YERMO — Known for traveling the world to sample the most bizarre foods imaginable, including a deep fried tarantula in Cambodia, chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern stopped at Peggy Sue’s Diner earlier this week while filming an episode for the Travel Channel.
Peggy Sue Gabler said she greeted Zimmern on Wednesday by saying, “Andrew Zimmern, the king of bizarre foods, and Peggy Sue, the queen of comfort foods, together in the Mojave Desert.”
Peggy Sue’s Diner’s menu does not feature any item considered taboo. But Gabler made a slight tweak to the menu and had her staff bake Zimmern a coconut creme pie topped with crickets.
“I know he loves strange foods so I made sure he left with something out of the ordinary for us,” she said.
A representative for Zimmern told the Desert Dispatch on Friday morning that he was traveling “all day today” and was not able to provide any comments.
While unable to provide specifics of the show’s filming, Zimmern did have a slice of pie while at the diner. Gabler said she was honored to hear the compliments.
“Andrew sat at our counter and we gave him a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie,” Gabler said. “He loves pie and he complimented our pie quite extensively. Andrew took his fork and flaked the crust. He said you can tell how good a pie is by a flaky crust and its ingredients. Andrew said our pie was not too sweet or sour. It was nice to hear such a compliment of our pie.”
Gabler is no stranger to having celebrities stop at the diner. She has photos throughout the restaurant of visits from Huell Howser and Rodney Dangerfield and other notable celebrities. But Zimmern’s stop is one of the celebrity encounters in Yermo that is near and dear to Gabler’s heart, she said, because of his sincerity.
“You can tell he was sincerely interested in our business,” she said. “He asked what keeps us going after being in business over 30 years. I simply told him this is the funnest place in the world for me. You can tell by our staff. We employ 70 people. They are all local residents and love their community and working here. We have a waitress named Connie that has worked for us over 28 years and she hasn’t missed half a dozen days for anything. We have other employees that have been with us for 22, 24 and 25 years.”
Jose Quintero may be reached at 760-955-5332 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_JoseQ.