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The Weekly: Bizarre Days With Andrew Zimmern

A New York Minute:

Thursday, 5:08 p.m.

Not only have I scored a seat on the train during rush hour (a feat), but I’m still running on some leftover adrenaline from having just interviewed Andrew Zimmern. Sitting across from the man I’ve watched on the Travel Channel since I was in middle school is a surreal experience. He looks the very same, down to the orange glasses. He’s long-winded, incredibly passionate about political issues facing America and refers to the late Anthony Bourdain as “Tony.” I spoke with Zimmern and his PR person for an hour and a half, and by spoke I mean he talked and I interjected cues like “mhmm” and “sure” so he knew I was listening, peppered in with what I think are thoughtful questions. I got antsy toward the end because I was worried about getting in all my questions, but Zimmern didn’t appear to be in any hurry. He speaks deeply and with much knowledge of the things plaguing America, from climate change to immigration to voter suppression. And the way he speaks, I can’t help but think his new show, What’s Eating America, is about to be the show of his career.

In the moment, it was my job to listen to him and ask questions and, for all purposes, craft a story from his answers (which you can find here). But sitting here now, I can’t help but feel a little awed by him in a professional sense. This is a man whose career has led to this, and he’s had some incredible hits, as well as moments of incredible adversity (he was an alcoholic and addict in the ‘80s, for which he sought treatment in the '90s). There is something so moving about meeting someone who is on the cusp of achieving the thing they have worked for for so long. And I look at him, a man who has built his career on traveling and eating and teaching people about other cultures, and I can’t help but wonder how he’s done it, and how I, too, could lead a life like that. There is always something so moving about meeting someone who is living their dream, and Zimmern is no exception.

Stories that should be on your radar:

"Why Andrew Zimmern Made a Food Show About Politics" (Worth), a Q&A in which Zimmern tells me all about why now is the time for a show like this, among other topics like how American cities are dealing with climate change as it relates to food systems.

"Family Business" (Truly*Adventurous), a longform story in which a family in the business of stealing money gets tried in court, and the father faces off against the son who betrayed him.

Food for thought:

For Valentine's Day dinner, my boyfriend (Arun) and I went to a three-course dinner at a nice restaurant near Times Square called DB Moderne Bistro (DB = Daniel Boulud, a renowned Michelin-starred restaurateur, though this is not his Michelin-starred restaurant. That would be Daniel, also located in New York City.) This restaurant was classy and fancy without being snooty, and the food was sublime. Everything from the complimentary bean dip and lavash crackers to the filet mignon and pommes puree (mashed potatoes) and the coconut rice pudding with mango sorbet (and my boyfriend's bittersweet chocolate fondant with espresso ice cream) was flavorful and fantastic. Not to mention, the complimentary mini heart-shaped raspberry and rose macarons, which were such a cute addition to the Valentine's theme. Plus, the wait staff was great, too. Overall, it made for a very special V-Day dinner, which also happened to be my first real Valentine's Day, spent with my love.

Fashion hot take:

Natalie Portman was the best dressed person at this year's Oscars. That cape! That dress! Her hair and makeup! You can't convince me otherwise.

Best product of the week:

This week, I was sent some Dr. Paw Paw balms, and I'm really into them. Now, these balms are multi-purpose balms that you can use on your cheeks as blush and on your lips to tint and hydrate; I got the orange, red and peach ones. I can't see myself using them as blushes because the texture is too balmy for me (and I just don't wear much blush to begin with), but I love them as lip tints. My lips are super chapped, and matte lipstick just sticks to all that dryness. So these are great for a wash of color without sticking to unruly dry patches.

One last thought:

I can't wait to eat Mexican food in Mexico. Arun and I got dinner from a Mexican food cart last night, and eating it made me realize how truly excited I am to eat authentic Mexican food when we go to Playa Del Carmen next month. Mexico is a place that always struck me as a party destination, so I never had much interest in it, until last summer when my family and I went on a cruise that stopped in Cozumel. We took an excursion to see the ancient ruins in Tulum, and to do that, we had to go from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen. While we were in Playa Del Carmen for all of about 30 minutes, I couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful the place was and how much I'd love to come back. And so that's what I'll be doing very soon. So stay tuned for that.