Chowing down on a five pound burrito at local Mexican chain
THE SANTA CLARA
May 19, 2016
On Tuesday, my brother Jimmy and I both decided to take nine inches—of burrito. We had heard tell of Burritozilla, a gargantuan tortilla-wrapped tube served by local chain Iguana’s. And with a shared history of taking down $20 purchases from the McDonald’s Dollar Menu and eating whole trays of brownies, we decided to test our mettle.
On Iguana’s purple and green walls, posters depict their famous food log crushing other potential dining options—like sushi, hamburgers and even lesser burritos. The restaurant markets the gimmick like a Frankenstein monster that’s the atomic response to hunger.
With a few dozen episodes of “Man vs. Food” under our belts, my brother and I had a rough idea of the poundage a human being can consume in one sitting. So we opted to split the five pound burrito.
Having each fasted for the entire day, we had properly atoned and prepared for consumption of the ritual-sized feast.
Construction of the burrito begins with a foundation of three, parachute-sized flour tortillas that get sprinkled with two handfuls of jack cheese.
Next come the refried beans—which have the texture and weight of wet cement—and the rice, which is fluffy and savory. For our meat option, we chose al pastor—perfectly marinated and chargrilled with onions. Everything was then smothered with sloppy ladles of sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo.
The monstrosity got wrapped in a windshield sized piece of aluminum foil, then slid into a cardboard box like a machete that needed to pass through customs.
When I gestured to the chef that we’d be chowing down on that bad boy in house, he gave a knowing nod, unsheathed the shiny slug, bifurcated it with his blade and presented it on a tray that needed to be carried with two hands.
We tackled our halves in vastly different fashions. I went with the methodical, workmanlike pace of the tortoise. And Jimmy horked it down with the raw talent and tenacity of the hare.
We started out cocky—practically regretful we hadn’t each ordered a whole burrito. But as the bites piled up and the breaths grew heavier, we approached the same end—sheer, unadulterated stomach pain.
After I forced the final, double-sized bite down my esophagus, I stared off into the middle distance—disillusioned and exhausted.
My jittery excitement had been smushed by frank reality. Though theoretically (almost) empowering, a two and a half pound burrito just isn’t an enjoyable thing to fully consume. In the decisive moments, all fun fades and it becomes a test of true self-discipline and persistence.
While eating, I entered a fugue state of sorts—the type I imagine pitchers get during a no-hitter.
Once finished, I suddenly became aware that I had tunnel-visioned and began to block the larger world around me.
And hearing only silence in the sleepy four o’clock restaurant, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there should have been some sort of recognition to commemorate my personal sacrifice.
But my sacrifice served no greater good.
Downing Burritozilla is infinitely selfish. It incapacitates you for hours and deserves a furrowed brow far more than a back pat upon completion.
We had proven something to ourselves, but I wasn’t sure what. And besides, we opted to split the burrito—too timid to tackle the truly remarkable feat.
Two and a half pounds may be disgusting, but it’s not quite enough to be impressive.
So instead of the parade I had hoped for, the cashier merely asked if we had finished. But before we could respond, she had already turned around.
She didn’t care. And neither did anyone else.
So we stumbled out, tasting that familiar soft-serve swirl of pride and shame for dessert.
Jimmy Flynn contributed to this report. Contact John Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (408) 554-4852.