Admission to Alive after Five is only $7.00, and for that you get a wristband that allows you to taste food from the many merchants and vendors who set up shop on the street. And this happens every month, like clockwork, on the second Thursday of the month. It is, I'd say, the best street party in central Florida, with several blocks of First Street closed off and lined with vendors and merchants giving out food and beverage samples, $1 with wristband beer, and wristband holders get a ticket for food at an event sponsored location. It's always a great time, and this year's January event was no exception.
Some of the chili served this year was really awesome. Some was just OK. And some did not really shine. The purpose of the event, though is to have fun. Some of the cooks are home cooks, and some are professional chefs. So, before I give you my results, I want you to keep that in mind. Everyone who participated put their heart and soul into this event which sponsored by and a fundraiser for the Historic Sanford Welcome Center.
First, I must make mention of the Chile names, as two were really outstanding. The first was the chili made by the Sanford Flower Shop: it was called Smokey's Florist Fire Chili. Get it? I love that name, and their chili was mighty fine too. The second was prepared by Magnolia Street Market and was called Praise the Lard and Pass the Beer Chili -- it was a beer chili made with pork belly, and also very good. Overall, the two above, along with the Red Solo Cup Chili made by World of Beer came in with a tie for second place, in my opinion. They were all very, very good. In my estimation, one other chili was in the same class but barely, just barely, edged out these there. So I declare all three of the above as in a tie for second place overall for the best chili I ate at the Chili Cook Off.
My winner and championship chili for the contest, by a nose, was the Red Hot Mama's Chili from The Palette, a wine and light fare bar located inside Art Affair Gallery. First place, top notch chili. It was a true Texas-style chili, and Sherry, the chef and creator should know, she's from Texas. I asked her about it and she tells me they hand cut the chuck, roasted the peppers and skinned them, and made all ingredients fresh and from scratch. The care she took in this was evident, as it was for all the top level of chilis. Good job and congratulations to Sherri and The Palette, as well as all the top level chilis.
There were other chilis that were decent, and some not as good. I have listed all the ones I tasted below and given them a ranking. They are alphabetical within their place:
|The Palette||Red Hot Mama's Chili||1st|
|Magnolia Square Market||Praise the Lard and Pass the Beer Chili||2nd|
|Sanford Flower Shop||Smokey's Florist Fire Chili||2nd|
|World of Beer||Red Solo Cup Chili||2nd|
|Café Rouge||Too Hot to Trot Fire Roasted Chili||5th|
|Candelight Catering||Chef Sennet's Even Better Chili||5th|
|Taste of Thyme Café||Texas Best||5th|
|Café Rouge||Sweet Herb's Three Bean Chili||8th|
|Framing 408||Cuban Chili||8th|
|Gander Mountain||Gander Mountain's Gas Master's Chili||8th|
|Healing Laser Clinics||Sweet Heat Chili||8th|
|Little Fish HUGE Pond||Sancho's Silly Chili||8th|
|Skibo's Subs||Skibo's Steak Alarm||8th|
|Superior Sheds||Ken 3 Alarm||8th|
|Gail Williams Insurance||White Chili||15th|
|Gail Williams Insurance||Smokin' Chipotle Chili||15th|
|Harrell & Beverly||Gone in 60 Seconds Chili||15th|
|Tru Valu||True Valu Chili||15th|
Congratulations to all participants. It was a great and fun event!