Chillin’ for Chili Lovers
By Noren Caceres
I remember the first Chili Cook-Off held in the dirt parking lot behind La Palapa. There were no rules or grandiose prizes… maybe about 20 cooks and a meager raffle of donated tchotchkes. Consequently the chili ran out before 2pm. Ticket holders who had been promised chili tastings huffed off hungry. Still, it was a success. Dick Weber won a plaque, and we cooks finished off the kegs of beer, built a fire and ordered pizza. Chili Cook-Off organizers assured the crowds that the following years would be bigger and better, and that they are… from a small dirt parking lot to the grassy grounds of Hotel Real de Minas. From a couple handfuls of cooks to row after row of sarape-decorated tables. Chili cooks traveled from distant lands to participate in this gala event. Chili tasters got their fill and sought out food vendors after getting chilied out. Then “poof,” January came and went without a Chili Cook-off. I’ve heard of disappointed travelers coming to San Miguel expecting to go to the Chili Cook-off while they were in town.
Sun, Feb 24, 1pm
Stirling Dickinson 28, local 7
Colonia San Antonio
Adults 150p, children 75p
(Includes one drink, hot dog/baked potato buffet & chili tasting)
They studied the Atención. They asked locals. “Nope, not this year,” they were told. So one evening, while chatting about the loss of this annual event with a couple of diners, my partner, Jerry, and I decided to not let it just disappear. Here, tucked away in the patio of Plaza Pueblito, we decided to host a Chilifest. We can’t promise any trips for two to Terlingua, Texas, to compete against the big boys, but we can offer a good time. About a dozen creative chili cooks will be sharing their rule-free recipes and we will be providing a buffet of hot dogs, baked potatoes, condiments and salads to accompany the chili tastings. There will be music and corn-hole throwing. Cervecería Dos Aves will be selling some of their specialty San Miguel handcrafted beers. Visitors will be able to get the first peek at Fantasia, Gayle McClure’s new boutique space. Finca y Fábrica, Misty Haskett’s fine furniture consignment store, will also be having its warehouse sale. Don’t miss spending a funfilled Sunday with us here at La Frontera inside La Plaza Pueblito. One of San Miguel’s oldest shopping centers is back!