Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 1 Episode 11

New York City

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Aug 06, 2007 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew is in New York City to revisit his old haunts. He talks of the city being a cultural pot of cuisine with immigrants bringing their native dishes. He shows the building the parents lived, and the one near it where his grandparents lived. He then heads to the Carnegie Deli at 55th and 7th, which sells the biggest and best sandwiches. He sits with his friend, Alexandra Rhody, an actress and comedienne. Andrew has a tongue sandwich, which he remarks is under-appreciated and reveals the gefilte fish, also underappreciated. Alex has chopped liver sandwich with onion and hard-boiled egg. Andrew is also off the Lower East Side for the one place to get live sushi. The Jewel Restaurant does serious sushi and cooks by blowtorch to crisp but not cook the dishes. Andrew tries a mollusk known as geoduck, octopus braised in his own ink and lobster sashimi prepared in seconds with a white miso soup made from its own shell.
Andrew is then off for the Red Hook Bait and Tackle Club to catch up with fellow chef and TV host, Anthony Bourdain for drinks, snacks and talk. Forgoing his hosting for a while, Andrew's segments with Bourdain, who he calls just "Tony," are mostly just their talk and musings praising exotic food over the ordinary. They head to the Red Hook Recreation Areas to check out the street vendors. They get huraches, which are cornmeal dough baked around heavy toppings, but they save room for seviche made from fish, shrimp, octopus and squid. They also get papusas, baked cornmeal dough served with meat, cheese and a variety of beans.
Andrew takes Tony to check out an innovative artist named Neal Borasky who creates larger than life sculptures from scrap metal. Tony lights his cigar from the young artist's blowtorch. Neal gives both the famous chefs a copy of his new invention called an utens-all, a combination fork, spoon, knife and straw. The three of them are then off to the Moonshine Bar and Restaurant when they get they shoots of moonshine and an out-door barbecue replete with a begging bulldog. Tony makes a few comments at Andrew's expense along the way.
Returning to his "Bizarre Food" host duties and leaving Tony behind, Andrew heads thirty miles out of the city to visit Gene Rurka, an alternate food revolutionary known for serving insect and spider dishes at the Explorer's Club. Gene introduces Andrew to banana canapés with maggot pupa, wormzel (pretzel-shaped baked worms) and baked tarantula on a stick. Andrew comments that insects always taste like what they eat. That's when Gene produces Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which had been fed apples and oranges and injected with teriyaki to make them hors d'oeuvres.
Andrew is then off to Chinatown to meet his old friend, Clark, and his wife, Alice. After embarrassing him with stories, they go hunting for their old haunts, now all closed down. They run into a market where Andrew re-encounters durian, the fruit from Asia he had such a hard time eating. He tries it again, but still can't stomach it. Yet, he's surprised that two hundred are sold a day. The three of them have lunch at the Congee Bowery Restaurant, named for a rice porridge dish it serves. Among the dishes sampled and served, jellyfish salad, salad made from a sea creature known as a sea cucumber, duck feet and goose intestines braised in sweet soy sauce and bean shoots. The restaurant serves several types of congee. Andrew has the version with frog meat.
Andrew visits Brighton Beach next. The location was settled y Soviet émigrés and Russian Jews because the area reminded them of their homes on the Black Sea, and it is a great place for Russian cuisine. At M&I International Foods, Andrew meets another old friend, Peter Elkoff, a food columnist, and they try salted salmon roe caviar on bread. They also have samples of salo, non-rendered pork fat served as a delicacy on bread. One of the last dishes is Russian salami with hot mustard. Andrew's advice to anyone to M&I, graze a lot and try a bit of everything.
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