Archive for the ‘Contest’ Category

Dunkin’ Donuts Across America

Dunkin’ Donuts

We might not have fully-functional Dunkin’ Donuts stores here in LA, although rumors are circulating, we’re coming closer.

Dunkin’ Donuts is launching their branded coffee in grocery stores across America. I’ve already spotted it at a few stores in LA.

And to celebrate the launch, they’re holding a special event.

On December 8th, Dunkin’ Donuts Packaged Coffee is hosting a shopping-cart derby at the Santa Monica Pier.

To participate, simply register a two-person team, preferably named something coffee-related, like the Caffeine Cowboys, or…the Spoonfuls of Sugar. Then show up at the Pier for the competitive obstacle course: shelf-raiding, overloading carts with coffee, screaming at your partner’s poor performance, and blaming your own missteps on a “wobbly back wheel”. Each team that enters spurs a donation by P&G to America’s Second Harvest (up to $20,000, so even if you lose badly, you still win.) (from Thrillist)

What can you win? Well if your team finishes first, you’ll get a 2 year supply of DD’s packaged coffee. Second place gets a year’s worth, and third gets ya 6-months.

Here’s what you need to know: Dec. 8 @ Santa Monica Pier • Mandatory check-in at 9am • Qualifying heats start at 10am

You can sign up your team right here.

UPDATE: The event is over but here’s a video of all the highlights from the event.


12 Pounds of Burritos


I think I’d be done after 2, but competitive eater “Eater X”, a day trader and aspiring pizza chef,  scarfed down 12lbs of them (10 3/4 burritos) in Portland, Maine over the weekend for the title of World Burrito Champ and the $3000 purse that comes along with it. According to

Tim Janus, 30, of New York City, said he prepared by just eating candy for a day, which he said helped clear his system.

“I love Mexican food,” he said after his victory.

Just how much does Janus like mexican food? According to the Major League Eating site, Janus recently became the world record for tamales eaten. He managed to swallow 71 tamales in 12 minutes. Second place consumed 57, while third ate 27.

Each burrito was filled with rice, beans, pork, cheese and sauce, then wrapped in a tortilla.

Your favorite competitive eaters were on hand, including Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, who holds the record for lobster eating and came in 2nd with 10 burritos.

But notably missing was Eric Booker, not only the former burrito record holder, but probably the 2nd most famous competitive eater next to Kobayashi.

The burrito record holder, Eric “Badlands” Booker, has retired from competitive eating and wasn’t on hand to defend his title.

Photo from Flickr.

Two Buck Chuck & $10 Wines

2 Buck

I don’t consider myself a wine connoisseur, but my palette is improving. That said, when buying a wine, I usually spend $8-$15 for what I consider to be a decent bottle just to keep around. But apparently I’ve been overspending.

Trader Joe’s famous “Two Buck Chuck” recently took the award for the top chardonnay at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

The connoisseurs may cringe, the snobs may even sob, but the judges have spoken: California’s best chardonnay costs less than $3.

Charles Shaw Chardonnay, better known as “Two Buck Chuck,” beat hundreds of other wines and was named the top prize in a prestigious tasting competition in California.

The affordable wine beat out 350 other California chardonnays to win the double gold. Second place went to an $18 bottle, and the most expensive wines at the event, at the price of $55, didn’t even medal. (from ABC News)

And in case you haven’t heard of Trader Joe’s or Two Buck Chuck, here’s some background from Wikipedia.

Charles Shaw is an American brand of “extreme value” wine produced in California.

These wines are currently Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and most recently Shiraz varietals and Valdigue in the style of Beaujolais nouveau,and Pinot Grigio in limited quanities all from California vineyards. They are distributed exclusively by Trader Joe’s grocery stores, and in California sell for $1.99. Because of this, the Charles Shaw wines are affectionately known as Two Buck Chuck.

Due to the three-tier system, in other states the price can go up to around $4. As such, the wine is often referred to as “Three Buck Chuck” or “Four Buck Chuck” relative to the price.

