Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Challenge Accepted

It wasn't the classic "eyes bigger than stomach" scenario.  I knew from the menu that the sandwich was way too much food for me...but I wanted to see one in person.  Had I known that every other table around us was also going to order at least one and I would end up seeing quite a few before mine even arrived, I probably would have opted for something else.

Last night, Angie and I met a couple of friends went to Bennigan's.  For being a chain restaurant, I think Bennigan's does a really good job of providing tasty food.  Their Monte Cristo, Pub Bites (sliders), Fish & Chips, and  Pot Roast are all very good...but their Chicken Tenders are completely amazing.  Their chicken tenders pretty much ruined everyone else's chicken tenders/fingers for me for a couple years.  Going in, I knew it was going to be a tough decision.

That's not forced perception photography.  This
burger is big and taller than your beverage glass.
I don't make it to Bennigan's often...and it had been about a little over a year since the last visit.  Last time, the menu was all about mini-food - sliders of 4 or 5 different varieties, sampler sizes of a lot of different foods.  I wholeheartedly support this...I love mini-food.  I don't know the science but miniaturization makes food delicious.  However, this time it was all about the Big Irish...a doubling of their hamburger.  I am not usually one that goes for what I call "Hardee's/Carl's Jr Sizing" but for some reason this struck me as something that I wanted to put in my mouth.

So what's a Big Irish?  Basically Bennigan's takes any of its burgers and doubles them - two 8oz beef patties, double the toppings, with a club bun between them like a Big Mac.  I chose the Guinness burger - bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy fried onions, and a Guinness stout glaze.  I was surprised that it looked pretty much like the picture.  Good advertising there, that doesn't happen often.

This thing is big...about the size of my head.  The sad thing is that I wasn't extra hungry.  I just wanted to see it.  Angie ordered a regular Guinness burger, so I was able to make direct comparisons...and my burger was the big brother who played football and weight lifted in high school but now 15 years later is just a giant slab of a human...not fat, just thick and meaty and huge to her regular sized burger.

I wasn't really even sure how to begin with such a tower of meat.  I held it up to my mouth and tried to figure out the best way to eat this monstrosity.  After running the calculations in my mind, I determined that there was no good way to eat it and just started in.  I tilted the base toward me, figuring that the base bun is smaller and therefore I would be able to take a bigger vertical bite on the burger.  Opening as wide as I could and slightly smashing the burger, I still didn't even make it halfway - my teeth just barely nicked the middle club bun.  As I set it back down, I could feel the burger silently, Jabba laughing at my pathetic attempt to eat it.

I felt small and weak, once again mocked by the larger kids around me.  Fuck you burger!  I was determined, this burger was not going to ridicule me with contempt in its burger eyes.  I was going to stand up to this bully of a burger and I was going to eat the whole thing.

It wasn't easy...taking as large of bites as I could, I still only made it 90% through the sandwich in 2 bites.  I had to take 3 largish (but closer to normal) bites vertically to make each horizontal bite depth through the sandwich.  Each time I took a bite, it felt like I was smearing the burger across my face.  About 40% of the way through the sandwich, structural integrity started to fail and it quickly started becoming harder and messier to eat.  Much messier.  Around the 3/4 point, I was full and my delicious side of sweet potato fries was virtually untouched.  I thought about quitting but I continued the fight.  The last two bites were the hardest...I literally had to psych myself up to eat them.  I felt like that triathlete or marathon runner who collapsed within site of the finish line. You can see the finish line and you think the last stretch would be easy, but instead it just reminds you that you have more to go.  But I ate them, finishing the burger and declaring myself a fat guy in training.  My entire head and arms felt sticky from the Guinness glaze...but man that was a tasty burger.  Seriously, it tasted delicious the entire time...even when I was feeling stuffed and dreading the next bite, the burger still tasted great.

I was very full but, but I wasn't so full that I felt sick (surprisingly).  I totally thought I was going to be the guy from the AlkaSeltzer commercial, but after sitting and talking for about 30 minutes, I felt pretty decent.  Still very full but not uncomfortably so.  I usually don't eat a lot.  I am the type of person that can go to McDonald's and be perfectly happy with two regular hamburgers or gets the smaller 8 oz steak when eating out.  It may have only been a 1 pound burger but for me that is quite a lot.  A competitive eater I will not be. Adam Richman I tip my hat to you.

I just looked up the calories:  a regular Guinness burger is supposed to have 915 calories, so I would say 1830 - 70 (because of only a partial second bun) = 1760 calories.  Bleh.  On the bright side that was 20 hours ago and I am still not even remotely hungry.  I am both proud and sickened by myself for eating it won't happen again.

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