"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Thursday, March 29, 2007


So it looks like the UEPa's Great Philly Cheesesteak tour is moving forward on April 21. A few comments left on the last post made it seem as if we'd somehow do sushi AND cheesesteaks during our gorge fest, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea. If ever there were two foods that were polar opposites of each other, it seems like sushi and cheesesteaks would be it. The combination of spicy raw tuna, cheesesteak, wasabi, and cheese whiz might make our stomachs implode and effectively end all of our competitive eating careers (some before they even started). Not to mention both are friggin' awesome foods and each deserves their own day of gluttony.

So I guess we can open the discussion for a sushi date here. In the meantime, we should also start thinking about our itinerary for the cheesesteak tour. Being NOT from Philly, I'll risk looking ignorant by throwing out some tour stops (in no particular order, except for the last two):
These are just a bunch of places that I've heard of or seen on some websites and lists of the best in Philly. It seems like ending at Pat's and Geno's is good for the end of the tour because they're right across the street from each other and we can just ping pong back and forth and eat until we puke (assuming we're still hungry by then). I've read in a lot of places that Pat's and Geno's are pretty much the tourist's choice for cheesesteaks and aren't even close to being the best Philly has to offer. Still seems like a no-brainer that we have to stop there.

Regardless, this list is 100 percent flexible (and probably too long), so let me know if I'm missing anything. Also, how many tour stops do we expect to make? 6? 7? 8? As many as our stomachs allow?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Whenever I go out for sushi -- which isn't often and lately only with co-workers -- I have to resist the urge not to eat my six or eight pieces too quickly. It's hard because the sushi is so good. A local place offers a tempura fried spicy tuna roll called a Rock n' Roll. The fact that it's fried (lightly, just enough to give the rice a slightly crispy exterior) makes it sort of an abomination among sushi purists but I don't care because I'm not a purist, I'm just a guy who likes good food.

To help me maintain a slower, less competitive eating-like pace when eating sushi or other Asian food, I use chopsticks whenever possible. Problem is, I really suck at using chopsticks. I either need to use them more often and with more challenging cuisine (sushi is easy to pick up), or I need to buy a pair of these "chorks" (chopstick forks). They're sorta like training chopsticks except they look cool.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


In honor of the start of spring (and Chip Simpson's 39 HDBs in the first qualifier of the Nathan's season), I present the following behind the counter shot at Gray's Papaya...also known as the best hot dogs in New York City. Besides Nathan's, of course. Liz knows what I'm talking about. They're so good, they don't even have a website. And no, this picture wasn't taken 15 years ago, $2.75 usually does get you two dogs and a drink at Gray's.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Tomorrow morning I'm flying down to Louisville, Kentucky (the natives pronounce it "Loo-vul") to help a client at a trade show. I'll be there for three days and they're giving me $50 a day to spend on food, so I'm trying to find a few good restaurants where I can get a nice dinner on Thursday and Friday. I figure if I eat the complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel and grab something cheap and quick at the trade show, I'll have $45 left over dinner and drinks. If anyone is familiar with the area or has any suggestions, let me know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


A friend sent me a link to a semi-complete collection of food-related Simpson's quotes. This page is called "Eating with the Simpsons" but at the top you'll find a bunch of other links to foodie quotes from the greatest cartoon ever created (18 years and counting). A few favorites below:

HOMER: Yo Apu, give me the usual.
APU: Yes, sir. One Kwik-E-Dog, one bubble gum cigar and the latest issue of Success magazine.
HOMER: Mmmm. Hey, this hot dog tastes different.
APU: Yes, I just cleaned out the machine sir, so the snack you are enjoying has not been soaking in its putrid grease.
HOMER: Yeah ... but without all the grease all you can taste is the hog anus.

HOMER: Donut?
LISA: No thanks. Do you have any fruit?
HOMER: This has purple stuff inside. Purple is a fruit.

HOMER: Oh, Lord! Why do You mock me?
MARGE: Homer, that's not God. That's a waffle Bart stuck to the ceiling. (Marge pries the waffle off the ceiling.)
HOMER: Lord, I know I shouldn't eat thee, but ... (munch munch munch) ... mmm ... sacrilicious.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Saw this pic and liked it, so I'm posting it here. At first I thought it was just a coincidence that the crust split in the middle to make the Pi sign, but then I noticed the outer edges of the crust. This is what happens when math geeks bake.

