The James Weird Awards: An Aphrodisiac Fungus, a Heavenly Beer Truck, and Nap Time at Taco Bell
Artwork of Al Roker's face was made out of noodles. Sam Sifton's final review for the Times was made up of analogies. A Russian chef made a meat pie out of his chopped-up father-in-law. And that wasn't even the strangest of this week's weird food news; read more in the James Weird Awards, straight ahead.
• After robbing a bank in Yuma, Arizona, a man walked just down the street for a sit-down meal of pizza and beer. He was promptly arrested. [Toronto Sun]
• A man in Chicago told police he thought he'd died and gone to heaven when he stumbled upon an unmanned refrigerated beer trailer outside a banquet hall. He (perhaps understandably) took full advantage of what he thought was an unlimited supply of beer, only to become so intoxicated that the police had to call an ambulance. Perhaps a deity actually was on his side: The man was not charged with public intoxication or theft. [TribLocal via Eatocracy/CNN]
• Just after picking up his late-night Taco Bell order, an intoxicated man in Florida fell asleep at the wheel of his parked Chevy with his foot pressed to the gas pedal, bathed in the warm glow of the drive-through window. Police were called to the scene when smoke started billowing from the pickup's engine. They woke the man up before putting out the fire, then asked to see his identification. He offered them a taco instead. [TCP via Miami New Times]
• A rare Asian fungus is known to burrow inside a host caterpillar, then eat it from within, bursting out of its head Alien-style and essentially mummifying the little critter. The resulting fungus — known as yartsa gunbu, or caterpillar fungus — is coveted across Asia for its alleged powers as an aphrodisiac and has reached price points as high as $50,000 a pound. [NPR]
• Edible Canada, a bistro in Vancouver, is attempting to make its unisex bathroom more sanitary by requiring that men squat, rather than stand, to do their business. The totally reasonable question on everyone's mind: How does the restaurant plan to enforce the ban? [Zagat Buzz]
• Two men in Los Angeles were arraigned in federal court under charges of selling drugs and firearms — including an AK-47 — to an undercover agent over a four-month period, allegedly over the counter of their hot-dog stand. One of the men admitted that he sold guns to the agent, but denied that the hot-dog stand was involved. [NBC Bay Area]