Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pregnant Eating

Pregnant women are a severely under-admired group of people.

Simply because of the fact that these women truly know how to enjoy food. They understand the importance of satiating one's cravings, going at great lengths to satisfy such appetites, eating more food than a typical person would consume and accepting the masochistic inevitability of their condition. I have true admiration for these women.

In my recent weeks of competitive eating, I've realized that my behavior pretty much falls in line with that of a pregnant woman. I've gone to great lengths to enjoy food in order to satiate my cravings too. And I also tend to waddle like one after doing so.

My first craving led me to a lively turkey taco eating contest in Encinitas. Mr. Peabody's hosted their Turkey Taco Showdown as a fund raiser for a local girl's water polo team. They offered $100 to the person who could eat the most 12 ounce turkey tacos in 15 minutes. Having tried a couple for practice previously, I certainly had a craving to eat more tacos and hopefully win some money in the process.

The contestants included myself, my buddy Aaron Ybarra and some colorful characters. There was a cowboy who competed as 'Chuck Norris' and 'The Norweigan Hammer' who wore a giant foam hammer hat during the contest. Brie Cardosa of Mr. Peabody's did a wonderful job organizing the contest and coordinating with the girl's water polo team.

The contest itself was extremely hectic. We had tons of yelling and cheering from the semi drunken audience as well as the water polo girls that were assisting the eaters by keeping track of the tacos they consumed. The turkey tacos themselves were just as tasty as I remembered though somewhat difficult to eat due to the amount of ruffage on top.

I paced myself given the long duration of the contest. A strategy which had me worry in practice because Aaron, a guy competing as 'Wyatt Earp' and Neil were all eating at a frenzied pace, putting up some strong numbers early in the contest. Though I could barely tell what the actual count was with all the noise from the yelling and the hammer reversing after eating four tacos. I decided to ignore the the distractions, keep form and just steadily eat. This led me to victory. I ate 11 turkey tacos, just over 8 pounds worth, in 15 minutes.

Neil did an excellent job coming in 2nd with 9 tacos. While Aaron and Wyatt tied for 3rd with 8 tacos a piece. In retrospect, I probably should have eaten at a little faster pace because I still had a bit of room after. This was remedied with some Guinness, Cap'n Crunch, an ice cream sundae, hamburgers and fries with friends afterwards, definitely good times.

The t-shirts they gave us, the tacos and the overall experience of the contest were awesome. And the $100 didn't hurt either.

Here's the full contest results and contact information for Mr. Peabody's:

1st - Johnnie: 11 turkey tacos
2nd - Neil: 9 turkey tacos
3rd (Tie) - Aaron: 8 turkey tacos
(Tie) - Wyatt Earp: 8 turkey tacos
5th (Tie) - Mike the Plumber: 4 turkey tacos
5th (Tie) - Chuck Norris: 4 turkey tacos
7th - The Norwegian Hammer: 4 turkey tacos

Mr. Peabody's
136 Encinitas Boulevard
Encinitas, CA 92024-3657
(760) 753-7192

My next eating event was an unsanctioned eating duel with Kirk Bernard. This guy contacted me on Facebook and challenged me to an eating showdown after I beat his record of 38 plates by eating 60 plates of sushi at Sushilicious in Irvine.

I happily obliged mostly because I was craving sushi, one of my favorite foods, but also because I wanted to see what kind of capacity Kirk possessed. I love to eat with other sushi enthusiasts, especially those with large capacities. And I'm not one to back down from challenges.

Our duel occurred at Zenko Sushi in Mission Viejo during their $19 all you can eat sushi lunch. Kirk told me that after being kicked out of several local sushi places that Zenko Sushi caters to those with large appetites. He regularly eats there 3 or 4 times a week. I was pretty damn excited!

We ended up sticking to nigiri sushi with extra rice and salmon skin handrolls for the sake of counting. The food was delicious, especially the warm salmon skin hand rolls they served. Kirk put away a decent amount of sushi, eating 80 pieces of nigiri and 11 hand rolls. I ended up winning with 120 pieces of nigiri and 5 hand rolls. Kirk was oblivious to most of my eating exploits and seemed genuinely surprised when I kept pace and exceeded his consumption.

The duel turned out to be less of an intense, macho driven battle and more of a casual lunch discussing the competitive eating world and personal training. I can't say we really drove each other to eat more. We didn't push to capacity nor ate quickly, but rather just enjoyed our all you can eat sushi lunch. It was pleasant.

Afterwards, I encouraged Kirk to try out eating competitions because of his strong competitive drive and good capacity. We'll definitely have some return trips to Zenko Sushi.

Zenko Sushi
28892 Marguerite Pkwy # 190
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
(949) 347-0844

My most recent craving ended up with me trying something different in Granada Hills. Different not because of the type of food but because of the format of the challenge. I would attempt to be the first person to complete the 2 person Red Devil Pizza Challenge alone.

The challenge is a straight forward 10 pound, 28" pizza with four toppings. They give you and a partner half an hour to complete the challenge. You are awarded the meal for free, a picture on their wall, a t-shirt and gift certificates for 2 more 28" pizzas for completion. The real challenge for me wasn't only the time limit but just being able to consume the entire thing. I wanted to test my capacity and had no idea if I could pull it off.

I had done a similar challenge with Stephanie Torres a couple months ago in about 17 minutes. I knew that I really had to hustle to get it under the 30 minute time limit. She also held the time record for this pizza, completing the challenge with our buddy Aaron.

I was really craving pork. That led to my invention of 'The Extreme Hawaiian' pizza. It's like a regular hawaiian, pineapple & canadian bacon, but with the addition of bacon strips and bacon bits as my third and fourth topping. Lots of bacon, this pizza was fantastic!

I ended up powering through the first half in about 8 minutes and sluggishly finished the rest in 29:38, just under the time limit. The bacon flavor was amazing the whole way through which certainly helped. I could have saved some time by talking less and not fiddling around with the tray so much.

It felt awesome to be the first person to finish this challenge alone and the group of guys watching were very supportive. More importantly, it helped me realize that I still had room for more. I ate an ice cream sandwich for dessert after and drank a pitcher of water, a very good meal.

I did this one as practice for an even harder, upcoming challenge. Which I feel more confident about now that I've eaten this pizza. I strongly recommend trying this solo for strong eaters looking to guage their capacity.

Here's video of the challenge:

Red Devil Pizza
17553 Chatsworth Street
Granada Hills, CA 91344
(818) 832-0950

Turkey tacos, nigiri sushi and bacon pizza. Cravings surely fit to satisfy a pregnant woman or at least a competitive eater.

With the excessive eating and swelling of your abdomen, it's a common analogy to compare how you feel after competitively eating to being pregnant. And though I will never get to experience such an event, I like to think that I'd have what it takes to carry a human child. I certainly behave much like a pregnant woman. Well, except for the routine consumption of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.

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