Lee Vs. Food suffers first defeat at the hands of El Criminal

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Lee Vs. Food was created after Lee conquered the El Triple in 2017.  Since then he remains undefeated… cue El Criminal!

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It was the launch weekend of the new El Criminal challenge (February 2018) and Lee dropped in to Mission Burrito on Park Street, Bristol in an attempt to take the colossal 5LB burrito (with chips) down! We first caught up with Lee as his beast of a burrito was being made:

What makes you want to take the challenges on? 

I just love food. Really love burritos which is why I did El Triple.

How have you prepared?

I haven’t eaten since 4pm yesterday – when I had a big bowl of vegetables to stretch my stomach. I’ve just stuck to water today. In the middle of any challenge you do ‘hit a wall’ but I think I’ll be fine.

How many challenges have you completed up to now?

Today is number 9. I only started in October last year and have not failed one so far. I have been known to order a dessert afterwards too! Voodoo Q was the hardest so far and I am the only person to finish it!

Do you enjoy the food while you are completing the challenge?

I absolutely love food so definitely. When I did El Triple it was one of the more enjoyable challenges as the food is really good.

El Criminal is served!

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And in an epic attempt Lee surrendered after 65 minutes.  Lee 8 – 1 Food. His first defeat! What happened?

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How does El Criminal weigh up to other challenges you’ve done?

Obviously bigger (as I didn’t finish it) but it was a real thing of beauty. It’s size was what got me, not the flavours. I liked how it kept changing as I moved through the 3 different meats and salsas. I DID finish the nachos (that’s a small victory – isn’t it?!) but it is a real monster of a burrito.

Other than the El Triple, this is the only other burrito challenge I’ve attempted. I’ve taken on lots of burgers and curries (really hot ones!) but I love Mexican food. The spice didn’t hit me, it was the size!

What was the most difficult part? 

Just the size. The hardest part mentally is accepting I was defeated. I REALLY wanted to beat this, especially knowing that I could be the first to take this down, it was hard to walk away. I was convinced I would beat it but have completely under estimated it. Everyone has a physical limit and once you reach that, it’s not going to happen. The average human stomach can hold 2.5lbs of food, so at twice the size it will take some further training… yes that is a thing!

Any tips for future contenders?

Don’t take it lightly, its a BIG burrito. Most El Triple champions will probably think they can ace this (I did) but trust me, this is serious. You need a game plan…

  • Don’t just turn up having had a normal breakfast or lunch, you’ll need to train to a degree.
  • Stretch your stomach around 24 hours before.
  • Go in hungry.
  • Use plenty of liquids to help it down, but not too much as water fills you up too.
  • Generally you would go for proteins (meat) first but that’s harder with a burrito given the way its made.
  • Can you handle spice? If like me you have a natural tolerance to heat… then you’ll be okay!

Last words of wisdom?

Give it a go anyway – it delicious – but don’t expect to get out with a t-shirt!!

If you think you can put away the El Criminal visit your nearest Mission Burrito to take on this challenge.

El Criminal, our biggest, hottest burrito ever, is released!

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We have launched a new burrito eating challenge that is set to be our most notorious yet! El Criminal is a colossal 5LB burrito, loaded with three meats, rice, beans, salad & cheese; smothered like only a criminal would with sour cream and increasingly hot salsas.

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The new challenge replaces El Triple which was attempted by thousands of customers since its launch in 2012.  El Criminal is almost twice the weight of the previous challenge and includes the full range of our fresh salsas from mild to very hot.  The size and escalating level of could just make this the biggest burrito challenge the UK has ever seen. 

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We got customers involved in designing the new burrito eating contest last year by asking burrito fans “what would be your ultimate food challenge?”  Jon Scorer, a Communications Manager at Phase Worldwide in Bristol, won the competition and is the brains behind El Criminal. Jon explains how he came up with the challenge “My idea for the ultimate challenge was inspired by an epic sandwich I had six years ago from a street vendor in Mexico City.  It involved three different meats, melted cheese and was smothered in two HOT Mexican chilli sauces. I’ve always nostalgically dreamed about that sandwich, it gave me the idea for the El Criminal Burrito Challenge!”

He goes on to tell us how it feels to see his idea go live “It’s amusing to see the burrito concept come to life. I think it might be a little extreme for me to handle the whole thing but I’m glad many braver than me will get to take it on!”

From today customers can attempt to ‘put away’ the El Criminal in all Mission Burrito restaurants.  The challenge costs £25 and those who succeed and overcome El Criminal will receive a t-shirt and their name will be added to the Heroes Roll of Honour online.

Find out more about how you can take on El Criminal.

Reducing our plastic footprint

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Today we have taken the first steps in reducing our plastic footprint, and it feels good!

With immediate effect all Mission Burrito restaurants have introduced recyclable, compostable and biodegradable takeaway food boxes and cutlery.  Existing plastic takeaway boxes, used to serve tacos, rice and salad boxes, are replaced with kraft containers made from sustainable board and biodegradable PLA lining. Plant starch cutlery, produced from renewable cornstarch, replaces the plastic knives and forks previously used.

For dine in customers, we’ll serve menu items such as the nachos, rice and salad boxes in ceramic dishes with metal cutlery. We’ll continue to use our reusable red baskets for burritos until we find a suitable alternative.  As we look to remove one time use plastics wherever possible, we have replaced plastic cups with glasses at our water stations.

