Monday, May 18, 2009

The Dagwood Challenge

(Again, all bold links are pictures I took, since I still haven't figured out how to make them clickable on the blog.)

I left Washington, DC at 11AM. Fourteen hours, nine episodes of The Wire, and one pre-packaged Amtrak hot dog later, I arrived in Cincinnati.

After a long night's sleep, we woke up late, ready for the task at hand: traveling to Columbus and taking down the Dagwood, a 2.5-pound deli sandwich that comes with a pound of fries and a pickle spear. Finish it all in 30 minutes or less, and you get a free t-shirt, plus your picture on the wall. Honestly, we considered it a warm-up to Thursday's Pointersaurus, and didn't think that we'd have too much trouble taking it all down. In reality, we had severely misunderestimated it.

We rolled up to the Ohio Deli at about 3PM. The first thing you see when walking into the restaurant is the Wall of Fame, including the picture of Adam Richman, host of Man v. Food. We sat down at a booth, and when the waitress came to take our order, I confidently announced, "we're both gonna take down the Dagwood."

We waited anxiously for about 10 minutes, during which time we met Linda and "Mom." Ohio Deli regulars, they had never seen anyone do the challenge before, so they were as excited as we were. Even though they had finished their meal, they decided to stick around to watch us compete. Linda also graciously agreed to take pictures of our attempt, so our collection of action shots can be attributed to her. Thank you, Linda.

Finally the sandwiches came out, and wow were they huge. They surprised me. They surprised Andy. But we were ready for this. And after the requisite pregame pictures, we dug in.

The first half of the sandwich went down easy. Andy and I both finished it in roughly five minutes, mixing in bites of fries along the way. But it was all downhill from there. The fries were good, but they were heavy, and before long, these fries threatened to be our downfall. Even though we were both putting fries inside the sandwich, there were far too many of them to be able to eat all of them this way.

I started on the 2nd half of the sandwich, but quickly switched over to trying to knock out a portion of the still-large fry pile on my plate. As my stomach finally started to send distress signals to my brain, I was able to get the food pile down to a manageable size. As eating became harder, I decided to mix everything together, eating fries with turkey, onions with roast beef, and ham with what seemed to be a large part of my napkin.

As I made my way to the finish line at around the 20 minute mark, I was feeling the burn, but I was happy. Bites at this point were becoming increasingly difficult, but I knew that if I could put away the final few pieces, I would take my place on the wall of legends at the Ohio Deli. After several more painful mouthfuls of bread, meat, and fry, I was down to my last bite. And then it was over. At the 24-minute mark, I had conquered the Dagwood

As I looked over to Andy though, he was still eating away, a large pile of fries sitting on his plate. But to his credit, he did not give up, even when the situation looked bleak. With a minute left, he had only a handful of fries left. Doing everything in his power to finish, he balled them up, poured some water on them, and took them down. At the 30-minute mark, beating the buzzer by mere seconds, Andy joined the ranks of the Ohio Deli immortals.

What does immortality look like? It looks like this.

Coming tomorrow: The aftermath!


  1. Seeing you eat like this makes me die a little inside. But it also reminds me of the whatchamacallit sandwich at Ned's, which is now closed, which also makes me die a little inside.

  2. ps ezra would be proud.

  3. I'm so proud to know you.

  4. wow sam. i dont know if you will be ableto finish the pointersaurus

  5. G'pa and G'ma are SO unbelievably proud of both of you! We know that, as long as it doesn't involve using cutlery, you will most probably succeed in all of you gastronomic goals. Good luck with the pizza!!! : ) :>)

  6. Well done Sam. Reminds me of the good old days of us being lardos.

    Mmmmm, doughnuts.

  7. awesome job guys