On Sunday, I walked over to the Grove St. PATH station for the annual chili cook-off. I went late last year and missed out on most of the chili, so I headed over just after the event started this year.
Holding the chili cook-off at Grove St. was a great idea–it’s a much better location than the hidden lot on 4th St. The crowd was thin when I arrive just after noon, but it became quite crowded as the day went on.
I was rather disappointed with the entries to the chili cook-off. There were too many bland chilis, and only one that I found reasonably spicy. For some reason, there were a lot of rather sweet entries (really, who the hell wants to eat sweet chili?). It made me think that if I had entered this year, I would’ve had to make everyone sign a waiver because I make my chili spicy (I even use Sichuan flower peppercorns (aka prickly ash) and Thai peppers).
I’ve reviewed the winners of this year’s cook-off, and I’m not too pleased with the results. My pick for individual chili entry was Chilin’ Beans, which made the chili with 10 types of peppers, giving it a very nice flavor and a bit of a kick. For some reason, the voters chose a chili that was made with Dr. Pepper and was sickeningly sweet. The winning restaurant, PJ Ryan’s, was a decent chili with chorizo–again, it would’ve been much better if there was at least some level of spiciness to it.
There were also a lot of vegetarian and vegan entries. Most were a little thin on the sauce, but a few were good enough that I would eat more that the little cup provided.