Good food times in SF
Today is Saturday, October the 26th and that means it’s chili cook-out time at Christ Church in Santa Fe. I attended the event last year and that experience demanded that I not miss it this one, The temp is above 50, the sun is shining full bloom, and the wind is naught but a wisp. So I drove about 15 blocks down hill to the church. The parking lot was packed, so I had to walk a short distance past an antique car show to get in.
That church must be the friendliest place in the whole country. Two of the 3 pastors worked their way through the crowd to shake my hand. One of them was John Standridge. He’s originally from Kerrville, Texas so we had to talk about BBQ. He’s also bearded and I couldn’t let that pass without a comment. But then to the chili line.
Twenty-two crock pots were all lined up in a row. They were full of 22 different kinds of chili, all plugged in and steaming hot. I read some of the labels: beef, chicken, buffalo, “meat,” glutton free, and green. I’m sure each recipe was a very closely guarded family secret.
My plan was to check each one. It was a contest to see who was the best chili cook, and I planned to vote. The first pot I tried had some thin white pasta things in it. I never saw pasta in chili before and I’m sure the chili purists would disapprove. Anyway, I put a little in my bowl and sat down to eat. When no one was looking I removed a Tabasco bottle from my pocket and sprinkled some on.
The pasta chili was good, really good and a little of it just made me hungrier. So back in the line I pretended to walk up and down checking out the other 21 crocks, knowing full well that I would end up back the #5 crock, the pasta chili crock. Heck with the contest, I was seriously focused and not at all interested in being distracted. I don’t know who made that pasta chili but I’d like to put her on my Christmas card list.
The other 299 people who passed past the crock line depleted the respective pots pretty fast, and as soon as one got low it was quickly filled again.
There were other things to eat also, like veggy queso, corn bread, green and red salsa with chips, regular “mac and cheese,” sour cream, and beans “cooked in tequila & beer.” I hope somebody around there had a liquor license. A volunteer wandered through the tables carrying large pitchers of ice water.
A bunch of costumed little kids were running around everywhere, a few being chased by their moms who were also in costume. It was a recipe for chaos but it wasn’t. It was just fun. I think the kid contest was won by Zoro, but the adult contest was much more complex. The serious competitors were 3 ladies wearing huge hats made of feathers, leaves, and something else. My favorite had dangerous looking red hair under a pull-down feather fedora. It was a rather striking ensemble. The runner up was a young-looking middle-aged woman who had really short green hair. She was soothing to look at so I just watched her.
A few dogs of carryable size were there also. I checked them out and decided that none were as cute as Willie.
My path to the door was almost blocked by the dessert trough. I didn’t even want to think about it because I was totally totaled out.
Everything was free and the caterers were all church volunteers. Those people really know how to put on a do. You have to love that Christ Church. I have friends and a daughter who attend services there regularly. Maybe I’ll start going more often.
The way to my car took me through the antique auto show. About 20 were being shown off, and it was interesting. One silver thing was so low that if you were riding in it down the road your jockey shorts would be about 8” above the asphalt. A speck of dust would not dare land on that thing. I asked the owner if it would go 500 miles an hour, and he said, “not with me in it.”
My favorite though was a strikingly blue 1956 Ford Thunderbird. It had a V-8 engine with 255 horse power. There were only 15,631 made and it sold new for $3,151.
I drove home in my dirty Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was made in the USA in June of 2011. It says on the side that its trail rated and I’m not completely sure what that means. The odometer reads 19,139 miles. The right-side mirror is broken and the back-left tire is 2 pounds low. I have no idea how many horsepower the engine has and I don’t even care. That car has always taken me there and brought me back again. We’re a team, and that’s all that matters to me. f