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Mar 25, 2008 06:54 PM

MSP: Bizarre Zimmern does MN

I was at Ingebretsen's on Saturday and they had little cards advertising their being featured on Zimmern's show tonight 3/25. The episode is all MN. Do you think he got per diem money on that shoot?

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  1. What's bizarre about Ingebritsen's? Does Zimmern think that Scandinavian sausage is bizarre? (I didn't see the show - I find the guy unwatchable...)


    1 Reply
    1. As a MNan I loved the show. Am curious what the rest of the country thinks. Was it Bizarre? Was it interesting? Surprising? Quirky? In any case, I think we've confirmed once and for all that we (or some of us) really do talk like the folks in Fargo. Ya sure.

      18 Replies
      1. re: jennywinker

        Not bizarre in the least. Minnesotan humor is so mainstream at this point. Lutefisk, Scandinavia, meat raffles, wild rice...whatevs. But, then, I'm probably not the "oh! bright and shiny!" demographic they're after.

        1. re: aelph

          I actually don't find Minnesotan humor to be all that mainstream really. I grew up in Chicago and have also lived in Michigan and most recently Arizona before moving to Minneapolis. I was definitely a little wide eyed at the thought of people eating lye-soaked fish and attending meat raffles.

          I would agree with the assessment on the name "Bizarre Foods," however. Not everything Zimmern eats is so bizarre (wild rice?). I have a hard time watching the guy, too. I've loved his writing for a long time but the guy comes across as such a schmuck on TV. And the LIP smacking! I can't take it! I'd take Bourdain over him any day of the week.

          1. re: MaggieB

            Just for the record, Zimmern isn't actually Minnesotan, is he? Yes, I know he's lived here awhile but he isn't actually from here. Isn't he a bit of a carpetbagger from the East Coast who came here so he could be a big fish in a small pond? (Hey, don't even get me started on Diablo Cody!) Honestly, I don't think he represents Minnesotans particularly well. After all, he spit out durian. Twice.

            Even the title of the show "Bizarre Foods" is offputting to me. Great, now this guy is going around the world telling everyone Minnesotans think your food is bizarre. Minnesotans are a lot better traveled and diverse than people think (I read a study once that said that students from Edina high school are the best-traveled high-school kids in the U.S.; we have among the largest Hmong and Somali populations in North America; and so on), but Zimmern is out there promoting us* as wide-eyed simpletons who think other cultures are weird.

            * "Us" used very liberally here since, by the same standards I'm judging Zimmern, I'm not a Minnesotan either. ;-).


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              If you spend any time with Andrew, which I have, he says he's a "born and bred New Yorker" just as frequently as "my home state of Minnesota." And he says both ALOT. He came to MN 15 years ago not to be a big time chef, but to enter rehab at Hazelden.

              I never thought that AZ was "representing Minnesotans" in his show. He's just a guy eating stuff and talking about it.

              1. re: jennywinker

                If people think he's from Minnesota, then he's representing us whether its intention to do so or not (and, frankly, your comment that he refers to Minnesota... A LOT is disheartening to me, because, yes, it makes me realize more and more people who interact with him will come to associate with with Minnesota). I retract my carpetbagging comment as I did not know that part of his history. But I don't retract any of my other comments, I'm afraid.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Weird! I thought I edited in a comment that said, "No disrespect intented to Jenny, though, for her personal or professional connection to Andrew." But, the edit seems not to have "taken."


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I guess he lives there but I watch him often and I don't ever recall him saying he's from Minnesota, so I wouldn't get upset about him misrepresenting the state. As to that particular show, if there's anything about the series I find overdone it's the stinky tofu, testicles, bugs, insects, etc........ so I find it refreshing when he focuses on "unique" or "different"" as opposed to truly bizarre.

          2. re: jennywinker

            I liked it. However, almost all of these TV food/travel episodes are getting real old – real fast. I think in this case, it might not have been wise to name the show Bizarre Foods. I’m mean, how many seasons can you do bizarre foods? As someone who loves food and travel, how much can I take of Europe and Asia? At some point you’ve got to visit the U.S. For the most part, that’s just not going to be bizarre. It could be unusual, fun, and interesting, which I think this show was.