Also, did anyone watch the St. Patrick's Day Showdown on SPIKE on Saturday night? If so, what'd you think? I thought it was okay. I think it could've used more on screen graphics and Rich Shea and Crazy Legs would've been cooler behind a desk with a big MLE logo on the front like they do on location at ESPN sportscasts. But still a good show overall. I especially liked Bertoletti rocking the cheesy 'stach and his nose running like a fountain during the doughnut round. The dude is hard core and the new #1 eater in America.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I'm not sure what to make of the "beer throwing fridge" in the video below. I still have my old college mini fridge (the taller, rectangular kind). It sits in our kitchen, right next to our regular fridge and I keep it stocked with beer. Heather has slowly started turning it into a beer/condiments fridge. It started with ketchup, mustard and mayo in the door compartments and now things like lime juice and pickles have crept onto the first shelf. Those aren't even condiments.

Here's a story that appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune about the guy who created the fridge. Word of advice, if you're going to spend 150 hours of your life making something that'll do what one well-trained girlfriend can do for you (let the record show, I get my own beers...or at least I do now) and then post a video of it on YouTube for all the world to see, at least fill it with something other than Miller Lite!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


This Saturday is the St. Patrick's Day Chowdown on Spike TV. It also marks one full month without a contest on the MLE "Future Events" calendar. Unless you count the Nathan's qualifiers, but since Nathan's is coordinating that on their website, I guess technically that leaves the MLE calendar at IFOCE.com still bare. A stomach growls in the distance.

Speaking of the IFOCE, as of Friday those five clumsy letters that we've grown to love (some of you, not so much) will be cast aside and the organization will officially become known as Major League Eating (MLE). No longer will eaters wear their t-shirts publicly and face the inevitable question, "What's Eye-Foose?" MLE.com will also launch on that day. In an age where organizations can live or die based on their online presence, I'm hoping really, really hard (others, feel free to pray) that the new website kicks ass.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Not coincidentally, just as a warm spell hits the northeast and melts away the last of the Valentine's Day snowstorm, registration for the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is finally open on NathansFamous.com. Yes, the 2007 eating season is upon us. (And no, the MLE season doesn't start with the New Year. The handful of contests held between January and now are like Spring Training...just a precursor to the real action that happens between April and October.)

I signed up for the Philadelphia qualifier on May 26 and the QVC qualifier on June 28. Registration actually opened sometime yesterday or late Saturday. I checked the site every 12 hours or so for the last three weeks, so it figures that they'd start it during the day-and-a-half that I wasn't online. Hopefully I can get into at least one of them. If I get into the QVC qualifier, I really have to bring it. That's traditionally the last qualifier of the season and I don't want to take a spot at the table if I can't do AT LEAST the deuce (20 HDBs). Last year it took Seaver Miller 21.5 dogs to win and it's probably going to take 25 to do it this year.

I also hope I find out soon whether or not I got a spot at the table in one or both events. I'd like to start preparing mentally and physically. I should start prepping regardless. Nathan's or no Nathan's, I've got a busy season of eating ahead of me.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Beau was in NYC for a marketing conference and he met a guy who was somehow connected with a group called LVHRD. LVHRD is an pseudo-acronym for "Live Hard" and is a 400-plus member group of artsy New York hipsters who get together now and then and do weird stuff and generally hang out do whatever it is hipsters do. (An article about how cool and hipsterish LVHRD is can be found here.)

Anyhow, their next gathering, on March 20, is some sort of competitive eating event they call the "Master Disaster Vending Machine Challenge." Apparently the event has gained an underground following. At least enough for them to charge $22 for tickets ($11 for LVHRD memers). By the way, props should be given to Liz. She suggested I do something like this a few months ago when I was considering my next personal eating challenge.

According to the LVHRD site, the vending machine challenge goes like this: "Each team must rise to the following task: to consume the entire contents (minus packaging) of a standard vending machine (28-32 varieties of food, 2 items each). Upon the referee's signal the competitors will be given a stockpile of dollar bills and change, and begin feeding currency into their machines while carefully selecting their eating approach. The first team to successfully eat the entire contents of the vending machine will be declared the winner."

Last year's contest featured two one-on-one faceoffs, including a throwdown between a team from advertising agency J. Walter Thompson against a team from the New York City Ballet. (The ad geeks won - full results here.) This year's contest pits two teams of three members each against each other. So far, the teams are the staff from The Onion and a group from MoMA. No word on who they'll be competing against.

The LVHRD site also says the contest is sanctioned by the Global League of Competitive Consumers. The GLOCC is all about competitive eating and even have a page on their website (which hasn't been updated since the LAST vending challenge in October 2005) on which their members express their love of competitive eating through haiku (that's for you, Steakbellie). By the way, how awesome is the GLOCC logo? At least the man-eating-the-Earth part. I'll bet it was created by one of those artsy hipsters.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Many of you have probably already seen this video of Takeru Kobayashi devouring a single hot dog in what looks like one gulp. It was shot by the crew at Mastercard as part of an online promo right before or after he taped his made-for-TV commercial with Sonya Thomas.

