So while I was writing my last post about those unsightly sweatshirts, I stumbled across the complete opposite:
The beautiful art and science of the sport of competitive eating.
Turns out there was a major flautas eating contest, sponsored by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), that was about to happen right in my own backyard at Jose’s Mexican restaurant in downtown La Jolla. For those of you who aren’t aware of what a flauta is, it’s pretty much a chicken taco in a flour tortilla, rolled up and deep fried. It’s my second favorite Mexican food, next to the prodigal carne asada burrito. Flautas are essentially the Californian version of the ideal drunk food; a plate of 5 goes for about $3.50 and requires no coordination to eat.
Now, as a dedicated fan of the sport of competitive eating (yes, it is a sport,) I was skeptical that the top professional eaters in the world would actually be competing against San Diego’s amateur gluttons, but as I soon found out, Jose’s wasn’t messing around. Pat and I arrived to see eating legends Eric “Badlands” Booker and Joey Chestnut gorging on flautas in front of about 300 semi-inebriated patrons of the restaurant. We’re talking Joey freakin’ Chestnut, the greatest competitive eater the world has ever seen!
Watching Chestnut inhaling flautas two at a time with such speed and precision was a sight to behold. It was like watching Michael Jordan, Pablo Picasso, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a person who has honed their craft to the utmost and highest degree of anyone in history. But then again, this is competitive eating, and everyone basically looked like they were stuffing their faces like pigs. Let’s be honest: it doesn’t have the grace of figure skating. After 8 minutes of spirited competition, world No. 24 Ben Monson pulled off the incredible upset and won by stomaching 65 flautas. Chestnut placed second with a “paltry” 56.
Now I don’t know about you, but after eating around 5 flautas, I usually have some sort of negative digestive reaction. I don’t need to elaborate; this is Mexican food we’re talking about. These dudes ate like, 12 times that much. It’s just amusing to think about the unofficial second round of this competition, away from prying eyes, where everyone loses. I may be slightly repulsed by flautas after today…nah what am I saying? They’re so tasty. Especially their corn cousins, the taquito or rolled taco as they are called in Diego.
Anyways I caught up with a haggard yet surprisingly upbeat Joey Chestnut after all was said and eaten:
Me: Nice try, Joey. You’ll get ’em next time.
Joey: Thanks, man.
Me: How do you feel?
Joey: UGGGGHHHHHH…I’m alright.
You know today was a good day when you get to meet a man who can eat your week’s caloric requirement in 8 minutes.
First two photos compliments of twitter.com/joseslj