This post was co-authored by Alejandra Owens and Matt Rhoades with photos by Luis Gomez. You can find Alejandra on Twitter @frijolita and on her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Find Luis @LuisGomezPhotos and One Photograph A Day.
Memorial Day was a hot, steamy and chili-filled day. But the turnout at 14th and T NW for the Annual Café Saint Ex Chili Cook-Off was strong with people lining up for chili, burgers, hotdogs, lemonade and the Peroni Beer Truck! The beneficiary of this year’s event was Garrison Elementary School, on the 1100 block of S Street NW (you can also find Garrison on Facebook.)
There were 10 chilis in the competition ($20 got you unlimited tastings) and the first place winner was Chef Ron Tanaka of 14th Street’s Cork Wine Bar (oxtail chili with tequila). Second place went to Stefano Frigerio of Copper Pot Food Co., and third place to Danny Lee of Mandu. Judging took a good hour and a half — between eating all 11 samples of chili, scoring them and deliberating at the judges’ table it was quite an experience! (Alejandra Owens, our food writer was among the judges.)
Other chefs in the competition were Oscar Cruz of Bar Pilar, Mike Avent and Billy Klein of Café Saint-Ex, Billy McCormick of Eatwell DC, Darren Norris of Kushi, Aman Ayoubi of Local 16, Antonio Burrell of Masa 14 and Lonnie Zoeller of Vinoteca.