By Denise Ortuno

The views of the mountains were striking from the Palm Springs Air Museum Halloween Classic Car Show and Chili Cook-off this past Saturday, October 28th.

There were over 200 classic cars, and plenty of chili to taste, and of course, the awesome planes within the museum to be amazed by. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Steven Eisen of the PS Air Museum to be one of the judges for the cook-off. My duty, along with the other judges, Patrick Evans of CBS Local 2, and Jimmy Boegle of CV Independent, was to judge two chili’s by participating restaurants, Las Casuelas Terraza and the Spa Resort Casino’s Corner Deli  (Executive Chef Kieran Fleming). All of the other chili offered was made by the volunteers of the PS Air Museum, and would be judged by the visitors themselves.

It was my first time judging chili, although I am no novice to a chili cook-off. I participated in a similar event as one to be judged on their chili making capabilities. It was at a La Quinta Chamber of Commerce event years back, and I walked away winning “Most Unique Chili” for my Turkey/Chorizo and Chocolate Chili. Needless to say, I was honored and almost cried….it was my first chili win.

So I was ecstatic to take part in the PS Air Museum event and be on the other side of the table, plus it was Halloween themed, Bonus!

The tasting was a blind tasting, and despite the fact that it was 9:30 in the morning, the chili still seemed appetizing. Cup A had a deep red hue, with rich flavors and well delivered heat. Cup B provided a subdued flavor with a dense texture, very comfort foodish. For me, cup A was the winner. I loved its spicy lingering appeal. It turns out that the other two judges had similar feelings towards the chili, and it was the winner!

Come to find out, the restaurant behind cup A was the long standing Las Casuelas Terraza. The legendary restaurant established by the Delgado family many moons ago won out with their Pork, Ancho Chili, Chocolate and Mezcal creation. The Spa Casino’s Corner Deli came in second with their Beef and Pinto Bean style chili. Both were fabulous, and the PS Air Museum was grateful for their participation.

It was a great event and fun was had by all! With chili, classic cars, awesome planes and Halloween…well, it just doesn’t get any better. I look forward to next year’s event, and hope to once again sit on the judge’s panel to taste some delicious chili.

For more information about the Palm Springs Air Museum visit, www.palmspringsairmuseum.org

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