Is it noshworthy?

Archive for the ‘ Why I love… ’ Category


Friday, March 26th, 2010

There are few things as wonderful as the pickle.

If you ask a group of people what they think of when you say “pickle”, you’re likely to get a range of answers. Perhaps they’d talk about those sweet, little gherkins that you find on deli plates at parties. Anyone who’s lived in the South would talk about that amazing creation known as the Fried Pickle.

To me, the first thing that comes to mind when I say pickle, is the classic, Kosher, deli pickle. Actually a very specific one. The ones I get at my favorite San Diego deli, DZ Akins.

DZ Atins is one of the best delis anywhere, and even better since its not in New York or Chicago.

You see, DZ Akins not only has some of the best pastrami, but on each table is a crock of Kosher dill pickles. And not just any Kosher dills, but incredible ones! If the rest of their food weren’t so amazing, I’d just sit and eat pickles there all day.

As a kid, my favorite was bread and butter pickles. There are bunches of people who have no idea what I’m talking about, and those of you unfamiliar with them should join our little club. You’ll be really happy you did. You can still find them in most supermarkets.

Bread and butter pickles are served in slices, and have a slight, yellowish hue. This comes from the mustard and turmeric, which give the bread and butter pickles part of their unique flavor. We used to keep jars of these delicious pickle chips in the refrigerator for snacking.

For a few years, my family lived back in Chicago, where I was introduced to the Polish dill pickle. Imagine a kosher dill with a spicy, garlicy flavor. They’re really amazingly yummy. Just be careful, since no one will want to be around you for a day or two after eating them.

With the exception of pickle slices and relish, most people think of pickles as an ingredient for other dishes. Fortunately, this isn’t entirely true.

One of my personal favorites is the Chicago style, Vienna Hot Dog. Not only does it have this awesome, DayGlo green relish, these classic dogs are served with a complete, kosher pickle spear running the length of them. It makes them a little difficult to eat, but the effort is worth it.

Another surprise came in a Panini the other day. Among the prosciutto, provolone and garlic aioli , was thinly sliced pickle! Not exactly what I expected in an Italian sandwich, but I can’t say I minded in the least. It was clearly a pleasant surprise.

I love pickles. And since they are considered both a fruit and a vegetable, it even counts as eating healthy.

Pickles, our tasty friend. Now where is the nearest Jewish deli?

Who doesn’t like a good cupcake?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

One of my favorite shows on TV is Chuck on NBC. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Chuck is about an average guy who get’s all the knowledge of the CIA and NSA downloaded into his brain. Like Neo in The Matrix, Chuck can “Flash” and use any of the knowledge and skills in the database, which makes it easy for him to impersonate anyone.

What does this have to do with cupcakes? You ask…

A couple of weeks ago Chuck was pretending to be a Mafia assassin. When told of the location of his next hit, Chuck said, “That’s right near that new cupcake place. Hey, who doesn’t like a good cupcake?”

As silly as it sounds, it made me realize that everyone loves a good cupcake.

Few treats are so universally loved as cupcakes. Their cakiness reminds us of all the wonderful birthday cakes we’ve had in our lives. Their size let’s us indulge our sweet tooths without worrying about over indulgence. And they do some creative stuff with cupcakes!

For example, a few years back the world was introduced to Sprinkles Cupcakes. Sprinkles, for those of us who don’t regularly watch Oprah, is a cupcake only bakery in Beverly Hills. They’re now spreading out to a number of other cities.

The thing that differentiated Sprinkles from supermarket cupcakes or those from your local bakery, is the quality and variety of their cupcakes. Unlike the classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry varieties, Sprinkles also makes milk chocolate, dark chocolate, lemon, coconut, orange, strawberry, banana, chai, pumpkin, carrot, mocha, ginger-lemon, black-and-white (Belgian chocolate and vanilla), as well as their signature cupcake, Red Velvet!

They use Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, and other fresh and exotic ingredients, to make what are debatably the best cupcakes in the world.

Of course, success always fosters imitation, and soon the world was flooded with new, cupcake only bakeries. Personally I love this trend, although many of these bakeries pale in comparison to Sprinkles.

When the lovely and talented Cianna Stewart created the Bacon and Beer Happy Hour, we were all asked to bring our favorite bacony treat to share with our fellow baco-philes. My solution was one of those cupcake bakeries that rivals Sprinkles, the Cups and Cakes Bakery in San Francisco.

