Deluxe:  'Man vs. Food Nation' to Air Episode About Modern Apizza Next Week

Watch Adam Richman (left) cheer on Yale freshman Ric Best in the New Haven episode of 'Man v. Food Nation,' June 1. (Ric Best Photo)

Back in his student days at the Yale School of Drama, Adam Richman, host of the Travel Channel's “Man v. Food,” was a regular at Modern Apizza (874 State St.; 203-776-5306, modernapizza.com), and would bring his mother there for a bite whenever she came to visit. On June 1, tune in to the debut episode of Richman's new show, “Man v. Food Nation,” to see Richman talk about (and eat) his favorite Modern combo: the clams casino (a white pie with clams, bacon and peppers), along with a meat-lovers favorite: the Italian Bomb (bacon, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushroom, onions, peppers) with owner Bill Pustari (aka Billy Modern) over the course of an 11-hour shoot which took place here in March. As host of “Man v. Food,” Richman not only spotlights the best regional eats across the country, but sweats his way through the most insane challenges — scarfing down piles of suicidally spicy wings and the like within a given time limit as local crowds cheer him on. The folks at Travel Channel must have wanted to keep him alive a bit longer (phew!): While Richman will continue to visit great eateries in the new series, he will move to the sidelines for the face-stuffing parts, coaching a local contender in each city he visits as they attempt to conquer their own town's crazy chow-down contests. In the New Haven episode, watch Yale freshman Ric Best attempt to eat 10 grilled cheese and onion sandwiches (washed down with blue Gatorade) in one hour at the Caseus Cheese Truck (thecheesetruck.com). While in the Elm City, Richman and crew also filmed at Louis Lunch (263 Crown St.; 203-562-5507, louislunch.com), the legendary birthplace of the hamburger.

Sip the evening's signature cocktail — the “belugatini” — as you watch the drink's namesakes (beluga whales) swim by in 20-foot tall underwater viewing windows at Mystic Aquarium's Cocktails with Whales on May 26, June 23, July 28 and Aug. 25 from 6-8 p.m. (55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic; $5; 860-572-5955, mysticaquarium.org). There will be live music at the Arctic Coast exhibit, and Ocean Blue Catering (oceanbluecatering.com) will offer a cash bar with drinks and hors d'œuvres available for purchase (chowder, quesadillas and more).

Carole Peck, celebrated chef/owner of the Good News Café (694 Main St., South Woodbury; 203-266-4663, good-news-cafe.com), recently opened a gourmet burger joint nearby: Zee Burger (670 Main St., Woodbury; 203-405-6011, zeeburger.com). The menu at Zee focuses on local, organic ingredients, including grass-fed beef burgers ($6.50-$8.50), Kobe beef hotdogs ($6), vegetarian options (falafel, portobello-zucchini stacks, etc.; $6-$6.50) and shakes ($6.50) made with Litchfield 's Arethusa Farm ice cream (arethusafarmdairy.com).

Wine-lovers rejoice: following last month's expansion (from 900 to 1600 square feet, with a bigger, dog-friendly patio) Ballou's Wine Bar (51 Whitfield St., Guilford; 203-453-0319, ballouswinebar.com) also extended its menu, and now offers 120 varieties of wine (90 of which are available by the glass), as well as several versions of a new “wine slushy” ($8) — a frozen concoction in flavors such as the Sauvignon Blanc margarita. New dishes have been added, like a lobster roll (Connecticut style — i.e., warm, with melted butter — garnished with fresh dill; $18), crab cakes ($10), lobster mac and cheese ($16) and more.