Bob Blumer has eaten from a toilet bowl, accepted beer from a monkey and dined entirely in the nude, but he doesn’t consider himself to be a weird a person. After all, licking the toilet bowl clean is just another day’s work for the adventurous foodie who is gearing up for his latest Food Network Canada show, World’s Weirdest Restaurants premiering April 4th at 9pm and 9:30pm ET.
A celebration of creative dining, Bob promises World’s Weirdest Restaurants will be a “fast moving, fun romp of a show” and “a great exercise in learning about how many weird places there are all over the world.”
I caught up with the affable host on the phone from his home in the Hollywood Hills as he prepares for a series of pop-up restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver to launch the series. Here are the highlights of our chat. Check the end of the post for your chance to win tickets to the Toronto event (and come back tomorrow for part 2 of my interview and a chance to win tickets to the Vancouver event!).
Devon Scoble: What’s the weirdest place you’ve had a meal?
Bob Blumer: Well, there are a lot of wacky ones. We ate at a pop-up nudist restaurant in New York City; we ate at a place called Modern Toilet in Taiwan, where all the food is served in miniature porcelain toilet bowls; we ate at a Japanese izakaya where monkeys bring you your beer, [and] we ate at a laundromat in San Francisco. I soaked in a beer spa while eating and drinking in the Czech Republic, and we ate in a barn where donkeys cleared our plates in Italy. You know, it goes on and on.
Devon: Did you ever feel uncomfortable?
Bob: Well, there was the time I took all my clothes off. Other than that, no.
Devon: Do you consider yourself to be a weird person?
Bob: Ah, no! Adventurous and curious, yes. Weird, no.
Devon: Was there anything you refused to eat?
Bob: Let’s just say there were a lot of restaurants that put the theme well ahead of the quality of the food. We did go to one restaurant in particular that actually didn’t make the cut because it was so bad. It was an all-mayonnaise restaurant, so every dish had copious quantities of mayonnaise. And on the surface we thought it was weird, but it was so weird, in fact, that no one showed up the whole evening we were there! And the dishes that I sampled were unbearable.
Devon: Can you give us a preview of the pop-up restaurant you’re hosting at the Drake in Toronto?
Bob: It’s four courses based on four of the restaurants that we visited, and I’m going to show a sneak-preview of each segment before we serve the course. The first course will be based on my experience at the izakaya outside of Tokyo where the monkeys brought us the beer. And then the second course is a blindfolded course—it will be a dark dining experience. The third course is based on Modern Toilet, so one can only imagine what’s going to happen there! The last course is inspired by the voodoo donut shop that we went to, a place called Voodoo Donut in Portland. There’s a new donut place in Toronto that hasn’t even opened yet called Glory Hole, and they’re going to be providing us with donuts for dessert.
Bob Blumer’s World’s Weirdest Restaurants premieres Wed., April 4 at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.
Giveaway: Join gastronaut Bob Blumer for a delicious night of weirdness at the World's Weirdest Pop-Up Restaurant featuring a sneak preview of his latest Food Network Canada show, and a surprise four-course meal highlighting dishes from the series.
We have (1) pair of tickets to giveaway to this event taking place Monday, March 26th at 6:3pm at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. For a chance to win, email email@example.com with the answer to the following question: Bob visited a restaurant where monkeys brought him a specific type of drink. What was the drink? Don't forget to add your mailing address and phone number to your email submission. Please add "World's Weirdest Restaurants - Toronto" to your email subject line. Giveaway rules are below.
The World's Weirdest Restaurants Giveaway Rules
The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for the World's Weirdest Restaurants giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).
RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run from March 15, 2012 to March 22, 2012 after which time no answers will be considered.
RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER
Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.
RULE 3. PRIZE
There is 1 prize available to be won, which consists of a pair of tickets to the World's Weirdest Restaurants event in Toronto (“Prize”). The approximate value of the Prize is under one hundred dollars Canadian ($100).
RULE 4. GENERAL
By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.
Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.
The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.
Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.
By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.
In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway Rules by Shaw shall be final.
The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.
by Devon Scoble
Howdy foodie friends!
Nadine Sharon Anglin here, Foodnetwork.ca Content Producer. I can't wait to finally meet all of you in our new digital home.
I'm familiar with a some of you from our blogs and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Foodbuzz, but am looking forward to meeting many more! Hope to continue with all the great conversations and sharing of photos, videos and more :-D