Friday, July 1, 2011

Man Vs. Burrito At El Hidalgo -- Celebrate First Anniversary With Free Food If You Can Handle It

The Burrito And Mr. Monzon

El Hidalgo in Elkridge celebrated its first anniversary by pitting its menu against its customers.  

Daniel goes to El Hidalgo for the burrita prenada, the BBQ pork sandwich, and the tres leches cake.  But he went last night to report on the first time that the Tex-Mex restaurant offered up a two-foot burrito with the promise that you could get it free -- with a catch.

Daniel is a pro, so let him take it from here:
A classic showdown played out last night at an Elkridge restaurant: Man vs. Food.
Final tally: Food 2, Man 0. 

Two patrons at El Hidalgo Restaurant stepped up to take on the Ultimate Burrita Prenada, a 2-foot, 8-pound delicacy that owner Ricardo Vanegas added to the menu to mark the Tex-Mex joint’s one-year anniversary next week. 
The ginormous burrito goes for $39.95. But if you eat the whole thing within one hour, it’s free.
That’s a challenge Mario Monzon couldn’t pass up. Surrounded by about a dozen friends who came to cheer him on, the 26-year-old Catonsville man got off to a rousing start, mowing down a burrito made with grilled chicken, steak, poblano rice, black beans, pico de gallo, avocados, lettuce and sour cream. 
His strategy?  
“I just eat,” he said before he dived in. “I know I can eat.” 
But by the 30-minute mark, Monzon was struggling, and after 37 minutes, the white flag went up, with about half of the meal staring up at him. 
“It’s too big,” he said. “I’m gonna go take a nap.” 
Mr. Israel And His Enemy
Next up was Dave Israel, a 44-year-old engineer from Elkridge, who dined on the Tiki-torch-lined outdoor patio with his wife, Karen, and toddler son, Isaac. Despite enthusiastic, 
“You can do it!” encouragement from Karen, Israel made it a point to manage expectations from the start. 
“I want to go on the record as saying this is a bad idea,” Israel said with a chuckle. 
Israel’s approach was more deliberate than Monzon’s, but he, too, cried uncle after about a half hour, less than a third of the way through his meal. 
“I think it’s pretty impossible,” he said. “It’s like a party sub.” 
The Ultimate Burrita Prenada would have been on the menu sooner, but Vanegas had to wait for the 24-by-8-inch plates to arrive on special order from California. It’s one of several new items on a revamped menu intended to coincide with El Hidaglo’s anniversary on July 7. Vanegas is rolling out other food and drink specials to mark the occasion. 
Vanegas is a native of Colombia (the nation, not the planned community in Howard County) who lives in Clarksville. He runs the restaurant with help from several family members. 
Despite last night’s outcome, Vanegas believes the Ultimate Burrita Prenada can be vanquished. But it’s going to take someone special. 
“Someone who knows how to attack,” he said. 


Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

I have a sudden desire to test my mettle against this beast.

Vicky said...

My husband and I love El Hildago and go there frequently enough that the owner recognizes us - but when we saw that giant burrito on the menu, we knew we wouldn't be able to handle it. Their portions are already large enough! I am considering getting 4 people together to see if we can take the burrito down that way.