Monday, August 13, 2012

The Original

The Original is a restaurant located on SW 6th Ave. in downtown Portland, Oregon. It is also home to the 5 lb. poutine challenge. A pro eater took this down over Memorial Day Weekend, but how would a person with a smaller (OK, it's still large) appetite fare against this large portion of French-Canadian comfort food?


My friend and I arrived midday on a Saturday during Memorial Day weekend, when there basically was only a limited menu.

The ice cream flavor on my visit a couple weeks back was Gary's Spicy Peanut ice cream. Very creamy, with a strong peanut presence. A very slight kick for me on the back end, but people more sensitive to spice will probably feel it more than I did. I actually ended up adding some hot sauces to this. Hey, it still tasted good!

Gary's Spicy Peanut ice cream
(The Original)
The 5-pound poutine challenge probably has about 2-3 lbs. of fries, with the rest of the weight comprised of gravy and cheese curds topping all that starch. No traditional white cheese curds here; it looked more like small blocks of cheddar cheese (perhaps it's Tillamook cheddar to help local businesses?). The dish is served on a butcher's block. Gotta love that presentation!

Poutine!
Naader Reda, a professional eater from Victorville, California, came up to Oregon for some eating challenges and took it all down in less than 10 minutes. Wow. The gravy softened the fries, making them easier to get down. I blogged about it on part two of my OregonMania four-part series.
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Naader came back for a second OregonMania tour at the end of July, and even though I wasn't feeling 100%, I wanted to try my hand at this $25 poutine challenge anyway. Needless to say, that was one colossal mistake.

We arrived right around peak lunchtime on a Sunday, so it was fairly busy. We snagged a booth near the back right corner of the dinerant.

For the heck of it, we took the challenge on side by side. Naader showed why he's a pro and finished in a leisurely 14 minutes. I ate as fast as I could, and at least for the first few bites, it was very good. Not that it would have mattered in the long run, but the crispy fries (which I generally prefer) didn't help my cause to finish. For quantity challenges only, I wish the fries were softer.

Ha, why did I sign this waiver and take the challenge again?
Curious pandas do silly things
No shortage of calcium or carbs here!
The abundance of cheese cooled and hardened, and when it became clear I wasn't finishing, I just started avoiding it. Oh, and I am not eating that much gravy again. Totally messed up my insides afterward.

I'd say probably half of the challenge was still on the butcher's block at the end, but I got a T-shirt anyway just for attempting it. It's a nice gesture. Normally when I hear about food challenges, you'd only get a shirt if you beat the challenge.

Panda fail
This is a hard one to rate, but in the interest of fairness, I'd eat that poutine again in much smaller amounts. It's probably just a question of when that would be. Feeling all poutine'd out, really.

Pretty good service, very friendly staff. It was a bit slow getting the poutine to us, but when you have to cook up all those fries, it naturally would take a while. Not to mention it was still lunchtime.

I'll likely be back at some point, and I'll avoid the challenge, thanks. 6.75/10

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