The Hunger Games

baeconNo!  No!  No!  No!  NO!  I did it again!  I missed another bacon themed event in Atlanta this past weekend!  Anyone who’s been paying attention or saw me make that gigantic Surf and Turf sandwich with Paula Deen on her primetime show a few years ago (check out Paula’s Party Part 2 in the video archives of FatDarrell.com by clicking here http://www.fatdarrell.com/fdmedia) knows that bacon is bae (bae-con?).  But I just learned that this past Saturday was BaconFest (for more information, check out http://www.baconfestatl.com)!  I had never heard of it until a member at my gym mentioned it after the fact yesterday.  Thanks for nothing guy lol he should have told me sooner!  Ugghhh


Anyway, the event had endless bacon, beer and improv comedy since it was a benefit for a local non-profit comedy theater, Dad’s Garage.  Beer and endless bacon?  Wow, I could only imagine the lines for those porta potties!  It sounds like this was a pretty good time based on what he told me.  I don’t drink beer though so I’m even more upset about missing the Bacon Run last October.  Granted, I don’t like distance running either, but that event still seems more up my alley.   

baconrunThe Bacon Run is an annual 5k (a little over 3 miles) that you can run or walk.  It’s really less about the race and more about the bacon and the children’s anti human trafficking charities that the proceeds benefit (see our post dedicated to this important cause from last month by clicking here).  During the race, people hand out strips of bacon to the runners who are typically wearing some bacon themed gear as demonstrated in that crazy photo.  The race is great and all but the main event is the bacon party after the race featuring live music and a more complete menu including bacon biscuits, pork rinds and more!  Plus you get a cool logo t-shirt for participating! 

Yes, I was serious lol this is really a thing…

I learned about this event a few years ago from another member at a different gym (hmm, how do I always end up in bacon conversations at the gym?) but still haven’t made it to one yet.  The next run is on October 14th though so I’m creating a calendar reminder now so I don’t miss it again!  (for more information check out www.thebaconrun.net)


I originally typed that I’ll “mark my calendar” but I suppose those days are over for most people.  I remember back in the day having J.lo or WWE themed calendars.  It was always a big decision trying to decide what theme would grace my wall each year but technology ruined all of that…for me at least.  I still see entire shops devoted to calendars popping up at the mall each December though so apparently there’s still a market for these?  Do any of you still use a real calendar?  I always felt more organized with a daily planner or with the full month laid out on my desk or wall but I haven’t bothered with all of that since my phone became smarter than I am lol but maybe I should.  Perhaps I would have gotten those tax documents over to my accountant (aka MOM) by now…man she’s going to kill me soon!  I’ll do it today I promise!

Anyway, I’m sorry if you’re not a bacon fan (but seriously, who doesn’t love bacon?  What’s wrong with you?!) but even if you aren’t, you’ve got to admit that it smells pretty incredible while it’s being cooked!  Certain foods just have that magical scent, like buttered popcorn or apple pie, that draw you into their hypnotic gravitational pull.  That’s why before your next date night, I suggest rubbing a little bacon grease on your neck, a little peanut butter on your wrists or some buttered popcorn behind your ears to attract the ladies or the fellas (and puppies and ants….)!  Ha, clearly I’m kidding!  The closest I’ve ever gotten to that is when I put way too much cocoa butter on my skin and unintentionally smelled like a tray of brownies for several hours.  But hey, if you do actually try that bacon grease idea please let me know how it works for you!

fatdarrell2So, since I’m always eating or talking about eating, I’ve had several people trying to recruit me to participate in all of these local food challenges lately!  I get it, I’m pretty greedy so it makes perfect sense.  I’ve also appeared on the quintessential eating competition show, Man vs. Food (watch the episode in the FatDarrell.com video archive by clicking here http://www.fatdarrell.com/fdmedia) so this may come as a surprise, but I’ve never actually participated in an official eating competition before…not even my namesake ®Fat Darrell challenge (for more background on the history of the sandwich and the challenge you can read the origin story of both on FatDarrell.com by clicking here http://www.fatdarrell.com/about)!

adventuretimeburritoOh wait, I forgot!  That’s not entirely true.  I did unintentionally participate in an eating competition while on a lunch date at Bubbakoos Burritos in Manasquan, NJ.  Although they’ve now expanded throughout the Jersey Shore, they were brand new at the time so I was trying them out since my date loved the food there.  Since I didn’t really know the menu and because I was starving, I asked for the biggest burrito they had.  That burrito happens to be the $16 El Hefe which is essentially every ingredient they have on hand inside of a tortilla.  Hey, that sounded great to me so to their surprise I ordered it! 

