Pass the Pepto! Heating up a crisp fall weekend with warm, giant pots of mean red.
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On a crisp and classic New England fall, the smell of chili hung in the air Sunday at Matt Timms' Chili Takedown at The Bell House, tantalizing guests and competitors alike with warm and wintery goodness. Nearly 30 amateur cooks made giant pots of "mean red" for the contest, and the audience took their tasting seriously, hunkering down over plates full of numbered mini-cups of chili.
Judges gave Becky MacGregor top marks for her Louisiana-style chili with braised short rib with Andouille sausage, Tasso smoked pork and ground smoked bacon. (Becky's no stranger to winning at the Takedown: She took home last year's People's Choice Award.) Coming in second was Pete's Smoked Goat chili, which was—you guessed it!—smoked goat. The judges' third-place award went to Takedown regular and avid Trekkie Ida Vega-Landow, who served up pumpkin-spice chili.
In the coveted People's Choice category, another Takedown regular, the always wacky Adrian Ashby, took third place for his Gator and Shrimp Chili (yes, we said alligator and shrimp). The remaining two top spots went to newbies: In second place was Doria Santlofer for her coffee-braised short rib chili (a clear favorite, it was complex and spicy), while the top audience prize went to the charismatic and fiery El Conquistador made by co-conspirators Kevin Wallace and Mel Stern.
Now where's the Pepto? Our work here is done!