A Culinary Tour of Clusterfest

It's the next best thing to actually stuffing your face on the premises.

Everyone knows that Comedy Central’s first-ever Colossal Clusterfest was the perfect marriage of music and comedy, the likes of which have never been seen in the history of mankind. But man does not live on jokes and sick beats alone. He needs sustenance — specifically, delicious, inhibition-lowering sustenance.

For precisely that reason, Clusterfest featured culinary talent that was every bit as entertaining as the talent onstage. (Case in point: local classic Gerard’s Paella, perhaps the most hyphy dish in existence.) We caught up with a few of the people who provided that good grub to find out what it was like to keep fans fed.


    Film Magic

    One of the most popular eateries at Clusterfest was the full-scale recreation of the famously hostile Soup Nazi restaurant from “Seinfeld.” It was so realistic, in fact, that it was managed by the original Soup Nazi himself, Larry Thomas.

    David Pemberton: Have you enjoyed reprising your role as the infamous Soup Nazi?

    Larry Thomas: Oh, yeah. Under these circumstances, it’s really fun because it’s sort of easier to stay in character for as long as possible with the way they have it set up.

    How is the food? Have you tried any of the soups that you’re serving?

    Yes! Yesterday, my fiancé Angela and I attacked a bowl of the mulligatawny. It was really good. It’s vegetarian. My usual recipe for it has chicken in it, but it was delicious. The curry flavoring was just right. Today, I’m vowing to try the jambalaya because I watched it being ladled out for a whole day yesterday, and it’s looking really, really good.

    Have you ever tried to recreate the soups from Seinfeld at home?

    That was part of the reason for writing my cookbook. My mulligatawny was definitely inspired by the “Seinfeld” episode. You know, I couldn’t write a cookbook without developing one, so it took me a long weekend of making it many different ways until I perfected what I like.


    Film Magic

    What comedy festival would be complete without a pop-up version of South Park’s infamous Casa Bonita family restaurant? We spoke with Blair Jones, taco artist extraordinaire, to learn more about turning San Francisco’s Tacolicious into everyone’s favorite fictional Mexican restaurant.

    David Pemberton: What’s been your favorite part of the festival so far?

    Blair Jones: I’ve had a really good time working at Casa Bonita for Clusterfest. I like just talking to people and hearing about who they wanna see the most, things like that. And just meeting new people has been great. People already know Tacolicious pretty well, so they come here just for our tacos.

    What’s your favorite taco?

    The chicken taco! The flavors and seasoning are great… it’s a little different than what we have at the restaurant. It’s a nice change-up.

    What’s your favorite part about the Casa Bonita episode of South Park?

    I guess my favorite part is obviously Cartman throughout the whole episode because he goes through such great things to get to Casa Bonita. And the part that sticks out the most is the song he sings.


    Jeff Kravitz/Film Magic

    It might not be the best bar in Philadelphia, but it’s certainly the most entertaining. We sat down with Chita Phong Phanh — a real bartender at the recreation of Paddy’s Pub from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — to get the scoop on the best dive bar at Clusterfest.

    David Pemberton: What’s it like to be a real bartender at a fake bar?

    Chita Phong Phanh: It’s been pretty funny because every other person is asking for a martini or vodka and soda, and then I constantly have to tell them all those bottles are props. But everyone wants to be here.

    What’s been your favorite part of the festival so far?

    My favorite thing was when Mac [Rob McElhenney] came behind the bar with me yesterday, and I taught him how to bartend, and he helped some customers. He got flustered and ran away. He was super sweet.

    Have people been enjoying the bar? What about the food?

    Actually, yesterday I told someone to order the Grilled Charlie.

    What’s the Grilled Charlie?

    The Grilled Charlie is two slices of bread with cheese and peanut butter on the outside with chocolate syrup and butter on the inside.

    That sounds terrible.

    That’s the point — it’s Paddy’s Pub!

These interviews have been edited for clarity and concision.