Much like the ®Fat Darrell Sandwich origin story, I was just in it for the food!  I didn’t know that it was their signature food challenge until I finished it and a few shocked employees started taking my picture.  I’m not sure if the photo is still there on the wall but yeah, it was delicious!  I was stuffed though so it made for an awkward drive taking my date back home….especially when she thought it would be a good idea to try and tickle my stomach after I had consumed nearly 3lbs of pinto beans.  My car wasn’t the only one with a full tank of gas that day lol fortunately for both of us, the windows were down…

Her:  Why do you keep honking the horn?

Me:  Oh, that wasn’t the car….

That’s the only official food contest I’ve ever done but I have agreed to some dumb non-sanctioned challenges in my day.  From trying these 911 hot wings at Chicken Kitchen in Tinton Falls, NJ which left my lips numb for about an hour to trying some crazy hot sauce in Myrtle Beach while on spring break (Life Tip:  If the bartender anywhere ever dips a toothpick into hot sauce and giddily dares you to try it DO NOT try it)

thanksgivingThe other times I’ve consumed gluttonous amounts of food like an entire large pizza during a 30-minute lunch break (including drive time to and from the restaurant!) were just cases of Darrell being Darrell lol any of my family members who attend our Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners can tell you that’s just what I do!  That’s why if I ever decide to have a kid, I’d better have a lot of money saved up for those grocery bills if they inherit my appetite! 

So, if I were to participate in a food challenge, it would have to just be something that I already enjoyed and wanted to eat anyway.  Because once the joy is taken out of it, it just doesn’t seem worth it.  Like those hot dog competitions on the Fourth of July?  I may eat a few just because I wanted them but once it comes down to dipping the buns in water just to get them down, or people start gagging around me, I’d be out.  Not my thing, although I’d officiate it in a heartbeat!    

Anyway, here are a few of the challenges that people have sent me recently, see what you think of these! 

The only one to ever defeat this challenge and experience the thrill of victory!

So this first one was sent to me by my friend Tasha.  It’s the Pho King Challenge (ha make sure you really enunciate that or people may think you’re cursing) at this Vietnamese restaurant So Ba here in Atlanta.  For $35 you get a bowl of Pho that’s 3 times larger than the norm.  It contains 96oz of liquid and 20oz of meat!  Wow, that’s Pho King HUGE (see what I did there?)!

You get 1 hour to finish literally everything including the liquid and you can’t leave the table to go to the bathroom for any reason.  If you win, your meal is free plus you get a $50 gift card to the restaurant and an “I’m a Pho King Champion” shirt.  If you fail, you’re out of the $35 but you still get a Pho King Failure shirt which is a cool consolation prize either way!

So far, only one person has ever beaten the challenge and he was a professional eating competitor!

The agony of defeat….

That Pho looks delicious so I may just go there to have dinner one day but as for the challenge?  I’m pretty sure I’d be bringing home one of those Failure tees! 

If I were to try that one though, or were coaching someone along, I think the best strategy would be to try and eat all of the meat and solids first.  Ideally within the first 20 or 30 minutes and then try to get the liquid down in the remaining time.  That’s a lot to drink though so wow, any delays for your mind to catch up to your stomach and you’re done!

That reminds me of this trip I took to Vegas where I ended up in a steak and lobster buffet.  Since it wasn’t cheap to get in, my friends and I didn’t waste any time on salads and breads, we went straight for the good stuff!  5 plates later and we literally couldn’t walk for nearly 2 hours…but hey, we got our money’s worth!  We were great in the beginning but like I said, once our brains caught up with our mouths and stomachs, we were done for!

