Three restaurants, three challenges, one goal: to be crowned king of three eating contests. During my quest, I first visited Bravo, an Italian restaurant with a mean lasagna challenge. I then ventured on to a local place known as Amigos, a Mexican eatery. Amigos, home to the massive ten-pound burrito. To top off this quest, I then visited a popular place, Buffalo Wild Wings, with the hopes and dreams of completing the famous Blazin’ Challenge.
I’ve never been able to resist going to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I’m always in the mood for some nice pasta or a pepperoni pizza. So, when I visited Bravo, I had a feeling the lasagna challenge would be a walk in the park. My ignorance would soon come to haunt me.
I sat down at the table, and the waiter put a plate of bread in front of me. With my high confidence, I didn’t think a couple of pieces of bread would hurt. Then I ordered it — the massive lasagna entree. It didn’t take long for the mound of food to make it’s way out of the kitchen and onto my table. I looked at it and thought to myself, there is no possible way I can finish this, but sitting there looking at it wasn’t going to help. So I dug in, bite after bite, pushing onwards with hopes of victory.
Five minutes in, and I was doing great, already halfway finished. But then suddenly my stomach filled to the brim, so I made a very risky tactical decision. I ordered a Coke. I know that sounds foolish, adding more to my stomach, but the Coke had an alternate purpose, which was to help me burp. I downed the Coke and felt something rising in my stomach, and out it came, a burp that emptied half my stomach. I felt like a new man, and I kept eating. Only five bites left, now three. Just one more. Finished.
The waiter walked over and congratulated me, and I was ready for my picture on the wall of fame. But then the waiter delivered some heart breaking news. The wall of fame was no more, due to a man getting sick after eating the lasagna. Although it was no longer a formal challenge, I still had the same pride as if it were. Mission one was a success.
Burritos are a work of art. Filled with all the great foods: chicken, rice, beans, lettuce, you name it. Amigos Grill and Cantina’s burritos were similar, with one slight exception. They’re special: they weigh 10 pounds. An eight-pound burrito loaded with another pound of rice, and another pound of beans. Weighing in at a total of 10 pounds. 10 pounds of art.
When I walked into Amigos, I was already nervous. After my recent Italian showdown, a ten-pound burrito was enough to make my stomach turn. The waiter came over to me, and I hesitantly asked if I could do the burrito challenge. The second the waiter put the plate in front of me, I knew I was in over my head. The burrito filled up the entire plate, and was overflowing with rice and beans. I began to eat what seemed to be an unending amount of food.
Ten minutes in, and I hadn’t made more than a dent. The worst part of all is that it didn’t even taste good. All the ingredients had mushed together to form a nasty combo of food.
I had a feeling I wouldn’t even be able to finish half. I was 100 percent correct. I made it about a quarter of the way through that monster before I had to throw in the towel. The waiter gave me some words of encouragement, saying only about a third of the people who try this challenge succeed. It made me feel a little better, but deep down, I was broken. Mission two was a failure.
Spicy foods have never really been my thing. I can barely handle jalapeno potato chips, so the Blazin’ Wings challenge was not looking promising. I had a feeling that this mission would be over before it even started.
I walked into Buffalo Wild Wings, and I wasn’t even that nervous. Not because I thought this would be easy, but because I knew I was going to fail. My mentality was already set: there was no way I would eat more than three wings max.
The waiter came over to me and asked what I wanted. When I told him I wanted to do the Blazin’ Challenge, he tried to convince me otherwise. He told me it was “real hot, not just hot, but really freaking hot.” Not going to lie, I was tempted right then to get up and leave, but I had to give it a try. It was all about pride. Even if I didn’t finish, the fact that I put in a valiant effort is all that would matter.
The wings came out a few minutes later, and the overall smell made my eyes water. I raised the first one up to my mouth, and took a deep breath. I held it there for a few seconds, then I just went for it. I bit into that wing like there was no tomorrow. Big mistake. I almost lost my breath due to the heat, but I kept going. One wing down, 11 more to go.
I finished three before admitting defeat. I drank at least five glasses of water to try to eliminate the pain, but it took about 25 minutes for it to go away. Those 25 minutes were some of the most painful minutes of my life.
I may have lost the challenge, but I won a different one. One that helps a man grow. An essential challenge that a boy must pass on his trip to manhood. Mission 3 was a failure, but the lesson was a success.