We must confess, possums, to having a bit of a soft spot for Season 2 cheftestant Mia Gaines-Alt, whom we likened to celebrity hairdresser Jose Eber based on their shared love of cowboy hats.
When Miss XaXa paid a call on Mia at Feed the People!, her barbecue restaurant in Oakdale, California, Mia was kind enough to autograph a menu for us, which naturally endeared her to us (and the food was pretty good, too). In addition, Mia was an entertaining contestant who did a gutsy thing by taking the fall for fellow contestant Elia Aboumrad, and that also endeared her to us.
We hadn't heard anything about Mia after the season ended, and she is absent from Bravo's cheerful online "Where Are They Now?" round-ups. However, we did think of her a few months ago, when a friend sent us a newspaper story about mysterious, random power outages in Oakdale (a rural, cowboy town in the process of becoming a Bay Area bedroom community). Eventually, much to people's amusement, the outages were traced to a bull rubbing himself against a utility pole, and we wondered whether Mia's restaurant had been affected.
Then, after the start of the current season, we received an email from someone trying to contact Mia for a fundraiser. The person had tried the phone number for the restaurant, but it had been disconnected.
And then today we received an email from Amuse-Biatch reader Gary that may shed some light on the matter:
Just a side note I live in Modesto Ca. a town just west of Oakdale Ca. where Mia restaurant "Feed the People" is located....Also as of 8/28/07 the landlord has place a big foreclose note on the door for lack of paying rent in short he says he is taking the place as being abandon equipment and all. Including the cowboy hat that Mia wore in her photo which sits on top of an empty cash register.
It's quite a sad state of affairs. If anyone has further information, be sure to let us know.