Tuesday Thoughts: Weekend Wrap-Up

I missed the Monday post yesterday. It was a long weekend, and I decided to make Monday a recovery day. I barely touched the computer at all, and didn’t have the mindset to write up a blog post.

It was a chili weekend again- or, as I was calling it in my head, The Magical Chili Cook Off Tour. We had back-to-back cook offs on Saturday and Sunday, both in Connecticut. Saturday was the CT State Cook Off in New Haven. It’s always a good event. This was the 24th annual ChiliFest there, and people in the area do look forward to it. You can tell by the crowd that turns out to taste the chili, vote on their favorite, look at all the pretty cars in the car show, and shop the craft vendors.

Stephanie came down on Friday night so she could come to the cook off. We went to dinner at Nataz, a place we’ve gone to before. They do a prix fixe menu, and the food is just so very good. I have no idea how they do it for $35! You get a nice cheese plate to start. This year, we had a really good smoked gouda, a creamy and mild goat cheese, brie, and Maytag bleu, served with crostini and fruit. Then, you get a choice of salad, appetizer, dinner, and dessert. They don’t have a bar, but you can bring your own beverage of choice. We brought a bottle of prosecco this year. I had salmon, and it was one of the most generous aized pieces of fish I’ve had in a restaurant. And delicious, as well. I brought some home since we did bring a cooler with us, and we had refrigerators in the hotels.

The cook off went well. We had good entries in all three categories, and in the Road to Reno cup, which is a special event done at CT State. It is for those cooks who have already won red and qualified to cook at the Worlds Championship cook off. Gives them a chance to make a practice pot, since some of them have not cooked red in a while, depending on how early in the season they won. And to pick up a bit of money, as well. We had a tie in that one, and I was one of the tiebreaker judges. It was one of the hardest ties I’ve ever broken. Those two chilis were both excellent, and so close it was hard to even identify a small thing to pick one over the other. As it turned out, all the tiebreaker judges picked the same winner!

When we were done there, we moved on to Bristol, CT and a Doubletree hotel for Saturday night. I like Doubletrees. How can you not like a hotel that gives you cookies when you check in, right? (We also got cookies when we checked out!) We were tired and hot and just needed a good shower and time to relax a bit, so we did that, and went to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner. Another wonderful place with great food. We both ordered Ceasar salads, and holy cow! We got trenchers heaped with salad! We could have made a meal out of the salad alone. Some of that came home, too. I had handmade papardelle with lobster. Yummy! The pasta was nice- cooked just right, although it could have taken a bit more salt. And lobster claw and knuckle meat- my favorite. I do have small bit of that left, as well. And we sat in the sports bar at the hotel for a while. It was fun. The bartender was very friendly and personable. It wasn’t busy, so we chatted a lot. Football, mostly. And a guy came in who knew the staff, and he brought a bag full of candy that he was passing out to everyone. So, I got Reeses and Snickers! I call that a good night, all around!

Sunday’s cook off was the Zombie Biker. There is a motorcycle ride around noon, and yes, zombies wandering through the crowd. The weather held off, and we didn’t get the forecast rain, which was a good thing. We drove home Sunday night.

All in all, it was a long, tiring weekend. I am coming off a cold, and that did not help. I was pretty blasted on Sunday, and not feeling all that great. I kind of expected that, since I wasn’t fully over the cold, and all the busy and more than my usual not-sleeping crap didn’t help that any. So, yesterday was a recovery day. I gotta say, though- I slept last night! Only woke up a few times, and got back to sleep pretty quickly. I feel somewhat better today. I am coughing less, that’s for sure.

So, we are done with chili for a while now. One more at the end of October, so we have a break now, and after that, nothing until Spring. I love doing these things, but, honestly? By this time, I am ready for a break!

And that was my weekend.

(Image from jenchoosesjoy.com)
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