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The 6 Toughest Eating Challenges in St. Louis and One Foolish Man's Attempt to Beat Them All


dubliner_hot_mess.jpeg
The Hot Mess. | Zach Garrison

Hot Mess
$29
The Dubliner
(1025 Washington Avenue; 314-421-4300)

Server Jordan Flanigan had to be very careful when carrying out the Hot Mess or the tower of food would surely collapse. This challenge is a mishmash of foods: three six-ounce burgers covered in Swiss, Irish cheddar and slices of bacon; a Reuben sandwich sliced in half so as to bookend the whole pile; plus two fried pickles. A pound of fries served as a sturdy base, and three shish-kebab stakes pierced the layers of food to hold it all together. Flanigan looked at me dubiously before handing over the required shot of Jameson and pint of Guinness. He set the timer for 30 minutes.

I stared at the glob of meat and cheese with total confidence -- this time I felt like I had a chance. I can eat me a burger. I took the shot of Jameson, a big sip out of my Guinness and dug in. I ate the top half of the Reuben and moved on to the beef patties, which were delicious. I was on fire, destroying all three burgers with a carnivorous rage. I felt strong and punctuated the last bite of beef with a swig of Guinness.

Here's the one factor I didn't consider: I'm not a huge fan of Thousand Island dressing. By the time I made my way to the final half of the Reuben, I got one whiff of the rich and mayonnaisey dressing and dry heaved. I threw the sandwich back on the plate and did not pick it up again. Half a pound of fries and two fried pickles remained. Once more, I was beaten.

Aftermath: After losing yet again, it helped to still have half a Guinness in front of me, which I sipped in bitter consolation. I felt extremely fatigued and lethargic afterward, but relatively speaking, the effects were mild. I even jogged a few miles, albeit at a pathetically slow pace -- until nearly throwing up on the side of the road.

Difficulty: ++
This proved to be the most doable of all the challenges. Had it not been for the Thousand Island dressing, I might have had a shot.

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38 comments
TripleRPhotography
TripleRPhotography

How does the Inferno compare to the level 100 bowl at the Pearl Cafe? I'm working on my second King of Spice (next is level 50 again) just so I can get the black t-shirt. I got paint on my white one. I'd never try to eat volume, but I do love the spice!

Chris M. Jessen
Chris M. Jessen

I would like to see a restaurant offer a different kind of eating challenge... one where you eat a reasonable portion and then place a few dollars on a "gift card" for the homeless, to be redeemed at any number of downtown restaurants for food.

Tania Novak
Tania Novak

With all the hungry people in the world and the overwhelming amount on food stamps, I think man vs food or any eating competion is just plain wasteful. We need to do something a little more constructive with our time.

David Jones
David Jones

LOL Sounds like our run in with ghost chilis Jon Hiltz... I still want to try it though lol

Jon Hiltz
Jon Hiltz

David Jones check out the last one

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

What about Pearl Cafe's eating challenge?

Andrew Stapleton
Andrew Stapleton

Ha. I think I laughed after reading every challenge. Ready to try them myself.

Charlie Hasseldiek
Charlie Hasseldiek

Josh Call ten Braun I didn't read it but it sounds like your bag...baby

estielmo
estielmo

Personally, I think food challenges are weird, but that's just me. I had the good fortune to work at Pointers for a couple years and observed the Pointersaurus Challenge a few times. You could never tell from physique how well they would do.
The one thing I always noted that beyond the gluttony factor of the challenge the pie itself is an impressive thing to behold. It was always a joy to me to see the eyes of the people in an office or school when I walked in the door. It is a party pizza beyond compare!

Randall Santel
Randall Santel

I have completed the important 4. I only do spicy challenges for money and even then I don't like them. & the reuben & burger one is just really small Chris Haggard. That's a good article though!! He should have at least done a little research before attempting them. He just needs Foodchallenges.com which will be live in April!

Chris Haggard
Chris Haggard

Randall Santel have you completed all of these?

AJ Purdy
AJ Purdy

need to tell him to come to stony hill missouri and try our burger challenge

Robert Clyburn
Robert Clyburn

I have attempted a couple of these. Reading his experience made me laugh and wince all at once.

Scott Plackemeier
Scott Plackemeier

They all sound like mild torture to be honest. And I think the last one violates the Geneva Convention.

Sharon Johnson
Sharon Johnson

Well, you are a brave guy. And this will help me in my future trip to St. Louis to know where to dine. The Whistle Stop is surely on my agenda.

Elli Snyder
Elli Snyder

I might have tried this when I was younger and dumber. I once won an ice cream eating contest.

1234
1234

meanwhile, in places of the world where people are starving to death............

bridgework125
bridgework125

So…how much have YOU donated to feeding the homeless, lately?  Or, are you just making yourself "appear" to be compassionate; making yourself "feel" better with your intentions?  Lead by example, my friend.

bridgework125
bridgework125

You take the lead, Tania.  Tell us what you've done to feed the hungry people in the world.  Be specific.

jeffamullersman
jeffamullersman

I've taken Pearl Cafes Challenge and passed level 25. That place is awesome. Food is amazing!

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