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The food can be as heavy as the music

A reporter's favorite genre of cuisine at the festival is the so-bad-it's-good stuff.

April 06, 2013|By Gerrick Kennedy, Los Angeles Times
  • The Do Lab is a place for music, performance, shade and water at the 10th annual Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio on April 18, 2009.
The Do Lab is a place for music, performance, shade and water at the 10th annual… (Jay L. Clendenin, Los Angeles…)

Eating at Coachella is one of my favorite things to do, and not because the food is stellar. It could be from the exhaustion of running tirelessly over the fields from stage to stage, or the heat, but each year I drop all semblance of a sensible diet and find myself splurging on the deliciously gluttonous greasy-spoon options that dot the field.

Sure, there are lighter choices like salads, tofu and tempeh sandwiches, falafel, freshly cut fruit, etc. But after two Heinekens and a dance-off in the Sahara tent with that group of glassy-eyed girls that seems a perennial at Coachella, I prefer to play the game of what's the best worst meal I can find.

Last year I hit an apex, or was it a low? It wasn't the beer-battered fries topped with garlic, Dungeness crab and garlic aioli that got me, or the infamous Kogi truck with their BBQ tacos. It was the allure of the Sausage King.

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The smell of sizzling links, hot dogs, sauerkraut and onions dared me to walk by without stopping. I lost that dare and fell victim to the bacon-wrapped all-beef dog topped with grilled onions, avocado, spicy mayo, teriyaki sauce and cheese.

Midway through tearing through my dog, I happened upon Gravy Train's poutine — a Canadian delicacy of French fries topped with creamy gravy and fresh cheese curds. Then came my third beer. It was around that point I realized I might have crossed a line.

Bloated, I retreated from the triple-digit heat to the press tent to succumb to a self-induced food coma. Amid the clickety-clack of a half-dozen reporters arose a question from one photographer: "You think the sushi here is good?"

Clearly, I had company in my quest to eat the worst food possible at Coachella. Perhaps I wasn't the most irresponsible one around. At 105 degrees outside, even I knew it was better to stick with pure grease and carbs as opposed to raw Unagi or yellowtail with jalapeño.

I saw the same photographer several hours after her sushi trek, sitting in a corner of the tent, fanning herself. Her face was a pale hue of blue and she was sweating profusely. We both had taken risks on the field and suffered the agony of defeat in the port-a-potties. Yet for that moment in the tent, I was able to rise above my indigestion and feel superior. My choices weren't as bad as hers.


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