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Located off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico, Rincon is home to some of the best surfing in the world, making the area popular among both locals and tourists. The Casa Verde hotel is no exception, but in recent years, the hotel has been losing money when it should be profiting. A reason for the hotel’s downward spiral is its bar, Rock Bottom. The bar is extremely loud, caters to a young college crowd and is open all hours of the night. The bar brings money in, but if things don’t change soon, the hotel will hit rock bottom itself.

When Anthony arrives in the hotel’s parking lot he sees a decrepit sign, a broken fence, rusty chains and yellow caution tape. When he walks over to the hotel, Anthony can’t seem to find the front desk. He spots a sign for the “office,” but it leads him to a dirty, dusty room filled with broken chairs. Anthony is disgusted, and he hasn’t even begun his initial walkthrough of the hotel!

The bar may be costing the Casa Verde money, but it clearly is not the only thing on the property that is in desperate need of a makeover. Can Anthony clean up the property and tone down the noise at Rock Bottom in order save Rincon’s Casa Verde? Find out on an all-new episode, tonight at 10|9c.

Plus, check out these exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from Anthony’s visit to Casa Verde.

Edge of Arkansas

Watch Geoff visit the Edge of Arkansas on Sat, Feb. 16 @ 2|1c.

Is there a state with as bad a rap as Arkansas? Childhood obesity. Poverty. Gennifer Flowers.  A cultural backwater like no other, right?

This is why Arkansas is such a perfect place to prove one of Edge of America’s central points. That instead of judging the Earth from the snooty, big city, New York/Chicago/Los Angeles perspective, we should approach every state, every small town, every hamlet with an open mind and an open heart. You never know what you’ll find.

In Arkansas, I found one of the most beautiful states in the country, a place with mountain vistas, rolling meadows, ice cream shops, ranches and old time musicians gathering to play outside, for free.

If salaries are lower than they are in Boston, so is the cost of living. At one point, we drove by a charming country house — all wood, big windows, wrap-around front porch — with a for sale sign outside. I looked it up. $89,500. Now I get it. The reality is that you are not going to see ‘Melo jaw with KG at the Garden, and Bruno Mars ain’t coming to town. But you’re also not going to throw down $650,000 for a 2-room walkup in Chelsea with a brick wall outside your bedroom window and a cranky woman living below you who can’t stand the fact that you have a friend with a baby staying over and “Damn, does the kid have to walk across the floor at 7:30 in the morning?”

Fact is, these Arkansans might have things figured out better than we. They’ve got beautiful homes, family and friends all around, and instead of generic entertainment, they know how to make their own fun.

Tommy Rand taught me to tackle a cow. I have a hunch I’ll never use that skill again. But you get to see it in our episode. A pair of local Arkansans gave me the honor of pushing their outhouse. Don’t ask. You’ll just have to see it. And I found myself in the woods with a kinder, gentler version of Roger Clemens, who let me get behind the wheel of his jeep to rock crawl, which is basically climbing up the side of a mountain in a monster truck. Blue sky. Clean air. Smiles all around.

Out there, in my rock crawler, the last thing I was thinking of was crowding into an arena to catch Neil Young for the umpteenth time.

- Geoff Edgers

Last week we asked our Instagram followers to show us the most #bizarrefoods they’ve ever eaten — and let me tell you, they did not disappoint. Bizarre Foods fans, you have certainly proven that you do, in fact, have the guts. While combing through all the photos of frogs’ legs, insects (lots of worms) and animal intestines — we even came upon a few images that left us feeling slightly … queasy (think: a severed, uncooked sheep’s head wrapped in cellophane). Here are a few of our favorites. Warning: They are not for the faint of heart.

Bizarre Foods Instagrams

Top Row, Left to Right

1) “#bizarrefoods Buah Keluah. Indonesian black nut pulp. Poisonous if it isn’t soaked properly for a couple days.” –  chubbychinesegirl

2) “Look at the buns on those guys.” - sarahcuiksa

3) “Homemade chicharon na bituka or deepfried pork intestine.” - jonathankano09

Second Row, Left to Right

1) “Tripe with ginger and scallion #offal #foodie” - thehungrydudes

2) “What the heck are my parents cooking for me to eat, tongue attached and everything #bizarrefoods #sundayfamilytime” - juliejaejung

3) “@travelchannel @andrewzimmern I ate Casu Marzu, the Sardinian cheese filled with live maggots! #BizarreFoods” - annaward14

Third Row, Left to Right

1) “Goooood Morning! Diet-mode Breakfast time… No Fried Rice but Tuyong Bisugo (dried salted fish) and Eggs for me ツ Yummmmy!” - xoxogrusha