You see, Cups and Cakes makes a “Pancake breakfast” cupcake, that consists of maple bacon cake, maple butter cream frosting, and a piece of bacon.

You might mock me, but it’s delicious! Bacon cupcakes, who knew?

Yesterday we celebrated my friend Michelle Carter’s birthday. What did she want to celebrate? Cupcakes and to watch the latest Twilight movie. You can question her good taste about movies, but once cannot dispute the brilliance of cupcakes for a birthday. Everyone gets the flavor they want.

So next time you’re passing a place that makes cupcakes, just ask yourself:

Who doesn’t like a good cupcake?

Soup’s On!

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

When I was a little kid, a blustery day meant bundling up, and a lunch made up of Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup and a sandwich.

It was the simplest thing, but in those perfect moments all was right in the world.

As I got older, the soup choices evolved. From Cream of Tomato to Cream of Chicken. Chicken Noodle was the obvious choice when I was under the weather. Then Italian Wedding, French Onion, and Baked Potato. And how could I ever have guessed that I’d come to love lentil soup and butternut squash?

To this day, soup is an effective way to put myself into a happy state of mind.

Maybe it’s the nostalgia of it all. Remembering the warmth spreading across my chest, while I was still bundled up like an Eskimo. My mom’s smile as she ladled the soup into my bowl and cut my sandwich in half.

In high school and college I was introduced to the classic Cup Noodles and Maruchan instant noodles. They had the benefit of being really cheap, quick to prepare, and pretty filling. We used to buy this stuff by the case!

Years later when I moved to the Bay Area, I learned that ramen wasn’t solely in the realm of starving student food. My friends Edwin and Steve introduced me to a Japanese noodle house called “The Ramen Club“, and the ramen was incredible!

Ramen Club led to Santa Ramen, then Himawari. Japanese ramen has very little in common with its Styrofoam encased cousin.

For those of you who haven’t had ramen the way God intended, they start with a big bowl of rich, pork broth, seasoned with salt, soy or miso. Then you add a pile of noodles, and a choice of a variety of other mouth-watering options like corn, egg, roasted pork slices, scallions and butter. Lots and lots of butter!

Speaking of contributions that Asia has made to the art of soup, my friend Matt Weeks introduced me to one of the best soups, ever! It’s called Wor Won Ton, and you can get it in most Chinese restaurants, regardless of whether its on the menu.

Wor Won Ton is when they take everything left in the kitchen and turn it into a soup. It has won tons, ham, chicken, shrimp, pork, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and broccoli, depending on what ingredients are in the kitchen. Of the many positive things I’ve gotten from my friendship with Matt, Wor Won Ton soup is one of my favorites !

As winter turns to spring, there will be a lot less soup. Sadly, most people think soup is only appropriate when the leaves start to fall and on blustery days. (How come there aren’t any mentions of soup in Winnie the Pooh?)

I don’t need a blustery day for my thoughts to turn to a bowl of savory yumminess. Although a bowl of chicken noodle is the cure to most ailments, it’s just as wonderful when I’m feeling perfectly fine.

It’s even worth a drive to Solvang, CA, to Pea Soup Andersen’s, just to taste their take on the classic. (And drive my MINI!)

Soup is happiness in a bowl.

Mmmmm… Sweet, delicious cow…

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I can never be a vegetarian.

It’s not that I don’t like vegetables. And even for my women friends who tell me that potatoes and corn don’t count, they at least need to acknowledge that they are not meat.

As an avid collector of cookbooks, some of my favorites are from the Moosewood series, where they make veggies into something wonderful, without making something that emulates meat. I’m sorry, if you’re eating vegetarian sausage or chicken nuggets, you’re just fooling yourself! You’re a wannabe carnivore! (I look forward to your emails)

But I’ll cover vegetarianism in a future post.

The reason I can never be a vegetarian is that I love cow. Yes, I know they are cute, but I mean, I love beef. Hamburgers, Kosher hot dogs, tri-trip, carne asada, and the Chairman of the Board, a nice, juicy steak!

Yes, if the doctor said, “Peter, if you eat another steak, you’ll die tomorrow”, I’d seriously consider the fact that I’ve already had a long and happy life.

It’s not a lack of will power, or that there aren’t appetizing alternatives. Life is short, and in the food world, few things bring me such consistent joy. And few things have been prepared in so many ways.

