Restaurant News

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern in Arizona Is Made Even More Bizarre, Thanks to Confusing and Creepy Play-Date With Chris Bianco

So last week, Andrew Zimmern goes on a quest for real Sonoran cuisine in Arizona on Bizarre Foods and hooks up with Chris Bianco, the wait-in-line-for-two-hours pizza guy of Pizzeria Bianco. Huh? What? Why? Were all the Mexican foodies in the Valley busy? Did Silvana Salcido Esparza, owner of Barrio cafe and member of the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame, not return the producer's calls? What about America Corrales, owner of America's Taco Shop? Was she busy, too? And not one family member of Rito's Mexican Food, recently mentioned in the May issue of Sunset magazine, was available to hang out with Andy? What gives?

Unfortunately, this missed opportunity to acknowledge Mexican leaders in our community doesn't do the state's reputation much good, especially in light of the wildly racist new anti-immigration law.

And Chris Bianco as a co-host? No. Let's not do that again.

Watching Chris Bianco give Andy Zimmern a tour of Sonoran cuisine was like watching Chris Bianco not give Andy Zimmern a tour of Sonoran cuisine. Because he wasn't. How could he be? He barely said anything during the segment and seemed as new to the food as Andy was. Apart from saying things like, "Dude, that was crazy-good" or that birría was going to be the next big thing (with no explanation as to why), he mostly just followed Andy around, all creepy and silent-like, contributing nothing -- the guy at the table you're never introduced to and who makes you uncomfortable 'cause all he does is smile and no one explains what he's doing there. Maybe next time Andy will be more thoughtful about his foodie tour guides picks.

Here's your TV schedule for this week so you won't miss a thing.

Monday (May 24)

Martha Stewart Show: "Recipes From the Garden." Recipes for strawberry gazpacho and nasturtium flower risotto with chef David Kinch. 9 a.m., Channel 15, ABC

Rachel Ray: "The Real Housewives of New Jersey Cookoff." A meatball cook-off pitting two "Real Housewives of New Jersey" against each other. "Jersey Boys" cast members are the judges. 4 p.m., Channel 5, CBS

Best Food Ever: "Darn Good Diners." America's best diners are toured. 10 p.m., TLC

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: "Porkapalooza." Guy Fieri samples pork dishes from coast to coast. Included: pulled pork on Georgia's St. Simons Island; andouille sausage made from scratch in Bellevue, Kentucky; and honey-marinated pork chops stuffed with apples and cranberries in Long Beach. 10 p.m., Food Network

Tuesday (May 25)

Good Morning America: Chef Cat Cora. 7 a.m., Channel 15, ABC

Wednesday (May 26)

Martha Stewart Show: "Inside Everyday Food." A visit to the Everyday Food test kitchen and a recipe for bell pepper egg-in-a-hole with editor Anna Last. 9 a.m., Channel 15, ABC

Top Chef Masters: "Food of the Gods." The five lasting chefs participate in a heat of "name that ingredient." Later, they must whip up a meal inspired by a Greek god. 10 p.m., Bravo

Thursday (May 27)

Good Eats: "Porterhouse Rules." Porterhouse steak is prepared. 8:30 p.m., Food Network

Saturday (May 29)

Spice & Easy: "BBQ Challenge." On the menu: ribs with peanut barbecue sauce; celery-root slaw; chile-glazed shrimp with pineapple-ginger salsa; and grilled sugar-and-spice bananas with spiced nuts. 9:30 a.m., Food Network

30-Minute Meals: "Beyond the Drive Thru." Lamb burgers with feta sauce and spinach; shrimp with tomato-olive sauce; orzo with peppers. 10 a.m., Food Network

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef: "The Secret to Lamb Stew." Lamb-and-turnip stew made with Guinness and bread-and-butter pudding are on the menu. 10:30 a.m., Food Network

Cooking for Real: "Hot Island Flavors." A Caribbean-inspired meal. Included: escoveitch fish; habanero-studded bammy bread; pineapple sparklers. 12 p.m., Food Network

Sunday (May 30)

Alex's Day Off: "Italian Dinner." The host prepares roasted fish with just three ingredients: salt, lemon, and oil. It's paired with an Italian salad, featuring caramelized fennel, fresh oranges and walnut pesto. Also: sfogliatelle pastries are made for dessert. 9:30 a.m., Food Network

Guy's Big Bite: "Guy-Dalajara Grub." Mexican dishes, including beef enchiladas and tequila tacos. 11 a.m., Food Network

Food Network Challenge: "All-Star Grill-Off." Food Network stars face off in a battle of the sexes. Three guys and three females will prepare their best-grilled dishes in three rounds of competition, and $10,000 will be donated to the winning team's favorite charity. 8 p.m., Food Network

Chefs vs. City: "Hollywood." Chefs Daisy Roman and David Rosenberger of Kitchen 24 in Los Angeles are the challengers in a Hollywood foodie face-off. 9 p.m., Food Network

Iron Chef America: "Flay vs. Stone." "Take Home Chef" host Curtis Stone challenges Iron Bobby Flay. 10 p.m., Food Network

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld