At the time of writing, I am excruciatingly digesting the burrito I have eaten at Ristras.
I should be in Batangas to spend the holidays with my grandmother, but I have to stay in Manila until today to meet some old friends whom I have not seen for months or years.
Yesterday, I decided to meet them in a much-loved place called Greenhills. AGAIN?!
Well, why not? Greenhills houses many recommended restaurants and beverage shops such as Serenitea and Happy Lemon. Walking around the area, one can find a wide variety of good food choices that fits any budget. Many of the firsts I had were also on Greenhills and this trivia adds a personal touch to the establishments I have been featuring on Tongue Out.
Despite habitually dining into a more affordable and commercialised food chain offering quality Mexican food, Ristras has a special spot in my taste buds. I first tasted its burrito more than a year ago. I even saw then-presidential candidate Jamby Madrigal. Unfortunately, that was also the last even if I have been frequenting Greenhills to sip some Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese.
Ristras is a very small place regularly filled with customers who get hungrier while waiting for a seat to be vacated. Yes, it’s usually crowded there and I can’t blame the people for clumping inside the restaurant. The food is always worth the wait due to its freshness and quality. But I wonder why its owner has not thought of physically expanding its current place.
Even before setting my feet inside the place, I knew that I’m not back at Ristras for nothing.
Everything was unusual. Today, the usual place for Mexican food lovers had not been filled with people dying for burrito and enchilada. Nevertheless the apparent silence was enticing enough to invite me back to Ristras. Inside, I was welcomed by a bunch of energetic crew dancing while a club playlist is on. And yes, they were partying like hell.
Aside from offering quality and fresh Mexican food classics, Ristras is also famous for its burrito challenge. No, challenge with an ‘s’. Super challenge, that’s the word. Kidding. The first one requires the challenger to eat an 800-gram burrito in less than three minutes. Now, if you think the previous one was just nuts, I am dead sure of you going nuts on the next challenge. How about eating a 2.5 kilogram burrito within 90 minutes? That’s the (goddammit) Godzilla Burrito Challenge.
People born under the Aries sign are known for their spontaneity, stubbornness and never-say-die spirit. ‘Today, I will sit on the challenge,’ I said to myself as a unique, insurmountable passion builds up. Anxiousness overlapping with excitement, I called one of the crew to inform him of me participating in the Godzilla Burrito Challenge. Never mind the fact that I was running out of cash.
Here’s a photo I have taken while the Godzilla Burrito (hence Godzilla) is on the process of creation.
Round one: fight!
At exactly 6:52 PM, I started the challenge. The timer was turned on after my first bite. It’s show time!
Mental conditioning was on. I wanted to bring home the burrito (I mean, bacon). Who would not want to win a nicely designed Ristras burrito shirt perfectly tailored for a Burrito King coupled with a bragging right since your name will be published on the chalkboard display inside the restaurant? You do find it cool, don’t you?
By engaging in such sinful activity, P1000 bill is at stake since the customer must pay if s/he did not consume the Godzilla within the specified time. This is not to mention losing one’s face when the glutton in you isn’t too cooperative.
To ensure a whopping finish, I devised a plan.
First, drink minimally. Settle for water and don’t order flavoured drinks to enjoy the food and avoid an early bloat.
Second, cut the burrito into pieces and estimate the time taken to finish the particular piece. Thus, the importance of phasing and endurance comes into play.
Third, concentrate AND focus. Redundant, but you really have to have these qualities. Never count the chicks until the eggs are hatched! Do not be overwhelmed by the bragging rights! More so, do not fear the P1000 ‘fine’. Let the taste buds party!
At 7:06 PM, a third of the Godzilla Burrito was successfully consumed! That was just fourteen minutes! Round one went to Yom!
To ensure that I can keep up, I rested for three minutes. I only drank a few drops of water. My friends were asking me if I was OK, and I replied with a smile.
Round two: staying afloat
I am honest enough to say that I expected the second round to be the most excruciating part of the fight. With a third of the Godzilla Burrito fully consumed, there was a tendency to slow down. The challenge prompted me to sustain the same appetite even after eating a substantial part of the burrito. To be very realistic, I predicted to nail down the second third of the burrito within half an hour.
To release more energy, I kept talking. Ha-ha. I was also trying to reserve the needed energy and space inside my digestive system for the last round.
Halving the second part was tedious! Many times I rested, almost puking out of gluttony. Plus I wanted to sleep and that was the easiest way to die. Still, quitting was not an option. I regained the necessary drive, slicing the Godzilla stuffed with the following ingredients: cilantro-lime rice, carnitas (organic pork seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, orange juice and freshly cracked black pepper seared then braised for hours), vegetarian black beans, red or green chilli, Pico de Gallo, corn salsa, guacamole, cheddar/jack cheese, sour crème and romaine lettuce, and jalapenos. All of these things were jam-packed in one heavyweight burrito.
Five minutes before 8 PM, the second third was consumed except to a small slice remaining on the side. On average, it’s as if I have eaten more than 800 grams of burrito per half an hour. That sounds pretty cool. For a 90-minute challenge, I will just be on time ceteris paribus.
Essentially, the second round still belongs to me, decently won.
Round three: knockout
I never knew I will make it this far! Friends kept on cheering! To be honest, many times I was close to puking. But I can’t just concede without trying hard enough!
Like what was said earlier, the estimate would only work without due consideration of other factors at hand (i.e., physical capacity of one’s stomach, usual eating habits, level of tolerance and usual appetite, metabolism).
A few minutes after 8 PM, I called the attention of a crew. I did not ask for service water or condiments. Rather, I simply requested him to stop the time and get the bill.
Yes, dear readers. I conceded and got knocked out by Godzilla.
I was somehow disappointed. In general, I fear quitting anything I have started, maybe out of fear of asking many ‘what ifs’. For a moment, I became ashamed of myself.
Thanks to a very good company, I realised the apparent failure is not something to be ashamed of. Few people might have succeeded, but not all people have or will ever have the guts to go against the conventional and risk for an adventure. That being courageously taken by me remains an achievement in itself.
Conquering uncharted experiences in life and learning valuable lessons along the way are, I think, more notable bragging rights than victoriously fulfilling a challenge to scream to the whole world how glutton I am. Kidding about the latter. Ha-ha.
And yes, since I did not finish it in one sitting, I literally brought the Godzilla at home. Apparently, my Dad and Mom liked it. That’s a winning moment, too! ;)