This past Sunday I went to a chili cook-off at . . . a brewery. River Horse Brewery. It's in Lambertville, New Jersey.
I went with Jeff and Michelle and Dave Young. A bunch of other people that Michelle knows were supposed to come -- a couple co-workers, an ex-boyfriend here and there. True to Michelle's curse*, they did not make it, and that is just fine with me. I don't like them as much as I like Jeff and Dave Young, and hoo boy was it crowded up in this piece.
Like, really crowded. Very difficult to move. At first I was a little concerned that it would be too much of a chore. But man, you know what? It wasn't, it was just awesome.
There was an intimidatingly long line to get in. We were like "ahhh!" But it moved quickly, and we weren't in line for more than ten or fifteen minutes. Then it's a $15 cover charge for adults, which gets you a pint glass (a real one! With a chili with arms and legs on it, who resembles a strawberry! To keep!). There were two stations at which you could have your glass filled; the brewery had four different brews that I saw: a lager, a special, a dark, and something involving hops, with alliteration. Hop madness? Hoptastic? None of that is alliterative. Whatever. (Psst I just checked, it's "Hop Hazard".) Being the Beer Wuss that I am, I got the lager. I am not a big hops fan. I'm more of a weiss fan. (So is my mom!) In theory you could get all the beer you could drink, but the throng was so deep everywhere that I only got two pints. Thass okay with me.
There was a huge tent outside, with seven or so chili tables, and then you walked through the brewery to the back, where there were six more chili tables in, like, the warehouse. As in, there were boxes of files stacked up against the walls. Each table was representative of a particular area restaurant or bar, that served chili. They served them in tiny styrofoam bowls which nestled perfectly in the tops of the pint glasses, so that one could eat whilst standing up. Some tables had cheese, and tortilla chips; some even had cornbread and onions and whatnot. You went around and tasted all the chili you could, and then went to the place where you voted; on entry you were given three River Horse bottle caps, to drop in the voting boxes.
The chili was good! I don't have very much experience with chili, but I liked it all! I probably had about seven different kinds. Only one kind that we found was really very hot. (It also had wild boar meat in it). Man, one had meat the size of STEW meat! I voted for that place. Also for one that had a lot of black beans in it, and also for one place that . . . I can't remember what stood out about it, I just liked it.
I want to know who won. I voted for . . . 9th something, and something else, and . . . something else. I think it's on my digital camera. Oh yeah, my digital camera! This is an ILLUSTRATED post, aren't you excited? You have to wait for it, though. Waaiiiit for ittt . . .
We were there from about one until almost four, I guess. We spent the last twenty minutes or so waiting on line for the bathroom. I didn't go in; I was scared to go into a public bathroom at a chili cookoff. Whilst waiting on line, we kept our eye on this dude nearby, who had fire engine red upon his cheek, lip-prints I mean. He was talking with this awful woman, who seemed to be drunk. I took a picture of her. It came out all blurry, though. Hmm, or maybe she is blurry . . . that scares me even more.
After the cookoff, we went back to Michelle's (she drove my car! Isn't that nice of her? And Jeff drove it there!) and all squeezed on her couch. We watched High Fidelity, which I have never seen. I dozed off a little, but I don't know if anyone noticed. We discussed John Cusack and Joan Cusack and Jeremy Piven, who is not in High Fidelity, but who is very good friends with John Cusack. Jeremy Piven and John Cusack grew up together in Evanston, Illinois. Cusack, and his sister Joan, attended a theater school that Piven's parents owned and operated. At one point they shared an apartment and they have been in a total of NINE movies together. (Dave Young was the factchecker on that one, thanks Dave!) Michelle and I saw John Cusack and Jeremy Piven one time, which you may recall. Jeff denies that this ever happened. I'm not sure why. I guess he's a bitter old man? Who knows.
After a while at Michelle's, we headed back to Jersey. Oh yes, Michelle lives in PA now. She moved there a weekend or two ago, with The Scientist, Nicole. Their townhouse is . . . amazing. It's eight billion times nicer than my apartment. It's gorgeous. It's two floors. It has a washer and dryer in the kitchen. It . . . is just beautiful, and I'm very happy for Michelle, and I hope that she doesn't forget about me. I'm sure that Nicole is a neater roommate, and really nice and awesome, but probably not as fun as me, right? Right?
Man do I miss Michelle. I hate that I only see her on weekends. Weekends sometimes. Ah well, cei la vie, or some other French crap.
So then we drove back across the Delaware to good ol' Jersey. Jeff has solved the timeless what-do-we-listen-to-in-the-car-on-longi
Click the peeg for the photo essay!
*When Michelle has a party or a get-together or a gathering, no one comes. It's true. It's fucking sad and depressing. Because Michelle HAS friends and they DO like her, things just . . . happen. On at least one occasion I WAS one of those people; I had to install bridge ties in Eddington, PA (which I had designed, thankyouverylittle) and couldn't make it. It's awful, and it's a blow to Michelle every time (I've been there, I know how it feels to expect several people, and to instead end up eating stir-fry on your couch all by yourself) but she struggles on and keeps asking people to do things because she's a real trooper.