Hey fellow foodies, recently, my neighborhood buzzed with excitement as amateur chefs showcased their chili recipes in our first Chili Cook-Off. The event was a flavor-filled extravaganza, with neighbors eagerly tasting and casting votes for the standout chili.
There were four categories:
Most Unique          Most Flavorful
Hot & Spicy          Crowd Favorite

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Don’t have time to read it now? Pin it for later!

Hey fellow foodies, recently, my neighborhood buzzed with excitement as amateur chefs showcased their chili recipes in our first Chili Cook-Off. The event was a flavor-filled extravaganza, with neighbors eagerly tasting and casting votes for the standout chili.
There were four categories:
Most Unique          Most Flavorful
Hot & Spicy          Crowd Favorite

Blog Thumbnail title of post

Don’t have time to read it now? Pin it for later!

All the deets

One neighbor’s savvy culinary skills was genuinely unique. He crafted a chili masterpiece by starting with his signature chili base, ingeniously nestling it in the lower chamber of his Big Green Egg. The upper chamber held a colossal meatball fusion of ground beef, pork, and chorizo. While the meatball cooked, it released its succulent juices to the base below. The result – a delicious depth of flavor. The immense flavors from this bowl of goodness dazzled the crowd.

our neighbor steve posing with his chili
Our Neighbor Steve

Another chili was equally impressive, featuring beef that had been expertly smoked for three days before being meticulously chopped and added to the chili base. The resulting flavor was nothing short of spectacular, a testament to the chef’s dedication to perfection.

Our Neighbor Thomas posing with his chili
Our Neighbor Thomas

Another contender prepared a more traditional chili and a fiery concoction that packed a punch of spice – it was my personal favorite, made my tastebuds sing and left a lasting impression.

photo of the winners of the chili cook-off
The Winners

Fun Idea

All this got me thinking – a Chili Bar would be the ultimate theme for a happy hour. Imagine choosing your favorite chili recipe and adding a spread of delectable toppings, warm cornbread, and refreshing drinks. It’s a recipe for an unforgettable evening of culinary indulgence.

photo showing neighbors tasting chili
The Fun!

The Cocktail

glass filled with paloma cocktail and lime slices
Chew Out Loud – get the recipe

For cocktail enthusiasts, I recommend trying The Paloma from Amy at Chew Out Loud. The tangy grapefruit juice pairs exquisitely with the bold flavors of the chili. Plus, it’s got that YUM factor.

The Mocktail

photo show glass filled with ice and mocktail, sliced citrus fruits, and a ramekin of spices
Fab Every Day – get the recipe

Ramona’s Spicy Paloma Mocktail is a specialty that promises a spicy kick without the alcohol. On those happy hour nights I don’t drink, I enjoy something with flavor – let’s face it, sparkling water with lime doesn’t always cut it.

The nosh

cheddar jalapeno cornbread topped with chives
The Barefoot Contessa – get the recipe

To complement the chili, Ina Garten’s Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is a must. Its cheesy, jalapeño-studded goodness is the perfect accompaniment, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture to the experience.

The Toppings

A board with chili and lots of toppings placed charcuterie style
Chili Board

Now, let’s talk toppings. Sliced jalapeños, a medley of grated cheeses (cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Colby), dollops of sour cream, wedges of lime, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (my preference), a generous spoonful of salsa, creamy guacamole, and for the ultimate indulgence, bacon or chorizo crumbles – the possibilities are endless. Each adds its own unique twist to the chili.

the sweet

rows of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies on a sheet pan
Mountainside Bakery – get the recipe

And after all that spice, it’s time to turn to something sweet. My new friend Laura from Mountainside Bakery recommends her White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. They’re a delightful nod to my days working in downtown Washington, DC, just a block from a Mrs. Field’s store. It was our go-to spot for a sweet pick-me-up around 3pm, and Laura’s cookies evoke those cherished memories.