The next challenge that I was recently asked to participate in was by Erich Richker though the ®Fat Darrell Facebook page who wants me to be on his team for the Carnivore Challenge at the Big Pie in the Sky Pizzeria (aren’t you as mad as I am that the word “pizzeria isn’t spelled “pizzaria” like it should be?) in Kennesaw or Roswell, GA (they have 2 locations).

One of the past winning teams of The Carnivore Challenge!

The rules for this one are a little different since it’s a partner challenge this time.  The Carnivore Pizza is a whopping 11lbs!  You both get an hour to finish the entire thing but if you leave the area to go to the bathroom or you can no longer hold down your food, you’re disqualified.  And yes to all of you weirdos who throw out your crust, you can’t do that either, you literally have to finish everything!

It’s $50 to try but you get $250 cash if you win (that’ll pay for a lot of Pepto Bismal…)!

So far, only 7 teams have ever beaten the challenge, with the record being 33 minutes.

Hmm, if I’m ever low on cash I could keep putting down $50 to take home $125 (that’s half of 250 – look at me doing basic math!  My high school Algebra teacher would be so proud…)!  That would be a pretty good return on my investment plus it’s pizza!  Ha, I’m guessing they’d stop me from participating at some point if I won more than once though…

Although this place, Pete and Elda’s in Neptune, NJ, never stops people from participating in their challenge no matter how often they win.  Their contest is a bit easier though since it’s thin crust.  Granted, it’s still 18 inches in diameter (wow, look at me doing geometry too! Go me!  Go me!) so each slice is nearly a foot long but since it’s flat like a cracker, tons of people win that contest.  It’s also not for money but you do get a free shirt to celebrate your victory.  Unfortunately, I don’t like thin crust so that shirt is not in my wardrobe but it could be in yours if you’re ever near The Jersey Shore (admit it, you still think of Snooki every time I type that don’t you?)

Erich might actually be able to talk me into the Carnivore Challenge someday though, especially if he catches me after a tough workout at the gym! 

Ha, that gym comment reminds me of another great glutinous moment at The Grand China Buffet in West Long Branch, NJ.  My friend Steve (wait, he was also in Vegas with me as well!  Hmm, if he still eats like that, he might also make a great teammate for the Carnivore Challenge!) and I went there after a pretty brutal workout.  So first we got soup and dumplings, then stir fry, then several plates.  The worst was after the poor lady at the sushi stand had just finished putting out a bunch of new rolls and was about to leave to take a break, I walked up and took the entire tray so she had to start again from scratch!  But hey, I tipped her $5 bucks and we did finish it all so it is what it is lol.  

Anyway, after polishing those off, along with a plate of shrimp, we got a few rounds of the self-serve ice cream and several fortune cookies before finally making our way out to dirty stares from management.  I forgot what my fortune cookie said, but if it predicted that I’d fall into a deep food coma for the next several hours after I got home, it was right!

17352402_1889979454547484_1138955855037523024_nAnyway, the last eating challenge was sent to me by Stephen Box who’s located down here in Sugar Hill, GA but I have no idea where this challenge takes place.  Actually I have no idea if this one really exists since it may just be a meme but I do love the concept! 

Mmmm tacos lol yessss I could do some damage to that table.  Whoever I brought with me to that one wouldn’t need to do much!  But who else would be on my team?  This is like Family Fued, greed version.  Family Food?  Someone get me on the phone with some tv execs, I’d absolutely host that show! 

Haha but yes, I would eat at least half of that table just for fun, no competition necessary!  As for the other 3 people?  Hmm…again, I should see if Steve still eats like that.  If so, he’d be a no brainer.  As for the rest, I’d have to have tryouts I suppose.  My brother, nephew DJ, my uncle and several cousins eat a lot too but I don’t know if they like tacos. 

Hmm, my friends Liza and Vesi definitely LOVE tacos though so maybe them?  I know my friend Sarah also has an appetite like I do, but her tacos would all have to be gluten free so hmm, I dunno, I may need to hold a combine like the NFL does before they draft their teams!  Lol who would be on your All-star squad of eating?  Comment below!

Before we switch gears and talk about fitness (I know, hilarious right?  But hey, you just can’t eat like that everyday that’s all!), do you have other crazy food challenges to share with us?  Comment below!  Also comment if you’ve ever participated in one!


