Friday, November 15, 2013

The 2013 Lone Star Veggie Chili Championships

My favorite Austin event took place today! Yes, the 2013 Lone Star Veggie Chili Championships were held this afternoon. Chris and I went for the first time last year and knew that we had to go again. And it was glorious!

This year's event was full of new teams and a lot of unique flavors. I took a lot of photos, which you can see in a slideshow below, but let me go over my highlights of the day with you first.

One of my favorite teams was called Unpretentious World's Best Chili. Their table was decorated with awards and trophies that they've won in other competitions. And they made a great chili! It was sweet, tangy, and spicy. Their entry was in the "traditional" division, which means they used a meat substitute as opposed to just beans and veggies. It was very traditional. If you hadn't been at a vegan chili cook-off you wouldn't have known the difference. Check it out.

Chris and I were also very pleased to meet the team from Primarily Primates, which is an animal sanctuary in San Antonio. They were enthusiastic entrants and we talked to them for some time about animal rescue, being vegan, and other related topics. I loved their t-shirts. Their group works with, you guessed it, primarily primates. I didn't know there was such a thing near us and I'm looking forward to learning more about their sanctuary. Their chili was also very good. 

The Hearty Vegan, Coseppi Kitchen, and the Natural Epicurean had teams again this year. Some of my favorite team names for 2013 were the Tofukillers, Ve-Gan Do It!, and Pyrex of the Carob Bean. Everyone had good chilis this year. In fact, I think there were only a couple that I didn't really care for.

After trying them all, Chris and I both ended up casting our People's Choice ballots for the batch made by the Christian Vegetarian Association. And, you know, I liked it to much that I forgot to take a picture of it! It was bright orange in color, sweet, tangy, and spicy. They used pinto beans and colorful peppers in it, too. We both liked it a TON but didn't see a recipe card to take with us. So sad!

After we tried all of the chilis, we spent some time talking to Stacy at the Texas Humane Legislative Network over where the vendors were at. The group describes themselves on their website as the "voice at the Texas Legislature for untold numbers of animals throughout Texas who suffer horrific abuse and tragic neglect at the hands of callous humans." Both of us are looking forward to getting involved in their work.

The judges choices haven't been announced online yet, so I can't tell you who won, but that information should be on the cook-off's website in the future.

EDIT: The results from voting are as follows!

Traditional Division:
1st Place: Unpretentious World’s Best Chili (Ben Johnson/Liz Bruns)
2nd Place: Unity Vegan Kitchen (Leslie Nelms)

All-Veg Division:
1st Place: Whole Foods Market (South Austin)
2nd Place: Coseppi Kitchen (James Seppi/Taylor Cook)

People’s Choice: Primarily Primates (Brooke Chavez)

And finally, some more photos from the event! There's a slide show below. If you can't see it, click here to open the album on Google+. If you haven't checked out the chili cook-off before, be sure to do so next year.

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