By winning Munch Madness for its third consecutive year, Hungry Mother successfully completed a "turkey," a bowling term for three strikes in a row. As part of the playful trash-talking that the tournament tends to incite -- a tradition that the Southern-style restaurant has helped cultivate over the last four years -- Hungry Mother and Oleana exchanged barbs during the championship round.
Hungry Mother took the first shot over the weekend, sending Oleana a Butterball turkey with a mock Boston Globe headline that read, "Hungry Mother scores a turkey in Boston.com's Munch Madness. Oleana continues to cook food from turkey." Oleana responded, though the first-time finalists might not have been familiar with the bowling lingo, as they sent back a different bird and a confused note, "We have no idea what's going on, but here's a quail … and we're gonna kick your ass!" Hungry Mother countered by tweeting a photo of the quail cooked up next to its much larger chicken, saying "go big or go home!"
"We're not sure if anyone gets quite as into it as we do, but we're proud of our fighting spirit," Hungry Mother co-owner Rachel Miller Munzer told us, shortly before edging Oleana by 311 votes.
Indeed they do get into it. Last year, the restaurant sent its opposition Craigie on Main a sympathy card for coming in second – during the middle of Craigie's Saturday-night service (voting ended the next day). The previous year, they picketed East Coast Grill, while the Cambridge seafood spot hired a witchdoctor to hex them in retribution. In 2010, when East Coast Grill won our inaugural competition, they received an anonymous threatening note while competing with Hungry Mother that read, "To ECG: Drop out of the contest now or you will really know what Hell Night is!"
Obviously, at this point Hungry Mother is an old pro at psyche-outs, but kudos to Oleana for getting into the spirit of the competition and digging into the dark side of Munch Madness. The Inman Square spot remained classy in defeat and Hungry Mother showed the love, too.
Congratulations to all the restaurants on another great year.
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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.