Monday, May 31, 2010

Stephen vs. Burritozilla

Today, I went to an anime convention with some friends. I had never been to one before, so I thought it would be fun to check it out. While there were many interestingly dressed people there, the main attraction for me was finding exotic foods. My friend, Phil, introduced me to his friend, Jeff. Jeff had a bottle of curry flavored Ramune. The idea of a curry flavored drink disgusted me, but I bought a few so that I could give them to my students. Anyway, Jeff led me to find where the candy was sold. I bought quite a few candies today thanks to Jeff and the convention.

Anyway, those are for a later time. What I would like to write about now is my experience with what is known as the "Burritozilla". This monstrosity comes from a taqueria known as Iguana's.There are no shortage of taquerias around the San Jose State University campus, but what separates Iguana's from the others is their Burritozilla. It's advertised as a 18", 5 lb. burrito. It's reputation is notorious to students and alums of SJSU and many of those who have heard of it dare not try it. Some of those who have tried it have said that it is as mentally taxing as it is physically taxing. I could talk about how much I love eating and how much of a big eater I am, but it wouldn't be worth anything if I didn't try something somewhat official.

I decided that I would try it. I chose refried beans as my choice of beans and carne asada as my choice of meat. I wanted to play it safe with things that I knew were good. One of the patrons in front of me had ordered the same thing. When his order came out, I was a bit intimidated. I don't think I could have imagined it looking the way it did. On television and in pictures it looked manageable, when seen in real life, I started having doubts. My friends saw the process of them making the Burritozilla. They took three large flour tortillas, filled it with heaping scoops of rice, beans, and other fillings. I looked away and tried to not think about it too hard. I tried psyching myself up. Then it came:

This picture does not do it justice because as I've stated before, you can't really fathom what it's like until you see it in real life. It looks bigger than 18 inches and feels heavier than 5 lbs., I'll tell you that much. I don't think they weigh and measure it beforehand

I saw the other patron who had ordered it eating it with a knife and fork. I chose to eat it using my hands. I dug into it and was eating at a very rapid pace. I finished 1/4 of it in what seemed like no time. When I got to the 1/2 way mark I started having my doubts. I began thinking that I couldn't finish it. I thought to myself, "I'm probably going to have to walk back to the anime convention, and I'll probably have to do some walking once I get there." I was thinking this was a bad idea. Somehow I soldiered on and got to the 3/4 mark.

A view of the inside. The rice and beans seemed endless and the meat and sour cream were a welcome break from the monotony of rice and beans

I'm not going to lie, I really had to do a gut check and think, "Is it worth it?" My friends, who had supported me previously, could see the pain I was in. I chewed listlessly, my eyes were glazed over, I was a zombie at this point. They encouraged me to stop, but I was in too deep at this point. I found humor in the most pointless of things, a food high, as my friend Josh had described it on many previous occasions. The laughing only made things worse. I pretended that the burrito was a mouth and began moving the opening and talking in a mock voice to my friends. I was in a state of pain and delirium.

I had nibbled, little by little, in-between these pain-filled moments and surprisingly made good progress. The burrito was now the size of 1/4 of a regular burrito. However, I still had that feeling of, "One more bite, if you even put it in your mouth, it's game over." My body was telling me to stop, especially my stomach and ribs. My pride would not let me stop, however. By the time I got to the last bite I had to nibble at it because I knew that if I ate the whole piece, my body would not react kindly. You see, after many years of overeating, you get to know your body. You know what makes it feel miserable and what you can do to make the experience a little less painful. Finally, this is the end result:

A pile of foil, napkins, and other miscellaneous trash. No burrito though

I had finally done it. I had conquered Burritozilla and I had witnesses to tell the tale. I may not have received official recognition from the taqueria, but I knew that in about an hour or less, I had finished this beast. From that point on, I felt both proud and physically miserable. My body knew what I did, and it didn't like it. I'm glad that it decided to keep it down; God only knows what would have happened otherwise.

And so, one of my goals was achieved. I'm not sure if I would ever want to attempt this again. Maybe next time however, I'll be more mentally prepared for this task. Maybe each time it'll get mentally easier and easier. Physically though, my body would hate me for it, and I don't like the idea of anyone hating me.

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