Jim Stacy is off to meet rebel chefs and cook meals inspired by his biggest obsession: classic monster movies. He begins at Villains Wicked Heroes in Atlanta, home of wickedly tasty sandwiches like the Oddjob and the Godzilla-inspired Gojira. Next, he heads to San Diego (home of the cult-classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes) to visit Carnitas' Snack Shack, a meat-and-tomatoes place serving up mouthwatering pork favorites like the Triple Threat and, of course, the pork-stuffed Killer Tomato. Then it's off to Popcorn Noir in Easthampton, Mass., a combo gourmet bistro and movie theater that cooks up dishes inspired by the movies they screen, including Vampire Vittles and Bat Wings for a screening of Dracula.
If Jim hadn't become a chef, he likely would have run away to the circus. He loves circuses and freak shows and was even the front man for a clown rock band. Now he's visiting a three-ringed circus of offbeat places that bring a carnival-like atmosphere to their approach to food. At Unicorn in Seattle, Jim revels in their circus-like decor and heads to the kitchen to cook carnival-inspired dishes including fancy corndogs and a stuffed "fire-eater burger." At Straw in San Francisco, Jim experiences their elevated spin on fair favorites: fried chicken and waffle Monte Cristo, the Ringmaster donut burger and fresh watermelon cotton candy. And at barbecue and juke joint White Tiger Gourmet in Athens, Ga., Jim cooks some fantastic barbecue fit for a singing clown: the Barberella, a barbecue and grilled mozzarella sandwich with White Tiger sauce and the Clown Car tofu tacos.
To Jim, cheese is more than a food -- it's a food group. Heck, sometimes it's a whole pyramid. Now he's off on a cheesy adventure to find some of the most over-the-top churches of cheese he can find. In the heart of our nation's capitol and steps from the White House, Jim heads to GCDC, a grilled cheese bar serving up epic takes on grilled cheese. At Oakland's Homeroom, Jim discovers a whole menu of grown-up takes on macaroni and cheese -- and some killer peanut butter and cream cheese pie. And in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Jim heads to the temple to street food Skillet to try his hand at making cheesy dishes like Parmesan Cheddar Poutine, the Croque G'dam, and the Ultimate Inside Out Grilled Cheese.
Sure, everyone's filled up on taquitos, hot dogs, pizza and slushies while fueling up, but these amazing restaurants serve up some of the best food anywhere and transport Jim to three different worlds of flavor -- in a gas station. In Franklin, N.C., Jim heads to Caffe Rel, a French bistro in a gas station where Jim finds masterfully executed classic dishes like Shrimp and Grits and Beef Tournedos. In Washington, D.C.'s Fast Gourmet, Jim chows down on some of the best Latin American sandwiches he's had anywhere, let alone a gas station. And in Miami, Fla., Jim heads to El Carajo, a Spanish Tapas and wine destination tucked in the back of a gas station and convenience store, not the place you'd expect to find gourmet seafood dishes and artfully presented empanadas.
Jim grew up with kitschy retro games and now he's visiting three fantastic restaurants that cater to button-mashing nostalgia fans with places and menus that mix gourmet grub and games for a truly memorable dining experience. In San Francisco's Mission district, Jim heads to Urban Putt, a indoor mini-golf course that features incredibly intricately designed holes and some fantastic finger food designed for on-the-go snacking. At Seattle's Rhein Haus, Jim discovers a Bavarian beer hall that seems ripped out of the old word, tries some of the best sausage he's ever had and discovers he's a savant at bocce ball. And at Louisville's Zanzabar, a combination old-school arcade and gastro-pub Jim cooks up dishes inspired by classic arcade favorites.
Along with food, Jim's greatest passion will always be music. Now he's heading out on a tour to rock out in the kitchens of three eateries that have music and food at their heart. In Louisville, he heads to Silver Dollar, a homage to old Bakersfield honkey tonks, where he pairs modern reinventions of dust bowl cuisine with some of his favorite vinyl classic outlaw country. Then it's onto a place inspired by the rebelliousness of punk rock, Boca Raton's Rebel House, which rocks the sleepy Miami suburb with super inventive, rule-breaking cuisine and quirky dishes like the Mother Love Bone-In Lamb and Iggy Popcorn. And finally, Jim heads to Washington D.C.'s Dangerously Delicious Pies, where Jim meets his old touring mate Rodney Henry at his pie shop and musicians' hangout/rehearsal space to make several of his famous sweet and savory pies -- and then play with his band.
Tiki huts, 50s beach parties, and surf rock -- Jim is all about America's nostalgia for beach and island culture, and the amazing food and drinks that come with it. In this episode, Jim heads to three quirky eateries with amazing food and drink -- and epic beach experiences that transport people to a day at a faraway beach. In Falls Church, Va., Jim heads to Clare & Don's Beach Shack, which serves up classic Florida beach fare in a flip-flop friendly love letter to beaches 800 miles away -- a burger with creamy shrimp sauce, fish tacos and the Florida State Fair favorite deep fried sandwich cookie sundae. In Louisville, Ky., he discovers a pitch-perfect Baja California beach eatery in El Camino, whose patio's fire pit tables are always filled to the brim with fans of their inventive cocktails and artistic Southern California fare. And at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida's, iconic Mai Kai, Jim is taken away to a Tahitian beach and Tiki heaven with their eye-popping decor, inventive cooking techniques, and -- of course -- flaming drinks.
Thursdays at 9pm ET