Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., Jan. 29
Despite Big Bite, Zimmern Misses Out on Some SD Flavor
Last week, as I was flying out of San Diego to attend San Francisco Beer Week, a TV celebrity was on his way in to eat through America's Finest City on his never-ending quest to gobble down the most peculiar foods the world has to offer. His name is Andrew Zimmern and he's the host of Travel Channel's popular show, Bizarre Foods.
Despite being out-of-town, thanks to Zimmern's manic stream of Twitter posts, I was able to track his journeys through my native land. I have to give him credit - with the help of some local handlers and in-the-know epicures, he was able to unearth some truly interesting regional edibles.
From what I could gather, Zimmern visited National City Filipino restaurant Tita's Kitchenette for pig's feet, the Hillcrest Farmers Market for sea urchin, a pair of spots in Chula Vista for corn must and more, and Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona for some lait de chameau. He also proclaimed Joe's on the Nose the "best coffee truck on Earth," and while I agree that JOTN rocks, I doubt they served him kopi luwak java with koala blood-tinctured feral bat's milk (maybe sometimes you just need a cup a' Joe?).
As evidenced by his date stamps, his pace was pretty ambitious. Having filmed live shots, I know how long it can take to make food TV happen. Clearly he's got this eating-on-camera thing down pat. Even so, he did miss out on something special. Namely, the opportunity to, in one stop, get a solid grasp of San Diego's food and beverage scene by attending a party thrown just for him at Pizza Port.
A score of local chefs and brewers gathered there and worked to put together a grand spread - veal testicles, chicken oysters, boar chops, an entire loin of tuna, a long line of charcuterie and tons more. Alas, Zimmern didn't show. Sources on the scene say he cited weariness and an early flight the next morning, but that his production and camera team did make it to the event.
So, with any luck, some documentation of this group (which was made up of some very talented individuals) will get some form of recognition for all of their hard work, tasty food and exceptional brews. Time will tell. The episode Zimmern shot in San Diego will air sometime in August, so stay tuned.