Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest at Taste of Lincoln in Chicago, Illinois.

Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest


Friday I woke up sick. Actually, I woke up all night sick and needless to say that when my alarm clock went off at 6:45 I was feeling pretty damned crappy. It really felt like food poisoning. Not fun.

Unfortunately I knew I had a big email blast waiting to go at work and I didn’t want us to have to put it off until Monday, so I got myself up and went off to work. Sick + train ride = very very nauseous val 🙁

I spent most of the morning with my head on my desk waiting for our design company to fix something before I could send out my email. Finally at around 12 I finished up and left. Sick + second train ride = very very very nauseous Val.

I literally slept the rest of the day away, woke up around 7 feeling better. Watched the first disk of 24 season 4 (Netflix is raping me because I’ve been averaging watching 1 disc per month the last few months). And then went back to sleep.


Saturday: Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest and Venetian Night

Luckily Saturday I woke up feeling much much better. So, what do you do the day after you’ve been out with food poisoning? Why, go drink some beer and watch people eat sandwiches of course!

Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest at Taste of Lincoln in Chicago, Illinois.

There was an MLE (Major League Eating) event at the Taste of Lincoln Avenue, so of course I was there! I mean, I’ve driven half way across the country and flown even further to see people eat large quantities of food, I’m not going to miss one that’s right in my back yard!

I managed to get Emily to say she’d go with me, so I called her up to see where and when she wanted to meet. Turns out the party she was at to watch the Cubs lose was about 3 feet from where the contest would be. So I met her and Julie and others there and grabbed some beer and chips. I actually was able to sucker a few of them into coming to the contest with me. If you’re keeping track this was the fifth Major League Eating event that I’ve been to in the past year. If you’re keeping track, that is.

I left a little earlier than everyone else to make sure I’d secure us some prime spots. Good thing, because by the time everyone else meandered out of the apartment, George Shea had already taken the stage and a pretty large crowd had formed.

Maybe it was the fact that everyone was already kind of tipsy, but we couldn’t stop laughing as the players were announced. I just thought it was awesome that I was able to get others to enjoy my particular kind of crazy as everyone seemed to be enjoying it (well, except maybe Julie, who still thought it was all pretty disguising).

Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest at Taste of Lincoln in Chicago, Illinois.

All the competitors were announced. I think my friends particularly burst out laughing at the “four horseman of the esophagus” line. Three of my favorite eaters were eating: Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, Tim “Gravy” Brown, and Pat “Does he have a nickname?” Vandam. Tim saw me from the stage and waved. 🙂 After the eaters took the stage the makers were announced and everyone took their positions. Unfortunately the makers were in the back, so you couldn’t actually see them make sandwiches.

This contest was a little different than most. It was the Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest. It pitted three sandwich makers against three MLE eaters. Could the eaters eat the sandwiches as fast as the makers could make them?

The countdown began and then the eaters were…well…forced to stand there and twiddle their thumbs while the sandwich makers got going. Finally a freshly wrapped sandwich was brought out and the Pats grabbed it and tore it in half. This event was different than most, it was all about teamwork. There were only two counters on stage: one for how many were made and one for how many were eaten. It would be a group total, so they were sharing sandwiches and helping each other out.

Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest at Taste of Lincoln in Chicago, Illinois.

At first the eaters were doing pretty well and keeping a good pace, but slowly the sandwiches started piling up. I have to admit they looked pretty hard to eat. I mean, a hot dog is just a hot dog, these had thick bread and meat and probably vegetables and condiments. Pat Bertoletti said afterwards that he had one that was mostly sprouts and “how do you eat that?” Personally shredded lettuce makes me ill (seriously, I know it’s a weird thing but I just can’t eat it) so I wouldn’t be able to eat one of those things (I like their slims…meat, bread, a packet of mayo, it’s all you need in a sandwich), but add in all that lettuce and I’d have a reversal in a second.

Anyways, the sandwiches were coming out too fast. Tim threw one into the audience and my friends caught it and ate it. More came out, he threw a couple more but there was still a pile. Soon the clock wound down and their fate was sealed: the eaters lost. The Jimmy John’s sandwich makers made too many sandwiches too quickly for the three to eat.

Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Making and Eating Contest at Taste of Lincoln in Chicago, Illinois.

After the contest I said hi to Tim and to Pat and my friends bombarded him with questions. We went back and hung out at Jason’s apartment, pondered temp tattoos at the fest (Em so needs to get either “Babe” or a Jesus Fish across her chest) and took pictures with Abe Lincoln.

as I was taking a picture:

Honest Abe: Is that a Canon?
Me: Yes.
Honest Abe: Please don’t point a cannon at me.

Later Julie and I headed to the lakefront for Venetian Night. Heather met up with us and we spent too short of a time watching decorated boats go by. Seriously, Venetian Night used to have way less of a crowd and way more boats. This time there was a huge crowd and hardly any boats.

Venetian Night in Chicago.

My favorite was some yacht club boat that didn’t decorate at all. The guy kept blowing the boat horn on it and all the old ladies on it quivered and covered their ears. It was kind of funny.

Venetian Night in Chicago.

We stayed for fireworks then I headed with Heather to check out her swanky new place.

I was going to go out afterwards but I was still feeling kind of sick, so after two failed cab rides (seriously can cabs get you anywhere correctly?) I decided it was time to call it a night.



While watching the original Parent Trap with Julie and Em we noticed that in the scene where they all go camping they bring along a couple of donkeys to carry all their shit around. I immediately texted JoeJoe and told him that he has to bring donkeys along when we go camping in a month. He texted back that I’ll have to settle for ponies. There best be ponies.

That’s all I’ve got.


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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