Winter is coming, and what better way to avoid buying a spread of winter weather accessories than packing on a few extra pounds for natural insulation?
Fortunately, there are a number of big-time eating challenges in the city to help with the process of warming oneself from the inside out and, if you're successful, score a massive free meal.
1. Pho challenge, Pho Cam Ly
This relatively recent addition to Uptown's Vietnamese dining spots offers a slurpable pho challenge. Brave diners can attempt to eat two pounds of noodles and two pounds of meat within one hour to get the meal for free. Champions also get a T-shirt, place on the restaurant's wall and major bragging rights. The flip side? Those who don't complete the challenge have to pay $40 for the meal.
2. "Tchoupitoulas" sundae challenge, Creole Creamery
This giant sugary challenge asks those with a serious sweet tooth to down eight scoops of ice cream with one's choice of eight toppings, whipped cream, cherries and wafers. Those who are successful get a place on the "wall of fame" alongside 598 other successful eaters.
3. "Bayou beast" challenge, Bayou Hot Wings
A fiery challenge at Bayou Hot Wings comes with a complicated rules system, as competitors attempt to eat 10 of the restaurant's spiciest wings in five minutes without the aid of water, napkins or side items. Wing enthusiasts who can stand the heat get their photo on the wall in addition to a commemorative T-shirt.
4. "Cannon burger" challenge, Bobby Hebert's Cajun Cannon
If you're up for a meatier bite, the "Cannon burger" arrives with seven beef patties cooked medium-well topped with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions and pickles. The burger itself is crowned with three fried shrimp and served with Cajun-spiced fries. If a single person is able to complete the challenge, he or she gets the $50 burger for free.
5. 15 Dozen club, Acme Oyster House
The 15 Dozen club challenges diners to slurp down 180 oysters within an hour in order to receive a hat, T-shirt, place on the restaurant's wall and ultimate bragging rights. Those who complete the challenge also get half off the price of the oysters they've eaten, but all competitors must pre-pay and there is an 18 percent gratuity.