2) “Tarantulas for tea! #cambodia #travel” - travelbugjac

3) ”Someone tried #balut tonight and it wasn’t me! The husband said it tasted like liver which doesn’t sound appealing at all… For those who don’t know what “balut” is, google it at your own risk! Needless to say we won’t be making out for a few days… Blehhh.” - taliastudio

Bottom Row, Left to Right

1) “Boiled sheep head for dinner.” - trekker_heck

2) “This is probably the last time I will ever eat rotting #shark fermented in urine again. #hakarl #lokicafe #reykjavik #iceland” - trekker_heck

3) “Most bizarre thing I’ve ever eaten? A whole piranha out of Lake Nicaragua#BizarreFoods” - jessicaarmour

And for even more of the bizarre, follow Andrew Zimmern’s “Organ” Trail.

Each year, devoted fans of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition wait in anticipation of who will grace the magazine’s cover. Will it be Kate Upton again, or someone else? For us, the excitement goes far beyond the question of who will grace the cover. For 2013, the magazine took its production to 7 continents — and 17 wonders of the world — crisscrossing the globe from Easter Island to Africa. This year’s edition also included the first fashion shoot to take place on the ice-covered terrain of Antarctica. And Travel Channel has the pleasure of airing the 1-hour special Sports Illustrated®: The Making of Swimsuit ’13 – 7 Continents, 17 Wonders, on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 8|7c.

See these beautiful destinations for yourself in our Sports Illustrated 2013 Swimsuit Destinations slideshow. Plus, get the complete listing of hotels and world-renowned resorts that were the stunning backdrops for this year’s unprecedented production, in our SI Swimsuit 2013 Travel Guide.

Andrew Zimmern and his hit show Bizarre Foods America return to Travel Channel tonight. First up, watch a special “Fan Favorite Countdown” of your (the fans!) favorite Bizarre Foods America moments. Then, at 9|8c, stick with Andrew as he visits Washington, DC, to check out the food truck and Ethiopian food scenes, the area’s snakehead fish delicacy, and chef Jose Andres’ newest venture, America Eats Tavern.

Follow Andrew’s North American travels with our new Bizarre Foods’ “Organ” Trail map.

Watch a sneak peek from tonight’s episode:

 

 

As soon as I got off the elevator at baggage claim, I knew I was in New Orleans and I knew it had to be Super Bowl week. Immediately, I saw 200 limo drivers holding up signs for corporate types and A-list celebs and heard the background music provided by a Second Line band. All this was set to the staccato backbeat of a hundred pairs of 6-inch Loubs scooting across the linoleum floor as the out-of-town party girls made their way to the cars picking them up at the curb.

Super Bowl week is something else. When I got to the hotel at 6 p.m., I saw hundreds of famous faces in the lobby, including my old pal, middle-line-backing legend, Dhani Jones. I got to my room just in time to see the fireworks show over the river. The display is so impressive here in NOLA and as the entire weekend proved, NO ONE does the Super Bowl better than the City of New Orleans. Everything worked —  the proximity of the events to each other, the great food and drink, the gracious hosts. Riding elevators with guys like Dr. Harry Edwards, George Seifert, and hundreds of players and former players gave me a swivel-neck ache like no other. I have tons of pics on my Instagram account (@chefaz) and at www.andrewzimmern.com, so go check it out.

Andrew's Instagrams

Night one was all about eating. I went to August, and John Besh, Michael and Emily and their entire team cooked a meal for the record books: Three hours of insane chow celebrating all the flavors of NOLA, with a stunning array of oysters, crawfish and pastas crushed under the weight of sliced truffles and game meats. Plus, watching Aaron Sanchez get mobbed by fans, Packers great Clay Matthews have a Jerry Maguire-style dinner with his agent and Jeremy Piven work the room was a lot of the fun for sure. My pals swore they spotted reclusive super-agent and entertainment mogul Andrew Chason. Not sure I buy it.

Friday was all about the Let’s Kick Hunger Campaign for Taste of the NFL (make your reservations now for next year in New York City!). I spoke on hunger relief awareness issues at the Earl Morrall breakfast in a room filled with a hundred Hall of Famers, including most of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins team that Morral helped lead to Super Bowl glory. Mallory Hagan, our new Miss America, was my co-host for many Taste events all weekend … I have a pretty good job most days! I broke off for an hour to do the Dan Patrick show on Direct TV and make some etouffee, then Miss America and I took a slew of press and corporate execs out to Second Harvest food bank for a walkthrough and awareness-raising event, which couldn’t have been better. I spent a few hours in the NFL Media Center doing interviews and then got to spend some time with Patrick Warburton and Dhani Jones before rushing off to the Friday Night Huddle for Taste of the NFL and then to the Artie Lange show. Artie is a great guy, and hanging out with him and Joe Buck talking baseball was way cool. I cooked some Asian street food and then hit the showers before heading over to the first party of the night, the Playboy event at the old Jax Brewery.

