Tag Archives: Sweet Caroline’s

Activity Time: Chili Cook Off at Church

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Winter time and colder weather remind us Texans of a favorite comfort food: chili. So when I heard about the First Annual Chili Cook Off held by Church, I was all over it. Church, which I have written about before on this blog, is a cute restaurant in the Fenway area that has religiously-themed dishes and drinks. Next to the restaurant is a music/event hall, which is where the cook off went down.

Starting at 1:00 pm, I was unsure exactly what to expect in the portions of the chili that guests were going to be trying, as the posters for the event left a lot to the imagination. However, once inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of chili each guest was given – as it was at least a scoop from each station. On top of that, almost every contestant (to which there were around six or seven official competitors) jazzed up the dish with tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese and in one case, pig ear.

Overall, I enjoyed getting a chance to sample some fantastic chili dishes. I love Chowder Fest in the summer, so why wouldn’t I have liked a Chili Cook Off? The downside was that the event was incredibly crowded. According to the Boston Globe, there were around 250 people that attended. It doesn’t seem like a crazy number, except that the entire event was held in a small space. Once the crowd piled in, it was hard to move from station to station – and it got hot fast (especially after eating several bowls of chili).

While I haven’t been able to find out who won the actual “People’s Choice Award,” I can give you my thoughts on the dishes:

Sweet Caroline’s – traditional style of chili with big chunks of hamburger and beans, loaded with chives, sour cream, small tortilla chips and cheese. I voted for this one because it had a good level of flavor, was a thicker chili and provided a good amount of ingredients.

Fenway Park – chocolate/cocoa powder base sauce with meat and beans, loaded with an avocado, sour cream, tortilla, etc. I didn’t know Fenway had chili but I thought it was great! I’ll absolutely order this when it’s on the colder side at Red Sox games.

Church – chili three ways: mole chili, turkey chili and traditional. My biggest hang up was the mole, as it was way too sweet and didn’t have any spice on it. I tried it first, so I don’t think I gave the other chili’s a fair shot.

Sweet Cheeks – non-traditional turkey chili with a white base and some sort of cilantro/pesto type sauce on top. I really enjoyed this one, as it had big chunks of turkey and lots of flavor. Also, I got to meet Top Chef’s Tiffani Faison, who checked the chili’s flavors before scooping!

Thorntons – traditional chili with large beans and shredded beef. This was my least favorite of all the chilies I tried. There wasn’t a lot of flavor and the base was really watery. I will be going to this restaurant for brunch (which apparently they have everyday)!

Jerry Remy’s – traditional chili with lots of meat and no beans. We Southerners talk a big game about “no beans” being the right kind of chili but honestly, it had spice and not a lot of flavor.

Tasty Burger/Citizens – traditional chili with a modern twist that was decorated with pig ear and a fancy cheese. It was a good effort but I personally didn’t enjoy this one as much.

As I said, I enjoyed the concept of the event and had it not been so crowded, I would have absolutely stayed longer. However, I felt rushed to try the food and get out. I would say that the highlight of the day for me was meeting Tiffani – though to spend time on a Saturday eating chili is absolutely heaven.

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How I Met Your State Catches Up

There are so many activities or restaurants that I haven’t had a chance to blog about and since my list is growing, I thought I would change things up a bit. This post is a quick list of places I’ve been or things I’ve eaten that haven’t had a fair shake on the blog yet! While I would love to give each of these items a much longer post, I don’t know  what’s coming next on the adventure front and don’t want to miss a beat.

Attractions:

Fenway Park

Fenway Tour

Want to visit historic Fenway Park but can’t get tickets to a Red Sox game? You should consider the park tour. It runs every day of the week, picks up at the souvenir store on Yawkey Way and costs about $12 for adults. The chance to experience Fenway and get a bit of history is worth the price of the ticket.

HIMYS Recommends: Try to visit when the Red Sox are playing an away game. The tour might take you on the field but its not always a guaranteed stop.

Bars:

Sweet Caroline’s

New bar that opened recently in Fenway between Baseball Tavern and the Machine. Offers an incredible atmosphere for watching sporting events (huge TVs at the bar) and the woodwork makes you feel like cozying up for a longer stay.

HIMYS Recommends: Check out the bar while the Red Sox are not in season to get a feel for it. The location alone ensures that this is going to be a hot spot during games.

The Landsdowne Pub

Popular bar in the Fenway area, located on Landsdowne Street across from Fenway Park. This is a favorite night life locale in Boston, but also has a decent menu for hungry day dwellers.

HIMYS Recommends: Actually, my friend who is originally from Ireland raves about their Irish sausage and beans plate. He points out that this dish is the closest he’s come to the original in Ireland.

Places:

Cape Cod Beach on a Cloudy Day

Cape Cod

There is no way I can summarize this in one short paragraph! This is a place holder for a larger post later – with both activity and restaurant recommendations to follow!

HIMYS Recommends: Stay tuned for a more in depth post!

 

Restaurants:

Max Brenner’s

Located on Boylston, this restaurant is all about the delightful experience. If you don’t already know, this place is known for its desserts – and when you walk in, chocolate is being mixed in a vat.

HIMYS Recommends: Eat a smaller portion at dinner so you can indulge in dessert. Also check out the brunch menu – but be sure to make a reservation on OpenTable.

Mussels at the Barking Crab

Barking Crab

This infamous seafood restaurant is located right around the South End and the Waterfront area. If you are in the mood to pig out on seafood, you’ve found the place to be. The Barking Crab was featured on the Travel Channel’s Man vs Food, which should tell you about the portion sizes.

HIMYS Recommends: Bring a friend and split a seafood dish to keep the cost reasonable…and try the steamed mussels.

Sibling Rivalry

A South End restaurant with two chefs and two distinctly different menu choices for the same meats or ingredients.

HIMYS Recommends: Hit up Sibling Rivalry during Restaurant Week or on Monday nights. The flat rate price for three course meal (without drinks) is a deal and a chance to test it before you spend a lot during a normal dinner.

Masa

Mexican-inspired restaurant located in the South End with a wide selection of tapas and margaritas. Masa also offers brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with a set price menu of its most popular morning dishes.

HIMYS Recommends: Try the Fiesta Brunch (fixed price) as you get a big bang for your buck and the food is delicious. Also, Masa regularly has happy hour prices on their tapas but you need to eat at the bar to get the menu. (It’s a great place for a book club meeting, as well.)

There are so many more places or activities that should be on this list. Since I can’t keep up with the pace on the blog, I’ll certain try to pull together these summary posts every few months.

Do you have a place you would recommend visiting or a tip for a certain activity/restaurant? Leave it in the comments section below.