Saturday, August 21, 2010
Near Sacramento, there's a small town called Lodi.... right off the 5 Freeway on State Highway 12. It's a little bit away from the major metropolitan centers, involves driving through some farmland, and seems isolated, but once you get into the urban areas it's really a city like any other.
One colleague liked to tell me that if you've seen one city, you've seen them all. It doesn't matter where in the world (or country) you are. You find shopping centers, religious institutions, municipal buildings, eating holes, sewage systems, government offices. Names and spatial configurations might vary. But... a city is a city. A place where people gather to live and work, produce and consume. If only he told me that before I hit the road.
Lodi has those rows of businesses, much the same way you would find them in Hanford, Carson, or San Luis Obispo. I was there to visit a burger restaurant I had read about on EatFeats. Called Andre's Cafe and Catering, this place boasted a huge hamburger meal that would be completely free to any diner who could consume it in 30 minutes.
This behemoth of a cheeseburger is called the Madd Dogg Burger.... I guess you gotta be a little mad to order it, or mad to believe you're actually going to get it for free. It's 2 lbs of beef stacked high with double helpings of all the usual hamburger condiments.... tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles, and mayonnaise. You are also required to finish the side order of french fries.
The interesting element of the challenge is the fact that you can order any variation of french fries they serve - the garlic parmesan certainly sounded tasty, but I know that it's never a good idea to eat more on a challenge than you have to! Less is more, in this case. It's just a very basic strategy when it comes to restaurant eating challenges. I'm sure they wouldn't have minded if I asked for the chili fries, because I would have been the damn fool trying to cram down an extra pound of food.
As a side note, I vastly prefer hamburger challenges that feature multiple meat patties as opposed to one huge slab of beef. The patties are cooked separately, come out juicier and tastier, are easier to chew and swallow, and require far less liquid to get through. Giant slabs of beef, by contrast, tend to be baked until the point of dry blandness. They're hell to get down. They also don't really remind me of true hamburgers.
This combo costs $12.99, but it's free if you can do it in 30 minutes. I didn't take any snapshots during the challenge, because I was so taxed by the task at hand. I had never done a burger challenge before, and I really didn't know how to go about it. I began by eating the patties separately with ketchup, mixing in the veggies as I went along. The bun was no trouble at all, but I hated the cup of mayo that came with this burger. Ugh.
I finished the last french fry exactly at the 30 minute mark. I didn't think I was really going to make it! I was certainly glad I did, though. No point in eating such a ridiculous amount of food on a dare, and then having to pay $14 for a handful of french fries. I would have been just as satisfied with a smaller serving of food, and a smaller bill.
It's all in the thrill of competition, and I climbed the mountain yet again.
I agree with this statement! Life's also too short to eat bad food. Andre's Cafe puts out some excellent American-style grub... I'll be sure to sample those parmesan fries the next time I'm in Lodi.
Let's just say that won't be for awhile....