            I still like AZ the best of all because he just looks like he’s having fun. Do you ever hear him laugh as he’s speaking with the people he’s dining with? It’s just real genuine. He often says he’s got the greatest job in the world and he comes off as really believing it. Tony says the same thing and somehow I’m just not convinced. He wines too much and his attitude is more like, “Ok, they threw all this money at me, paid for all this, so I guess its cool, boy am I lucky.” I get the distinction between the two, but please. He makes me want to drink sometimes!

            I like and watch both shows and my mind is always changing. These are my opinions at the moment.

            1. re: jennywinker

              Hahaha, I couldn't agree more about the accents!

              I liked the show, even if it doesn't represent standard MN cooking. It's always nice to see Minnesota featured.

              Also, they could have been up in the North Shore at a better time and maybe got it from better angles so the state didn't look so flat. And why do they always center MSP shoots / scenes around that Stone Arch bridge (I think that's the one it is)?

              1. re: jennywinker

                I found the show highly informative. MN has big footprint in the American psyche no matter where you live, larger thanks to movies like Fargo and humor by Garrison Keillor. It's nice to see parts of America keeping certain traditions alive. I'd love to come out there someday and check out the people and food of a small town.

                1. re: Minger

                  If you do come -- and we'd love to have you! -- check out the Fare section in the most recent issue of Saveur magazine. Our beloved Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl describes some local, notable dining possibilities in MN.

                  1. re: Minger

                    To say nothing of Mary Tyler Moore.

                    Hey folks - I've been watching this thread deteriorate into a comparison btwn Anthony and Andrew. It's really apples to oranges. Anthony is a incredibly accomplished chef who also writes very well. Andrew is a writer who eats. I enjoy both of their shows but please - is it really fair to compare them?

                    1. re: southernitalian

                      Tony has a face- and voice- for radio, AZ is TV. Don't compare Please. They do the same thing. Andrew does it better. How many times have you watched AZ and AB in Korea back-to-back? Thailand, China, NY, etc.

                      They are competing. Get your head on straight.

                      1. re: SDMike

                        Oh, my head's on straight my South Dakotan friend. I'll give you that they MIGHT compete on TC, but AB is much more popular with CHs and people that I generally associate with. He's also hot. I said I like Andrew's show and I do, but I only see him on TC. He's adorable. But, in fairness to AZ, I have read all of AB's books, I read his blogs and everything else I can find on him. I watch him on Top Chef. AZ doesn't have a presense there so it's not a fair comparison.

                        1. re: southernitalian

                          I'm from San Diego my friend. I know AB is much more popular but I can't figure out why? Like you - I like both. Because you are an AB groupie and read and watch everything AB does means nothing except that you may be a chef wanting your cut too. The simple fact is - when it comes to travel and food -AZ does it better. I don't need some snarky, bitter guy telling me Texas food sucks. Honestly - doesn't AB seem most happiest when he is OUT of the the U.S.?

                          1. re: SDMike

                            He sure wasn't happy in Lebanon.

                            Well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm snarky and bitter myself so I'll continue to love AB.

                            1. re: southernitalian

                              No problem - most people are. You will get along just fine.

                2. If you hadn't come across lutefisk before, you might consider it bizarre.

                  When I lasted visited MN and WI, I was disappointed how hard it was to find many European ethnic stores and restaurants (except Italian). OTOH being asked regularly 'would you like more butter' at restaurants and coffee shops was slightly wierd to this Californian (with midwestern parents).

                  I especially enjoyed the coverage of the 'smoke houses'. North of MSP the locals smoke darn near every animal protein and smoke it long (except for mosquitos).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DiveFan

                    I've never had lutefisk, but I've known about it since I was an '80's Texan preteen(there's no nederlandische or Portuguese blood in my family line). As for bizarre...if you have no knowledge of salt cod/baccala, the Portuguese, or historical navigation...then, yes...I suppose preserved cod in all of it's manifestations is "bizarre"... sigh

                  2. I personally prefer Andrew Zimmern - he seems like a far nicer guy than the cynical and dark Bourdain. In addition, Zimmern doesn't constantly booze on his show.

                    1. going out on a limb here, (flame away) but andrew zimmern is not too popular with mspers? he's not even from mn--he's a transplanted new yorker, his restaurant failed here, and since un deux troix closed he's just gone after the spotlight locally as a restaurant reviewer, which in turn he's used just to promote his t.v. career. his opinions on food and restaurants don't have the cache of other local writers, imo. not saying he's a complete hack, or that his work is entirely without merit, but he's got a lot of detractors in his "home state" who wish we didn't have to claim him.

                      gary kiellor, mary tyler moore, fargo? gimmie a break.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: soupkitten

                        I know at least as many people who adore AZ as don't care for him. I know he can be rather polarizing, though.

