It's gotta be the sea urchin.
That's what Andrew Zimmern suggests helped break Brandon Phillips' 24-game streak without a home run. Last week, the Cincinnati Reds second baseman hit two out of the park in a win over the Braves. Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods America on the Travel Channel, replied to an MLB Network tweet about the accomplishment with, "Nice work...sea urchin and octopus works."
Baffled, I wrote to Zimmern through his Twitter account (@AndrewZimmern) to ask what the connection was.
His response: "@DatDudeBP is now on the AZ diet and crushing fastballs at the same time... You do the math".
Arithmetic was never my thing, but on Tuesday evening the whole equation came together when MLB Fan Cave released a video of Zimmern and Phillips dining together in New York City. With the Reds in town to play the Yankees two weeks ago, the chef/TV host took the adventurous ball player to Marea for lunch. Chef Michael White treated the pair to some seafood that was well outside Phillips' strike zone.
It took the two-time All-Star a second to build up courage when presented sea urchin with pork fat on toast. After a few tentative chews, Phillips revealed a coy smile. "It's not that bad," he said.
Getting into the octopus with bone marrow over fusilli was not as easy. I can empathize with Phillips on this one. When I was 14, I was fortunate enough to travel to Spain. It was my first trip out of the country and first bizarre food experience. In Madrid, I was presented with octopus, something not on menus in southeastern Virginia in the early 90's, at least not the restaurants my family dined at. I struggled simply looking at the suction-cupped tentacles before finally agreeing to take a bite. What I discovered was the same thing Brandon Phillips did -- octopus is delicious.
Now whether it helps you hit home runs, that's something else altogether.
-- Adam Watson is the food czar at ThePostGame. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamKWatson.