On St. Patrick's Day, Demitri at Church St. Pizza had a nice surprise for me: one of his "nice buns" containing a lovely ghost pepper. Oh, and some habaneros. But bacon makes it all better, and that was in there too. I really loved this one, and while the buns are currently on hiatus, I'm sure they will return one day. They're too good to abandon.
Next up in late March was the Shut Yo' Mouth Challenge at Burger Bungalow in Vancouver, Washington. Challengers have 10 minutes to take down a burger containing habaneros and jalapenos, plus a side of chips or fries coated in their Shut Yo' Mouth spicy sauce. Time was my biggest enemy here because no liquids were allowed to help me get the food down. While I still beat the challenge, I should have gotten the fries because they would have gone down easier than the crunchy chips.
This challenge wasn't real spicy. However, since then, Burger Bungalow has added ghost peppers to the challenge burger to up the ante.
In April, I tackled four food challenges in four days -- three of them spicy. On Day One, I made quick work of the Triple Atomic wings at Quaker Steak & Lube. Yeah, they're a national chain, but we don't have any locations in the Pacific Northwest, and I figured...why the hell not? Got my bumper sticker for the atomic wings and a T-shirt for the triple atomic. Even had six more wings during my stay (just a milder BBQ wing for fun).
Day Two in Colorado was my easiest food challenge to date: destroying a Nuclear Roll at Osaka Sushi in Denver. Eat one roll (eight pieces) of spicy tuna sushi topped with the chef's spicy sauce containing wasabi oil. My body didn't care and I ate the roll in less than a minute. Even my friend Paul, who doesn't have anywhere near my spice tolerance, easily did this one. Prize? Bottles of sake! I still have my (empty) bottle in my apartment.
Day Three was a rough one challenge-wise. I finally got out of my comfort zone and attempted my first quantity challenge: the 4-pound Peanut Butter Burger Challenge at the Rock Rest Lodge (Golden, CO). I had 30 minutes to eat a boatload of curly fries and a burger that contained a good cup's worth of PB. The food was delicious, but flavor fatigue quickly set in and I couldn't break through that wall.
I wasn't real full; in fact, my friend and I had ice cream afterward. Maybe I coulda asked for something sweet to help me during the challenge, but you live and learn.
I couldn't help but give a shout-out to pro eater Randy Santel in this one. I had watched virtually all his food challenge wins and loved his fry-eating technique. The following month in Seattle, I finally got to meet him. Real nice guy. Hopefully we'll meet again in the future.
On my last day in Colorado, Paul and I went to Wingman (Parker, CO) so I could try the Flaming Feathers Challenge: eat 10 of their spiciest wings in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the place was short-staffed and they needed to time me to make it official. Being the spicochist, I ate the wings anyway and had Paul film it. Real good wings, certainly worthy of several awards. Real happy with the heat on that sauce.
My mid-April Colorado trip was amazing and I hope to return. Maybe Paul and I can tag team the Jack 'n Grill 7-pound burrito one day.
Look for more videos to upload over the next few days!