And clearly I’m not the only one. Years ago, McDonald’s used to fry its world class French fries in beef tallow. Thus why they are excessively scrumptious. As they swept across America they tried to switch to vegetable oil, and suddenly the complaints came rolling in.

“They don’t taste as good as they used to.” “When did they become so bland?”

McDonald’s is on the cutting edge of food science, and quickly put their guys in lab coats to work. They came up with a food flavoring that made their fries even better than before, and after assuring vegetarians the world over that their new seasoning was both vegetarian and Kosher, went off to dominant the world French fry market.

What most people don’t realize is what’s documented in the book, “Fast Food Nation“. McDonald’s “reinvented” beef tallow in a lab, down to the molecular level. It tastes like cow, because chemically, it’s exactly like cow.

And there was much rejoicing.

Someday they will make entire steaks in a Petri dish, and as long as I still get a good, marbled, USDA Choice, Filet Mignon out of the deal, I’ll be happy.

I’m old enough to remember a time when steak was a luxury. When taking mom out to a “steak dinner” was a special occasion. The 1970’s were the era when steak became more affordable, and Sizzler, Ponderosa, and Black Angus steak houses started to sweep across America. This turned steak from an annual event into something we can reasonably have every week.

And My God! Look at the variety of cow-based foods! Each nationality and region invents new and innovative ways to make our friend the cow into a tasty treat. Corned beef and pastrami, brisket, ribs, Carne Asada, Beef Stroganoff, chili, and Korean BBQ, all have made the world a better place with their beefy goodness.

Yes my friends. I love me some cow! And this is why I’ll never be a vegetarian.

Salads – The Big Lie

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Whenever it’s time to lose some weight, millions of people resort to the big lie. That salads are somehow low calorie and good for you.

It is theoretically possible to eat a low-calorie salad. But no one ever actually eats one. If anything, the big lie allows us to satiate our hunger, while pretending that we’re being well behaved.

Now I sense that you doubt my completely accurate and correct theory, so let me try to convince you.

Fact: Everything that tastes good is highly caloric.

Let’s face it; the first thing that makes salad tasty is salad dressing. Lettuce is the most boring food item ever discovered by man, and without a pint of salad dressing, it has the flavor of crunchy water. It’s only one step better than tofu (I look forward to your emails)

But salad dressing isn’t enough is it? Yes, sometimes we start with the best of intentions. “I’ll just dress my salad up with some carrots. How about some tomatoes? Maybe some cucumber? But the blandness is the top of the slippery slope.

It begins with the croutons. How bad can they be? Not realizing that the garlicky goodness is glued on with butter and Parmesan, and that they are little chunks of carbohydrates.

And don’t they always say, “everything in moderation?” So a little cheese couldn’t hurt, could it?

Wait a minute! Aren’t I supposed to be eating more protein? Wouldn’t this salad have a lot more protein if I cover it with grilled chicken or that tasty chili-lime shrimp? Are those blueberry muffins to the right of the salad bar?

But this is the gateway salad. Soon you’ll be ordering Taco Salads, or salads covered in Tritip steak. Hey! This salad comes in a taco shell bowl, that I can eat! I can eat the bowl!!!

Now after reading all this, you may think I’m anti-salad. Not true! I just think we should be honest with ourselves, and realize that the veggies are just an excuse to mix our favorite things in a big bowl, and cover them in blue cheese and bacon bits.

When I worked at Akimbo, we used to go to lunch at this great little place called the Railroad Cafe. My friends took great glee in mocking me over my love of their Chef Salad, which may be one of the best lunches, ever!

The thing that made it so wonderful were the cubes of turkey, ham, cheddar and swiss cheese, which could be used to make fun shapes. Just like Legos, only delicious! And I built many a lunchtime structure.

Yes, I did make little toys out of meat and cheese, and ate the lettuce last (occasionally), covered in salad dressing.

The most wonderful of salads is made at my favorite Micro-brewery, Callahan’s. It’s called the Karate Chop salad, and it starts by bathing every square inch of lettuce with both Ranch and Italian dressing. Then they cover it with shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, turkey, and toss in some olives and tomatoes to keep up the pretense that it has vegetation.

It has to be at least 2,500 calories!

So what I’m saying is this: Salads can be tasty, whether or not they are covered in grilled chicken. But let’s admit to ourselves that if they’re tasty, they’re caloric!