Obviously, stuffing yourself to capacity on a regular basis is not the best idea if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle or if you want to see your abs on the beach this summer!  But one “food” challenge (drink challenge would be more accurate I suppose) that’s absolutely essential is to drink a gallon of water each day!  From healthy skin to digestion and bodily functions, water does some pretty amazing things, yet most people fail to hydrate themselves properly on a consistent basis.

waterchallengeOne way to change that is to buy a gallon of water and label it in a similar manner as this photo.  It’ll help you track your progress throughout the day to stay focused on getting to the next level before time runs out.  It’s like a real world hydration video game where the winner is your kidneys! 

Of course, many of you may not want to walk around with a gallon of water like that so another approach is to keep a 16oz bottle with you to sip on throughout the day.  4 of those equal a gallon so once you get those all down, you’ve hit your daily requirement as well!

This may take a little getting used to since you may find yourself going to the bathroom repeatedly at first until you get used to it, but the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of the adjustment period.

Oh yeah, and by water, I mean pure water so if you have coffee inside of your 16oz bottle that doesn’t count!  If you’re bored with the taste however, try adding things like lemon, fruit, mint or cucumber to help provide some flavor to make it easier to consume.

I’ve admittedly not been paying as much attention to my water intake lately either so let’s all try this together and report back next week!  I think I’ll start with the gallon approach with the words on the side of the bottle.  Let me know how it goes for you as well!

Do you have a fitness question you’d like answered or an accomplishment you’d like to share?  Tell us in the comments below!

Today’s Soundtrack

The Bacon Song – Nick Jonas ft. Ty Dolla Sign (I didn’t want to use this one again since I just used it in the burger post but with that song title my hand was forced lol)

March of the Pigs – Nine Inch Nails (Run of the Pigs…Bacon Run?)

Throw it Up – Lil Jon ft. Pastor Troy (Exactly how you’ll feel after eating an 11lb pizza!)

Sia – The Greatest (“running out of breath but I’ve got stamina” ha that was my motto at the Vegas buffet)

Shining – DJ Khaled ft. Jay-Z and Beyonce (shining from meat sweats lol)

Sacrifices – Drake ft. 2 Chains and Young Thug  (And I just felt like hearing this one from the new Drake album)

I’m curious to hear about some of the crazy food challenges in other parts of the world so please share your favorites in the comments below.  Also if you or someone you know has ever participated in one, especially if it was The ®Fat Darrell Sandwich Challenge, definitely tell us about that experience in the comments as well!  Also take a look down there where the comment box is – do you see that there’s a button that says like?  Please push that and then be sure to tell a friend about this page so that we can continue to bring others into the discussion.  I’ll be back again soon with another post but in the meantime, follow me on social media and continue the conversation down below.  Thanks again for dropping by.  It’s the last week of March, let’s make it a good one and don’t forget to drink your water!  Enjoy the rest of your day and May the Fork be with you!


“May the odds be ever in your favor…”






6 thoughts on “The Hunger Games

  1. Lmbo.. your burrito story-hilarious!! I can see you doing the pizza challenge since you love it so much! Who’d think you could eat that much lol…

    Bacon? Oh it’s the best, my fav is the fat (I know, I shouldn’t even be thinking about it) lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Guess what? Just want to let you know that I still use a real calendar, even though I forget to check it sometimes! I know that I am in the minority on this issue!!. I can tell from your posts that you have really been “all around” in the food challenge world. YOU should become a host! Your stories are amazing and I am in awe over some of them even though I do not love to eat quite as much as you do lol!!!! It’is unique how you also tie-in the soundtracks with it all. I “gotta hear” March of the Pigs” since I love pigs and bacon!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I might get a day planner again, I definitely felt more organized back in the day! I would LOVE to host a show, hopefully someday. Maybe a live version of this blog? Hmm… thanks for the comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the stories – my life is like a sitcom sometimes. That’s cool you noticed the music themes, some may not have caught on to that yet. Oh, and I don’t know what styles of music you prefer but warning: March of the Pigs isn’t as sweet and innocent of a song as the title implies so listen at your own risk!


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