Anyhow, his technique is incredible to watch. He chews only three times, just enough to break the hot dog into four swallowable chunks. I've watched the video at least 20 times (the soundtrack is perfect) and I can't tell if he only swallows at the very end (which he clearly does) or if he's able to get a few chunks down before that. In either case, it's amazing how quickly he's able to finish off this HDB. And remember: This is in SLOW MOTION!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Well, my debut as a competitive eating emcee is in the books and I think it went pretty well. My introductions got a few laughs and the crowd seemed entertained, which is all that matters.

I was asked by a local event planner to be the man on the mike for two contests that were held today during the Harrisburg chili cook off. The first was the annual hot sauce drinking contest and the second was one, held just 45 minutes later, featured "put out the fire" foods (10 saltine crackers, one banana, two slices of cheese, one little container of ice cream and one pint of milk, to be eaten in that order).

Six people participated in the first contest and it was over in 13 seconds. No kidding. The guy who won was the returning champ and completely obliterated the competition. That's him on the right. The sauce was called Refiner's Fire Unquenchable. I tried about five drops on a cracker 20 mintes before the contest. At first I thought, "No problem!" Then it hit me. I immediately made a b-line for the water tent and fumbled for four quarters (I'd have given the guy 10 bucks at that point) and started chugging Aquafina to put out the fire. Like I said, I'm a wimp when it comes to hot stuff. That's the reason I volunteered to emcee.

The second contest (pictured at left) took a little longer, thanks to the saltine crackers. It featured five eaters, one of which was a friend of mine named Jeremy (on the left in the pic). Jeremy has an utter disgust for milk which he claims has caused him to not eat cereal in seven years. Thankfully for Jeremy, he didn't have to touch the stuff because the youngest eater, a 16-year-old named Josh, put his milk away pretty quickly to win it. It was Jeremy's first ever eating competition and afterwards he experienced his first bout of "hind appetite" which, of course, is always 20/20. ("Why didn't I eat those damn crackers faster?!" "I shouldn't have chewed that banana so much!")

Overall, the easiest part of emceeing was the eater introductions. I had scripted them out beforehand and had them on a clipboard and I didn't have to feel bad about reading them off the sheet because they were supposedly "written by the eaters" beforehand. Finding things to say during the contest was the most important part because watching five people eat for four minutes gets boring after the first 60 seconds. It was also the most difficult part because I had to keep referring to my notes to remember people's names, but I pulled it off.

Oddly enough, eating contests seem to last forever when you're eating in them (at least they do for me), but they fly by when you're announcing them. Not sure why that is. More pictures can be seen here. I caught both contests on video and will post those as soon as I can.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Kevin Ross (pictured at right), an up-and-coming competitive eater and likely MLE Rookie of the Year candidate, sent me the following message. All I can say is, way to go man! I've always wanted to do this. This sort of no-holds-barred appetite is one of the reasons I drafted this guy to my fantasy CE team, The Hungry Hooligans.

I was just at a fancy seafood restaurant and a woman at the table next to mine ordered lobster and ate only the lobster, leaving all the side dishes untouched. She paid and left. I can't stand to see people waste food, so as the waiter was taking it away, I actually made him give me her half eaten dinner so I could eat it. Some may say I have no shame or a glutton, but I think I'm a great American hero.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


From one eating event to another, I’ve been asked to emcee a hot sauce drinking contest this weekend (only because I sure as hell don’t want to participate in it). It’ll take place here in Harrisburg at the annual chili cook-off in our downtown “shopping center,” Strawberry Square. The guy who’s putting together the day’s events is the same event planner who organized the hot dog and wing eating contests that I participated in last year. They're not big contests -- they get most of their eaters by canvassing the crowds immediately beforehand -- but they're fun.

He’s given me full reign to organize a second eating contest to be held one hour after the hot sauce contest. I’ve decided since we’re doing one spicy challenge, it only makes sense that the follow-up event feature foods designed to “put out the fire.” Each contestant will eat 10 saltine crackers, one banana, one pint of ice cream, two slices of cheese and chase it all with a pint of milk. Not much food, but enough to make it interesting.

In the meantime, I have to figure out my “voice” as an announcer. I’ll probably borrow heavily from my experience on the MLE circuit, using far-fetched introductions and back stories about each eater and being generally loud and boisterous. That’ll be interesting and fun for me because I’m not typically loud and boisterous. I’ll get video of both contests and post them for all the world to see. Crap, now I have to figure out what I’m going to wear.