Eat Like the Mentors of All-Star Academy, Season 2

All-Star Academy mentors Alex Guarnaschelli, Andrew Zimmern, Curtis Stone and Robert Irvine share their favorite eats from around the country.

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Robert's Favorite: Bacon Mac-n-Cheese Burger

"This is a burger that drives on the wrong side of the road," Robert says about the Bacon Mac-n-Cheese Burger from Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar in Las Vegas. Topped with bacon and four-cheese mac 'n' cheese and finished with Donkey Sauce and a toasted brioche roll, it's what Guy would call "off the hook."

Watch the Video: Robert Irvine's Best Eats

Curtis' Favorite: Coq au Vin

"I'll never forget the first time," says Curtis of his introduction to the Coq au Vin at La Poubelle in Los Angeles. It reminded him of a stew his mom would make when he was a kid. The secret to the dish is the sauce made from chicken stock, veal stock and red wine, which strikes the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Whenever Curtis feels homesick, he heads here.

Watch the Video: Curtis Stone's Best Eats

Andrew's Favorite: Coconut Macaroons

Andrew describes the coconut macaroons at Salty Tart Bakery in Minneapolis as "the world's best." Chef Michelle Gayer makes her recipe with tapioca syrup, shredded coconut, cream cheese and egg whites. All that creates a soft interior and a crispy exterior. "You literally enjoy every chew," Andrew raves, saying the macaroons are better than his mom's.

Watch the Video: Andrew Zimmern's Best Eats

Alex's Favorite: Bacon Babka

"This represents all the food groups that you really want to eat in your life and all the food groups you seek to avoid," says Alex, defining a guilty pleasure as it stands with this Bacon Babka at Supper in Philadelphia. The made-from-scratch dough is spread with melted bacon fat, brown sugar and bacon bits. It's served with salted molasses butter and more bacon.

Watch the Video: Alex Guarnaschelli's Best Eats

Curtis' Favorite: Crying Tiger Pork

Even if you like spicy foods, the Crying Tiger Pork at Jitalda in Los Angeles is going to be a challenge. It's pork marinated with soy, lime, palm sugar and dried Thai chile peppers, making for a very heated experience. "It's a journey from the very first mouthful to the time you put your fork down and you have a head sweat going on," Curtis says.

Watch the Video: Curtis Stone's Best Eats

Alex's Favorite: Shrimp Po' Boy

It's definitely not hard to find a po' boy in New Orleans, but Alex won't settle for anything less than her favorite from Domilise's. The shrimp po' boy is built on Louisiana French bread and has crispy fried shrimp, shredded lettuce, pickles and homemade ketchup. According to Alex, it will leave you thinking, "I'm eating the greatest sandwich I’ve ever had."

Watch the Video: Alex Guarnaschelli's Best Eats

Robert's Favorite: Devil-ish Eggs

"Eggs have never been so good," Robert says about the Devil-ish Eggs at Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C. Order the combo plate, which includes the classic version as well as one with crabmeat, lobster or smoked salmon. The secret to the deviled eggs is the restaurant's mayo-based Louis dressing that includes chili sauce, lemon juice and capers. "It doesn't get any better," adds Robert.

Watch the Video: Robert Irvine's Best Eats

Curtis' Favorite: Fire and Ice Ceviche

At Miami's Ola Restaurant, the Fire and Ice Ceviche gets loaded with dynamic flavor after being marinated in lime juice, lemon juice, jalapenos, spicy Thai chiles and a cool Asian pear granita. Curtis has come to love the experience: "The combination of the temperatures, the heat, the saltiness, the sweetness, the freshness of the fish; it's almost like everything's in contrast but it's all in perfect balance."

Watch the Video: Curtis Stone's Best Eats

Alex's Favorite: Deep-Fried Hot Dog

If a classic hot dog just isn't enough, try it deep-fried with bacon at Rawley's Drive-In in Fairfield, Conn. Alex says it's "not anything extra-special — just your perfect garden-variety hot dog transformed into something magnificent because it's fried."

Watch the Video: Alex Guarnaschelli's Best Eats

Robert's Favorite: Victoria Sandwich Cake

"I am a big sweet-cake fanatic," admits Robert, who's a fan of the Victoria Sandwich Cake at Tea & Sympathy in New York City, calling it "as good as it is back home." This teatime cake, which consists of two layers of sponge cake sandwiching raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream, may have been Queen Victoria's favorite cake, says owner Nicky Perry.

Watch the Video: Robert Irvine's Best Eats

Alex's Favorite: Carne Asada a la Oaxaqueña

A 16-ingredient marinade transforms rib eye into a classic Mexican dish at Frontera Grill. "It's got a wonderful combination of spices that sort of blends seamlessly into the meat," Alex says of the Carne Asada a la Oaxaqueña. It's served with sweet plantains, sour cream and guacamole.

Watch the Video: Alex Guarnaschelli's Best Eats

Andrew's Favorite: Crispy Pata

"This is the best pig product available in the United States that nobody has ever heard of," says Andrew, describing the Filipino Crispy Pata at Ruby's Fast Food in Chicago. The pork shank is first boiled and then deep-fried to create one of the most-succulent bites ever. Andrew describes it as "pork heaven."

Watch the Video: Andrew Zimmern's Best Eats

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