The James Weird Awards

The James Weird Awards: Lobster Theft, Bananaphobia, and Cannibal Cuisine

Welcome back to the James Weird Awards, in which we honor and marvel at honest-to-goodness things that have happened lately in the world of food. If you had fun learning about dunking burgers in hydrochloric acid, the chef who serves up cannabis-laced haute cuisine, and the California man who pepper-sprayed Carl’s Jr. employees in the misguided (or not?) belief that they were trying to pepper-spray him, you’ll love this: the weirdest of this week’s weird restaurant news, straight ahead.

• Claim Jumper restaurants is settling with a Los Angeles man who claims to have found a condom in his French-onion soup. Per the court filing, “Suddenly, he felt what he believed was tough cheese on one side of his mouth. When he could not chew it into pieces, Philip commented to his family that it felt like rubber. He then spit it out, spooned it onto a napkin, at which time his wife said, ‘Oh my God, it’s a condom.’” The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed. [LA Weekly]

• A man was arrested for attempting to steal a live lobster from a Red Lobster in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The hostess spotted him attempting to leave the restaurant “in a hurry,” while simultaneously trying to shove the crustacean — valued at $24.95 — into a to-go bag that he had brought along himself. [NW Florida Daily News]

• A sushi spot in Portland, Oregon banned a customer after he voiced concerns over the restaurant’s use of endangered bluefin tuna. The customer dropped off a packet of information about the unsustainable tuna, and when he returned a month later a hostess told him “the staff were afraid to serve” him, and that he was no longer welcome. [Politics of the Plate]

• A middle-aged Queens woman was arrested for robbing a Chinese restaurant using a fake handgun, while wearing a disguise of a black wig, baseball cap, sunglasses, and long dress. The woman, who neighbors describe as “mentally ill,” was found by police when a Citibank clerk wrote down her license plate number after she attempted — unsuccessfully — to rob the bank. [NYDN]

• Musician Natalie Merchant drew a cheer from her Clearwater, Florida, audience when she dedicated a song to the kitchen staff of nearby Columbia Restaurant, but it took a twist when she explained it was thanks to “the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever had in my life,” comparing the salad she ate there to compost. [Daily Loaf]

• A drunk Sheboygan, Wisconsin, woman passed out in a McDonald’s drive-through before she could complete her order. Police found her “slumped over and snoring,” and eventually woke her up after managing to turn off her car. [Oldies 95.7]

• A 21-year-old British woman is so afraid of bananas that she’s been diagnosed with “bananaphobia.” She traces her fear to a childhood incident in which her brother put a banana in her bed as a joke, and now she has to wear rubber gloves and use a tea towel in order to open a banana for her son. [Metro UK]

• Filme, a mysterious German restaurant that might be a hoax, has started advertising for members (as well as an “open-minded surgeon”) to donate body parts for cannibalistic communal meals inspired by the Brazilian Waricaca tribe, who eat parts of a loved one’s corpse as part of a mourning ritual. In keeping with the Brazilian theme, the menu claims to include dishes like feijoada and bolinho. [Guardian UK]

The James Weird Awards: Lobster Theft, Bananaphobia, and Cannibal Cuisine