Back to work

After a year-and-a-half hiatus, I am back with a new challenge!  I will be dipping my toes into the world of big burgers for the first time, taking on the Intimidator Challenge at Red Onion Burgers in Mountlake Terrace, WA.  Check back soon to see how I do!

For anyone interested, I use EatFeats.com to research all the food challenges in the Seattle area.  The site has information on food challenges in all 50 states–and even some in Canada.

Wingdome: 7 Deadly Wings Challenge

Wingdome

I am going to stray off the Adam Richman-chasing path for a bit to try something outside of my official Man v. Food agenda.  The challenge I have in mind was not attempted by Adam Richman but I feel that it is a worthy challenge  nonetheless.  I have shown some of my grit against large quantities of food, but now it’s time to start testing my mouth and stomach against the hottest, spiciest foods.  To begin with, I will be attempting the 7 Deadly Wings Challenge at Wingdome.  Even though Adam didn’t specifically do this challenge, he faces many a spicy food challenge and I need to get a feel for how it’s gonna be.

The Lowdown: As the name implies, Wingdome is a restaurant specializing in chicken wings but also serves up burgers, sandwiches, and a variety of  fries.  There are 3 locations in the Seattle area.  For those who don’t care for the standard buffalo-style wings, Wingdome offers 8 special sauces to slather your wings in.  With its variety of wings and a selection of cold beers, Wingdome is a great place to catch a game.  At the same time, it’s not a true “sports bar” and still maintains a  family-friendly atmosphere.

Since I am a blogger and not a tv personality, I don’t feel obliged to give you over-the-top reactions to everything I eat and tell you how amazing all of it is.  In all honesty, there are better wing joints across this nation.  But that doesn’t mean Wingdome is bad.  If you have the chance, check out Wingdome for a variety of wings and a great atmosphere.
www.thewingdome.com

The Throwdown:

The regular wings on the menu range from 1-6 alarm.  For the challenge, they kicked it up a notch and added a 7 alarm wing.  The 7 alarm sauce packs in about 100 habaneros per quart.  A habanero pepper is more than 50 times hotter than a jalapeno.  That is some intimidating math.

Here are the official rules for the 7 Deadly Wing Challenge:

1. Sign the waiver admitting that you’re ignorant of personal danger, swollen
lips, dry tear ducts, explosive bodily functions and overall unpleasantness
after touching your eyes or various body parts.
2. Participant has 7 minutes to eat seven 7-alarm wings to the bone
(yeah, that means no meat left…only clean bones)
3. You cannot eat or drink ANYTHING during the 7 minutes
(Lets make this clear…until the timer’s buzzer goes off!)
4. No napkins are allowed during the challenge. Participant must lick clean
any sauce on hands before the 7 minutes are up!

If I finish all seven wings within the 7 minutes, I have to wait out the rest of the time without food, drink, or napkins.  If I can do that, I win a free t-shirt and get my picture on the Wall of Flame.


The Aftermath: For anyone who’s interested (and if you’re not then just skip the rest of this), I will give some insight into how I felt after the challenge.  Of course, my reaction will differ from other people.  The best way I can explain it is like when you throw up and your stomach tightens up and feels like the life is being sucked out of it–except for a 24-hour period.  I wanted relief but could get none.  The only wise decision I made regarding this challenge was clearing out my schedule for the day after.

Beth’s Cafe: 12-Egg Omelette

The Lowdown:

(photo courtesy of www.bethscafe.com)

(photo courtesy of http://www.bethscafe.com)

Being a Seattle native, the 12-egg omelette was on my radar long before it appeared on Man vs. Food.  This was really the only real food challenge I knew about in the Seattle area for awhile (I’m still not aware of that many.  Seattle isn’t really a food challenge kind of city.  It’s more of a denounce-the-social-injustices-of-such-a-thing type of place).

