A fellow New Jerseyan has accomplished an amazing feat of competitive eating. Kate Stelnick, 19, of Princeton, N.J., drove five hours with two friends from The College of New Jersey to Clearfield, PA to meet the Denny's Beer Barrel Pub challenge: down the restaurant's six-pound hamburger - and five pounds of fixins' - within three hours. The 100-pound teenager is the first person to finish the monster burger, dubbed the Ye Old 96er, on the Internet and on TV's Food Network. Those of you that follow the rising sport of competitive eating can appreciate the maginitude of this feat. The sport has long been dominated by Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi of Japan who has dominated the "Superbowl" of competive eating, the July 4th Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Easting Contest. Ms. Stelnick may be another Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, in the making. Thomas, of Alexandria, Va., is a 105 pound woman who managed to eat 32 hot dogs at the Nathan's contest, more than any other woman and any other American in the contest's history. Let's hope that Stelnick stays active in competitve eating and turns her attention next to hot dogs. In the last five years only one American -- Steve Keiner, coincidently also from New Jersey -- has captured the "Mustard Yellow Belt" at the Nathan's contest. Bring the belt home Kate!
I would suggest a pilgrimage to Denny's Beer Barrel Pub to lay down the Old 96er challenge to Kid Various, but the challenge would be pointless. Kid Various has one gastronomic weakness: all vegetable matter is kryptonite to him. The Kid might down the Old 96er, but not the dreaded "fixins." Therefore, a different food event to test the Kid's eating mettle is called for -- Rodizio Night! Rodizio, a most excellant concept which originates in South America, involves several waiters bringing diners large skewers of dozens of different kinds of meat and cutting off slices of said meat until said diners say "Stop, no more!" The Kid, Mr. Scriblerus and I have previously enjoyed the pleasures of Rodizio at the Barge, a fine establishment. However, I am happy to report that New Jersey has been blessed with an additional restaurant to serve our Rodizio needs, Baig's Grill. Is Baig's Grill up to snuff? Can the Kid find out if all you can eat meat really is all you can eat? We shall see. The gauntlet has been thrown Kid!