Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The final showdown - Round 1

Who? Themos, CostasZ, Stayros (contestants), Dimitri(referee)
Where? The C&O Trattoria @ Venice Beach
When? Tuesday, September 13th 2005ad
Why? To determine the ultimate food champion

The idea was thrown a few days ago along a memorable dinner with Mussaka. It seemed that all of us were pretty strong eaters, and especially after the Red Barron's pizza massacre while watching Scent of a Woman it was clear that all competitors were tough. So, we decided to hold a formal competition so that we can decide on who is the stronger eater. The rules:

1. It had to be a neutral location, i.e. not someone's home/homemade food.
2. We had to get similar type of food, i.e. you can't have one guy getting pizza and the other guy a steak.
3. No time limits, or we would kill ourselves (either you eat your food or you don't).
4. It had to be announced at least 24 hours earlier so that we could plan the eating schedule for that day.

After some discussion we settled down on C&O Trattoria (reviewed in our restaurant blog here). This place is cheap, it has the hugest quantities of food I've seen on a single dish (the gargantuan portions of course!) and it is also quality food - we don't want to be throwing up afterwards.

The Contestants:
Name:Konstantinos Zafeiropoulos
Age: 24

Occupation: Master in Electrical Engineering, USC

Name: Stayros Gonidakis
Age: 23
Occupation: PhD in Biology, USC

Name:Efthymios Kallos


Occupation: PhD in Electrical Engineering, USC

The Referee:
Name: Dimitrios Pantazis
Age: 28
Occupation: PhD in Electrical Engineering, USC [senior]

Personally I put a lot of effort on my technique before and during the battle. For example:
- I had pasta the night before for warming up
- I only had a glass of orange juice the whole day for food
- I showered right before the battle (opens my appetite)
- I only had 5 garlic breads for appetizer (sorry, couldn't resist)
- A coke accompanied my main food for faster digestion

When we got there, placing the order was funny. "The gargantuan size, please", I said. "Oh, you'll have plenty of lunch for tomorrow", the waiter answered. If only he knew what was he going to witness... 2 more gargantuan orders followed, leaving him speachless.

Before the battle the contestants showed elements of Fair Play and wished for a great match:

The winner would be the one that could eat the most pasta out of his dish. Who could do it?

The battle began at 2100 hours on that cool and quiet evening along the Venice Beach. It is hard to describe in words the moments that followed... The battle was bloody and took a very long time, with great shots from all sides.

About half an hour later, and eating at normal speeds (it seemed to me at least), without much talking in between, we had a winner...

We couldn't imagine it before, but everyone managed to eat all of his pasta... The rare view of 3 empty gargantuan plates just blew the waiter away. (Honest truth: I did not feel 100% full, I could eat some more).

And what about our poor referee?

Well, not everyone can eat like a horse. Dimitri barely managed to handle 1/3 of his "normal size" dish. At least he secured tomorrow's lunch.

The evening concluded with a walk along the nearby pier, where I tried to capture a poetic and nostalgic photo of the group with the Los Angeles city lights in the background.

The showdown will continue with round 2, in a good pizza place. With pizzas it is easier to have a clear winenr since you can count the slices and the one who eats the most wins (hopefully we'll find an all-you-can-eat place...

To be continued...