Andrew Zimmern’s Favorite Eats on the West Coast
The Zimmern List explores the most innovative restos in Seattle, Vegas, L.A., San Diego and more.
For years, we’ve followed Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods as he traveled the globe in search of dishes and culinary traditions foreign to the average food consumer. You name it, he ate it. In his new series The Zimmern List, he returns home to give us a taste of some of his tried-and-true favorite treats across America -- you know, the ones the locals love.
Here are some of the standouts from season one’s tour of the West Coast, with stops all the way from Portland, Ore., to San Diego, that you'll want to be sure to bookmark the next time you're near the Pacific.
Las Vegas: Secret Pizza, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
“If you like sensory overload, there’s only one city in the world: Las Vegas,” Andrew says. A wave of immigration has been transforming the city’s food scene from a culinary wasteland into a hotspot for international cuisine. And while Andrew tour guides us to many of his favorites for eating like a local, the hard-to-find Secret Pizza inside the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas hotel is standout for “when in Vegas” musts.
Hot pot at Chubby Cattle
A new spin on classic American steakhouse eats at Bazaar Meat
Korean barbecue at Hobak
Los Angeles: Trois Familia
L.A. hasn’t historically been considered much of a “foodie city,” either. Until now.
“There’s a whole class of young chefs who have made Los Angeles the greatest food city in America,” Andrew says.
Andrew calls the crispy hashbrown chilaquiles at Trois Familia -- where they specialize in dishes that chefs would want to eat after they’re off the clock and the kitchens are closed -- “the breakfast of your dreams,” and, well, yes, you’ll likely be daydreaming about that egg after watching the video above.
Breakfast sandwiches at Egg Slut
Multicultural cuisine at Grand Central Market’s Tacos Tumbras a Tomas
Toast delicacies (yes, really) at Sqirl
Thai food with an attitude at Night + Market Song
Pastrami at Langer’s
Turkish breakfast at Kismet
Portland, Oregon: Breakfast!
Portlandia has been on the map as a city of creatives, dreamers and artists for decades. How much has that DIY spirit impacted Portland’s food scene? Ten-fold. Handcrafted sandwiches at Fried Egg, I’m in Love and sweet and savory waffles at The Waffle Window set the standard for how seriously this city takes its first meal of the day.
Classic Thai chicken and rice at Nong’s Khao Man Gai food cart
Chinese crepes at Bing Mi! food cart
Pancake puffs at Broder Cafe
Charcoal-fired chicken at Chicken and Guns
Portland’s version of fine dining at Le Pigeon
Brioche pastries at Blue Star Donuts
San Diego: Menya Ultra
This waterfront city might not immediately come to mind as a food destination, but it has a quietly vibrant food culture, with access to local, fresh ingredients from both the land and the sea. The Tonkatsu Ramen at Menya Ultra, one of ramen master Takashi Endo’s 12 restaurants across San Diego, is in a class all its own with a broth that is essentially 20 years in the making. Andrew calls ramen a food, a lifestyle and an art form, and says Endo’s concoction is simply “incredible.”
Pizza at Filippi’s
Oyster dip at Ironside
Tortas and tacos at Los Slydogz food cart
Horchata coffee at Por Vida
Ceviche at Salud!
Fried chicken at The Crack Shack
Rice tacos at Juniper & Ivy
Poke burritos at Pokirrito
San Francisco: Cockscomb
Locally sourced produce is a staple of many chefs’ menus, but the makers in San Francisco -- which Andrew has dubbed a “pleasure palace, especially if you love food” -- especially don’t take their robust farmers markets for granted. At Cockscomb, cabbage is sourced from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in the morning and roasted and marinated in chile and al pastor spice to get a hearty “Oh my God” from Andrew, which we know by now is a solid endorsement.
Steam and sardines at Onsen
Roasted duck salad at Lers Ros
Stinky cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery
Sticky rice at Out the Door
Shrimp Louie salad at Swan Oyster Depot
Seattle: Miner’s Gold Mini Doughnuts
Welcome to the Emerald City: a place that has birthed some of the cooler movements in our culture, where the “spirit of adventure” here is “so valuable when it comes to dining out,” Andrew says. Among the many brick and mortar must-try spots across Seattle, the food cart scene is also hearty with delectable pastries like Miner’s mini donuts. Perfectly bite-sized and available in chocolate, cinnamon sugar and more, they’re a welcomed treat for a day at the pier.
Pecan bars at Three Girls Bakery
Salmon Pirozhki at Piroshky Piroshky
Fish tins at JarrBar
Zaru Soba at Maneki
Japanese clam chowder at Iconiq
Pig head candy bar at Eden Hill
Red Chowder at Ivar’s Fish Bar