As the TV listings fill up with more food shows than ever before—Extreme Tupperware Ladies is coming!—it’s tough to know what’s worth your time. As the new shows roll out this summer and fall, we’ll be watching and letting you know which is worth your time.
It would seem Daymon Patterson has made it.
You already know him as the guy who reviews burgers and pizza in his car, sometimes garnering millions of views on each of his YouTube taste tests. Or maybe you’ve just seen that remixed video of him belting out DAYUM DAYUM DAYUM in a Five Guys parking lot. Now, he’s the guy that went from working at Wal-Mart to hosting his own Travel Channel show, Best Daym Takeout, which premiered last night.
One obvious challenge to note off the bat: YouTube success doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality TV about local food. We know that because we’re used to the nuanced edification of Guy’s “Triple D” and the authentic feel of Adam Richman’s “Binge Eating Myself to Death.” And from last night, it’s clear that Daymon’s new show isn’t so much about the food as his personal schtick—but maybe that’s a good thing. Let’s over-analyze it, shall we?
On the show—partly shot by a camera crew and partly by the obligatory handy cam planted on his dash—Daymon visits a city per episode, pitting three local “takeout” spots against each other. He visits the kitchen and gets a glimpse of how the grub is made, then trots back out to the parking lot to road test his eats. Then, he judges the grub on the intricate formula of (stay with us here) experience + food.
This show was basically created to a) Show that the Travel Channel knows what YouTube is and b) To give Daymon a more mainstream platform to be Daymon.
Last night kicked off with a tour of Chicago—or, more accurately, Daym pointing out highlights like the DePaul University’s sign from his dashboard as he sped by. This by-the-seat-of-the-pants look at the Windy City culminated in a trip to Pequod’s Pizza in Lincoln Park, where patrons likely die from rapid stomach expansion after eating giant crust bowls stuffed with cheese. Once he got inside, we were treated to a Fieri-style play-by-play in the kitchen. We learned how a cheese slicer works. We learned that they cost upwards of $30,000, and we learned what Daymon tha Don thought about that: “Oh please, that’s that big money.” True.
After some half-assed patron interviews, we went back out to the front seat of the Yukon for a taste test—and by we, we mean Daymon, who was wearing a gray velour track suit jacket. Inside, he’d made his personal pizza with 40 slices of cheese, some pepperoni, and some sausage planets, so it makes perfect sense that he’d eat this creation in a car…with his hands…out of a small box. Pequod’s signature caramelized crust has him singing his signature top-notch review of “DAYUM DAYUM DAYUM” in no time.
If you watch his YouTube channel Daym Drops—heralded by a photo of him photoshopped onto the Iron Throne above the words “Daym of Thrones”—you know that he gets a little attached to his food. In other words, watching him eat fast food in front of his handy cam is sort of like watching an orgasm. Perhaps that’s what “DAYUM DAYUM DAYUM” really signifies. And observing him dive into his “super pie” was no different. In between passionate eye rolls, there are cries of “Oh sweet baby Jesus!” and “Don’t go far boo” directed at sliding pepperoni. All those “flat super chunks of sausage” he added earlier are lovingly and scientifically described as “meaty.” Yeah, you’ll learn a lot.
Let’s take this opportunity for a side note on something Patterson does extremely well. This show was basically created to a) Show that the Travel Channel knows what YouTube is and b) To give Daymon a more mainstream platform to be Daymon. And he’s great at it. His highly unique interjections like “BUH” (boy) or “Oh SUPA Sexy” are unpredictable in the best kind of way. He’s yelling at food. Then he’s yelling at you. He’s happy because of the food, then he’s mad that you can’t fathom how happy he is. There’s just so much yelling. It might catch you off guard—it might even confuse you. But just know that stringing together that many nonsensical words and syllables takes talent—YouTube star talent.
Next up, Daymon stops at Superdawg for a steaming hotdog he’s really just lukewarm about. But that’s probably because he got yelled at inside for asking for ketchup. That’s a rookie mistake Guy would never make. He’d send a research intern ahead to learn the real way to make a Superdawg for him. Or at least force his crew to edit that shit out. (It’s obvious Guy Fieri is Daymon’s spirit animal at this point, right? I mean they both review junk food from a GM vehicle, their catch phrases amount to “DDD,” and they both yell-talk constantly).
It’s obvious Guy Fieri is Daymon’s spirit animal at this point, right? I mean they both review junk food from a GM vehicle, their catch phrases amount to “DDD,” and they both yell-talk constantly.
