Aaaand … it's an upset! The winner of Munch Madness 2011 is Hungry Mother. The Southern/French restaurant beat last year's victor, East Coast Grill, by 511 votes. The final tally was 1,988 to 1,477.
This last match was a reprise of 2010's restaurant tournament, when the two Cambridge restaurants also met in the championship round. Last year, the rivalry led to the exchange of threatening notes, fish skeletons and pig heads, the Champagne of beers and Italian digestivi.
This year, the pair wasted no time. A missive arrived by courier at Hungry Mother, telling the establishment to drop out of the tournament or the South would stop sending grits, peanuts, and country ham north of the Mason-Dixon line. Hungry Mother then picketed East Coast Grill, with a sign telling people to vote for them. Then East Coast Grill hired someone they called one of the world's top witch doctors to put a hex on Hungry Mother.
"The curse will diminish any illusions of grandeur Hungry Mother may have about winning Munch Madness," they said.
"We were visited by a voodoo master, cursing us with black beans on the sidewalk and some mumbo jumbo!" reported Hungry Mother.
Hexes have been known to backfire, however, and it looks as though this one did. Note to hopefuls for 2012's tournament: Start practicing your dark arts now.
Congratulations to Hungry Mother, and thanks to all 64 contestants for being great sports.
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.