The local restaurant scene is about to get a big endorsement thanks to one of the most famous names in global food. Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern is sharing his favorite Austin barbecue, tacos, and ramen in the second part of the two-episode launch of his latest series, The Zimmern List.
The series takes a very different approach than his signature show Bizarre Foods. Over the course of 18 half-hour episodes, Zimmern immerses himself in U.S. food culture, giving viewers an insider peek at the dining culture of the nation’s most electric food cities while sharing his favorite things to eat.
"This is the most personal show I’ve ever made, including taking the audience to the restaurant in San Francisco I swore to never reveal for fear of it becoming too popular,” said Zimmern in a release. “Hidden gems, cult classics, they’re all there.”
The first episode debuts on March 13 at 8 pm with a whirlwind trip through Los Angeles. There, he eats his way through the cult breakfast at Grand Central Market’s Eggslut, contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine at Kismet, vibrant Thai food at Night + Market Song, toast at Sqirl, and classic pastrami sandwiches at Langer’s Deli.
He then heads to Austin, where his list includes some culinary no-brainers and few surprising stops. Zimmern starts the day with the world famous brisket at Franklin Barbecue before sampling the fresh Mexican fare at Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon and tacos at South Congress Avenue mainstay Guero’s Taco Bar.
Then he heads over to the 5000 Burnet food truck park to sample some of Austin’s best meals on wheels. There, Zimmern takes a detour from what’s expected of Austin food by sampling a poke bowl from Big Kahuna before diving into the chilaquiles at Tita’s.
Unfortunately, Tita’s — which has attracted buzz for its exemplary Cuban torta — is on hiatus. The owner tells CultureMap that they had to take a break due to some family health issues, and will be returning at an unknown date.
Zimmern finishes his day by slurping the ramen and Ramen Tatsu-Ya and circling back for more smoked meat and some live music at Stubbs BBQ on Red River Street.
Austin fans with a SXSW badge can see Zimmern in person on March 12 when he participates in a panel with activist chef José Andrés moderated by former Food & Wine editor in chief and current Chefs Club International chief creative officer Dana Cowin.