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Not surprisingly, I'm a fan of Food Network, and I'm always excited to see fellow San Diegans getting air time on that channel. It's more than just a hometown-pride thing (or the fact that I'm a member of that club). Sure, it makes me happy to see another of America's Finest getting their turn in the spotlight, but more than anything I like that it draws the attention of food and dining enthusiasts to our region. Each time that happens, we become known a little more for what we're really about versus the nondescript touristy land of chain restos and surf-themed beachfront cafés many mistake us for.

Troy Johnson, the quirky personality behind the new show Crave, ought to do a good job of breaking the surfer-dude mold. A music writer who made the transition to food critic four years ago, Johnson is known for his unique voice and perspective on food. As the show's host, he will be leading viewers on comical yet highly informational tours of the places he considers to be the nation's best.

Crave's first episode debuts tonight at 8:30 pm and revolves around pizza, or as Johnson calls it, "the edible frisbee of glee." His initial quest includes stops in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. After that, he'll take on items such as fried chicken (deep-fried love in a bucket), ice cream (socially acceptable lick food), and bacon (the magical meat stick) on a weekly basis.

It sounds as if he's caught the same TV-borne outlandish food-referencing disease as San Diego's Top Chef alum Brian Malarkey. Small price to pay for national notoriety -- for himself and S.D.

Pictured: Crave host Troy Johnson (photo courtesy Food Network)

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