Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Chonga Bagel: Apparently Howard Schultz Hasn't Spent Enough Time in Hialeah

Seattle, as anyone mildly familiar with United States geography, is about as far from Miami as one can get. Not only in terms of it being the single most unpleasant flight one can take in the contiguous Unites States, but also in that the cultures are about as similar as Fundamentalist Islam and San Francisco Gay.

Never was this more evident than when I staggered into the Starbucks two blocks from my mother’s house (this is roughly twice the civic maximum any residence in Seattle is allowed to be from a Starbucks, but my mom is a lawyer and managed to work the system) and saw what was, quite possibly, the funniest Starbucks pastry I’ve ever seen. That’s right, apparently someone at Starbucks corporate hasn’t been spending enough time in Hialeah, and decided to name their new breakfast creation “The Chonga Bagel.”

No, it does not come with a complimentary eyebrow pencil and a couple of hoop earrings. Nor does it cause you to whine, “Brooooooo, noooooo, what iiiiiiis thaaaaat?” as soon as you bite in. The girl at the counter told me it stood for “Cheese Onion and Garlic,” bagel which I suppose would make sense to anyone who has not lived south of Palm Beach County. Despite this, I felt I should explain to her that in South Florida, it kinda stood for something different. Now, in uber-PC Seattle, even saying “It means a really trashy Hispanic girl” is cause for you to be removed from the premises. So I just told her to look it up in the urban dictionary when she got home, and then talk to me the next morning.

The problem, of course, is that Seattle has about as many Hispanics as it does annual sunny days, meaning that the odds of anyone within a 300-mile radius of this Starbucks knowing what Chonga was pretty slim. I guess Howard Schultz put about as much thought into naming this one as he did into selling the Sonics. Or at the very least, he has never spent an afternoon at Mall of The Americas.

So I felt I should at least try the Chonga bagel, to see if it lived up to its equally nauseating namesake. I bit in, and instead of tasting like that luscious cocktail of Marlboro Lights, Navarro’s Lip Gloss and Au Du Westshester perfume that all the other Chongas I’ve had in my mouth tasted like, it actually tasted kinda like a stale onion bagel with burnt cheese. And that being said, I’m pretty sure I prefer the Starbucks version to the Hialeah one. At least there’s no risk of getting a bagel pregnant.

And yes, I’m mulling a comeback. A year in Gainesville and a summer in Miami have given me months worth of material.

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