Last year was my first time attending the Lone Star Veggie Chili Championship (they’ve changed the name, it seems), and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back this year. This time it was held at the Green Space at Whole Foods Arbor Trails, which was much further south than the previous location. 22 teams were competing for prizes: nine in the Traditional Division (chili with meat substitute) and thirteen in the All-Veg Division (chili without meat substitute).
I went with a plan. Since the event was scheduled for 12:00-5:00pm, I thought I’d show up around 3:30 so that I could taste all of the entries, yet also be there for the announcement of the winners. Welp, that didn’t pan out so well because almost half of the teams had already run out of chili. You’d think I had learned this from last year, but I was helping out at Coseppi Kitchen‘s booth then and therefore arrived at the start. At least I only had to pay half price for admission?
Still, I tasted what I could and picked my own favorites. In the Traditional Division, I enjoyed Unity Vegan Kitchen’s the most. Theirs had a very traditional, smoky flavor, and they also offered a squirt of cashew cheese. Baton Creole was my next favorite, and it was also very smoky. It seems that I like smoky meat substitutes…
In the All-Veg Division, Coseppi Kitchen’s chili was my favorite again. They won First Place in the same category last year, as well as the People’s Choice award, so I asked if they used their winning recipe (before I tried it), and James said that they did. The main ingredients are black beans, eggplant, and lentils, and dried chilies give it a great depth of flavor. Another chili that I loved was by Farm to Office. Hearing that it had apples and butternut squash didn’t sound too appealing, but it wasn’t sweet like I was expecting! I liked that it had corn in it, too.
Here are the prizes that they presented this afternoon:
First Place: Unpretentious World’s Best Chili (Ben Johnson/Liz Bruns)
Second Place: Unity Vegan Kitchen (Leslie Nelms)
People’s Choice: Primarily Primates (Brooke Chavez)
There were a few other prizes that I’ll link to when they update their website.
I’m happy that two of my favorites placed, but also think it’s a little odd that a sponsor won.
Last year’s post was a much better reflection of this event since I only got a snippet this time around, and it was a prettier day.
In randomness, this was the 25th cook-off, it’s the 10th day of NaBloPoMo, and this is my 300th post. Party.