Adam Richman must like Tampa Bay. For the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, the host visited the area in February to pit himself against a 12-inch Cuban sandwich at Aguila Sandwich Shop, a hot wing challenge at Rapscallions in Land O’Lakes and a grouper Reuben and gator ribs at Skipper’s Smokehouse.
And now he’s back. At 9 p.m. Wednesday, an episode airs starring Tampa’s Taco Bus.
“At first I didn’t want to do the show because I didn’t have a challenge for Adam. That’s not what we’re all about,” says Taco Bus owner Rene Valenzuela. On most shows, Richman tries to down a gargantuan amount of food, such as a 5-pound burger or a stack of pancakes taller than a 12-inch ruller.
Valenzuela had a change of heart when the show’s producers said that Richman was heading coast to coast to check out food trucks. At a California food truck the host attempts to conquer the White Rabbit burrito, in New York he explores a waffle truck that tops its wares with barbecued pork — and in Tampa?
“The crew came and spent the whole day cooking puerco asado (roast pork). We did a lot of kidding around, then they interviewed people who were eating at the Taco Bus and then the crew ate.”
The Tampa segment airs first on the show, with a look at the inside trappings of the Taco Bus, but Valenzuela says that it’s “going to go pretty quick.” Of the star of the show he says, “He was a pretty cool guy and a bit of a goofball. They all seem to really enjoy themselves.”
Were he to have come up with one of Richman’s massive food challenges, Valenzuela says he would have gone for a burrito challenge of sorts (but not a single burrito “the size of a small baby”).
“We have some big firefighters who come in (to the Taco Bus) and eat two burritos. I’ve never seen anyone eat three. So that would be my challenge.”