Twice in a week I have eaten for charity. Todays event, a burrito eating competition at Chilango in aid of the NSPCC.
I have to be honest, I am a bit of a burrito virgin. I have had one before but it was nothing memorable. They seem to be far more popular these days. In fact, burrito "emporiums" are popping up all over the city to satisy the appetites of Londons workers. Varying from the burrito vans dotted across the city mimicking Mexican street food, such as Daddy Donkey, to the sit down establishments such as Burrito Bros and in this case, Chilango.
If you have never had one, they are essentially flour tortillas filled with as much as you can fit into them. Fillings vary from beans and meat, to guacamole and cheese, all rounded off with a good heap of chilli.
Now, I wouldnt say a burrito eating competiton is a great introduction to the burrito. The heats were broken down into groups of five, and I tentatively took my seat. I wanted to have a go early so the crowds couldn't build to mock my humble efforts. The burritos were placed before us. This certainly was no small burrito, it was in fact massive and I think I let out a little whimper. The rules were read out and eventually the word "Chilango" echoed across the room. Bite, chew, swallow and repeat. Two mouthfuls in and I felt ill. I couldn't taste anything, just the taste of defeat. There was no way I was going to win this heat. Not long after, I heard the word "Chilango" screamed across the room yet again, this time from one of the contestants. He had finished his in 56 seconds flat. This man was a machine. A not that lean, mean eating machine.
I was relieved, I had managed to get through half of mine, but if I had pushed myself to finish the other half, I would have been really ill. Instead I got to savour it in my own time and slowly, I could finally actually taste the flavours. And damn, it was good. The chicken inside was tender and seasoned perfectly. The combination of cheese, sour cream and guacamole is always a winner and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my burrito at my own pace. The only negative I would say, is that it was rather rice heavy. Next time, no rice in mine.
The contest was great fun and all for a good cause. I've always been a keen supporter of the NSPCC and am glad I could contribute to such a great event by making an absolute fool of myself. If you would like to add a contribution, there is a justgiving site set up. As well as charity and great burritos, I got to meet a few other twitter friends. @foodbymark joined me in my heat and failed as badly as I did. He swears it was because Mr 56 seconds was sitting next to him and was putting him off. @oliverthring and @eatmynels fared rather better, both winning their heats. Not quite 56 seconds although for one moment, we all thought Ollie might just do it.
Im glad its over. No matter how tasty, I think it will be a while before I can face another burrito.
(for more pics of the event, please click here)
Chilango (website) - 27 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0PN