Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern eats his way through Denver - and Parallel Seventeen chef Mary Nguyen's fantastical menu
Lori Midson Parallel Seventeen chef/owner Mary Nguyen is joined by Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods, at last night's Denver Adventurous Eaters Club dinner.
I learned several things at last night's Denver Adventurous Eaters Club dinner at Parallel Seventeen:
1) Pig uterus is absolutely lovely and should appear on menus everywhere.
2) Parallel Seventeen chef/owner Mary Nguyen is one badass chef, who has the ability to cook just about anything, "bizarre" or otherwise, and turn it into edible gold. Ozzy Osbourne: Eat your guts out.
3) Andrew Zimmern is the anti-celebrity chef who doesn't want to be an asshole.
Nguyen, who closed her restaurant yesterday to prepare for last night's powwow, which was butt-to-butt with local chefs, gutsy gastronauts, curiosity seekers, a film crew and a pushy reporter from Westword (whom Zimmern called, at one point, "random woman number five"), spent a portion of her weekend with Zimmern, who arrived in Denver on Sunday to shoot footage for an upcoming episode of Bizarre Foods America, which will air next March. And Nguyen's absolutely brilliant menu, stamped with ant larvae, duck tongue, jellyfish, Silkie chicken, goat, pig uterus, fermented soybean (which Nguyen admits has the "texture of snot" -- only she ensured that it didn't), chicken beaks and feet and caterpillars, far surpassed that silly tarantula I ate a decade ago.
Zimmern and Nguyen palled around on Sunday, hitting up local Vietnamese markets and sharing a communal lunch at Nguyen's parents' house. He also went pheasant and jackrabbit hunting in Nunn, using a falcon to catch his prey, which he then ate; he enjoyed a family meal with Tsogo Magid, a local Mongolian artist, where he sunk his jaws into a roasted sheep paired with "wonderful milky side dishes"; he journeyed to Bruce's Bar in Severance and shoved buffalo nuts down his gullet (Zimmern confesses to an obsession with bull testicles); and he did what any self-respecting television host does when he descends upon Denver: He got a taste of the homegrown verde at the original Chubby's on 38th, followed by trio of tacos at El Taco de Mexico.
Courtesy of El Taco de Mexico.
"Chubby's is definitely stoner food," he says, adding that it was "exactly what he expected" from Denver's iconic grub house of green chile. As for El Taco de Mexico, Zimmern admits he could go there every day for lunch. Of course, some of us already do.