                        1. re: jennywinker

                          agree that he is polarizing, and sorry if he is a friend of yours, Jenny-- i do think TDQ is spot on with how a.z.'s schtick comes across to average viewers. a.z. does not represent, he rather mis-represents, his adopted home state, and the food culture here. his restaurant reviews are unreliable imo and he takes whatever job gets him the most photo ops. although i've read some pieces he's written that i liked, and his blog is occasionally very informative, i simply can't stand to watch his show, & it just seems like he takes the path of least resistance to the top. i'd like to hear more from msp hounds who are zimmern fans about why they do like him-- i really do want to understand his appeal, because the folks i know, mostly chefs, don't care for him much.

                          1. re: soupkitten

                            I like both of them for different reasons.

                            AB has sort of fallen into the media life as a result of his memoir/expose which is great read. His programming is nearly as much anthropology and gastro-ethnography (I am sure there is a proper term but I am too lazy to look) as it is a food program. He defitnitely has and edge to him and is the first to say that at is peak he was not a great innovative chef, but that he was good at managing a solid french bistro. Usually his show is good but there are definite uninspired bombs.

                            AZ is someone who sought out the media path and good for him that he has seen such success. I think bizzare foods will probably only run a couple of more season before people tire of a focus on what's weird and not just whats good. However it is a launching pad for bigger and better thing and a future show. I am sure he needed an angle to pitch the TC and Bizzare is what appealed the TC execs. I also think that AZ is very frank about his roots in NY and adoption of MN. Besides at this point are most people in MN from somewhere else? I am from here but left in Kindergarten and didn't come back until after college./'

                            1. re: GastronautMN

                              "Besides at this point are most people in MN from somewhere else?"

                              No. Not in this generation, anyway. Aside from the influx of Hmong and Somali I mentioned above (and recently lots of people Mexico and Central America), Minnesota is a pretty stable population, particularly in out-state Minnesota. Refer to slide #33 where Minnesota is clearly group with the states where greater than 65% of those who live in that state were born in that state, compared to the "less than 65%" states...

                              I saw a statistic by the Brookings Institute that I can't find right now that said about 7% of the residents of the MSP Metro area are foreign born (ah here it is refer to page 21 of the download file at the bottom). So, the racial make-up of Minnesota is changing. The Twin Cities are considered a re-emerging gateway for immigration.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                as i have stated, i can't watch a.z.'s show-- in the mn episode, did he focus on ya you becha lutefisk at the last old scandahoovian housewife's table on the iron range, or the accessible offerings at the st paul hmong market? if he's covering the gamut i would have a better opinion, but if he's playing some gary kiellor song and dance, as would be typical, i wouldn't be surprised.

                                1. re: soupkitten

                                  It was all ya you betcha except for his trip to Heartland. It looked like they went out of their way to find the most stereotypical Minnesotans possible. At least it was cool to see Heartland on national TV.

                                  1. re: Somnifor

                                    thanks for that-- it figures!!!

                                    i'm resolving to watch the episode in a rerun to see heartland's coverage. that is cool that heartland was shown.

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      After reading this thread I recorded and watched the show. I'd seen AZ only once before and I was turned off, I easily resolved never to watch him again. Hey, I didn't swear an oath or anything.

                                      He's gotten a lot better, not nearly so me, me me and hyper kinetic as he was on first viewing.

                                      While there was some "Hey, eyeballs, I love eyeballs!" and yes of course a few "Ya sure, you betcha"s, he did nothing undeserved. Some of us do talk like that. I recently had a waitress who seemed to have stepped straight off the Fargo screen. I couldn't count how many time she said "Ya" and "You betcha", without, I should add, any tinge of irony.

                                      One thing I really did like was his trip to the Fair. Of course I'm a Fair junkie who in mid-February starts daydreaming about the corn roast.

                                      Oh, and his admiration for Lenny Russo and Heartland comes across as very sincere. .

                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                        i've decided to keep my big mouth shut until i actually watch this episode of az. if he covers heartland and the fair it can't be all bad. i can always try to ignore the host!

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          Someone needs to teach Zimmern how to chew with his mouth closed.