Anyway, if the medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan was somersaulting in his grave by the second stop. Daymon likes to hang out in the kitchen and watch food being made. Then he runs out to his car, turns on the handy cam and goes through the drive thru to repeat his request before parking and eating. Just because a dash-mounted handycam worked on YouTube doesn’t mean that on TV every morsel has to be run out to the SUV in the parking lot. Every. Dayum. Bite.
His final destination is the 40-year-old standard Mr. Beef, where Jay Leno apparently ate and slept when he was poor. Daymon is NOT interested in that. He’s interested in getting his handycam all up in an Italian dipped beef sandwich and fried cheddar cheese balls. He throws in a few key scientific meat-roasting terms like “lava juice” then runs back out to the car to sample. Maybe next season they’ll let him eat inside the restaurants?
Meanwhile, up in the Yukon, the giardiniera is dripping “all up over his sweater.” But he does take the time to notice that the cheese is “laid down proper” on his beef feast. Mr. Beef wins this round of “Best Daym Takeout,” and Daymon hand-delivers a strange glass trophy in the shape of a takeout bag.
Perhaps now is the time to point out that the show’s premise is a little misguided. Back on YouTube, Daymon was reviewing actual drive-thru fare from Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and occasionally a joint like Five Guys—all of which could be eaten in a car. This time around, he purports to not only review but rank local take-out hotspots that are, by definition, classic and distinguished in their own right by generations of locals. And not only that, but he purports to pit different cuisines against each other—a deep dish pizza vs. a hot dog vs. an Italian roast beef. Sure, the experience factors into it. But how much can experience factor into a decision when everything is eaten in the front seat of a car? It’s kind of like when Guy Fieri coined his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and then only went to mid-level cafes with a gourmet spin. Someone pick a real divey take-out spot for Daymon and let him thrive.
In round two, Hurricane Daymon heads to New Orleans to lay down his SUPER OFFICIAL thoughts on the classics. First up is Willie Mae’s Scotch House in Treme, known everywhere for that battered fried chicken. In the kitchen, Willie Mae’s great-granddaughter Kerry Seaton is mixing up a batch of that ultra-secret wet batter, which Daymon assumes is cake batter (!!), Then, he heads out to the car to try a fried leg and some sides, all of which he inevitably names “Boo.” He realizes his utensils have been left out, so instead of going inside and getting some or grabbing them from the stash that ANY fast food aficionado keeps in his/her console, Daymon dramatically makes one out of a corner of his takeout box and detracts a couple of points for “experience.” Let’s remind ourselves: Willie Mae’s has a James Beard Award. Moving on.
We head right off Bourbon Street to Acme Oyster House—known nowhere for having takeout ever. It’s a seafood restaurant. Seriously, the only way he ended up there is because some Marc Summers-narrated drive-by of New Orleans that the Travel Channel keeps in its Rolodex told him to go there.
Inside, he watches raw oysters being shucked, Oysters Rockefeller being broiled, crawfish being boiled (and served on a plate, sigh.) He then orders the cheese fries (appropriately titled Boo Fries) and some crawfish, and swiftly heads back outside. Let’s recap: He’s in New Orleans and eats cheese fries and one goddamn crawfish in his car. He calls the Cajun spices “Dragon seasoning.” Then Daymon Targaryen moves on to critiquing the mud bugs themselves. “It’s kind of like lobsters…You can pretty much taste the ocean.” Crawfish don’t come from the ocean, but unimportant!
His final stop is Uptown at Freret St. Po-boys & Doughnuts, where he immediately announces to a grits-eating patron “You know I know about them grits, BUH.” Perfection. Then he orders a Nola specialty, a silky roast beef po-boy. Two episodes, two gravy-dipped sandwiches. This man hates seafood. He then pronounces that Freret St.’s doughnuts are doused in unicorn tears before driving away to make his final decision.
Considering they’ve already won a James Beard Award, it’s obvious that Willie Mae’s is pretty DGAF about receiving Daymon’s takeout bag trophy, but it’s still a significant moment for everyone watching. Daymon’s TV transformation is over.
It’s important to note after this two-episode premiere that we would watch Daymon Patterson do just about anything, so we hope this show survives. But in case it doesn’t we’d also be fine with some other directions, like a Road Rage version hosted by Deymon Patterson, or one where he lives in his car all the time and can never leave. Or maybe just an entire episode where he explains all of his tattoos.
See you next week, BUH.