Look at that face. Just stop and really take that in. The joy. The intensity. The raw enthusiasm.
What could elicit such a response? Only a big ol' bucket of Bob Armstrong Dip at Mattito's in Oak Lawn, that's what.
Here at GuideLive we loved this photo of Shana Hagemeyer, who placed third in the annual Cinco de Mattito's Bob Armstrong dip eating competition by eating 1.3 lbs of queso in four minutes.
We had some questions dripping in hot melty cheesy goodness that only Hagemeyer could answer. I met up with her at Mattito's for a fact finding mission, naturally over Bob Armstrong Dip. For the record, she ordered the chicken flautas with queso instead of the green chili sauce.
Here is an edited version of our conversation:
How did you get involved with eating queso out of a bucket?
I kind of am obsessed with queso. I was out with my roommate and her sisters and her sister was like, "Let's figure out something to do on Cinco de Mayo." So she was looking up places to go and Mattito's came up as the No. 1. They read there was a queso eating contest and they said, "Shana, there's a queso eating contest. There's no way you're not doing this." I said, "OK, let's do it!"
Do you have equally strong feelings about any other condiments?
I really hate ranch. It just looks nasty to me. I try it and I hate it. Every boyfriend I've ever had has hated a condiment too. One of them would never eat mustard, hated mustard. Another one, mayonnaise, he would never eat mayonnaise. Another one, it was ketchup. I don't know what it is, but every man I date hates one specific condiment and I hate ranch.
Have you heard about Cane Rosso's beef with ranch?
I love that. The first time I saw someone eat ranch on their pizza was in college and it literally made me sick.
So, is there a food you wouldn't put queso on?
Actually that's a good question. Last week I had a random queso craving so my friend and I went to the CVS and got a little Tostido's queso. I was eating an apple as my snack and I started to wonder, "What would this taste like with queso?" It was weird, but good. So, I will pretty much dip anything in queso.
What is your walk up song?
Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me." Every time I go to a bar I have to request it. I have the Shaggy CD in my car.
Where was your head as you dove into the bucket of queso?
Well honestly, I had a plan going in. All day my boss was throwing me sugar packets and I was trying to grab them like they were chips. I thought I would be able to use my hands like scoops for the queso, but when I got here they said no hand scooping. I was going to have a chip in hand and use my hand as a scoop, but when they said I couldn't do that my whole game plan was thrown off.
I had to eat the chips, so the chewing really threw me off. I think I could have eaten more except for the chips. The guy next to me who won had four chips in each hand and seemed to be pouring the queso in his mouth. If I had known about that, I think I would have been able to eat more, but instead I had to chew all of these chips.
Was this your first attempt at competitive eating?
Yeah, and my brother said he has never been more proud of me.
Would you do it again or is there a different food you think you could go H.A.M. on?
Queso is pretty much prime time for me. It is what I love. If there was maybe a margarita drinking competition then maybe, but I think queso is probably it for me.