Charles Shaw is an example of the recent trend of economy-minded wine drinkers seeking the greatest value. In particular the brand stands out not only for the low cost, but also for the respectable packaging and semi-frequent high ratings at wine tasting events. For example, at the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition, Shaw’s 2002 Shiraz received the double gold medal, besting the roughly 2,300 other wines in the competition. More recently, Shaw’s 2005 California chardonnay was judged Best Chardonnay from California at the 2007 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. The chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of Best of California and Best of Class.If you don’t happen to live close to a TJ’s, don’t worry. Here’s a list of wines under $10 compiled from the NY Times, PJ Wine, and Fine Living that will help you find a great bottle of vino without breaking the bank.

Steenberg South Africa Sauvignon Blanc 2004, $8
Crisp, fresh, zesty and balanced, with unexpected depth. (Importer: Monsieur Touton Selections, New York)

J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône 2001, $8
Earthy and balanced, with lingering fruit flavors and a great sense of place. (W. J. Deutsch & Sons, White Plains, N.Y.)

’05 Arzuaga Ribera del Duero “La Planta,” $8.99
A PJ’s Wine of the Week: The nose carries lovely notes of black cherry, dusted cocoa, warm vanilla bean and a suggestion of oak. The palate boasts exquisite black cherry and plum flavors with hints of smoky minerality and a dark, milk chocolate-inflected finish. Serve this rich, fruity wine with roast pork tenderloin, pasta Bolognese, lamb chops or steak.

’05 Odfjell “Armador” Chile Cabernet Sauvignon, $7.97
This wine received a 90 point rating by The Wine Advocate, although no tasting note was given. It is another outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon value from this impressive Chilean producer. Bright red and black berries are followed by a touch of roasted red pepper and a hint of fresh jalape–o. The brightness of the nose carries through on the palate, which is smooth and loaded with cassis and blackberry flavors and chalk tones. This wine finishes with vibrant fruit and a touch of pleasingly dusty, ripe tannins. An expressive and distinctive Cabernet buy.

’01 Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva, $9.97
2001 is a breakout vintage for the consistently first-rate Marqués de Riscal Reserva. It offers beautifully plush, ripe black fruit flavors, smoky oak and mineral nuances coupled with outstanding balance and finish. It is without a doubt one of the greatest values in the store and a miracle at this price. Drink now or over the next 30 years!

Red Flyer 2003 California Red Table Wine, $ 9, California.
The label depicts a flying saucer zipping through a bleak postmodern landscape, but this award-winning combo of Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Carignan, and “Clone X” contains very pleasant hints of toasty oak.

Firestone Vineyard 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, $10, California.
Aged in stainless steel tanks, this one’s clean, bright and versatile — it would serve well as your house white. It’s 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, not a blend.

Folie à Deux 2004 Ménage à Trois California Red, $9, California.
Purify your thoughts, people. We’re talking about a blend of three grapes: Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot. This mouthful of a wine starts off vibrant and fruity and finishes with a fresh-ground, spicy bite. There’s nothing it can’t stand up to — throw your best summer barbecue at it. It won’t flinch.

14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $10, Washington.
Grown in the wine-making region of Washington state known as Horse Heaven Hills, the name of this super-smooth wine refers to the height of the mustangs that once ran wild there. Its lingering finish is reminiscent of the cherries for which the area is also known.

Alianca Vinho Verde, $7, Portugal.
Perhaps the classic summer white wine, this crisp Portuguese import is the crushed-grape equivalent of linens drying in the sunshine. The term “vinho verde,” or “green wine,” refers not to the color but means the wine is best drunk young.

Henry’s Drive Pillar Box Red 2004, $10, Australia.
Don’t be hoodwinked by the screw cap. This smoky, intense wine from Australia’s Padthaway winemaking region received a buzz-worthy rating of 90 out of 100 from The Wine Advocate reviewer Robert Parker. A rich, complex and lingering blend (primarily Cabernet), this is a treat you won’t soon forget.

Hacienda Pinot Noir 2002, $7, California.
This is a nice, light, fruity red for those who prefer less drama per sip than, say, rambunctious Pillar Box fans. On average one of the most inexpensive wines on this list, this Pinot Noir is better suited to a juicy pork tenderloin than a T-bone steak.

Viña Sila Las Brisas 2004, $10, Spain
Got some spicy shrimp cooking up on a skewer? Maybe enjoying a creamy chilled soup made with avocado and cucumber? This fresh, faintly citrusy white from Spain’s Rueda winemaking region will set off these summer dishes perfectly.

