World traveler, top chef
, and adventure-food connoisseur, Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods,” made a trip to San Diego in February, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune
, for an installment of his latest series, “Bizarre Foods America.” Though Zimmern is often busy sampling food in some of the world's most exotic locales, this adaptation focuses on strange foods and regional cuisine within the U.S. borders. Zimmern is infamous for trying a variety of local delicacies, ranging from fried squirrel and crispy bat, to an assortment of animal testicles; however, San Diego proved to be a much tamer frontier for Zimmern’s palate.
On Zimmern’s itinerary during his stay in San Diego was The Hillcrest Farmer’s Market where he sampled raw catch, remarking especially on the area’s local sea-urchin industry. Zimmern, like many others in the culinary world, is a big proponent of community sustainability and was in favor of the sea urchins’ economic and cultural importance to the city.
Zimmern sought to celebrate San Diego’s multicultural identity further by enjoying “chicken feet ‘adidas’” and other skewered meats at Filipino-American restaurant, Bliztorte Kalye Hits.
George’s at the Cove’s Executive Chef Trey Foshee played host to the Travel Channel star, during which Foshee prepared sea urchin, poached eggs, and dry-aged broth with Chino Farm mustard greens. Later, Zimmern joined Harney Sushi Chef Anthony Sinsay, at Tita’s Kitchenette for a meal of sisig, or chopped crispy pork. According to Zimmern the dish did not include the usual amount of “pig face parts” found in other places in the world, making it an approachable dish for American diners. Zimmern took the opportunity to enjoy more, freshly caught sea urchin and a cooking demonstration by Executive Chef of Gabardine and partner at Sea Rocket Bistro Chad White, at Catalina Offshore Products. He also carved out time in his day to visit a Ramona camel farm to sample a bit of fresh camel’s milk, an ingredient used in soap-making.
During his stay, Zimmern made a few necessary stops in Chula Vista, one at El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas, a food truck that serves saucy sandwiches, and the second at Aqui Es Texcoco, where he joined LA food writer Bill Esparza for a bite of famed lamb barbecue.
A few San Diegans were disappointed the travel host missed trying one of North Park’s famous Crazee Burgers, which are made from an assortment of game meats including kangaroo, gator, and antelope. Others still made suggestions from an array of other local dives and hotspots, citing exceptional dishes
and recipes from some of the city’s “best kept secrets.” Hopefully, this won’t be Zimmern’s last trip to Southern California and he’ll be back to sample more of San Diego’s fun eats.
Tune into the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods America" in August to catch Zimmern in California's sunniest city. For more information visit TravelChannel.com