It’s Father’s Day in San Diego, Sunday night at 5pm at Canyon Crest Academy, and we all know what that means… a chili cook-off. I hear there also might be a sporting event here tonight, but I arrived before 2 PMhearing the tales of how glorious Southern California cuisine can be.
As I drove to the stadium, my mouth was salivating. Sure, it’s not Texas, or the south, places that may be more known for chili, but this cook-out has to be wonderful. With the Hispanic culture in the San Diego area, maybe there will be some of that as an influence on the chili. I know it might be sacrilegious, but being by the sea, maybe there will be some sort of seafood influence. I mean, this contest had prizes, including a mountain bike. You can’t just throw some meat and beans and seasoning in a pot and hope to win. You certainly can’t just go to a store or Wendy’s and cheat your way to top prize. People are going to bring their A game, and that means you need to stand out.
The schedule called for 2PM to be a tailgate party: there was to be “Music, ping pong, corn hole, mini soccer, BBQ vendor, Babe Kombucha”. I think this should have been my first clue that something was awry. 2 PM to 3:30 is a short amount of time to make and cook chili, but maybe people were already stewing it at home. However, why would you bring a BBQ vendor to a chili contest? The kombucha makes sense, need to wash it down with something, and it’s a high school so you can’t serve beer. The games make sense, gotta work off some calories. But do you really need to supplement the contest with extra food?
And as I readied my stomach and bowels for a taste explosion… nothing. Not a person. Not a car. Not a bean in sight. I was lied to. I flew across the country, and was going to leave on an empty stomach. When asking the woman working here “What happened to the chili cook-off?” there wasn’t even a word. A frown, a shake of the head, and that was all. We shall call it Scandal-iego. I wonder what happened to that mountain bike? Someone bought that as a prize and took that home for themselves. As I eat my peanut butter stuffed pretzels from Trader Joe’s writing this, I guess I may as well stay for a soccer game that’s apparently going to happen in a few minutes.