Jan Rasmussen, founder & director, commented: “Our customers are passionate about reducing our impact on the environment and we’ve listened to their feedback and suggestions on how to reduce one time use plastics in our restaurants. We trialled the new takeaway boxes in Bristol and they’ve been a big success.

As an independent, family owned business we are in a fortunate position where we can roll this out across all our restaurant outlets immediately. This is an important first step towards making a meaningful change.”

Year of the Burrito: Is this the UK’s biggest burrito fan?

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When a post like this pops up on your Instagram feed you can’t help but have a sneak peak at the person behind the camera!

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Luckily we did because we may have just discovered the UK’s biggest burrito fan? Meet @reckless_abandon86, aka Linnea, a petite burrito loving self confessed food fanatic with a New Year’s pledge to eat at least one burrito a week during 2017. Not only did the challenge capture our interest, we also love that her favourite burritos are Mission Burrito!

It might be that Linnea sensed the Instagram stalking or it was just coincidence that she contacted us to ask about our Man vs Burrito challenge. In week 42 of her pledge she took on the El Triple, we went along to witness her attempt and chat to her about the year of burritos so far.

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Linnea told us: “some weeks I have two or three burritos, I’m hoping to hit 70 by the end of the year! People are already associating me with burritos, sending me links of new places to go and try. I’ve eaten burritos in Sweden, Amsterdam and Spain. But, Mission burrito is the godfather of all burritos! When we want a big one we come here.” Her favourite burrito is the Ancho beef or the Cochinita Pibil special, she said: “people tell me I’m going to get fat. But, you can make them really healthy so I know that’s not going to happen”.

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As we sat and chatted with Linnea, she was half way through her el triple. We asked how she felt about taking on the monstrous challenge and her love for burritos “I ate a bit this morning and again for lunch to prepare my stomach for the triple. I’d say my level of love for a burrito is 10. But, right now it’s about a 2! Tomorrow when I wake up it’ll be back to a ten again!”

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In Linnea’s words “I thought I’d walk the triple. But I merely stumbled through it!” A man vs burrito champ and she can now wear the t-shirt with pride! Before Linnea rolled out of the restaurant we had to ask her about the burrito tattoo she mentioned in an Instagram post “yes, I’m going to get a burrito tattoo on my foot with the number of burritos I’ve eaten at the end of the year”.  And, her reaction was very polite when we asked if it would be a dedication to her favourite burrito (lol): “I don’t know how it’s going to look yet”. Well we look forward to seeing it next year!

It’s now week #47 and burrito #62. We will be catching up with Linnea in the New Year to see if she reached her goal of 70 burritos.

One man’s week of burritos

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Way back in the summer Mission Burrito fan, Jonathon, entered our competition to describe the ultimate food eating challenge. Inspired by his experience of street food in Mexico City the challenge, which will be revealed later this year, is a proper ‘belly full’! Jon’s prize – free burritos for a week!

Instead of scoffing up to three burritos a day Jon asked if he could bring a mate along for lunch each day of the challenge. What a kind gesture we thought, but here’s why… “It was too hard to choose which friend to take so I ran a competition the week before where my friends competed to make me the ultimate sandwich each day. The best sandwich makers were invited for a burrito! You need to milk these sorts of opportunities. ” And, that he did… free lunch for two weeks!

Take a look at Jon’s ‘week of burritos’ photos to see who the lucky sandwich makers were!

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Day 1 & 2: Good friend, Tom Edwards, used the free burrito opportunity to carb load for a marathon in Budapest on day 1. Followed by old pal, ‘Sailor’ Joel, who returned from a stormy voyage in Cornwall – Jon thought he needed some sustenance to warm his cockles.

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Days 3 & 4: Jon was on a mission to cheer up his friend Evie ‘The Mexican Wrap Queen’ Dickinson after her house nearly burned down the weekend before. On day 4, Ladies that lunch – mum and daughter – were dressed to impress (in matching outfits). Little Dusty said the burrito was ‘yum’!

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Day 5 & 6: A surprise (nice surprise of course!) date night with girlfriend Ally (she looks happy!) and a Sunday surprise for Jess & little Nancy. Jon was again in cheer-up mode as Jess missed out on a 7-course Michelin star meal in London because her hubby was ill!

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Day 7: Jon dined alone to mourn the end of his burrito marathon!

At the end of a grueling week of burrito eating in Bristol we caught up with Jon to find out if his level of burrito love had diminished or if the love affair was still very much alive, he said: “my level of burrito love was a constant 10/10 all week, although I did ditch the burrito on the last day for nachos.”  Jon told us that he tried various combos for the first 5 days before settling on his favourite.

Jon vowed to have a week off but going cold turkey was not going to be easy. Then this happened “It’s not even half way through the week and I’m already considering chucking today’s quinoa salad lunch out the window and sneaking off for a cheeky ancho beef!” Did he have the will power to stay away?!

JON’S FINAL STATS:

Total burritos consumed: 6 + Nachos Grande

Total calories: he asked us not to work this out!

Favourite burrito: regular ancho beef (no rice) with pinto beans and peppers, all the salad with extra jalapenos, guacamole, cheese and salsa verde.

Best date: date night with his girlfriend, Ally. Awwww… how sweet! (Although he had to say that as the choice of restaurant didn’t go down well! Nothing wrong with a romantic burrito date – we think!)