A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

14th Annual Keyport Country Jamboree and Chili Fest

Keyport is having its 14th annual chili fest today. Local food outlets will be offering samples from noon to 5 pm, all hoping to be voted Best Chili. You'll need to buy a sampling kit for $5. There will also be a cake, pie and jam contest on Sunday from noon to 4 pm.

The weekend is a country jamboree, so there will be plenty of bands. Local stores will have their wares on display. Activities will be centered on West Front Street and will run 11 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday 8 - 9 October 2011.

UPDATE: My wife and daughter and I spent a few hours touring the chili fest vendors. We sampled lots of chili, watching people and listening to music all along the way.

We went down the right side of West Front Street from Espresso Joe's to Lenora's and then McDonagh's. My wife and daughter both fancied Espresso Joe's chili, while I favored Lenora's. None of  us liked McDonagh's chili. A woman leaving McDonagh's commented on the nice plate that the chili came on and the accompanying crouton, telling her husband knowingly, "Presentation is everything!" but we thought their chili tasted like cigarettes. It won the chili competition. Argh.

Outside of McDonagh's was a cowboy playing guitar on a portable stage and a cowgirl dressed in black doing rope tricks with a lasso.

We went up Broad Street to Seaport Diner. They offered their chili with a little triangle made of corn meal. They put a pico de gallo on top. I noticed that an Italian restaurant is due to open where Drew's Bayshore Bistro used to be. Trinity Restaurant didn't participate in this year's chili fest for some reason.

Next we went down East Front Street to Drew's new location. Drew offered a black bean chili as well as a sweet potato bisque. The chili came with shredded cheddar and the bisque was topped with Craisens and chopped nuts. Oh my God! Mmmmm! There were also chili brownies to try. Drew's came in 3rd place? How could that be? Especially given the supposed winners?!

We continued down East Front Street towards Church Street. Along the way I saw the Spanish-American Club and an interesting old building with a small belfry. Across the intersection, we visited Papa Ganache. They had a vegan chili that was quite yummy. They had row upon row of cookies and cupcakes on display, some on top of the counter and others inside a glass case. I just had to have a chocolate chip cookie, so my wife and daughter also indulged. I heartily recommend their desserts.

We left Papa Ganache and walked towards the shore, then down 1st Street. There was lots of excitement in a park area along the water. An announcer was conducting organized competitions with kids on skateboards and scooters. Looked like fun. We ran into a guy from the Constitution Party encouraging us to vote their line this November. They sounded like a tax revolt group with links to the Tea Party. Check them out if you're interested. I'm not.

We got to Broad Street, where we visited the Bayshore Bar and Grill. The chili was a bit too sweet, like they'd added honey or maple syrup. Uptown Bar and Grill, like last year, wasn't all that into the festival. They told us they were out of chili. Again. I'm not sure why they bother.

We walked up the hill back to West Front Street, then over to Main Street to visit Jersey Shore Subs and Soups. They had loud speakers out front and an unpalatable chili mixture that -- I'm sorry to say -- I actually had to spit back out into my sample cup. We all agreed it was the worst chili of the day, without a doubt. Somehow it came in 2nd place in the voting.

We ended our tour by hitting the food court chili entrants -- Bahr's and Chilango's.  Bahr's had a seafood chili that was interesting but more like a soup than a chili. It probably needed a thickener of some sort. Chilango's was a Mexican dish -- ok.

The voting didn't reflect the relative quality of the chili choices today. I'm not sure what happened. Whatever. Here's some photos of what I saw today. Congratulations to all who participated. Tomorrow should be fun, too.

1 comment:

  1. I've updated the article about the Keyport Chili Fest, adding both text and photographs. We spent a pleasant afternoon. The place was crowded and the weather was wonderful.