The 6 Toughest Eating Challenges in St. Louis and One Foolish Man's Attempt to Beat Them All
|The Train Wreck. | Zach Garrison|
(1 Carson Road, Ferguson; 314-521-1600)
The Whistle Stop resides in what was once the Ferguson train depot along the Norfolk-Southern freight line, and to this day you can watch trains chug up and down the tracks -- you can also sometimes watch victims of the Train Wreck Challenge puking up melted frozen yogurt, according to owner Charlie Stark.
The task is pretty straightforward: Eat thirteen generous scoops of frozen yogurt. The flavors are my choice of vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan or any combination of the three, and two toppings (one liquid, one solid). There's a 30-minute time limit, no bathroom breaks and absolutely no upchucking. Stark has only seen five competitors wolf down all thirteen scoops, but he offers that some have been more successful after churning the whole concoction until there's more liquid than solid, then slurping it all down. That sounded easy enough.
I chose a mixture of all three flavors, with hot fudge and Oreos. A colossal glass bowl was placed in front of me, replete with a giant swirl of whipped cream and a dainty cherry sitting on top. Dark swirls of fudge sliced through thirteen baseball-size scoops piled high -- it looked like the perfect dessert, just supersized. With wild abandon, I picked up my jumbo metal spoon and dug in.
Whistle Stop's frozen custard was delicious, and I destroyed the largest chunks of Oreo first. But I quickly noticed that even while I was scooping up decent-size bites, the mountain of ice cream looked relatively untouched. After five minutes, I was still faced with around ten scoops. That's a hell of lot of dairy, and I began thinking about those milk-chugging contests that almost always end poorly.
With ten minutes left, I had a lake of melted chocolate, vanilla and butter pecan in front of me. My spoon pathetically sunk to the bottom as I switched to a straw and began to suck, but I ultimately made very little progress. With my stomach gurgling angrily, I tapped out. Realistically, I don't think I even made it halfway.
As he took the bowl away, Stark told me about the time a 62-year-old man from Kansas brought his family into the Whistle Stop for Father's Day. He ordered two Train Wrecks -- one for himself and one for the rest of the family -- and eviscerated his thirteen scoops. I'd like to find that man and shake his hand.
Aftermath: In a word -- constipation. And the dam did not break for many days, leaving me to sit in the bathroom for long, fruitless hours, wondering how it was that I'd sunk so low.
A stomach can only hold so much dairy before it revolts.