Events — 21 January 2013
iAdventure.com Heats Up the Winter with the Chili Cook Off

Blog: iAdventure.com's Chili Cook Off at Hudson Terrace

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The folks at iAdventure.com were back at work on Sunday afternoon with two powerhouse food and drink tasting sessions in celebration of all things chili. With hundreds of hungry New Yorkers packing in the posh rooftop space at the west side’s Hudson Terrace, the website would host the 2013 Chili Cook Off featuring some truly outstanding sights and smells and an array of distinctive styles and flavors. Participating restaurants would include Little Town, SideBar, and the Village Pourhouse, but by the end of each session, the chefs themselves didn’t matter as much as the outstanding food samples being doled out to attendees and the good vibes in the air inside.

With the afternoon tasting session kicking off promptly at noon (and some pretty important NFL games to follow thereafter), we made sure to get out to Hudson Terrace well in advance of the start time, joining a line of guests ready to begin making the tasting rounds. If you’ve ever attended an iAdventure.com event, you know to pace yourself- guests are given tickets for beer and food tastings, redeemable at each station. There’s always an option to pick up some extra taste tickets should you be so inclined, but for a craft beer and your choice of any six chilis to try, only the true gluttons of the meaty delight would have had the stomach for much more.

By 12:30pm, the extremely well organized event was already filled up with patrons. Lines were kept to a minimum but once the Frito pie chili began being handed out, everyone collectively appeared to jump at the opportunity to taste it. What certainly didn’t hurt the Cook Off was a seasonably warm January afternoon, which really goes a long way in establishing Hudson Terrace’s picturesque views and the natural light that shines in through the place’s floor to ceiling rooftop windows. Meanwhile an excellent mix of rock tunes blaring overhead courtesy of the house DJ also added to much of the day’s excitement.

For the food itself, the samples handed out ran from good to great. Our favorite samples revolved around the non-traditional as the chicken based chili dishes wound up highlighting a relatively eclectic menu. Non meat lovers were also welcomed with a sweet, peppery vegetarian style chili that also ranked surprisingly as high on our short list of tastes. The finest dish overall for us however had to be the “Queso Chili,” a delicious combination of warm meat and creamy cheese paired together like the finest dip for freshly opened tortilla chips. Our eyes rolled back in our heads with pleasure at each passing bite, and the kick that the chili provided on the back end forced us to rush back toward the bar to pick up some more beers. (Sierra Nevada Summerfest quenched our thirst more than once)

What surprised our outlet most about Sunday’s Chili Cook Off was the amount of women in attendance, probably at a 2:1 ratio to men. It was nice to finally be surrounded by some likeminded eaters more concerned with noshing on some fantastic food than with stuffing themselves into some fashionable dress. As we paced ourselves around the room and casually chatted with some excited guests, it quickly became clear that the underground chili scene in New York City may finally be taking off. And we were just happy that iAdventure.com had us along for the ride.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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