Julian-Land of Apple Pie

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The best thing about motorcycles is swooshing. Anyone who read my Four Corners blog has heard this explanation before, but for those of you who haven’t, here it is.

Swooshing is the fun, enjoyable sensation you get from swerving your motorcycle back and forth on the road. It’s surprisingly relaxing, and actually a lot of fun. Especially if you say “Swoosh! Swoosh!! Swoosh!!!” as you do it!

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “What does swooshing have to do with a blog post titled, ‘Julian – Land of Apple Pie’?”

Julian is a teeny town about sixty miles East of San Diego, which can only be reached by driving on twisty, turny, mountain roads. So when I got my first motorcycle, Julian was the natural destination.

So now to the second part, “Land of Apple Pie”?

You see, the tiny little town of Julian, CA, serves but one purpose. To make the world’s yummiest apple pies. (Okay, I’m sure its serves some other purpose, but to foodies, the pie is the important thing).

Every year, the month of October is dedicated to the Julian Apple Festival, where you can get everything from apple cider to caramel apples, and the population goes from around 1,600 to 30,000 each day. The other eleven months of the year they still make a mean apple pie.

I recently bought a Mini Cooper-S, which is basically the world’s coolest Go Kart. And not surprisingly, it’s also a very a very satisfying swooshing experience.

So ever since I bought the Mini, I’ve been looking for excuses to drive twisty, turny, mountain roads. Travelling to the land of apple pie is a great excuse to hit the road!

Of course, once you get there, they don’t make it easy on you.

Classic apple pie or Dutch Crumb? (Dutch Crumb, of course!). Ala mode, plain, or with cheddar? (Ala mode!) Vanilla ice cream or cinnamon? (Vanilla, as if that’s a serious question!)

And then there’s the biggest question of all. Where do you get your pie?

In a town so legendary for pie, there are many, many options. Mom’s Apple Pie, Julian Pie Company, Apple Alley, Julian Café and Bakery, all make a pretty mean pie.

Personally, it almost always comes down to Mom’s or Julian Pie Company. And that comes down to whether you want to eat it there, or bring it home. Mom’s always smells of baking pies, its aroma wrapping around your cerebral cortex, until you find yourself at the counter ordering a slice.

Julian Pie Company does a great job of making pies that travel well, going so far as selling “bake at home” pies. If you’re bringing dessert to a friend’s for dinner, you can’t get much better than Julian Pie Company.

Of course, it helps that they are next to Dudley’s the worlds best bread bakery. But I’ll save that for another posting.

Julian CA. Land of Apple Pie. Well worth the drive.

Mexican Food – From Space!!!!

Friday, February 12th, 2010

During my recent trip to Florida, my old pal Eric took me to a place called “Tijuana Flats‎“. Being a connoisseur of good Mexican food, Eric warned me, “It’s not Mexican food, but it’s still really good.”

Since this is the description of every good Mexican restaurant in the Bay Area, I was happy to give it a try.

When my burrito arrived, it looked authentic. The refried beans looked like refried beans. The burrito looked like a burrito. Then I tasted it. It may look like Mexican food, but it wasn’t.

Now those who know me, know that I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I swear, this isn’t another tirade about how you can’t find good Mexican food North of Los Angeles. It’s about a different phenomenon that I keep encountering, and I’m really curious if I’m the only one whose noticed it.

You see, the burrito at Tijuana Flats looked really good. The chicken looked like chicken that had marinated for hours in a delicious sauce. Upon tasting it, I discovered that the chicken had indeed been marinated. In hot wing sauce.

The entire burrito looked like the real thing, but practically every ingredient wasn’t what I expected.

It’s as if space aliens looked at the earth with a telescope, saw a burrito, and made something that looked just like it. But since they had never tasted one, had no idea what the ingredients were, they could only make something that looked like a burrito, but didn’t taste like one.

A few years back, I had a similar experience when I went to New Zealand.

My friend Tim LOVES nachos. And it’s rare for him to go more than a week without having them somewhere. But when we decided to go to New Zealand, he knew that it was unlikely he’d have his favorite treat on the other side of the world.

As luck would have it, Nachos had recently arrived in New Zealand, and they were sweeping the nation as a popular type of pub food.

Tim resisted for two weeks, but soon he succumbed to the siren call of nachos.

When it arrived at our table, it looked like nachos. Corn chips, salsa, sour cream, cheese. But upon tasting it, we discovered that we had purchased an evil doppelganger!

