Blazing Chili Cook-off heats up Fallbrook Summer Nights!

Red, White and Blue were the dominant colors on August 22, when the Fallbrook Village Association hosted a “Salute to the Military” at their “Summer Nights” event. The Chili Cook-off took center stage, but competing for attention were military vehicles from Camp Pendleton, gleaming classic cars and rows of vendors selling a wide variety of items.

Kathie Richards of the Fallbrook Village Association had this to say about the event, “The chili cook-off has been a tradition and Fallbrook Village Association hopes to…make it bigger and better each year…”

Having participated in a chili cook-off, I understand the hours of preparation it takes to find the perfect recipe, prepare and cook the chili, and decorate your booth. I took home a trophy at Salt Lake City’s “Great Harvest” Chili Cook-off winning the “Medium Division – Almost Chili.” So, although my chili was flavorful enough to win – it wasn’t hot enough to be considered real chili! That just illustrates the fact that chili cook-offs are meant to be a lot of fun. If you take yourself too seriously then you miss the point. All five of the competitors didn’t miss the point. They were having a blast – and that happy spirit was passed on to those who tasted the chili.

The tasters had fun, and in the end three People’s Choice awards were presented: “Best Chili” – Fallbrook VFW; “Wildest Combination” – Diane’s Herbs & Flowers; and “Best Booth” – Downtown Dolls.

Fallbrook VFW

“Best Chili” Appropriately decked out in Red, White and Blue, the Fallbrook VFW served their “All American Chili,” which, they said, is the kind they serve the troops. The chili was delicious, but fairly mild, and loaded with beef and tomatoes.

Diane’s Herbs & Flowers

“Wildest Combination” Diane Miersch and her daughter, Dawn Luna, served up some wild chili. What made it so wild? They used chicken, duck and turkey, plus chili peppers and herbs fresh from Diane’s garden. The chili had an unusual, but marvelous flavor.

Downtown Dolls

“Best Booth” These “dolls” are “best friends,” according to Rita Coolidge. Matching friendship necklaces accented their red monogrammed aprons. Their booth was decorated with strings of blue and red paper dolls which Coolidge fashioned. The chili was loaded with meat enhanced by tequila, beer, wine and even chocolate! It was quite mild, but with an intensely marvelous flavor.

Bonsall Chamber of Commerce

Assisted by two polished Marines, they served up “Roxy Rocket – Vegetarian-style Chili,” a recipe created by Roxanne Greene. It was a delicious mix of red kidney beans, black beans, corn, bulgur wheat, red peppers, Thai chilies, jalapenos and spices. Leaves of cilantro gave it a unique flavor, as did a small chunk of homemade corn bread. The chili had a quite a kick at the end.

Main Street Café

Tom and Caryn Meriwether volunteered to serve the chili which was made with beef and kidney beans. It was very flavorful and fairly mild with a little bit of a kick at the end.

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