Doña Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2004, $9, Argentina.
A robust red with an intriguing chocolate-coffee taste on the finish, this winning selection is made from the increasingly popular Malbec grape. Malbecs, which were grown heavily in France but are now the prize variety of Argentina, tend to make deep, dark violet wines.

Smoking Loon Viognier 2004, $10, California.
This flavorful white from Don Sebastiani & Sons is on the sweet side of Chardonnay, very fruity and full. The winemaker recommends it as an aperitif, a palate cleanser, or a counterbalance to spicy foods like a searing Thai curry.

Photo from Flickr.



FOX is really promoting the hell out of this Simpsons movie. You probably know about the real life Kwik-E-Marts, but if you live under a rock, click here.

But besides 7-11, the Simpsons are partnering with a few other brands as well.

Another out-of-the-box promotional partnership for the movie is its tie-in with Vans, which hired 12 underground artists to design 14 different pairs of limited-edition “Simpsons”-inspired sneakers depicting their own interpretations of the animated characters.

For its part, JetBlue is partnering with “The Simpsons Movie” for its first official film promotion, labeling itself the “official airline of Springfield,” the Simpsons’ hometown. “We share a sense of humor with ‘The Simpsons,'” JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said. ” ‘The Simpsons’ poke fun at corporate America, and so do we.”

Burger King, which has tie-ins with “Transformers” and “Spider-Man” this summer, is running co-branded TV ads to support “The Simpsons Movie.” It will feature a line of “Simpsons” toys in kids meals, advertise its Ultimate Double Whopper as Homer’s favorite whopper and feature in-store point-of-sale materials. (from The Hollywood Reporter)

And now Ben & Jerry’s will be the official ice cream of Springfield, however, this promotion will only benefit the winners of the Real Springfield contest, those people in Springfield, Vermont.

It’s called “Duff and D’oh-Nuts” and it’s a combination of the two best flavors in the world– at least, according to Homer Simpson. The ice cream is a combination of chocolate and cream stout with chunks of glazed chocolate donuts. (from TV Squad)

Sounds delicious! Too bad it’ll only be offered to the fine citizens of Springfield and for one day and one time only.

Photo from Flickr.



Kobayashi surprised the world by participating in the annual Nathat’s Hot Dog Contest today after many reports said he was mourning his mother’s death, he had jaw arthritis, and he wasn’t training. Kobayashi was present and set a new hot dog eating record of 63 HDBs (hot dogs & buns eaten) breaking his record of 53.5 HDBs.

But then Joey Chestnut had to spoil his triumphant return in an even more triumphant showing.

Chestnut broke his recent record of 59.5 HDBs by setting a new world record of 66 HDBs in 12 minutes, and beating Kobayashi for the first time ending his 6-year reign.

The two gustatory gladiators quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the 17 competitors, processing more beef than a slaughterhouse within the first few minutes. The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut — the veins on his forehead extended — put away the final franks to end Kobayashi’s reign.

“This title’s been held by Kobayashi for six years, so it’s about time it came home,” said Chestnut, holding an American flag in his arms. “I knew going into this contest that Kobayashi was going to give 100 percent.” (from ESPN)

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Stinky Bklyn


Saw a small mention of this on the Bon Appetit editors blog and figured I’d look into it a little more. What’d I find out?

Well, if you’re in New York on June 24th and you have a hankering for some cheese, why not head down to Stinky Bklyn and compete for the Big Cheese Title Belt?

What’s in it for you? Well besides cheese (obviously) you get a free t-shirt for signing up and you’ll compete for the “Big Cheese Title Belt”, which will be displayed at Stinky Bklyn with your name for a full year.

On Sunday, June 24th at 2pm as part of the Smith St. fair, we will host our 1st annual cheese eating contest outside of Smith & Vine (268 Smith Street between Sackett St. & Degraw St.) at 2pm sharp. Contestants will have to show up by 1:45 and no later! There are only 20 spaces available and registration is a first come first serve basis. You must be 18 to enter, everyone gets a Stinky T-Shirt and registration is FREE! Come compete for glory! Come challenge the true warriors of cheese! Come find out how much Cantal you can cram down in 1 minute!

As for Stinky Bklyn, they have quite an impressive selection of cheeses to purchase and you can join their cheese club. According to the New York Times, they know what’s they’re doing.