Andrew and Dhani

A word about the scene here. The weekend can be divided into several layers: first there are the fans — they get tons of access depending on what they choose to buy into. I wanted to hit the NFL Experience but couldn’t get in … that’s a fan event. Then there are the celebs, tiered in A, B and C lists. We get invited to parties, to host events, do media interviews and participate in sponsor activations. Like restaurant health department grades, the better your letter, the better your fun quotient and … most importantly … the better your access at events. Then there are the players and the NFL execs. They attend anything they damn well please. It’s the Super Bowl! It’s their celebration. Then there are the sponsors. They run everything and make the rules. It’s always good to know the law of the jungle before you put on your pith helmet. The sponsors here create mega events: Questlove spinning with Jay Z and Justin Timberlake at the Direct TV SuperSaturdayNight, Stevie Wonder at the Bud Party, Lil Wayne at GQ, Cee-lo helmed the ESPN event, and so on.

Friday night at 11 I showed up at the Playboy party. Wow. Yes it was what you would expect: music thumping, booty-bumping, crab-cake-lumping … crazy crazy. Food by Besh, lots of great music and hanging out in small roped-off areas shouting at your friends who are 4 inches from you. Lots of networking, and fending off the Playmates … the girls all try to collect as many middle-aged, devilishly cherubic food dudes as they can. Just sayin’. By 3 a.m., I was sipping Café au Lait and eating beignets at Café du Monde with drunk street urchins, shifty grifters, cops, Lorena Garcia and crazy fans leaving bars in the French Quarter. By 4 a.m. I was in bed … wondering what the heck the next day would look like and if I would survive it.

Saturday morning I did some press and the concert at the Beach Bowl. It was amazing. Direct TV built the coolest super-tent and created a campus of buildings for all their parties and events. I went to the tailgate, then to the blue carpet. I am a mid-level B-list cable TV guy … I am so lucky, no complaints here. Any other day of year I am a “someone,” but not today. I felt about 2 inches tall as I had to explain who I am to hundreds of media gathered to talk to Snoop, Neil Patrick Harris, Neon Deion, Strahan, Toomer, Menounos, Palmer, Moon, Lolo Jones and the dozens of big deals assembled for this event. Getting taken down a peg is good for your spiritual development, and it puts things in perspective — I feel more grateful than I have in months. My agents and managers looked crushed that I got so little love, but I was thrilled — I got to walk the carpet with my idols!

I spent all afternoon and evening at Taste of the NFL, bussing it over to the Convention Center with 40 Hall of Famers and a dozen active players, which was the best hour of the weekend. We hit the floor and I checked in with one of my mentors, Wayne Kostroski — the Taste founder and a James Beard Humanitarian Award winner. I adore this man. What he has done to fight hunger in this country is epic. We raised tons of dough and as a topper, we get a $125,000 check from Party City. That will multiply 8 to 1 in the food bank world and create a million meals. I cried a little. In the middle of the fundraiser, we learned that several attendees got nominated to the Hall of Fame. Greatness. Lem Barney just kept saying the word “LOVE” over and over all night long. The greatest generation for sure.

By 10 I had to head to the Direct TV party zone for the concert. I was not prepared for what was inside. They took out the Beach Bowl field –including all the sand and bleachers — and created a nightclub in its place … in just 4 hours. There were erotic dancers, oysters and champagne, an A+ list crowd and Questlove killed it. Timberlake came out with a 20-piece orchestra after a 5-year performance hiatus and wowed the crowd … his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Shake” was EPIC. Jay Z appeared and all hell broke loose. Will Ferrell was in the parking lot as I left and took time to sign an autograph for our driver and make us laugh with some signature ribaldry. We checked out the GQ party with Lil’ Wayne and the Stevie Wonder party that Bud Light threw, then went off to the Ogden Museum for the final stop of the night. It was 4 a.m. before I got back home.

On Sunday morning I was up and at ‘em for a series of conference calls and then off to the game. Alicia Keys had a 6-car entourage leaving our hotel and 8 motorcycle cops in escort as she whipped her way down Poydras Street. The game was amazing: Beyonce amazed at halftime, Destiny’s Child had their reunion,  the game came down to the wire and we raced out after Baltimore cemented the victory. CONGRATS BALTIMORE! We hit the private party that John Besh threw at Borgne and scarfed down some of the best chow of the weekend, complete with superb shrimp and grits and a crawfish boil.

What did I learn? Well, one thing is for sure: New Orleans is a city with the biggest heart, the most gracious hospitality and unforgettable, soulful food, and they know how to throw a party. The Crescent City never felt better. As I walked into Loews Hotel, the doorman asked me how my weekend was. I told him, and he said, “If you liked Super Bowl week, you ‘oughta check out Mardi Gras next weekend … it’s even better.” And having been here for that celebration, he’s right. That’s the kind of city this is: without peer.

