With my eyes bigger than my stomach, I met evil and stared it in the eye. Its name is Mt. Nacheesmo.
The five pound behemoth of nachos covered in refried beans, ground beef, chicken, pork, Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, black olives, sour cream, guacamole, and a crown of queso sounds relatively doable on paper. Before I went to attempt the challenge at Tios, I thought that I could beat it if I went into it feeling like I could eat a horse. I watched competitive eaters take it down in around 20 minutes and thought that the 95 percent failure rate would not apply to me.
But once the mountain of nachos was brought out to me on a large pizza tray, expletives filled my head, a few slipped out, and I thought, “I’m incredibly stupid.” I doubted my chance of eating it all in the allotted 45 minutes, but my mother didn’t raise a quitter. So once the timer started, I went right to work.
It felt like I was eating more than I had in one meal in my life, but it looked like I had made almost no progress. Just six minutes in, I was in disbelief. Time seemed to move twice as slow and, I felt like even my words came out in slow motion.
15 minutes in, I knew that I wasn’t going to finish. Every minute I slouched lower in my chair and ate chips at a slower rate. So I made two goals: eat until the time runs out and eat at least 2.5 pounds.
So I kept on, feeling like some kind of flawed folk hero — the 125-pound college student that attempted to eat five pounds of food in the name of journalism. The food got less tasty because it was cold, the nachos natural saltiness made me feel like I hadn’t drank water in days, and each bite of refried beans felt like a challenge in itself.
I asked the waitress how many people have conquered Nacheesmo and she said nine. She even said that a woman my size finished it when her and her husband both attempted — he lost. No matter someone’s weight, gender, or will power, I couldn’t fathom someone fitting all of this food in their stomach. Even if there wasn’t a time limit, this platter could feed a large family and they might even have leftovers. Another waiter came over and told me that I could do it, but immediately after he said that I hadn’t even eaten a lot compared to others. My spirit was crushed as he broke into a maniacal laugh.
Five minutes were left as I turned the tray and realized that I had knocked out a whole face of the mountain, but a huge layer of plain nachos remained at the bottom center of the tray that I couldn’t see. I was woozy, feeling slightly delusional — a phenomenon I call “nacho drunk.” At the same time, I was getting sleepy and my eyelids only allowed for a small area for my eyes to see through. I was anticipating a nap and didn’t want to look at a nacho for at least a few weeks.
The timer finally sounded and it was music to my ears. Just take it away please and weigh it. I ate two pounds, 11 ounces, but I’ll round it up to three so it sounds better and can feel better about myself. My picture was taken and now a well-dressed, dejected journalist is enshrined on the Wall of Shame at Tios.
The drive home felt like a victory lap, I accomplished my goals and had a good time doing a stupid activity. It was type two fun — something that is fun to remember after it is done, not during the act. And yes, my grandchildren will hear this story. I took a two hour nap and when I went out to dinner about five hours later, I struggled to down one mini slider.
Though I was back to normal the next day, I don’t recommend trying the challenge. Save yourself and your dignity while you can. I do recommend Tios, though, their staff was polite and I’m sure I’ll try their other food when I’m ready to eat Mexican food again in a year.