They've been around forever, but have now experience a vibrant resurgence with the premier and popularity of shows like Man vs. Food and Food Network Challenge on the Travel and Food Network TV stations. They're called food challenges and typically pit willing restaurant customers against food of monstrous proportions or tongue-searing spiciness that must be consumed in a certain amount of time; think five-pound burgers, gallon milkshakes, ghost chili hot wings, etc.
With a restaurant scene as forward-thinking and eclectic as St. Petersburg's, you can bet a few of our beloved eateries feature food challenges of their own. Here's a few worth trying, or just sitting back in awe as someone else does.
Kitchen Sink Challenge at Five Bucks Drinkery - It's just how it sounds; a real (albeit portable) kitchen sink stacked from the bottom up with tater tots, fries, and bacon-wrapped chili cheese dogs topped with a layer of queso, jalapeno slices, fried onions, and sour cream. Once it hits the table, you've got 30 minutes to finish this bad boy to win an "I Beat the Kitchen Sink Shirt" and your face on their wall of fame.
The Dagwood Challenge at Lucky Dill Deli - Just like the sandwich featured in the comic strip, Blondie, the dagwood at Lucky Dill in Downtown St. Pete is a three pound behemoth stacked with corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, Cuban pork, turkey, smoked turkey, ham, beef salami, Genoa salami, prosciutto, bacon, American, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle. Finish in under 30 minutes and get a shirt and lifetime membership in the Dagwood Hall of Fame.
Monster Iguana Challenge at Green Iguana St. Petersburg - The Monster Iguana is a five pound, Frankenstein-esque hybrid of three different Green Iguana burgers; the Mambo King, the Florentine Burger and the Mushroom Bacon Swiss Burger. They're all packed into one triple-decker burger and served with a pound of fries. Finish the meal in under an hour and you'll get your picture on the wall and the entire meal for free.
Inferno Soup Challenge at Nitally'sThai Mex Cuisine - For the spicy-fond out there, the Inferno Soup Challenge will definitely test your limits of just how hot you can handle. Made with fresh ghost pepper (the hottest in the world), a dozen others including three varieties of habenero. This ain't no tiny bowl either; the thing comes in a vessel the size of a sink. Sign a legal waiver, finish in 30 minutes or less, and you'll win, get this, $1,000, a THOUSAND smackeroos! No one's finished yet and the competition ends after 100 people have tried, so get there ASAP for your shot at the prize.
20 Tacos Challenge at Poblano Mexican Grill & Bar - For those of you who are willing to take your next Taco Tuesday to a whole new level, head to Poblano Mexican Bar & Grill in Safety Harbor and try their taco eating challenge. In their challenge you are expected to eat 20 tacos in 40 minutes, without leaving the table. You must devour everything that falls out of the tacos and onto your plate as well. If you win, you are awarded with your name and photo on the wall of fame and on the company website, a free meal and a free t-shirt.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.