Viewers win battle of "Man v. Food"
But like Jerry Seinfeld having a replacement George and Elaine lined up, sometimes you need a good Plan B in case something unforeseen happens.
So, fans of Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," I give you Travel Channel's "Man v. Food."
At first, I was a bit skeptical this was going to be a total "Triple D" rip-off -- you know, jovial dude travels to comfort food hotspots around the country and stuffs his face with pancakes and pizzas while cracking wise. But that was just my protective nature coming out.
While "Triple D" and "Man v. Food" spotlight similar food locales, playfully eager host Adam Richman has won me over.
A Patton Oswalt-ish food enthusiast with an iron stomach, Richman travels to culinary-rich cities to spotlight a few local landmarks before sinking his teeth into a well-known food challenge. In Pittsburgh (above picture), he took on the Quaker State Atomic Hot Wings challenge -- six chicken wings slathered in a 150,000 Scoville unit sauce -- and won a bumper sticker and spot on the Wall of Fame for the trouble of almost melting his face off.
In two of my favorite cities, Austin and Chicago, he failed the Don Juan El Taco Grande breakfast taco challenge at Juan In a Million -- he finished 4 1/4 of 8 -- but completed Lucky's overstuffed sandwich smackdown in the Windy City. While in Austin, Richman also stopped at Round Rock Donuts -- a place I've eaten -- and frankly, I wanted to lick my TV screen right then and there. Hilariously, he helped make the Andre the Giant-sized donut pictured to the right -- a steroid-injected pastry that's bigger and bulkier than Barry Bonds' head.
Any reservations you might have about watching someone gorge on a 7 1/2-lb. Sasquatch Hamburger -- well, they're probably worth having. Some of these items are astonishingly HUGE.
Still, the show doesn't dwell on Richman's quest to completely stuff his face so that he's physically ill. Or put it this way: He's not going to drop dead of beef poisoning like ol' Red Barclay on "The Simpsons" -- though Richman did take on The Big Texan Steak Ranch challenge that particular episode was probably based on.
It's all in good fun, and best of all, Richman is a sharp, self-deprecating host that always makes sure to give greater emphasis to the food and its creators. In a clever touch, he even does a mock press conference at the end of each episode.
New episodes of "Man v. Food" air at 9 p.m. Wednesday nights -- so "Top Chef" fans will have to DVR it. Knowing Travel Channel's limited programming, it probably airs several nights a week in re-runs. Upcoming cities include Boston, New York and New Orleans.
Now someone, anyone, please send me a Round Rock donut ...
-- Thomas Rozwadowski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: Man v. Food