Sef Gonzalez recalls the time when he almost gorged himself to death on hamburgers.
“It was at Hooters and I had just eaten a Double D burger, which they don’t even have anymore, but it was like a pound of beef with bacon and cheese,” he said. “And I had already eaten a bunch of wings and shrimp and had a few beers before that.
“And my friend dared me to eat another Double D burger.”
So he stuffed another pound of beef piled high with bacon and cheese right down his gullet. But it wasn’t easy.
“I had to stand to eat the last three bites because I couldn’t sit down. I thought I was going to faint. I thought I was going to have to take myself to the hospital.”
Although his skin was clammy and his heartbeat faint, Gonzalez survived that episode, even though he had a horrible night in which we won’t even go into detail here.
But it was nothing a few hours of sleep couldn’t cure. When he awoke, he felt like a new man. In fact, when he awoke, he was a new man.
He was the Burger Beast.
A few months later, he launched the Burger Beast blog knowing there was no burger that could conquer him. No burger that could dominate him. No burger that could outlast him.
He had conquered the big Double D, which they don’t even serve at Hooter’s anymore. It had to be retired because of him. At least according to Hooter’s lore.
“The waitress told me she never seen anybody finish one, much less two,” he said.
Today, 10 months after launching his blog, the Burger Beast has earned the respect of local and national hamburger joints to the point where they send him coupons, invites and, as in the case of last week, allow him to create his own menu.
John Martin’s Irish Pub is more than just a burger joint, of course, which is even more impressive considering the number of food bloggers who operate in South Florida that don’t get the run of the restaurant on a single night.
But then again, most of those bloggers probably don’t frequent the same joint at least five days a week.
“Mondays are their slow night so I asked them to let me create the menu and I’ll bring in the people,” Gonzalez, who works at Metro PCS across the street from the pub, said.
Now he plans on talking to the managers at John Martin’s to make it a regular feature. As long as he keeps bringing in customers, they wouldn’t have a problem with it, said general manager Cristina Moguel.
“Take a look, everybody’s having a great time tonight,” she said. “We would love to have it like this every Monday.”
The menu included a “WTF Burger” – a three-patty burger infused with 1,000 Island dressing, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese on the bottom, lettuce, tomato, avocado, Swiss cheese in the middle and garlic mayo, bacon, cheddar cheese and crispy onions on the top.
The most popular meal of the night was the “Family of Four” – a collection of four sliders, each with individual and varied toppings and cheeses.
The menu also included the “Stuffed Bison Burger” – consisting of a Stilton cheese stuffed bison burger with bacon, mushrooms, provolone, crispy onion and more, which was a favorite for Dave from the South Florida Beer Blog.
In September, on the blog’s one-year anniversary, Gonzalez plans to give out engraved plaques to the local restaurants that he determines serve the best burgers.
“I’m always trying out new places, so you never know,” he said.