Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I participated at the Irvine store qualifiers. I've had very little exposure to pastrami. Sure, I've eaten it occasionally, usually as an accompaniment to a sandwich or even chili fries but never by itself. And definitely not in these quantities. I was pleasantly surprised with how delicious their pastrami was, eating a pound and a half of this brined and smoked beef was awesome.
I could have easily gone for seconds and thirds.
The qualifier involved eating two Skyscrapers, their 12oz pastrami sandwich, in as little time as possible. I finished my two skyscrapers in 4:31 setting the fastest time for all the locations and securing my place for the finals. The guys at the Irvine location were very encouraging and did an awesome job cheering me on during the finals. I think there was a bit of a war between the various locations as well. They really wanted their store winners to take home the prize.
These guys provided some colorful competition for the $500. Though I was a little disappointed that a couple of other notable eaters didn't show up for the finals. I was looking forward to competing against them and really wanted to earn that 1st place spot. At least my long time eating buddy Aaron Ybarra also qualified and was ready to give me a proper run for the money. We were both extremely excited for this day.
On a drizzly Sunday afternoon, we gathered and got ourselves ready to take on a giant pastrami sandwich. The winner of the finals had to be first to finish a 3.5 pound, triple decker pastrami sandwich. We were allowed to drink the beverage of our choice, including au jus, and could consume the sandwich however we wanted to.
The experience really intensified my desire to compete in up coming contests.