Beth’s is a 55-year-old, hole-in-the-wall cafe sandwiched between two bars and serves food 24 hours-a-day, though they are most well-known for their breakfast menu.   The standout here, of course, is the 12-egg omelette, which comes served to you on a pizza tray.  Beth’s is also known for its interior decorating.  The walls are plastered with artwork etched by customers while they dine.  You will find anything from the classic “I drove ____ miles to come to Beth’s” to a picture of an old man with an alien in a headlock.  It’s a great place to find all sorts of people dining together at all hours of the day.   http://www.bethscafe.com

During the Seattle episode of Man vs. Food, Adam and a challenger took on the 12-egg omelette.  He chose the Southwestern Exposure, which combines chili, salsa, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.  All omelettes also come with  hash browns (“all-you-can-eat,” in case you feel like you haven’t gotten an acceptable amount of food at that point) and a side of toast.  To beat the challenge, a person has to finish everything.  In the episode, Adam is consistently well ahead of his opponent and looks to be able to finish.  However, with only two bites left he throws in the towel and both men fail to defeat the 12-egg challenge.

The Showdown:

Date: August 30, 2009

The omelette in all its glory
The omelette in all its glory

Like Adam, I was not only competing against the omelette but also against another challenger.  My girlfriend’s sister Melissa, a fellow food fanatic, and I had for years been planning an eating contest to compare our binging abilities (I swear we’re not white trash).   I figured I could  kill two birds with one stone by taking on both her and the omelette in one sitting.

Me, Melissa, and our friend Beano for support (not pictured: my girlfriend Christie)

Me, Melissa, and our friend Beano for support (not pictured: my girlfriend Christie)

We came up with some rules to make our challenge more interesting:

1.  If only one person finishes, the loser has to pay for the winner’s food (about $16)

2.  If neither of us finish or both of us finish, we both pay for our own

3.  After one person finishes, the other person has 15 minutes to finish to still be considered a “winner”

For our omelettes, we both ordered ham and cheddar filling, the best in my opinion.  After placing our orders, we exchanged trash talk and made our confident statements about what we’d have to eat after we finished the omelette (It only took 30 minutes to realize how stupid we were).  As someone who intends to write a blog about challenging Adam Richman, I felt particular pressure to get the job done.

I found some subtle assurance when the waitress handed Melissa her omelette and asked “You’re going to eat that all yourself?”  The thing about it was–it wasn’t uttered in a tone of wide-eyed disbelief; it was more of a dispirited reality check from someone who had seen many people try and fail to finish the eggy beast.  As much as I love a good underdog story, I wasn’t about to let Melissa pull a Rudy on me.

Her omelette is smiling over her future pain
Her omelette is smiling over her future pain

I can’t stand the taste of eggs by themselves, so I drenched the omelette in ketchup until it resembled a Spanish flag.  Melissa and I tapped forks and we were off to the races.  After the first few bites, you get the feeling that you could tackle the omelette with ease.  The egg is moist and the filling is delicious.  It seems less like a challenge and more like a plentiful bounty of goodness.  However, the omelette is only delicious when eaten in normal human quantities.  The phrase “too much of a good thing” certainly applies here.

At a little past the halfway mark, both of us were showing signs of slowing. Melissa looked like she was having a tougher time with it than I was so I knew this is where I could pull ahead.  I heaped on more ketchup and used the toast and water to mask the taste and texture of the egg as much as I could.  Anything but omelette tasted heavenly by now.  My goal at this point was to slowly gain more ground on Melissa so that I could start her 15-minute rebuttal time before she got a second wind.

Feeling good

Appetizing

Appetizing

People talk about eating in the dark as a way to isolate your senses and really taste your food.  In my opinion, if you ever want to really taste something–eat enough of it until you are exceptionally full.  I guarantee you will taste every little bite– in painstaking detail.

Will I make it?

Will I go the distance?

At last, after about 45 minutes I took my last bite of egg and hash brown.  Melissa had about a quarter of her omelette left and looked incapacitated at the moment, so I felt pretty good about winning.  I anxiously watched all 15 minutes pass with little more than a few bites.  In the end, Melissa was able to finish her omelette–but it was too late.  I had done it!  I had beaten the 12-egg omelette and Melissa all in one go.  And the prize for all my troubles was a free cholesterol injection.

The sight of victory

The sight of victory

It was all worth it for the bumper sticker

It was all worth it for the bumper sticker

One down, but many more to go if I want to keep up with Adam Richman.  This one was like training camp compared to the other stuff he has done, so I have a long road ahead of me. But for now:

Jon: 1; Food: 0; Adam Richman: 0

If anyone else has taken on this challenge, in success or failure, please feel free to share your experience.