It's not every night I see someone do something I've never seen before, but I don't want to jump the gun.
Like other food voyeurs, I went down to Cafe Gutenburg tonight for the 1st Annual Tofu-Eating contest to celebrate their one year anniversary because, you know, nothing says celebration like vegetarian gluttony.
The tofu trash-talking was already in progress when I got my wristband and found a prime viewing location.
There were ten contestants, evenly divided between the sexes; there was the guy with the Swiss cheese hat, the girl with the sequined shoulder pads, the guy with the samurai headband and others who just wore their everyday look.
The chosen ten had twelve minutes to eat four pounds of tofu scramble and if the weight doesn't give you some idea of the size of the portions, I was told that they came in at about three quarts each.
Once the contest began, the cheerleading started in full force.
"Find your spirit animal!" when a contestant took a momentary break from eating.
"H2 NO!" when a contestant dared to drink water and take up valuable stomach space.
"Shake it out!" when a contestant stood to stretch.
"That's the way!" when a contestant burped eight minutes in, trying to make more room.
Of the ten, three chose to eat with their hands for speed's sake.
Getting close to the end (and, just so you know, twelve minutes is interminable whether you're competing or watching a tofu-eating contest) one girl got a stricken look on her face and then vomited into her hand.
Being a trooper, however, she ate it (she'd have been disqualified otherwise).
The guy next to me looked at me and said, "She's eating what she threw up!" causing another guy nearby to respond, "She's my hero."
After twelve minutes, their troughs were assessed and the emptiest-looking three taken to the back to be weighed.
The winner was cheese-head guy, who had declared before the start that he'd never eaten tofu before; apparently this was to psyche out his fellow contestants.
And he even used a fork.
Needless to say, the one thing I wasn't going to eat after such an event was tofu, but I was hungry despite what I'd seen.
Gull was setting up to play and despite how many times I've seen Nate perform, I never get tired of a man who can play guitar, drums and sing simultaneously.
So I did order the Gulf Shrimp Nicoise with grilled shrimp, romaine hearts, baby green beans, plum tomatoes and a lemon-caper dressing, which had a unique flavor and really complemented the salad, much like the way Gull's music complemented my meal.
One of the contestants came over to talk to me while I ate, rubbing her belly and telling me how stuffed she felt, even pointing to the area of her body where she said all that tofu was now lodged.
I can't imagine any of them will be able to look at tofu for a while; I know I won't be able to.
So I got to see something new tonight. It might have even come close to the time I saw a girl throw up into her hair at a show in Norfolk, but it couldn't quite match the spectacle I saw tonight.
Happy anniversary, Cafe Gutenburg, and many happy returns.
I'm thinking your tofu scramble should become the featured item on the menu from here on out...if nothing else, for sentimental reasons.