This year marked my fourth year of attending Fremont Chili Cook-Off, and the Rotary Club moved it to a different location. It used to be inside the Saddle Rack compound. Instead, they were placed in between Macy's and Sears inside Newpark Mall's parking lot. It's indeed a bigger venue with lots of parking spaces. However, the event appeared smaller and spiritless. Perhaps, we got there early. The stage for the band was not set up yet, and the crowd, well, not much crowd. Weatherwise, it was cooler inside the mall than outside the parking lot. Mid-80s! Meh, vitamin D was good.
My first frustration was the absence of the Firefighter's Jaws of Life demonstration. That was the best part of the event for the last three years of my attendance. This year, they didn't have it, and it made the whole event dull for me. I know it's all about the chili, but I'll get to that in a bit. There were other several fun stuff that were not present, and one of them was my favorite chili from last year, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. That chili was the bomb! I submitted all my voting tickets to them last year. They were not present this year. Boo! There's the usual mini-concert of bands whose name were unknown to me. (I'm not really a country music fan, so "The California Cowboys" screams country music to me.) We tasted chili and we left. That's it.
Here's the blow by blow. We bought three booklets. Each booklet consisted of six tasting tickets. Shaggy and I shared nine tasting tickets each. A booklet cost $8 online, but $10 at the gate during the event. The drinks were for separate purchase. Five drink tickets for one small cup of beer and one drink ticket for others (i.e. soda and water). Each drink ticket cost $1. The whole area was embraced by one single yellow tape. I guess, the security were not that tight since no one can taste the chili without the tickets. Without the tickets, you're just a lurker. HeHe.
Here are the chilis we've tasted this year (Photos on top of the chili photos will be the chili-makers):
Thou shall not pass chili? Well, it's called Gandolf's chili. Very little heat. Ratio of meat, veggies, and sauce were good.
The Firefighter's Chili was a bit sweet than spicy. I'm not into sweet chili. I think they forgot to turn off the water hose on this one. The fire was absent!
The Ted's Triple-C Chili sign looked promising, but when it came to their actual chili, I was disappointed. The meat almost blended with the sauce. Meaning, no meat texture. Too watery. No heat at all. Cheese was good, though.
The servers for the Masonic Homes Chili boasted lots of red peppers in their chili. After tasting though, I don't think they put enough red peppers. No kick at all.
This was actually a free chili given by one of the servers from the Warm Springs Little League Baseball booth. This chili reminded me of Thanksgiving Dinner. It contained black olives and tasted different. Unfortunately, the spiciness I wanted was not in it.
The Washington Hospital's Chili was vegetarian. They had a condiments table with the cooked meat sitting outside their booth with the cheese, jalapenos, guacamole and sriracha sauce. Call me lazy, but I won't vote for a chili that was not totally cooked and served hot. Plus, this chili resembled salsa instead of actual chili.
I loved the sliced jalapeno on top of this chili, but it is not a jalapeno cook-off. The chili was too plain without it.
It tasted okay. I'm just not a fan of watery chili. I prefer meaty and spicy.
The texture was good, because there's meat in it. It's just a bit sweet to my taste. The veggies that went with it made it a bit sweet.
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Last but not the least, the chili that we thought has a real kick in it was made by the Rotaract Club, and they received our vote-tickets:
Balanced meat and veggies. The heat was totally there. Water please!
How about you, how's your weekend? Do you like chili?