A good way to get to know an exotic city would be to travel with Andrew Zimmern, a smart, likable foodie who seems to have a knack for finding cab drivers who make great tour guides. His new Travel Channel series, Driven by Food, expounds on that method, starting in Rio de Janeiro, timed well for the start of the Summer Olympics.
You’ll see none of the recent scary news about Rio crime or pollution here, though, as Zimmern learns samba, dines on grilled octopus and barbecue meats and swims in the ocean after attempting to play futevolei (a combination of soccer and volleyball) on the beach. Zimmern picks delightful cab drivers and is a great low-key guest with them in their ’hoods: one of the drivers, named Pericles, gets him into the popular home restaurant of chef Tia Léa in the Vidigal favela, serving her guests an oxtail stew.
Travel Channel’s summer also includes the return of Secret Eats With Adam Richman, visiting London in search of off-the-grid restaurants and off-the-menu dishes. He finds an authentic American eatery, The Stax Diner, in Kingly Court in Soho, where word-of-mouth menu items include the Nutella Duffin Sundae, a donutmuffin hybrid. There’s a catch to ordering secret menu items at the diner, though: customers have to dance for their mystery meal. Richman, too, is an engaging host, who loves getting into the kitchen and experiencing firsthand how chefs make their signature secret dishes.
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