The IFOCE converged on Bikinis Bar & Grill in Austin, Texas on January 27th for the 2007 Bikinis Bar and Grill World French Fry Eating Championship. Here is my trip report. The full Flickr slideshow can be viewed here
Ouch, a Friday afternoon is a bad time to go to the airport.
I am dazed and confused after waiting almost an hour in the security line. But focus on the shirt. Billy
, the shirt kicks ass! The logo rocks!
I get to Houston. No problems with that. Getting to the airport at least. LEAVING the airport, now that's something else. I'm good with maps and I can navigate quite well, but HOLY SHIT! There are one way frontage roads, and signs on the right side of the road when the exit's on the left, and those signs say "exit on the left" when you are at the exit, and left lanes are u-turn only...yeah, whatever. And on the drive to Austin, I knew I was on the right road so it's OK but there was no sign saying "Austin XX miles" until I saw one saying "Austin 63". It's 163 from Houston to Austin, so no sign for 100 miles. But I digress...
Dinner. Chocolate milk.
Strong bones and teeth and a healthy coat. Foodarama.
I am driving from Houston to Austin. In my mind I thought it would be a quick 2 hours. I had even plotted the way on MapQuest. So I'm driving, and it's 8pm. Then 9. Gotta be getting close, right, it's been about 2 hours. Uh, no. I look at the MapQuest print out and it's 163, not 123. Crap. It's no big deal now but I had booked flights thinking it was around 2 hours between, not 3. Also part of it was that I was not driving too fast. Not because I didn't want to, but the Kia was pulling 7K on the tachometer at only 65mph. Yeah because I had the automatic in 3rd instead of Drive. Oops. I didn't find that out until I was about 2 miles from Austin. Not like the big bright "3" shouldn't have given it away earlier!
Here's where I spent the night:
Yeah not in the Embassy Suites. In the backseat of the Kia. I had folded the rear seats in hopes that it would be flat and I could stretch out. But no. Big hump.
But in the morning I did score some breakfast at the hotel. Muffins, fruit, cereal, and juice. Made-to-order eggs and pancakes were for hotel guests only. Damn elitists.
Nice spread. And free!
Banana. While eating it, I could not help but notice...
How soft and supple my hands were. You gotta understand how rough and scaly they are in Denver in the winter. Sure, humidity always smooths them, but never this fast!
Before going to BBG I figure out how I'll motor out back to Houston. With my miscalculation I know it will be tight. But that's for later.
The venue, Bikinis Bar & Grill, is easy to find and it's kind of funky. The stage is set up outside in the parking lot. It's a beautiful day.
I was looking forward to meeting Seaver Miller and Dale Boone. Dale, unfortunately, withdrew right before the event. But Seaver introduced himself. Seems like a super nice guy. I don't know the top guys that well, but Seaver may well be right up there with Tim & Conti as far as the nicest.
Seaver also has "The Achiever" on back of his coat. He can't wear this on his helmet when fighting fires, but does he wear the coat? Forgot to ask.
Stage is ready.
It looks in this photo like there is plenty of room to stand, and there was. But, if you took a step back you'd go over the edge. George even said to us very clearly: "Do not step back!"
George getting the crowd going.
The fries being brought out on trays.
The trays were each 5 pounds. The fries themselves were crispier than I would have expected. I thought as the fries cooled they would become soft. Limp, if you will. They were not too salty, but more spicy like fries at Arby's. The fries were quite delicious and run a close second to the Three Brothers pizza in good-tasting-contest-food. Rich was correct when stating that these Bikini Fries are hard because "their abundant flavor can easily distract an eater from the task at-hand".
Joey, Tim, Chip, Seaver and Larry wait to be called to the stage.
This is my 5lb tray before eating. The picture does not show the mound nature of it. In 10 minutes I'd get down 1.9 pounds.
Man, there must be some sort of performance anxiety or something. My first couple of contests, yeah, I didn't know what was going on. But by now I should be able to do in IFOCE contests what I can do when I'm not in a contest. It's not getting to the mouth. That's fine. Or where it goes. My problem, when it matters, is getting the food down. I don't know if my esophagus constricts or I stop swallowing or what.
After the 10 minutes, we had to go back to the kitchen for the weighing of the trays. Yeah, everyone's tray got weighed but I don't think it was handled that well. I didn't see anything so I'm not implying anything, but if someone wanted to eat a few more fries to better their total or do some other shenanigans they could. And why not do the weighing on the stage? The winners had already been announced, so some fans could leave knowing their guy won or got second or whatever, but some might want to hear that this guy ate that, this other guy ate that, and compare the actual finishes to what they thought would happen. Or whatever. Every contest just seems to dissolve after the eating is done. Wouldn't the sponsor want more interest to keep going? Anyway, we go on...
Chip's tray getting weighed.
Check out the rack on that guy!
Afterwards, even though I had no time to waste in getting to the airport...
Soft serve, bee-otch. Finally. I don't know why I always seem to crave that after a contest. Up until now it had never worked out for one reason or another, but this time I was not passing it up. McD cone.
Oh yeah, and the contest shirts. Quite cool. I'll post some photos when I get mine out of the laundry.
Labels: trip report