Does Travel Channel's Man v. Food float your boat? Do you consider it an abomination? Or perhaps it's more like driving past an accident on the freeway: you don't want to look, but you just can't help yourself-and you feel a little bit dirty for having done so.
Regardless of which category best applies, there's something oddly compelling-with an emphasis on the word "odd"-about food contests in which so-called "competitive eaters" take on an obscenely large mound of food that would likely feed a small third-world city. Driven by the popularity of Man v. Food and the publicity it offers restaurants, these challenges have been popping up nationwide. ---
San Diego, for example, has been featured on one Man v. Food episode. In addition to visits to Lucha Libre Gourmet Taco ShopandPhil's BBQ, Adam Richman took on the Broken Yolk Special, a six-pound breakfast served on a 15-inch pizza pan, featuring a 12-egg omelet with chili plus a mountain of home fries and two biscuits-all in less than an hour. Richman won.
And now, Joshua Hockett, a U.S. Navy Afloat Fit Specialist on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan is getting ready for his own "EatFest" contest at Café 222 (222 Island Ave., Downtown). Hockett will take on six kinds waffles, six kinds of pancakes and Café 222's signature Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast. The latter dish is itself a Food Network veteran, having appeared on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. (Bobby Flay called it "the best breakfast thing I ever ate.")
Join Mr. Hockett at Café 222 on Sunday, June 23, at 1 p.m. for the challenge. You can choose to cheer on the man. Or, of course, you could choose to cheer on the food.