The illustrious chili cook-off is one of the best events a bar can put on during the winter. What better way to escape from the cold (and more snow!) than a warm sample of chili and an accompanying alcoholic beverage?
This past Sunday I attended a chili cook-off at Grand Cru in Belvedere Square. Patrons paid $5 to get a sample of eight different chili recipes all made by employees in the square. Participants included employees from Grand Cru, Ceriello, Neopol, and Greg's Bagels. Once everyone got their eight sample cups of chili, they took notes on a score card and ranked their three favorites in order. My favorite, chili number-one, ended up winning the whole thing. Its creator, Jake Oglesby from Neopol, took home a cash prize of $450.
The event was extremely crowded, but well-organized, and certainly a fun way to spend a Sunday. The only thing that would have made it better is if they also provided beer pairings for some additional cash. Amy Wittig from Grand Cru (who ended up winning second place) said that this was their second time hosting the event and they will continue next year. "You learn with each year and we're definitely getting more streamlined with every event," she says.
A place that might know about learning from each year is Fells Point bar Dead End Saloon, which is hosting its 30th Annual Chili Cook-Off this Saturday. What's cool about this event is anyone can make chili for a $10 fee (and there's still time to enter). The fun starts at 1 p.m., where people pay $5 for several bowls of chili and Dead End will feature beer and margarita specials all day. First prize gets $200, but all the proceeds from the admission will go to charity.
So if you're feeling so over the snow, this is a great (warm) way to spend your weekend.