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Fusion Lounge Food Challenge

Fusion Lounge sits on the lonely east end of Hartnell Ave., across from the Hen House. Its name is its heartbeat; the place is a perfect fusion of dive bar and ethnic restaurant. You are just as likely to find a group of construction workers shouting over dice as you are to find a family of four enjoying spicy shrimp and huge bowls of Pho. Even more interesting is how owner Seng Saechao has fused American bar standards, like the burger, with eastern delights like his secret Fusion Sauce. We got a quadruple helping of one such burger for the food challenge.

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It was three pounds of food. First, note that the burger was the size of my head. Two massive deep fried patties sat on an equally ridiculously sized bun. I’m pretty sure there was a kitchen sink in there as well, squeezed between a fried egg, tomatoes, and bacon. Next to this monstrosity sat a pile of jo-jo style fries, topped with a menagerie of fusion sauce, cheese, asian style pico de gallo and pulled chicken.

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“How do you even start to eat this?” asked Seng, who created the challenge; even he was baffled. I picked up the top bun and patty and dove in. To my left, a visiting hunter from Arkansas known as ‘Big Country’ was an early favorite to win. To my right, Seng tapped out early and left me next to the only female contestant, Mey Chao, who I’m pretty sure ate more than I did.

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Several minutes in, the entire bar was mesmerized by the sight of our eventual winner, Ryan Muller. He went after the plate like a lawnmower, just grinding it up and sucking it down. It was an amazing site. Nine minutes in, he was finished. Only once did he appear ready to puke, but held it in. Others were not so fortunate.

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The race for second place was still on, but petered out gradually…it’s possible that no one else even finished. I think I got through 2/3 of my helping, which seemed pretty good to me. I was sweating and in need of refreshment. Fortunately, Lost Coast Brewing of Eureka, CA was on hand with several delicious brews to sample. Interestingly, they are the first female owned Brewery in the US, one of six great breweries in Humboldt County.

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The new Arrrgh! pale ale was light and refreshing, a little hazy in the glass, and great for washing down two-plus pounds of Fusion Goodness. For the sweeter palate, I highly recommend one of Lost Coast’s wheat beers-the Tangerine is perfectly named, a balance of fruit and malt in a sudsy package.

Until next time,

Gan Bei!

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