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.
Date: August 30, 2009
- 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)
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
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.
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 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
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.