It started during a casual conversation with chef Victor Albisu, right after he opened Del Campo, his South American steakhouse in Penn Quarter. We were talking about the house chivito—the chef’s take on a classic Uruguayan street sandwich. The traditional ’wich layers steak, mozzarella cheese, bacon, mayo, olives, and a fried egg. At Del Campo, however, there are stacks of seared rib eye, ham, mortadella, fried egg, olives, hearts of palm, lettuce, and onion, all inside a brioche bun. And it is one tall drink of water—also pretty fat, and definitely not easy to eat. Watching it wobble as we passed the plate around the table, I joked to Albisu that it would be funny to make a video of customers trying to get their mouths around that massive sandwich. He laughed a little. Then we forgot about it.
Fast-forward a few months, when the Washingtonian food team embarked on a mission to pick Washington’s top 25 sandwiches. The resulting feature in our September issue, now on stands, celebrates one of our favorite ways of eating and calls out some of the best bread-bracketed inventions you’ll find anywhere. To accompany it, we figured why not really see what happened when you asked sandwich enthusiasts to take on the towering chivito? Readers submitted photos of themselves eating sandwiches via Facebook, and the winners were invited for an afternoon of sport eating at the Del Campo asado bar. Check out the video to see how they fared. We hope it makes you laugh—and we’re pretty certain it will make you hungry.