His roles of host and executive producer of five Travel Channel shows including the hit Man v. Food have taken Adam Richman around the world in search of culinary treasures (he visited 13 countries alone for season two of Secret Eats with Adam Richman) but the New York City native says his adventures with all things edible began during his childhood in Brooklyn. “My classmates and teammates were from all parts of the world, and having access to these amazing cultures and the food they loved made me look at meals more as a means of exploration, rather than just food on a plate.” Thinking back on favorite flavors from those days he says, “I have vivid memories of going with my family to the Golden Ox restaurant in Brooklyn for its chicken parmagiana, which was juicy, with crispy breading, tangy sauce and quality cheese—if I close my eyes I can still taste it.” Richman’s recall for the specific details behind dishes is impressive, aided by a food journal he’s been keeping since he was an undergraduate at Emory University in Atlanta. “It’s a collection of reactions and reflections upon meals I’ve had, recipes I have read, articles I have torn out of magazines or printed from the web, even drawings for dishes that I might make,” he says.
While he is on the road about 75 to 80 percent of the time, at home his cooking abilities get put on the back burner with his addiction to Seemless, the food ordering app. “As good of a cook as I may be, the convenience of ordering cannot be denied.” It frees up time to hunt for the obscure and the delicious, and he still finds flavor combinations that surprise him. For example, salted squid egg. “I never thought I would put those three words together, but I had it at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s famous night market Jalan Alor and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced—creamy, salty, and loaded with umami, and the squid was absolutely perfect.”
NEW YORK CITY
Manhattan’s no-frills deli has been dishing up mile-high sandwiches since 1888.
Adam’s order: Pastrami and corned beef onrye with Russian and slaw, side of fries and
This old-school Italian spot in Brooklyn opened in 1939, but still draws crowds for Sicilian pizza.
Adam’s order: Grape Tomato Salad
Chefs John Besh and Brian Landry serve up NOLA classics starring local, sustainable seafood at this spot in the Central Business District.
Adam’s order: Black drum with crabmeat, stuffed artichoke, garlic bread soup and duck poppers
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
This iconic Bayou St. John po’ boy shop has been doling out delicious southern sandwiches for more than a century.
Adam’s order: Parkway Surf and Turf, slow cooked roast beef topped with Louisiana wild caught gulf shrimp, then smothered in gravy
Chef Michael Mina’s vibrant downtown New American restaurant pairs bucket-list prix-fixe dinners with five-star service.
Adam’s order: “Anything on the menu. Seriously, just let the chef drive.”
4505 Burgers & BBQ
Juicy smoked meats and some of San Francisco’s best burgers mean it’s worth braving the line.
Adam’s order: “Get one of the platters and bring about five hungry friends. Also, the fried mac ‘n’ cheese is ridiculous.”
This eatery in the historic city center does triple duty as a wine bar, deli and restaurant.
Adam’s order: Cacio e pepe. “But from the charcuterie, to the cheese, to the pasta, to the bread, everything is absolute perfection.”
Come il Latte
Destination gelateria with a lengthy menu of classic and fruit-flavored ice cream.
Adam’s order: Gelato. “Without question, the most perfect and most decadent gelato experience I have ever had anywhere on the planet.”
This Chinese restaurant serves up mouthwatering regional specialties from Shanghai, Sichuan, Guangdong and Beijing.
Adam’s order: Gyoza and shio ramen. “It’s in Roppongi and not that easy to find, but worth it!”
Tsukiji Fish Market
The oldest, largest fish market in the world, with a viewing area for their popular tuna auction.
Adam’s order: “The freshest sushi you’ll ever have, just be sure to get there early.”
Text by: Leigh Crandall
Photos by: (Borgne) Randy Schmidt; (Michael Mina) Kevin Mccullough