Del Mar Delish: Chili Cook-Off

Ponies, the Pacific, and piquant eats await.


THERE'S NO RULE... that says it must be autumn on the calendar to eat and enjoy chili, but let's get down to frank talk: Eating chili in the fall is one of life's pleasures, if you're into meaty stews or non-meaty stews that are rife with beany supremeness. So that one's mind naturally starts to gravitate to the savory stuff when August arrives makes sense, since all signs in the store, and on the wind, point to the fact that fall is heading this way. Thus any chili-themed festival that takes place as we're slip-sliding into the chili-iest time of the year is bound to be a popular affair, and, my, the one happening at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club qualifies on that front. Of course, that the Western Regional Chili Cookoff happens to draw some skilled wielders of the chili ladle is a big draw, as is the timing: It happens on a Saturday during the Del Mar racing season. A lot of people then are already there to see the fast ponies, and if some of those same people happen to be chili fans, and happen to wander over to the concert area of the club, oh, say, around 2 o'clock in the afternoon? Well, they'll be in luck, because...

FREE CHILI SAMPLES... shall await them, until the good stuff runs out. That won't take too long, one imagines, so promptness is probably key. Also key? Taking the time to choose your favorite chili in the People's Choice voting. This savory shindig is hosted by the International Chili Society, and if one is a chili cook, one loves to be hailed among other cooks for doing a fine job. And "(w)inners will advance to the 2015 World Championships," so that's nothing to sniff at (though if you're lucky there shall be a little sniffing, due to the heat and peppers within the chili you're consuming). Is there a beer tent nearby? You betcha. Is this the area just west of the grandstand? You betcha. Is the date Saturday, Aug. 8? Oh it really, really is. Can you even wait for autumn-style eating? You can't? Then best get your chili on sooner than September.

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