Kalamazoo Beer Week and Restaurant week run back to back. But something that has become a great addition to the line up happens right in the middle. The Downtown Kalamazoo Chili Cook off happens on the Saturday between the two great weeks. This is more than just a battle between the area restaurants. Downtown businesses join the fray as well.
I don’t know if you have heard about the crazy weather this winter yet, but Michigan is buried under quite a bit of snow. I mean serious amounts of snow. I haven’t seen this much snow since I was a kid. Crazy snow so much snow it feels like an ice age. (Have I mentioned the snow?)
Anyway, the Saturday of the chili cook off was no different than any other day this winter, super cold and a bunch of snow still coming down. You would think that this would deter voters from coming downtown and exploring all the chili available. This is Michigan, a little snow can’t stand in our way.
Now if you are super brave and don’t mind the walk all of the participants were within walking distance. Of course, I was running late. The tasting ran from 11:30 till 1:30 or supplies ran out. I wasn’t able to make it out till around 1. This had no chance of stopping me from getting some great chili though. I ended up running through about six different spots in about 45 minutes.
I will say I ran across a common theme in some of the chilies I sampled that day. But you really can’t go wrong with bacon. The stand outs of the day for me came from the Tibbs Brewing and Gonzo’s Bigg Dogg Brewery collaboration (Chicken with a cheese corn cake) and The Union (brisket).
All in all it made for a fun afternoon. Even with the crowds and busy day I managed to catch up with a few friends fighting the good fight in the area kitchens. Throw in a few beers and you have a good day indeed.
Time for a pint…