The Unofficial Kookamonga Challenge at Kooky Canuck

A Food Bloggers Summit

On December 14, 2011, I got together with four other food bloggers to take on the Kookamonga Challenge at Kooky Canuck. The challenge is "unofficial" because it is limited to one person. Still, I was up for it along with the other participants:
Seth Agranov - Best Memphis Burger and organizer of the challenge and "food blog summit."

Tiffany Langston - Tiffany Tastes

Kevin Martin - Burn My Mouth
Shannon Little - Memphis Foodie
This was the first time that all of us got together, along with two others who are the spouses of the lady bloggers. Before I go on, I want to say that Seth's write-up of the event is spot-on accurate (Shannon and Tiffany also wrote great reviews). However, I'm adding my take on this because of a tweet I made afterward on my personal Twitter account. The tweet may have been misinterpreted by fans of Kooky Canuck.

That evening, I believe everyone had a great time and enjoyed all of the food served by an excellent, professional server who made sure that the dinner party was taken care of. Shawn Danko, owner of the Kooky Canuck, was a great host who made everyone feel welcome. As someone who visits the restaurant often, I have never had a bad experience. I always get great food and service from Kooky's with a smile. I have never left the restaurant feeling anything other than satisfaction in quelling my appetite. So when Shawn read my tweet, he felt I was talking about how I was treated. Rather, I was referring to someone that I encountered later at the Flying Saucer. Despite the praise he gets (including from my fellow food bloggers) he is not a nice person to me and some of the ladies who work at the Saucer. I apologize for giving the impression that Kooky Canuck treated me poorly, for nothing could be further from the truth. Everything at Kooky's that night was excellent.

We started off with the "star" of the evening, the 7½ pound Kookamonga Burger. It was a sight to see, although I thought the burger was bigger (I might have confused it with Kooky's twelve pound King Kookamonga Burger). Even though the burger was intimidating, the seven of us managed to knock it out. To my surprise, I was able to eat my slice like I would any other burger. The bun, despite its size, is soft and fluffy enough to mash down into something manageable so a fork wasn't needed. The patty itself, about 1½ inches in thickness, was juicy, tender and well seasoned. In terms of eating and digesting, it was similar to eating a Wendy's Triple (with better quality) and I didn't need a beverage to "wash" it down. Kudos to Shawn and his chefs for creating a huge burger that can be shared with friends and is easy to eat.

After we finished the burger, the group ordered several other items from the menu. Kevin, who blogs for Burn My Mouth, ordered a half-and half combination of chicken wings, with one portion flavored "Hot" and the other dubbed "HOLY SMOKE!" The latter is appropriately named, because after eating ONE wing, I immediately grabbed a glass of water and started gulping. Despite drinking water, the tip of my tongue still burned. I eventually resorted to sucking on an ice cube for thirty minutes. If Kevin can eat a dozen "HOLY SMOKE!" wings, I'm not sure anything can burn his mouth.

Once I recovered from the "HOLY SMOKE!" wing, I dug into one of my favorite desserts, the Cookie a la Mode. It is a huge scoop of ice cream on top of a large cookie set inside a small skillet. The ice cream and cookie combination that I chose was vanilla and chocolate chip, which conjures childhood memories. Because the cookie comes straight from the oven, its texture is soft and somewhat similar to a cake. With the melted chocolate, the cookie makes for a hefty dessert on its own. Throw in the vanilla ice cream, and a creamy sweet masterpiece is created. The picture that I posted of the dessert doesn't do it justice.

(It would be nice if I got a five megapixel camera with a flash for Christmas.)

Because of all the water I drank previously, I couldn't finish the Cooke a la Mode like I normally do. Still, outside of the Kookamonga Burger, it was the best part of the meal.

Once everyone finished eating, we talked about various food-related topics and compared notes. As we were talking, I wondered how much the dinner would cost us. It turned out that the entire dinner, including the 34 oz. mugs of beer that some of us ordered, was on the "house." Shawn, a gracious host, comped everything which took me by surprise. On behalf of the other attendees at the dinner, I want to express my gratitude for this generous gift.

Speaking for myself, I'm glad I got a chance to meet fellow food bloggers who approaches the topic from different perspectives. From following their blogs, I've learned about new places and foods that I wouldn't have known otherwise. I hope that we get together again to enjoy more culinary dishes.

Photo courtesy of Memphis Foodie


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