- Andrew Zimmern, Host of Bizarre Foods America

There’s less than a week left until the all-new season of Bizarre Foods begins, and we want to know: Do you have guts like Andrew? Or are you chicken? From now until this Sunday, Instagram photos of the most #bizarrefoods you’ve ever eaten, and on Monday, Feb. 11 — just in time for the season premiere — we’ll feature our favorites on the blog. In the meantime, get a sneak peek of some of the strange grub that Andrew gets his hands on this season.

 

Tonight at 11|10c, watch as Geoff Edgers visits The Edge of Maine, where he races lobster boats, tests his lumberjack skills, and sword fights with a pirate.

Edge of Maine

I thought I knew Maine. Roadside lobster shacks. Yuppies in Kennebunk. Brew pubs in Portland. Then I found myself in Eastport. It’s a gritty town around 6 hours up the coast from Boston. It’s actually the easternmost city in the United States, a fact that’s both trumpeted regularly and less interesting to me than the actual feel of the place. There was a time when Eastport was thriving, driven by the sardine factories. That time is gone.

So what do you do when your industry leaves, there’s no major league sports teams to pump in revenue and the closest you’ll get to a big concert is a pair of singer-songwriters wheeling their amplifiers into a coffee house? You make your own fun. And that’s what I loved about Eastport. It’s a town that’s redefining itself by restoring its downtown and creating offbeat events to attract buzz.

The Pirate Festival is a perfect definition of what I strive for in Edge of America. Thousands of people stream into an underappreciated place to celebrate and participate in an event that simply couldn’t take place anywhere else. You can see pirate bed races, during which the streets are lined with spectators cheering on the participants. You can catch the lobster boat races, in which these creaky boats are outfitted with engines straight out of the Munsters and souped-up to go as fast as 70 miles an hour. You’ll find almost everybody decked out in patches and peg legs and other pirate accessories.

Eastport, for me, was a discovery, with a wonderful waterfront, reasonable restaurants — nothing 5-star, but plenty of New England-styled seafood — and shops and art galleries. It is also a super-quick shot to Canada if you want to ramble more.

Eastport wasn’t my only discovery in our Maine episode. We also filmed in Greenville on Moosehead Lake, hours away and on the Northern border. Moosehead is beautiful. I had my eggs at Auntie M’s, scoured the shelves at the Moosehead Lake Indian Store and took a lengthy morning run through the town. We stumbled upon a fantastic crepe truck run by the daughter of a French immigrant. (Try the lobster, in particular.) And as part of our episode, I got a chance to see Greenville from another angle. I flew with Roger Currier, a veteran seaplane pilot.

Sometimes, when I’m rambling through, I’ll get a sense that the locals wonder if we’re being sincere or whether we’re there to make fun of them. So many TV shows mock people in small towns or in places outside the big city nexus. Not I. The proof, I hope, is in my summer vacation plans.

When it came to finding a place to stay for a couple weeks, I decided to avoid the cliché. We’ve rented a place for 2 weeks this summer in Eastport. I know the kids will get to collect shells and rocks along the shoreline. My wife and I can try to discover great art by artists who haven’t been discovered. And when we’re not doing anything, we’ll just get to sit on our porch, breathe in the salty air, and take pride in our latest discovery.

- Geoff Edgers

Bourdain in Seattle

Tonight, Feb. 4 at 9|8c, catch the very last of Anthony Bourdain’s adrenaline-fueled, booze-brimming, food-filled layovers. His final 36-hour jaunt? An uber-quick trip to Seattle.

Watch as he ditches the airport to sample some of the stinkiest, stickiest cheeses that Melrose Market has to offer, buys his daughter a whoopee cushion at a toy store that caters to adults (and serial killers?), and takes a not-so-family-friendly tour of the city’s seedier history.

Want to visit that handmade biscuit joint or take a seaplane tour like Tony does in the episode? Check out our Travel Guide to get all the details from his trip, or download our Layover app (now free!) for all the info.

In anticipation for tonight’s episode, watch this missing scene — Tony discusses his go-to drinks for every situation, like when he’s in a Tom Waits kind of mood. Then tonight, settle in at 9|8c, Negroni in hand, to watch Tony’s final turn on Travel Channel.

 

From now until March 24, enter daily to win a $100,00 trip for 4 to the Adriatic! Pick your custom trip, or choose one of the 4 itineraries curated by your favorite Travel Channel hosts — Samantha Brown,  Bert Kreischer, Adam Richman and Anthony Melchiorri!

Trip of a Lifetime!

 

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