Monday, March 5, 2012

Cartathlon II

On March 3, 2012, Portland held its second-annual Cartathlon. Seventy-two teams signed up this year, generally comprised of 3-5 members. You'll see some unique team gear, that's for sure.

As a post-bar exam treat to myself, I knew some of my happiest moments in Oregon included going to food carts. So why not get involved with a Portland event that seems to have the elements of "The Amazing Race" or "Chefs vs. City"? There were at least four different heats, likely due to the large number of teams. Each team had roughly four hours to rack up as many points as possible. Some involved checking in or completing challenges at food carts, while others utilized clues and landmarks all over the four quadrants of Portland.

I signed up as a volunteer, and got placed at Whiffies Fried Pies this year. I met Gregg (the owner) and Kit (one of his assistants). The challenge here, in my opinion, was the most fun of any food cart challenges done this year. Each team had 30 seconds to eat a Whiffies fried pie, basically an empanada-sized pocket of awesomeness. Each team member had to take at least one bite. While you could hold the plate down for others, you otherwise had to eat it hands-free.

Gregg used several types of sweet pies, likely to ensure vegetarians could freely participate. Peanut butter/chocolate, apple, and chocolate/coconut were used in this challenge. Pies were kept in the fridge or at room temperature so the teams wouldn't burn their mouths biting into a steaming-hot fried pie.

Pies sitting in the fridge, ready to go for Cartathlon!
While it was relatively quiet early on, hoards of teams filed in from about noon till 3:30. Together with another volunteer, Andrea, we kept time, snapped photos of all participating teams, and mingled with the competitors. I didn't snap any photos of people doing the challenge, but I'm sure people will post them online.

Gregg and Kit even let us have some free food for helping out. Just great dudes to be around. I now wish I had known about this last year. Same with "Eat Mobile," another food cart event in Portland. I'll do everything in my power to make it to Eat Mobile this year.

Until then, I again would like to thank Gregg, Kit, and Andrea for contributing to a great Cartathlon experience! Hope to see you all again at future events!

Here are some photos of the afterparty:

Gregg, the owner of Whiffies Fried Pies, is on the far right

Yes, a Red Bull car
And the ladies are giving Red Bull away! Where's my Jager?

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