Calling a cheese shop Stinky Bklyn is cheeky. But Patrick Watson and Michele Pravda, who own this new store at 261 Smith Street (DeGraw Street) in Carroll Gardens, mean it with affection for the borough and the 100 or so cheeses they carry. The two, who also own Smith & Vine, a wine shop across the street, emphasize cheeses from wine regions, including California, the Loire Valley and Italy. They also sell charcuterie, chocolates and utensils.

To register for the contest or for store info, call 718.522.7425.

Photo from Flickr.

An End of an Era in Coney Island?


Sad news from It looks like Kobayashi might be absent from the annual 4th of July Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. His mother recently died and he’s been on sabbatical.

“He’s not even in training,” the hot dog eating champion’s manager tells Shukan Gendai. “I haven’t heard a word from him about whether he’s going to take part in the July contest and there’s no way that I know to get in touch with him.”

And in related news…

American Joey Chestnut broke Kobayashi’s all-time record, and with the Nathan’s competition coming up July 4, amazingly, Kobayashi isn’t the favorite to win this time. And that’s if he even shows up.

In other competitive eating news, did you know that Eric “Badlands” Booker, one of Kobayashi’s top competitors was the matzo ball eating champ? According to Slate

The man to beat was the record holder (21 baseball-sized balls in 5 minutes, 25 seconds), Eric “Badlands” Booker. He is a New York City subway train conductor and a giant of a man at 420 pounds. I asked his advice, and we went to the small soup bowl displaying a few balls. He picked one up, felt and turned it, like Rodin contemplating a slab of marble. “Wow, these are pretty dense,” he said.

Nathan’s photo from Flickr.

Dinner with Obama

Dinner with Obama

Whether you’re going to vote for him or not, you gotta admit this is a pretty genius idea out of the Obama camp.

The chance to eat dinner with a presidential nominee and ask anything your heart desires just seems like a great way to really show that you don’t mind talking (and eating) with common folk.

4 lucky supporters will be picked at random to have dinner with Obama somewhere along the campaign trail. Transportation will be provided.

You can donate anywhere between $10 – $4600 (or other) to be eligible.

Four supporters who make a donation between now and 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, June 13, will join Barack for an intimate dinner for five.

Get the kind of treatment other politicians reserve for special interests. Make a donation today and you could share your story and your ideas with Barack in person.

Head over to for your chance to eat with the nominee.

4 Star All Stars


Top Chef 3 in Miami officially starts next week (June 13th) but tonight at 10pm on Bravo is the 4 Star All Star Challenge brings back some of the more popular contestants from the past 2 seasons to compete for charities.

You can see 5 minutes from tonight’s episode over on Yahoo. It looks pretty good. They only show the quickfire challenge, but the contestants have to prepare a dish using 2 eggs, with one hand behind their back.

Looks like it could be a classic episode.

Get Your Food Fix


Thank god there’s TiVo in our lives, cause if you’re a foodie then your TV season is about to begin. Thanks to the heads up by Eater LA.

The first show on the list (The Next Food Network Star) aired last night but they’ll be running repeats all week.

The Next Food Network Star
Premiere: Sunday, June 3, 9/8c
Network: Food Network
Stars: Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, etc.
Prize: A Food Network series
LA Moment: Contestant Nikki Shaw is the wife of former Lakers player Brian Shaw.
What We’re Watching For: Let’s be honest. Giada De Laurentiis’ low-cut, body-hugging cooking.
TiVo Recommendation: One green thumb up

Hell’s Kitchen
Premiere: Monday, June 4, 9/8c
Network: FOX
Stars: Gordon Ramsay
Prize: Head Chef of the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa, Las Vegas
LA Moment: Season 1 winner, Michael Wray, currently mans the kitchen at Tatou and will make a cameo.
What We’re Watching For: When Gordon Ramsay finally snaps and bludgeons a contestant to death.
TiVo Recommendation: Three green thumbs up

Top Chef
Premiere: Wednesday, June 13, 10/9c (with special event June 6, 10/9c)
Network: Bravo
Stars: Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Ted Allen
Prize: $100,000 to start a restaurant
LA Moment: Hunky 6’8″ Chris lives in Venice, where he’s a private chef for people like Arianna Huffington, a former pro volleyball player and–cue inspirational soundtrack–a cancer survivor.
What We’re Watching For: Comic relief by Queer Eye culinary expert Ted Allen.
TiVo Recommendation: Two green thumbs up

Photo from Flickr.