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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shoving Hot Dogs in Face Holes

So when's the last time you ate four hotdogs—in three minutes? (Or two at once, like this dude?) Last night several locals did a lil' something like that as part of a hot dog-eating contest that went down at The Planet on North Fremont in Monterey, an event that doubled as the grand opening party for Doggie Stylez (373-1449), a dog peddling outfit within the club-restaurant-bar.

The immediate takeaway: As food experiences go, eating contests are engaging action, in at least two different ways.

One, it is damn entertaining to see competitors, especially amateurs, stuff that many dogs and buns in their face holes. And stomach-turning. And awesome. And horrifying. And hilarious. The gag reflexes and wide-eye expressions and cheek stretching are of particular intrigue. Turning away is involuntary. So is turning to watch more.

Two, it evokes some bigger questions about our appetites for gluttony and spectacle, not to mention hunger and obesity.

Then there's always the less-intense question: How'd the winner do it? George (above), who declined to provide his last name because he was sheepish about being known for eating six dogs in the tiny three-minute-plus window, broke it down like this.

"You gotta just f****** do it," he said. "Once you decide to do it, you gotta just do it."

My money was on DJ Fredo (above), who spun and wisecracked for Jammin 97.9 for a long time and now is helping launch a local ESPN radio affiliate (at 630 AM), since he's swallowed some sickening morsels on Fear Factor and is a gamer: He always played well at Good Old Days Media Tournament, and as part of his new program he takes on peeps like the Harlem Globetrotters at their own craft. "Mind over matter is the key," he said—after losing me $3.

Domingo Rivera does Doggie Stylez every Tuesday and Thursday at Anthony Lane's The Planet, a hub for young shennanigans like Beirut (or "beer pong") and themed nights like salsa, Italian and comedy. The menu is pretty simple and saucy: A choice of original, polish, hot or smart dog foundation is $3 and toppings like chili, cheese, bacon and guacamole are a $1 each to lavish on, or folks can wrestle with a Cali (with bacon, guac and cheese, $6) or a DaKine (bacon, pineapple, teryaki, $4).

Or they can always request a bunch of dogs, buns and a pitcher of water and see how many they can cram in their craw in 180 seconds.