The Strangest Thing I Have Never Eaten

by Matt on July 5, 2008

Life in my new studio is so delightful I can’t even tell you. Located in downtown Long Beach near the Museum Of Latin American Art, it has everything I need and a few things I don’t. I’ve learned to expand my photographic wings and utilize space, building small sets and workstations as needed. And yet I still have so much space.

You know what else I have? Incredibly colorful neighbors who, despite the record levels of inebriation, are all so friendly and wonderful. People think nothing of sticking their head in the door and asking what on earth I’m doing and “so you shoot food but when do the hot models show up, man?” and it takes me back to my childhood where I knew each and every neighbor, where they lived and what they did. Contrast this with my mega-suburban home life just 5 miles away and it’s a shocking difference.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Around the corner from the studio is a charming little bodega that sells everything from syrupy Mexican sodas and ice cream to tortas and tacos. One day last week we decided to run over and grab a sandwich having previously spied the Milanesa Torta on the menu board. Plastered throughout this clean bright deli are generic food-service posters of salads and tacos but there’s one in particular that caught me eye. It was called Frito Locos and immediately my mind began to race with images of Frito Pies. Next to the poster was another for Costa Brava, a big pile of something made with Doritos and cucumbers. Costa Brava, I thought? Now that’s interesting. I looked at Adam, he looked at me, and thought “why not?” Curiosity would eventually get the better of us one day, might as well go for it now.

Ladies and gentleman, with absolutely no disrespect meant to the shop owners or the creators and lovers of the “Costa Brava”, I want to tell you that I think I just found the strangest combination of ingredients I have ever seen or tasted. And that’s saying quite a bit.

Costa-brava

Take Doritos, add raw cucumber chunks, cold squid pieces, candied peanuts, onions, jalapeƱos and generous doses of hot sauce and you have just created your own delightful plate of Costa Brava. And did I eat it? Absolutely not. And the entire time I kept thinking “what did the people of Spain ever do to have this dish named after them?” I’ve eaten durian, brains, eyeballs and testicles and yet I still couldn’t get past this pile of bizarre nachos.

I am sure there are lovers of things just like this and maybe I could be too if I was on a desert island with nothing else to eat and a bong the size of my leg but really, I could see no other way of enjoying this. So I took a picture. I hate wasting food.

So there you have it. The Strangest Thing I Have Never Eaten But Yes, I Tried My Darndest.

Now I ask you: what’s the strangest combination of ingredients you’ve tried?

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter G July 5, 2008 at 7:24 am

Tzatziki with corn flakes!…but yes I was slightly drunk at the time…

Ombra July 5, 2008 at 7:47 am

my kids put m&ms in their tacos once, and they said it was amazing. I couldn’t tell you though – but it was colorful!!!

David July 5, 2008 at 7:49 am

you put testicles in your mouth? Ewww…

Elise July 5, 2008 at 9:09 am

As if cheap chips with liquid American cheese poured over them wasn’t bad enough.

Okay, the strangest combination of foods I’ve ever eaten (and still like, believe it or not) is my long deceased grandmother’s lime jello salad with lime jello, cucumber, grated onion, pineapple, and horseradish.

Put mini marshmallows in anything and I won’t eat it. But horseradish in jello? No problem.

Heidi - Botanical PaperWorks July 5, 2008 at 9:13 am

I’m afraid that I’m not very adventurous, and the Costa Brava dish sounds very strange indeed. Years ago, I had a friend who liked eating chocolate and mincemeat together, but I didn’t have the courage/desire to try it!

That jello dish that Elise refers to – my mother-in-law still serves that at family dinners, albeit without the horseradish (I think!).

Karina July 5, 2008 at 10:31 am

My list of strange- and never eaten- includes everything you’ve been brave enough to try.

The oddest combo I’ve been served was in Rio Maggiore, Italy, one rainy spring night. We ordered a vegetarian pizza. The hot pie arrived topped with four greasy hotdogs (sliced lengthwise) fanning out from the center on top of the most melted mozzarella I’ve ever seen in one place. And not a single vegetable in sight.

Not half as weird as squid and candied peanuts, I admit; but I didn’t eat it.

jae July 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I would have to say it was a dessert I had in Singapore at an authentic Indian restaurant. It was noodles with crushed peanuts and a very thick cherry syrup that was topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. The people who took us to dinner were very proud of it. I had to walk a very fine line of not being rude and not eating it!

kitchenbeard July 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Call me whacky but I would have eaten just to say I ate it. OK, maybe I’m not so whacky but desperate for attention.

Lindsay Beyerstein July 5, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Costa Brava sounds like it might be pretty good. Nachos meets bread salad meets thai composed salad. If I were making it, I might substitute plain chips for the Doritos, though.

anita July 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm

I don’t know what made me laugh harder — the original post, or David’s comment.

Sounds like a cute place, Did you try the milanesa torta yet? That would be my first must-have.

steamykitchen July 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I would TOTALLY eat that!! I love each of those items independently – therefore a buffet of my favorites would be Costa Brava.