I hope you consider embracing the Chili Bar concept, whether you’re hosting a neighborhood gathering or simply looking to spice up your next happy hour. With an array of chili recipes, tempting toppings, and delectable accompaniments, you will indeed create an evening that will be remembered long after the last bowl is emptied. And you don’t have to use beef. I’ve tasted some really delish white chicken chili in my days. And don’t forget that leftover turkey next Thanksgiving.

a bowl of turkey chili with avocado, cheese and tortilla chips
Turkey Chili
Keep Dancing, Darlene

Hey fellow foodies, recently, my neighborhood buzzed with excitement as amateur chefs showcased their chili recipes in our first Chili Cook-Off. The event was a flavor-filled extravaganza, with neighbors eagerly tasting and casting votes for the standout chili.
There were four categories:
Most Unique          Most Flavorful
Hot & Spicy          Crowd Favorite

Blog Thumbnail title of post

Don’t have time to read it now? Pin it for later!

All the deets

One neighbor’s savvy culinary skills was genuinely unique. He crafted a chili masterpiece by starting with his signature chili base, ingeniously nestling it in the lower chamber of his Big Green Egg. The upper chamber held a colossal meatball fusion of ground beef, pork, and chorizo. While the meatball cooked, it released its succulent juices to the base below. The result – a delicious depth of flavor. The immense flavors from this bowl of goodness dazzled the crowd.

our neighbor steve posing with his chili
Our Neighbor Steve

Another chili was equally impressive, featuring beef that had been expertly smoked for three days before being meticulously chopped and added to the chili base. The resulting flavor was nothing short of spectacular, a testament to the chef’s dedication to perfection.

Our Neighbor Thomas posing with his chili
Our Neighbor Thomas

Another contender prepared a more traditional chili and a fiery concoction that packed a punch of spice – it was my personal favorite, made my tastebuds sing and left a lasting impression.

photo of the winners of the chili cook-off
The Winners

Fun Idea

All this got me thinking – a Chili Bar would be the ultimate theme for a happy hour. Imagine choosing your favorite chili recipe and adding a spread of delectable toppings, warm cornbread, and refreshing drinks. It’s a recipe for an unforgettable evening of culinary indulgence.

photo showing neighbors tasting chili
The Fun!

The Cocktail

glass filled with paloma cocktail and lime slices
Chew Out Loud – get the recipe

For cocktail enthusiasts, I recommend trying The Paloma from Amy at Chew Out Loud. The tangy grapefruit juice pairs exquisitely with the bold flavors of the chili. Plus, it’s got that YUM factor.

The Mocktail

photo show glass filled with ice and mocktail, sliced citrus fruits, and a ramekin of spices
Fab Every Day – get the recipe

Ramona’s Spicy Paloma Mocktail is a specialty that promises a spicy kick without the alcohol. On those happy hour nights I don’t drink, I enjoy something with flavor – let’s face it, sparkling water with lime doesn’t always cut it.

The nosh

cheddar jalapeno cornbread topped with chives
The Barefoot Contessa – get the recipe

To complement the chili, Ina Garten’s Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is a must. Its cheesy, jalapeño-studded goodness is the perfect accompaniment, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture to the experience.

The Toppings

A board with chili and lots of toppings placed charcuterie style
Chili Board

Now, let’s talk toppings. Sliced jalapeños, a medley of grated cheeses (cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Colby), dollops of sour cream, wedges of lime, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (my preference), a generous spoonful of salsa, creamy guacamole, and for the ultimate indulgence, bacon or chorizo crumbles – the possibilities are endless. Each adds its own unique twist to the chili.

the sweet

rows of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies on a sheet pan
Mountainside Bakery – get the recipe

And after all that spice, it’s time to turn to something sweet. My new friend Laura from Mountainside Bakery recommends her White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. They’re a delightful nod to my days working in downtown Washington, DC, just a block from a Mrs. Field’s store. It was our go-to spot for a sweet pick-me-up around 3pm, and Laura’s cookies evoke those cherished memories.

