The time I actually thought I might die
I was in Cleveland on my seventh trip. By chance, I happened to get to The Land the day before their parade for winning the city's first major sports title since 1964. Lots of restaurants were shutting down to attend the festivities, which meant I had basically six hours to try nine burgers. The first five went down fine, but by the sixth, my mouth had become salty and dry, and I could feel the blood flow to my brain slowing. During seven, I could no longer follow other people’s conversations. By eight, I was breathing out of my nose to avoid vomiting. And on nine, I had my requisite three bites, then walked to the bathroom and threw up, as the sounds of boozy Clevelanders singing along to “Thunder Road” echoed in the background.
Sitting on the floor of Johnny’s Little Bar’s men’s room, I suddenly remembered I had to do this all over again in Pittsburgh the next day. And so I did what any self-respecting 35-year-old professional food critic would: I leaned against the toilet and cried.