Rebecca July 5, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Oh, this is great. I have to say, the mention of Frito Pie reminded me of a time a friend’s husband gave me a big bowl of it at a party of theirs (this was like 500 years ago, in my vegetarian days…) and said, “here! It’s vegetarian, just the sauce has ham in it!” yay.

Lory July 5, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Back home (South Texas) we would eat raspas (crushed ice) with kool aid (usually grape) and chopped pickles and Lucas (chili powder) Yummy I love picadillys. We would also eat corn nut loco which was pickle juice and chili flavored corn nuts.

keiko July 6, 2008 at 1:08 am

and you’ve had eyeballs too…

BustersDad July 6, 2008 at 1:21 am

I’m a little surprised that you did not like that combo. None of the components sounded that bad. What was it about the melange that kept you from partaking?

Maryann July 6, 2008 at 7:11 am

I’m still stuck on the pineapple pizza thing haha. Never liked it and have yet to understand it :)
But, that’s a great picture!

courtney July 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm

huh, well right now i can’t think of the weirdest thing i’ve ever eaten, as i’m not that adventurous an eater, but i can tell you i live in barcelona, just under the costa brava, and there ain’t nothing that comes close to doritos, cucumbers, squid, onions, peanuts, hot sauce, etc. there’s nothing in catalunya that comes close to thinking about being slightly spicy, for that matter. I guess those people must wish bad things upon these catalans….

Uncle Beefy July 6, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Okay…still dying with laughter from David’s comment! Holy crap!

Hmmm? Strangest combo? Probably would have to be pepperoni pizza with pineapple, jalapenos, peanut butter, and ranch. Nope not stoned…just up for the “adventure”. Not too bad actually! But it ain’t like I’m ordering it either!

I TOTALLY would have tried it!

Quinn July 6, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Doritos – apparently they’re not just for the Super Bowl any more……I guess the strangest thing I’ve eaten was shark at a wedding reception. I really, really didn’t like it!

The Flying Quiche July 7, 2008 at 5:41 am

When I visited my parents in China I was hard pressed to find an iced dessert that didn’t include red beans and corn… never did try it- although my filipino friend assures me this is completely normal to his culture. *blech*

andreea July 7, 2008 at 6:32 am

deep fried mars bars. i simply can not get myself to try it.

AT July 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

Sandwich with peanut butter, tomatoes, amba (pickled mango), and marmite. Very sick-making.

Steve July 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

ok, matt, i’m with you – weird and WRONG! :P

can’t say i’ve eaten a combination of flavors that even comes CLOSE to being that strange!

meg July 7, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Wait, how is this so different from the hot dog/crushed pineapple/crumbled potato chip/BBQ sauce combination you were crushed out on in the late 90s? Just askin.

Donna July 8, 2008 at 2:42 am

Instant noodles in hot chocolate.. for breakfast! It was our last day during an expedition in the middle of nowhere and had run out of anything edible… so gross on looking back!

alice July 8, 2008 at 7:33 am

In Japan I saw in a magazine a breakfast dish of Special K (a cereal that is like corn flakes) with milk, chopped ham, broccoli, and carrot. So bizarre! Needless to say I did not try it.

The Bitter Foodie July 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Meg – I’m with you. I remember that too!

I was the guinea pig then!

Panamanian hotdogs I believe they were called…delicious actually!

Nicole July 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm

can you tell me where that bodega is? I live in Long Beach, and would love to try and get my boyfriend to eat that stuff (he is an adventurous eater, but this one might get him)

Krista July 9, 2008 at 10:41 am

And I thought Hawaiian tortas were kind of peculiar…I love food like this (in theory more so than in practice). I definitely would’ve sampled the Costa Brava.

The weirdest thing I’ve seen (not eaten) was a cinnabon in a Kuala Lumpur mall that was doused in nacho cheese. And yes, this was part of the Cinnabon chain, not a rogue operator.

TexanNewYorker July 9, 2008 at 2:47 pm

I always get flak for enjoying peanut butter with pickles. Next time someone harasses me about it, I’m going to point them here.

Monica July 15, 2008 at 7:28 pm

There’s this fantastic takeaway dish served in Adelaide called an “A-B” (it’s short for something not very nice) and it’s divinely yummy. It’s a pile of crispy fried hot chips with yeeros (doner kebab) meat and a few other bits and pieces on it, and smothered with garlic, tzatziki and tomato sauce. Looks horrible. Tastes wonderful. You can feel your arteries seizing up just looking at it. Mmmmmmm. ;-)

Helen July 22, 2008 at 10:04 am

Just seen theflyingquiche’s comment about the deep fried mars bar. My flatmate bought me one once (WHY?!) and I felt that I had to try it to be polite (again, WHY?!). I took one bite and felt the grease spurting into my mouth from the batter, which, by the way had been fried in dirty oil (you know that taste?). Then the soft inside, sickly sweet. Oh my God it was vile. I left it at one bite which had me running to the bathroom.

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