is shown growing increasingly frustrated with the situation and each other as they circle around town, trying to find a better spot. They end up back where they started. They would secure the Atlantic Station spot the next morning, however, a location that allows only for one truck at a time.
When the next day came, Tyler Florence announced the Speed Bump, which hits Hodge Podge the hardest: each team would lose their head chef. Chris Hodge's girlfriend and sister would have to fend for themselves. The other two trucks hardly blink. The Lime Truck, minus Jason Quinn, still has a trained chef in Jesse Brockman. And as the second day went on without a hitch, Daniel Shemtob is shown saying, "I love Jason to death, but I love working the shift with just me and Jesse. It's a lot smoother and calmer."
Meanwhile, the three main chefs are whisked off for a day of culture at the museum. There were more than a few Ferris Bueller moments where the trio is shown enjoying art and each other's company. The outing also produces what is probably the funniest scene of the entire series. While sitting on a bench gazing at an abstract piece of art, Jason Quinn dreamily observes the meaning of the painting.
"It's like a fragment of the material world and everything else has been removed to show the importance of being," he posits.
"Kinda looks like a grilled cheese to me," quips Marc from Roxy's.
Back at the trucks, Hodge Podge's girls are doing quite well surprisingly. And when it came time for the final tally, they triumphed with the biggest total. Roxy's, even with their $1,000 cushion ended up last and therefore eliminated. But they were not sore losers and had sweet parting words for the remaining two trucks.
"At the beginning of this race had a little bit of ill will towards Hodge Podge and towards Lime Truck; but you know what, in the end, the deserve where they're at. I like those guys. Good people, absolutely good people. Push comes to shove, I'll back those trucks any day," James said.
Next week, Miami, and the finale.