Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Less-Words Wednesday: Chili with the Works 2012

This past Saturday, a few F.O.R.T.S and I spent our morning running the Genesis 10K. That's 6.2 miles.

But because I'm an over-achiever (ok, that's not why at all...), I decided to stick with my half-marathon training and run an extra 2.8 to get in the 9 I was scheduled to run.  Why do you care? Because I discovered something this weekend.  Running 9 miles MAKES. ME. VERY. HUNGRY.

Thank goodness that this 9 mile run happened to fall on the very same day as the 3rd Annual Chili with the Works Arts & Chili Festival. After a brief post-run nap, PID and I braved the dismal rain to venture down to the Southside Works and get our cook-off on.

Despite the downpour, the street was packed and live bands were rocking the house. Hungry 'bughers huddled together under massive umbrellas and tugged at their rain slicker hoods to escape the droplets, eager not to miss their chance to taste the area's best chili.

If you missed out on the madness, don't worry. We've got you covered:

Greg Rush at Cactus Sting Chili

Cactus Sting Chili was hearty, warm and delicious and tasted exactly like chili should.

Levelz Lounge on Carson

Levelz chili was made with bison, turkey and beef and had a unique veggie-heavy flavor

Le Brew House on Carson

The tomatoes were the star of the show for Le Brew House chili, big on great flavors, light on meat.

Finnigan's Wake on Pittsburgh's North Shore

Finnigan's won points for being Pittsburgh proud and serving "black and gold beans" in their chili
Local Bar + Kitchen on Carson

Yikes, sorry Local - love your bar, love your deck, LOVE your pizza... not a fan of your chili. Meat sauce + curry does not a chili make.
Sunny Jim's Tavern, Camp Horne Road
Juicy meat, bursting with flavor and just the right amount of heat in Sunny Jim's chili

Cain's Saloon, Mt. Lebanon

Cain's had a fixin's bar and a phenomenal lemon creme, great spices, coulda used a bit more sustenance in the chili itself
Savoy, downtown on Penn Ave

Two offerings from Savoy, a hearty, tasty vegetarian bean chili and innovative Waygu beef chili. Definitely thinking outside the box in a VERY delicious way, but I felt it was more of a stew than a chili.

District III looked promising with their table full of trophies, but we were pretty disappointed in the watery offering. Bummer!

So, who wound up winning?! Truth be told we didn't stick around to hear the true winners of the popular vote, but we did get to place votes of our own!  PID and I both had two clear favorites and after a brief discussion decided to give them each a vote.  Drumroll please....

Solo competitor (the only guy without a restaurant behind his name...) Greg Rush from Cactus Sting Chili and Sunny Jim's Tavern certainly impressed us both with their intense flavors, hearty bowls and overall deliciousness.

Did you join in the fun?  Which competitor was your favorite?

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