In my Pittsburgh recap, I mentioned that Marty and I decided to head back to Columbus earlier than we originally planned. Instead of staying in Pittsburgh for lunch, we woke up around seven and were on the road back to Columbus around eight. So we decided to come back early…but why? The Fiery Foods Festival!
What is the Fiery Foods Festival? It’s an annual spicy foods festival held at the North Market (an indoor market comprised of independent merchants and artisans.) While Marty and I have been to the North Market on a few occasions, we have never been to one of the annual festivals (including the Harvest Fest, Microbrew Fest, Food & Wine Fest, and many others!)
Marty and I LOVE to eat spicy foods so we knew this would be right up our alley.
Around three o’clock Marty and I were enjoying some homemade salsa (from the amateur salsa contest) when I heard someone announce, ‘Popcorn Eating Contest’ over the loud speaker. I looked at Marty and said, “I’m in!” I honestly had no idea what it would consist of but I can definitely consume a massive amount of popcorn so I thought I’d have a chance.
Little did I know the actual name of the contest: Volcanic Popcorn Husker Balls from Hell. What did I get myself into? By the time I found this out, it was too late. I was committed. I looked at the guy to my left and told him we probably didn’t have a chance (we were really the only ones with 1) hair 2) non ‘beast-like’ appearance – I mean this in the nicest way possible.) Not to mention I was the only girl!
As the emcee counted down from three. I braced myself. Two popcorn balls before me. I can do this. They aren’t that hot. It’s just popcorn. Boy, was I wrong.
The white popcorn ball was hot, but manageable. I got it down pretty quickly; however, the red popcorn ball (the one the emcee referred to as ‘the Ass-Kicker’) was on a whole other level. I took my first bite and within seconds I started to cough. Oh my gosh. I continued to press on and about 1/3 the way through, tears ran rapidly down my cheeks. It was then that I heard the emcee announce the guy to my left as the first place winner. No trophy for me.
But wait! There were two prizes! One for first place and one for second place. I looked side-to-side and saw that I was well on my way to that second place prize. Just a couple more bites and….FINISHED!
I ended up taking second place.
It is rare that I ever win anything – let alone an eating contest – but I ended up walking away with a $10 gift card to Volcanic Peppers (they supplied the ‘heat’ for the popcorn balls) and a $25.00 gift card to North Market. All in a days work…
Being that I gave up sweets for Lent, I knew I couldn’t run and grab Jeni’s Ice Cream (they have a location in North Market) so Marty ran and found me a big carton of milk. It didn’t stop the burning completely but it definitely helped.
We stayed a little longer, picked up some volcano dust popcorn powder and decided to call it a day.
So tell me – do you enjoy spicy foods? What was the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten?