On Thursday night I made the quite familiar trip from Missoula to Spokane so I could spend the evening with my mom who was celebrating her 55th birthday. My mom chose Northern Quest*, a popular casino resort right on the outskirts of Spokane, to mark her special day. My mom and brother ventured out to Quest in the late afternoon to start their gambling odyssey. By the time I arrived in town and my dad and I made it out to the resort, it was dinner time.
We decided to eat at The Q, a sports bar restaurant inside Northern Quest. The restaurant’s menu is very diverse with many tempting choices, but this particular time my brother and I knew exactly what we were going to order the minute we walked into The Q’s entrance. While waiting in line to get a table, we glanced at the board that contained the day’s specials and saw that Thursday featured “The Big Dog” for $9. Now I love hot dogs but I usually don’t order them as my entrée at restaurants. I usually wait to throw them back at ball games and outdoor BBQs. But on this night, a voice just seemed to whisper in my ear that I needed to go with the hot dog. Obviously, my brother had the same voice speaking in his ear as well. Our waitress took our order: My dad asked for the reuben sandwich, my mom got a burrito, and my brother and I said we both wanted The Big Dog. Our waitress asked us if we wanted to add chili and cheese to the dog for $3 more. She really didn’t need to twist our arms, we both said YES.
My brother and I had absolutely no idea what we were in for. Of course we both took note of the name of the item as well as the description on the menu that said the dog was 22 inches long but what we were about to have put in front of us dramatically exceeded our expectations.
The four of us were really enjoying ourselves. Sipping on our drinks and munching on a soft pretzel appetizer while watching the Olympics in the busy bar, we didn’t even see the waitress coming up behind our table with our food. By the time she was a couple feet from us she got our attention and my eyes widened and my jaw dropped.
The waitress immediately caught the look of disbelief on my face as she lightly laughed and waited for my brother and I to clear the table of everything so there would be adequate room to place our dinners in front of us. In two greatly elongated trays laid two gigantic hot dogs fit to feed a small army. Smothered in chili and cheese and with TWO big mounds of fries on both ends of the tray, I almost had a heart attack on the spot. Now I am not saying The Q’s menu purposely underestimated the size of these dogs but let’s just say they looked much bigger than 22 inches. Take a look at the picture and decide for yourself.
It took two minutes just for my brother and I to let the realization of what sat in front of us sink in. Then came the feeling of a little bit of embarrassment. People at the surrounding tables were glancing over at what sat in front of us. I felt like a pig. But eventually my hunger overpowered the shock and embarrassment and after eating some of the fries, I picked up my fork and the knife that came with the dog and dug in. As an avid watcher of “Man Vs. Food” I genuinely felt like I was on the show itself. Intrigued by food challenges that restaurants across the nation offer for brave customers, I have never participated in one up to this point. Although the Big Dog is not billed as an official food challenge at The Q, I felt like that was exactly what it was. It seemed to me like the only way someone was going to finish that thing was if he/she had an abnormally huge appetite, there was some type of incentive involved for finishing it, and the ambitious eater had a small cheering section.
I started eating the dog with the best of intentions and with a pretty high level of hunger. Eating a bag of chips for lunch, traveling, and then sitting down for a late dinner had me in an eating mood. Conversely, taking away from a better performance was the pretzel appetizer my family shared along with the 25 ounce beer I had just about completely downed. All things considered, I put my best eating effort forward. However, even with my mom and dad cutting off a bite here and there for themselves, I didn’t even finish half of The Big Dog. In fact, I didn’t even manage to finish off one of the mounds of fries. My brother did just a tad better than me. My respect for people who conquer eating challenges skyrocketed.
Our waitress brought out boxes for us and we somehow managed to fit our leftovers into them. As we piled the remains into the styrofoam containers, she remarked that people usually order The Big Dog to split…yep, seems about right. Of course the minute our Big Dogs came out to our table we were taking pictures and posting to social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all got a taste (no pun intended) of what Glen and I were eating for dinner. A few of my favorite comments: “Does that come with a shot of pepto?” – “How many animals were killed to prepare that meal?” – “Did you order that for your whole family?” – “Is that for real?” – “Looks like you will have leftovers for a week.”
Just a couple more notes: Although I didn’t have leftovers for a whole week, I did have a couple more meals with The Big Dog after Thursday night. When it is not on special, the Big Dog is $12.95. If you ask me, just at regular price that is quite the bargain! Again, the amount of food is just outrageous. At its Thursday special price of $9, I don’t know if there is a better food deal in the state of Washington. Just the amount of fries alone is sufficient enough for a meal. Speaking of fries, you get the choice of regular fries, garlic fries, or waffle fries. I got garlic fries and my brother got waffle fries. Because it was my mom’s birthday she got free dessert which was a big piece of ice cream pie. Like good sons, Glen and I helped her eat it, even though our bellies ached.
Ordering The Big Dogs added to the memorable evening of celebrating my mom’s special day. Surely we will always look back on her 55th birthday as the time we ate ourselves silly and ordered something we were totally unprepared to eat. I hope people who read this post and who venture out to Northern Quest in the future will order The Big Dog and try their luck at conquering a real beast. If you do, make sure you take pictures and send me the end result. On Thursday night at Northern Quest I went toe-to-toe with food and in my inaugural battle, food won. Don’t Blink.
* Other Northern Quest related blog posts I have written: