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Travel Channel show is tasty advertisement for WNY and its food

Get your popcorn ready. And your Lipitor and Crestor.

At 9:30 tonight, award-winning chef and food writer Andrew Zimmern highlights all of Buffalo's cholesterol-rich food favorites in the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations." The episode repeats at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Zimmern takes viewers on an entertaining fast tour of wings at the Anchor Bar, beef on weck at Schwabl's, charcoal hot dogs at Ted's, pepperoni pizza at La Nova, peanut donuts at Paula's Donuts and garbage plates at Bill Gray's while delivering some morsels about their creation.

Most Western New Yorkers would question whether any of the above is "bizarre" food.

But the Travel Channel can be forgiven because the 30-minute program is a tasty visual delight and advertisement for the area. It is a love letter to WNY's history and food here – without many suggestions that there is anything negative about eating wings, pizza, doughnuts or roast beef.

Zimmern calls Buffalo "the Nickel City with a heart of gold" and that is only one of his compliments about the area.

Western New Yorkers undoubtedly know most of the food details, including legend has it that a pub owner realized the salt on beef on kimmelweck would mean customers probably would need to drink more often.

[PHOTO GALLERY: Restaurant review: Schwabl's]

[PHOTO GALLERY: 90-cent hot dogs at Ted's]

There is one surprise. Last week, a Travel Channel publicist told me that Zimmern wasn't here in person. However, he is shown standing up and talking at an undisclosed restaurant a few times. It makes you wonder if he was superimposed and edited into the footage or if the restaurant is someplace else.

Now that's bizarre. The publicist told me again today that Zimmern was never at any restaurants here and his appearance is just the way the program was edited. The restaurant in question is the Travel Channel 's secret.

[RELATED: 100 Things: Go to the Anchor Bar]

[RELATED: 100 Things Every WNYer Should Do: Go to Paula's Donuts]

The owners of all the above establishments guard their secret sauces and recipes pretty well, though they explain cooking procedures.

Asked about his pizza recipe, owner Big Joe Todaro of La Nova, exclaims: "What are the secret ingredients? Forget about it."

A guy in charge of cooking wings at the Anchor Bar also provides some humor by explaining how a side dish makes them an acceptable healthy food item.

"You can look at it as a healthy meal," he explains. "Say what you had for lunch is some celery with some wings on the side."

Another unintentional laugh arrives when a customer who first came to Western New York as a college student explains why he stayed here.

"A major reason I stayed was the chicken wings and the pizza," said the customer.

We can assume that he wasn't studying health and nutrition.

I also was slightly amused by the inclusion of the great plate or garbage plate, which Zimmern explains really is a Rochester dish that was transported here by Bill Gray's.

I would have substituted Mighty Taco.

I mean Bill Gray's over Mighty Taco?

Forget about it.


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