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Ithaca’s Chili Cook-off

Last weekend was the 17th Annual Great Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-off. Despite the chilly weather, a few hundred people decided to leave the warmth of their homes for some warmth in their stomachs.

Every year, the Chili Cook-off features chili prepared by approximately 30 local restaurants as they compete for the titles of Best Meat/Overall Chili, Best Vegetarian Chili and People’s Choice Chili. The Downtown Commons offers tents with live music for local wineries, breweries and farmers to sample their goods.

My friends and I wandered along the crowded sidewalks, ten tickets in hand, scouting out perspective chili stands. I tried a cup of sweet barbecue chili, seafood chili and vegetarian chili. My favorite? The spicy mexican chili from Viva Taqueria. Muy delicioso.

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The Chili Cook-off brings together a unique combination of flavors for chili-lovers to enjoy with a side of chips or corn bread. This year, Agava Restaurant took home The People’s Choice Chili. Inspired by the flavors of the cook-off, I decided to make some myself.

After all, there’s no better way to warm up than with a hot cup of chili.

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