New Zealand, like its cousins in the UK and Commonwealth, loves experimental flavors of chips. It’s not uncommon to find potato and corn chips flavored like pickles, hamburger, and thai curry. The ones in this salsa were apparently, “Chili powder flavor“.

These were covered in creme fraiche, plain tomato sauce, and something they referred to as cheese. (Not that Nacho cheese has any resemblance to cheese, either…)

It was almost, but not quite, totally unlike nachos. (With apologies to Douglas Adams).

I’ve had this experience many times, with Mexican food, key lime pie, pizza, corn dogs, even hamburgers! Hasn’t everyone on earth had a hamburger at this point? The imposter BBQ I had in Canada and the pizza I had in Edinburgh, were particularly egregious.

So what I’d like to know is: has anyone else experienced this? I’m not saying that imposter food isn’t tasty on occasion. Just that, it can look like the real thing, and not remotely taste like it.

It does give me hope. Perhaps the owners of Tijuana Flats are space aliens? Maybe the purveyors of nachos in New Zealand are from a small planet just to the right of Betelgeuse. Is imposter food proof that aliens live among us?

Write me and let me know what you think!

Five Guys

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

A quick aside before I get too far. I’ve been fighting flu and laryngitis for the last month, so please forgive me for taking such a long break in writing. Hopefully 2010 will be a far healthier year!

Okay, on with the show.

As many of you know, I’m in Florida this weekend for the last night launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor. My best friend Eric works for the Sanford | Burnham Institute, which is working on curing diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Since they built this huge facility here in Florida last year, they caught the attention of their local Congresswoman, Suzanne Kosmas, who has been very supportive of them. Fortunately for me, she also invited a few of them to go to a Space Shuttle launch, and Eric somehow got them to let me tag along.

Sorry, this posting isn’t about space food, but I’ll see what I can do in a future post.

What this post is about is a small hamburger chain called Five Guys.

Last night’s shuttle launch got delayed for 24 hours, so Eric and I were hanging out in the exciting land of Orlando Florida, waiting for the next attempt. And as I am apt to do, I suggested food.

“I know of a great place!” Eric said with the enthusiasm of a man who knows his food. Soon, we were at the counter of a Five Guys burger shop.

For those of you, who like me, have never been to a Five Guys, its best described as the “East Coast equivalent of In-n-Out Burger“. Like In-n-Out, Five Guys concentrates on a small menu that they do extremely well.

It consists of burgers, fries, hot dogs and soda. That’s it. No desserts, no shakes, no apple pies that look nothing like apple pies. The only nod to diversity is a list of 15 condiments that you can choose, ranging from the classic ketchup and mustard, to BBQ sauce and A-1.

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Their French fries come in regular and Cajun.

Basically, Cajun is this really yummy seasoning salt they’ll coat your fries in. Definitely worth it!

So while eating our yummy burgers, the question that came to mind was, “Is this better than In-n-Out“? To Eric, the answer is clear. Absolutely. And this is really saying something, since Eric loves In-n-Out with a passion usually preserved for his wife and adorable daughters.

To me it might be the equivalent of comparing steak and ice cream. Both are delicious, but it depends entirely on what you feel like eating.

The thing that really stood out to me was the flavor of the burger. Not to commit burger heresy, but American cheese is about as generic as you can get. Once you reach a certain bar of freshness and tastiness, onions, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce are pretty much the same. So the thing that really stood out to me was the flavor of this burger.

They somehow found a way of inducing a flavor with is halfway between backyard BBQ and Mel’s Diner. It conjunction with my condiment selections, it was really, really good.

So I’m finding lots of reasons to like Florida these days. My first night here I drank MacAllan’s 25 year old, Single Malt Scotch, while smoking a 40 year old, pre-embargo Cuban Cigar. I’ve seen Cape Canaveral, learned more about Space Shuttle trivia than I thought possible, and have discovered a delicious new burger place.

As I’m so fond of saying lately, my life really doesn’t suck.

p.s. By the way, it seems like I’m not the only one who likes Five Guys. Our President apparently discovered it as a Senator, and still drops into the one in Washington DC, buying double-cheeseburgers for his staff. Regardless of your politics, you have to love a guy who buys his friends lunch!

RIP – Glen Bell

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

This week the world lost a fast-food icon, Glen Bell.

