'Bizarre Foods America': Andrew Zimmern gets weird in Las Vegas

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Andrew Zimmern is joining some distinguished company. With the premiere of the summer season of "Bizarre Foods America" on Travel Channel Monday, July 9, his "Bizarre Foods" franchise reaches its 100th episode, and he's celebrating in style, spending the occasion in one of the world's most excessive locales -- Las Vegas.

"I've been trying to go to Vegas with this show for five years," Zimmern tells Zap2it. "Vegas is a place that's over the top. Everything is bigger, badder, more beautiful. The cars are faster, the signs are brighter and twinklier. The women's decolletage is more revealing, and the augmentation is bigger. Everything is bigger in Vegas."

Zimmern is nothing if not a man with plenty of appetite, and his excitement and zeal for this celebratory episode and the city in which it was shot are obvious. "We were able to tell stories about passionate chefs who -- and I mean this literally, not figuratively -- bring the Venetian seafood market into the basement of their restaurant every single day of the week," he says.

"Whether you see it as a food town, a family destination, or Sodom and Gomorrah, the fact that this place exists in the middle of a desert -- just flying in there feels funny. I found so many cool things to talk about in that show. I always joke that the best stuff is on the cutting room floor. In that episode, the best stuff is still on the cutting room floor -- that's how much fun we had in Vegas."

What are you currently reading?

"Fiction? I'm about to start the new William Boyd book. ... William Boyd is one of my favorite writers, and he has a new one that just came out."

What did you have for dinner last night?

"Oh, my God -- it was fantastic. ... The weather was unbelievably glorious. I threw steaks on the grill -- a wood-burning charcoal grill -- we had corn from down South. I made a tomato and baby lettuce salad with a buttermilk dressing, and we had wood-roasted asparagus from the farmer's market that was so to-die-for. And my wife made a blackberry and raspberry compote for dessert."

What is your next project?

"I actually am in the final stages of OK-ing photography for my young adult book that comes out on Oct. 30. It's wonderful -- it's called 'Andrew Zimmern's Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild and Wonderful Foods.' I think it's going to be a huge, monster hit."

What's the strangest fan encounter you can recall?

"Probably the one that takes the cake is the guy that walked up to me at a book signing, threw his leg up on the table, peeled up his pants and he had a 9-inch tattoo of my face on his calf."
Photo/Video credit: Travel Channel