Gastown BBQ & Chili Festival 2012

Gastown's first ever BBQ and Chili Festival went down with a blast on Saturday and Sunday last weekend.
The Blarney Stone, and 11 other Gastown Restaurants, hosted the outdoor, block party which spanned Carrall Street between Cordova and Water street. The festival featured the restaurants competing in BBQ and Chili Competitions, in which the public could purchase tasting tickets to sample the dishes and vote for their favourites.

I wasn't able to attend the BBQ portion of the competition, which took place on Saturday. I'll have to make sure I don't miss it if there's another one next year since the restaurants were making beef sliders, chicken wings and ribs! Sounds so delicious!

It wasn't hard to find the festival Sunday. A live band was playing and K and I just followed the music! People were even dancing!

The area was crowded with people vying for a taste of chili! I noticed that all the tables were decorated with plants grown in a Patch container!

Now on to the chili! Each taste ticket costs $2.25 or $20 for ten and part of the proceeds went to Athletics 4 Kids, a local charity that helps underprivileged kids participate in Sports. I purchased four taste tickets.

Walking around examining the contents of the chili pots first, we picked the one that looked the most chunky. That turned out to be Save on Meats.

Save on Meats' plain chili was served with a piece of corn bread, was very thick and chunky filled with meaty goodness. Not spicy either, just the way I like it.

This turned out to be my favourite one of the ones I tried. So yummy!

Our second choice was the Blarney Stone. We thought that since they were the host restaurant, we should try it out.

 Their chili had green onions, cheese and a small bit of chicken in it.

It was filled with beans, not so much meat and was runnier than Save on Meats.

Our next choice was Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar because of the trophy.

Rogue was a Gastown Blues & Chili Fest champion! Of course I had to try their chili to see if they lived up to their name.

Their chili had cheese and parsley on top.

It was also chunky but it was very spicy! My nose was running after I ate it. It was very good though. The only reason I chose Save on Meats' chili over Rogue was because of the heat factor. (I know, I know, I'm a total wuss!)

The last chili we tried was from Calabash Caribbean Bistro because they also had won a prize.

Calabash was the People's Choice at the Gastown Blues & Chili Fest. Sounded promising!

They had run out of their first batches of chili so we had to wait a little bit before the next batch was ready. We were given a fried coconut dumpling while we waited. It was a solid piece of dough that tasted like sweet coconut. 

By itself the coconut dumpling was dry but it helped cut the heat when eaten with the chili. Yum!

Calabash's chili was very meaty and had a different spice added than the other ones so tasted very unique. It was also pretty good!

Other restaurants that participated included The Charles Bar,

Lamplighter Public House,

Steamworks Brewing Company,

The Irish Heather,

Deacon's Corner, which had onions and cheese as toppings, 

Peckinpah Restaurant,

 Clough Club,

and Pivo Public House.

A lot of the staff were wearing this t-shirt.

This was an awesome event! I loved trying out the chili and everyone seemed to be having fun and chilling and enjoying the food and music in Gastown. Here's hoping to another year!

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