All new #ZimmernList TOMORROW! Pittsburgh is the first stop, where I had to try the boiled, sour, cherry pierogis from Apteka. As fun to eat as it is to say. Check it out at 10AM|9AM Central on Travel Channel!
Posted by Andrew Zimmern on Friday, January 4, 2019
Andrew Zimmern’s latest Travel Channel show, The Zimmern List, visited Pittsburgh in an episode that aired this weekend, stopping at a diverse mix of the city’s restaurants, including Morcilla, Emil’s Lounge, Apteka, the Smallman Galley and Hidden Harbor.
Zimmern started his tour at Emil’s Lounge in Rankin, a spot he’s visited before, and called the classic Eastern-European restaurant “simply, one of my 10 favorite restaurants in America.” The love for the Pittsburgh institution continued as Zimmern enjoyed the restaurant’s signature stuffed cabbage (“seasoned perfectly”), sharing how the dish’s limited use of rice reminded him of his own grandmother’s recipe.
The next stop on the tour was Bloomfield, to vegan restaurant Apteka. There, Zimmern sampled sour kraut and mushroom pierogies and potato pancakes (“eats like a cutlet of meat”) before cutting into Apteka’s summer special, a whole fire-roasted sunflower head. Zimmern enjoyed the dish (which got a write-up in August from Pittsburgh Magazine’s Hal B. Klein), saying that it “makes the innovation that’s going on at Google headquarters around the corner pale in comparison.”
Zimmern was particularly taken with the concept at Smallman Galley, noting that the Strip District restaurant incubator was “radically changing the Pittsburgh brick and mortar restaurant scene.” At the Galley, the host visited Iron Born Pizza (“tasty and delicious”) and Banhmilicious. Zimmern shared bites of with the pork belly banh mi with nearby diners, and gave high praise to chef Hoa Le’s beef pho. “Good pho… is all about the broth. That is one of the deepest, richest, perfectly-seasoned beef broths that I’ve tasted for a soup like this in a long time,” he said.
In Lawrenceville, Zimmern spoke with Justin Severino at Morcilla about Severnio’s in-house charcuterie program, and extolled the virtues trusting the kitchen to order for the table when dining out. The chef dined on lomo with summer peaches (“salted to perfection and so delicate”), gazpacho (“a perfect marriage of garlic, tomato, and olive oil”), and whole trout with melted tomatoes.
Zimmern’s last stop was at Hidden Harbor in Squirrel Hill, where he taste-tested chef Jamilka Borges’ Tripleta, calling it a “bespoke version” of the classic Puerto Rican triple-meat sandwich, and enjoyed a non-alcoholic Riptide with five different fruit juices.
Zimmern visited Pittsburgh last summer, well before the introduction of his Lucky Cricket restaurant chain, and his controversial remarks about Midwest Chinese restaurants. Since then, the Travel Channel relegated the second season of The Zimmern List to a Saturday morning time slot. While an upcoming episode guide on the show’s website currently doesn’t list any re-airings of the Pittsburgh episode, all the full episodes from season one of the show have made it to the site, so there’s a chance that you may be able to catch it at some point in the future.