Sep 2 - 8, 2004 
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The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

By Gwyneth Doland
Brannon Mascarenas from the Food Bungalow
Brannon Mascarenas from the Food Bungalow

Which American city has the most coffee shops per capita? Who the hell knows. It seemed that Albuquerque was in the top spot after the the Associated Press reported on findings of the Specialty Coffee Association. The original findings revealed the shocking statistic that Albuquerque had more java huts than Seattle, New York or Los Angeles. Even per capita, that's a lot of coffee houses. Unfortunately, it was revealed a few days later that the statistics were wrong. The Specialty Coffee Association did not release corrected figures.

In other surprising food news, an American woman won the World Lobster Eating Contest by choking down 38 lobsters in 12 minutes. The woman, Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va., had a partner who cracked the lobsters' shells for her. After the 12 minute time limit was up, the featherweight Thomas said she could probably eat morejust not lobster. Thomas won a prize of $690 for her lobster feast and has also won eating competitions for baked beans and hard boiled eggs. Maybe she'll come to Albuquerque. We can start up an annual chile-eating competition. You have to scarf the chiles right out of the roaster.

A supposedly yum thing you'll never eat again. If you happened to pick up the August issue of Gourmet magazine you would have found a wildly entertaining article by David Foster Wallace in which he describes the experience of attending the Maine Lobster Festival. The September issue of Gourmet is devoted to film and food, and is also a fantastic read. What a great magazine! You should all subscribe. They should pay me for writing this.

Dig this: a hamburger with a hot dog on it. Does life get better? When he lived near Venice Beach, Calif., Brannon Mascarenas ran a small burger/fish taco hut that was popular with beach bums and movie stars alike. After too much saltwater, however, he returned to his native New Mexico to open a version of his café in Albuquerque. Even from the outside, the Food Bungalow (Candelaria and Eubank, 292-2007) echoes L.A. culture, and you can almost picture yourself walking barefoot up to the place to get a bite to eat. The inside follows the same themespictures of celebrities, palm fronds, ship wreck finds and fake parrots fill the cozy interior. But the best part is the grub. We drooled all over ourselves in mere anticipation of the No. 2 beach style shack burger: a handformed beef patty topped with an all-beef wiener, cheese, lots of mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato and onions. Stupendous! The Bungalow also serves hot dogs, Indian fry bread, deli sandwiches, breakfast burritos and fresh fruit shakes.

Be paid to get fat! If you have a tidbit of news that belongs in "The Dish," e-mail food@alibi.com, call 346-0660 ext. 245 or fax 256-9651. The juiciest tidbits will be rewarded with gift certificates good at local restaurants.

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