Unlike Ray Kroc, who brought McDonalds to the world, Glen Bell was less well known. When everyone was trying to duplicate the success of McDonalds by opening a myriad of hamburger stands, Glen Bell differentiated himself by opening up a one of the first fast food Mexican restaurants.

Forty-seven years later, they’re one of the most successful fast food companies in history.

When I first bought my condo in Mira Mesa, I knew I had truly moved to suburbia. Every major chain and fast food restaurant was within a mile. Chili’s, El Torito, Red Lobster, Black Angus, McDonalds, Subway and Pizza Hut were blocks away. And of course, no fast food Mecca would be complete without a Taco Bell.

The Mira Mesa Taco Bell was right next to the High School, and was a popular after-school hangout. This mostly had to do with the fact that it was amazingly cheap.

The irony is that in order to chase off loitering kids, they put up a sign saying, “You must spend at least $1.50 to sit at our tables”. Even more ironic is the fact that you could buy a drink and a taco and not reach $1.50.

There are many examples of “Food that is tasty, even though its nothing like its name.” For instance, the apple pie at McDonalds looks almost, but not quite, completely unlike apple pie. If you think of it as apple pie, you’ll be sadly disappointed. If you think of it as a tasty, fried, block of sugar, you’ll be quite happy.

Taco Bell is to Mexican food, what McDonalds is to apple pie. It doesn’t remotely resemble Mexican food, but it’s still really good! Did you know that the “Taco Shell” as we know it was invented by Glen Bell?

Glen Bell leaves behind a legacy of good food at very reasonable prices. He introduced middle America to Mexican food in a way that was delicious and non-threatening.

Thank you Glen for almost five decades of fast food goodness!

Adam Richman: My Personal Hero!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

If there is any benefit to being stuck home with the flu, it’s catching up on the TiVo.

A while back, Morgan and Audrey introduced me to a television show that changed my life. The show was called Man v. Food. The host is Adam Richman.

The Food Network has long held a virtual monopoly on a wide variety of food shows. The Fox network found it necessarily to turn Gordon Ramsey into a raving lunatic to try and get ratings. A terrible shame, considering how amazing he is on the BBC. Imagine how it would feel if Julia Child started yelling at her guests.

Actually, I would pay to see that. “Be a man! More cooking Sherrie!!!”

The dominance of the Food Network is finally been challenged. The success of Top Chef on Bravo has not only shown that other networks can do food programming, but they can do it well and get great ratings. And unlike Hell’s Kitchen, the show is actually about food.

The latest challenger to the Food Network is The Travel Channel. They started with Anthony Bourdain and his show, “No Reservations”. I’m a huge fan of his books, which started with the classic “Kitchen Confidential”. If you ever want to know what really goes on in a restaurant kitchen, read this book! You may never eat brunch ever again, but read it anyway.

The latest Travel Channel show is called “Man v. Food“, and it follows a simple formula. Each week, Adam Richman flies to an American city, eats their most iconic foods, and then steps up for one of their food challenges.

The thing I love about Adam is that he clearly loves his job, food, and the enthusiasm of a crowd. And he’s clearly grateful to have the greatest gig in the history of television. To paraphrase a tv critic, “Adam Richman is the grown up version of that kid from the ‘Wonder Years’.”

When you think about it, it’s the perfect combination. When you tell your friends that you’re visiting a city, isn’t the first thing they tell you is “I know this great place in Chicago!” or “You can’t go to Boston and not have Legals Clam Chowder!”

Travel and food go hand-in-hand.

If the show was just about the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago, or cheese steak in Philadelphia, it would be worth watching. But each show ends with Adam taking on a local food challenge.

For a guy who claims he’s not a competitive eater, Adam wins an awful lot. And they are not easy challenges. A six-pound burrito in less than 90 minutes in Las Vegas. A two-gallon ice cream sundae in San Francisco. Even a sushi roll challenge, where he ate ten spicy tuna rolls of increasing heat. They start with normal hot sauce, and by roll ten, they’re made with ghost chilis, the hottest pepper on earth!

I want to be Adam Richman when I grow up.

This man has the love of food that I do. He knows that every city has treats unlike anywhere else. And that people and food go together like cake and ice cream.

I woke up this morning, all fluey and cranky. Now after hours of watching Man v. Food, I’m… well I’m still all fluey, but I’m no longer cranky.

Thank you Adam Richman, you’re my hero!