I hope you consider embracing the Chili Bar concept, whether you’re hosting a neighborhood gathering or simply looking to spice up your next happy hour. With an array of chili recipes, tempting toppings, and delectable accompaniments, you will indeed create an evening that will be remembered long after the last bowl is emptied. And you don’t have to use beef. I’ve tasted some really delish white chicken chili in my days. And don’t forget that leftover turkey next Thanksgiving.

a bowl of turkey chili with avocado, cheese and tortilla chips
Turkey Chili
Keep Dancing, Darlene

All the deets

One neighbor’s savvy culinary skills was genuinely unique. He crafted a chili masterpiece by starting with his signature chili base, ingeniously nestling it in the lower chamber of his Big Green Egg. The upper chamber held a colossal meatball fusion of ground beef, pork, and chorizo. While the meatball cooked, it released its succulent juices to the base below. The result – a delicious depth of flavor. The immense flavors from this bowl of goodness dazzled the crowd.

our neighbor steve posing with his chili
Our Neighbor Steve

Another chili was equally impressive, featuring beef that had been expertly smoked for three days before being meticulously chopped and added to the chili base. The resulting flavor was nothing short of spectacular, a testament to the chef’s dedication to perfection.

Our Neighbor Thomas posing with his chili
Our Neighbor Thomas

Another contender prepared a more traditional chili and a fiery concoction that packed a punch of spice – it was my personal favorite, made my tastebuds sing and left a lasting impression.

photo of the winners of the chili cook-off
The Winners

Fun Idea

All this got me thinking – a Chili Bar would be the ultimate theme for a happy hour. Imagine choosing your favorite chili recipe and adding a spread of delectable toppings, warm cornbread, and refreshing drinks. It’s a recipe for an unforgettable evening of culinary indulgence.

photo showing neighbors tasting chili
The Fun!

The Cocktail

glass filled with paloma cocktail and lime slices
Chew Out Loud - get the recipe

For cocktail enthusiasts, I recommend trying The Paloma from Amy at Chew Out Loud. The tangy grapefruit juice pairs exquisitely with the bold flavors of the chili. Plus, it’s got that YUM factor.

The Mocktail

photo show glass filled with ice and mocktail, sliced citrus fruits, and a ramekin of spices
Fab Every Day - get the recipe

Ramona’s Spicy Paloma Mocktail is a specialty that promises a spicy kick without the alcohol. On those happy hour nights I don’t drink, I enjoy something with flavor – let’s face it, sparkling water with lime doesn’t always cut it.

The nosh

cheddar jalapeno cornbread topped with chives
The Barefoot Contessa - get the recipe

To complement the chili, Ina Garten’s Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is a must. Its cheesy, jalapeño-studded goodness is the perfect accompaniment, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture to the experience.

The Toppings

A board with chili and lots of toppings placed charcuterie style
Chili Board

Now, let’s talk toppings. Sliced jalapeños, a medley of grated cheeses (cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Colby), dollops of sour cream, wedges of lime, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (my preference), a generous spoonful of salsa, creamy guacamole, and for the ultimate indulgence, bacon or chorizo crumbles – the possibilities are endless. Each adds its own unique twist to the chili.

the sweet

rows of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies on a sheet pan
Mountainside Bakery - get the recipe

And after all that spice, it’s time to turn to something sweet. My new friend Laura from Mountainside Bakery recommends her White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. They’re a delightful nod to my days working in downtown Washington, DC, just a block from a Mrs. Field’s store. It was our go-to spot for a sweet pick-me-up around 3pm, and Laura’s cookies evoke those cherished memories.

I hope you consider embracing the Chili Bar concept, whether you’re hosting a neighborhood gathering or simply looking to spice up your next happy hour. With an array of chili recipes, tempting toppings, and delectable accompaniments, you will indeed create an evening that will be remembered long after the last bowl is emptied. And you don’t have to use beef. I’ve tasted some really delish white chicken chili in my days. And don’t forget that leftover turkey next Thanksgiving.

a bowl of turkey chili with avocado, cheese and tortilla chips
Turkey Chili
Keep Dancing, Darlene