The 7th Annual Charity Chili Cook-off is set for Saturday, February 23, 1-5 p.m. at El Rio BBQ Bar in Paso Ancho. Jim Sullivan will again chair this year’s “all you can eat” feast, featuring chili recipes from 18 popular PV area bars, restaurants and sponsors – all competing for trophies and bragging rights.
There will be two categories of chili judging: one by popular vote from attendees and one by professional judges.
Tickets to the Chili Cook-off cost 250 pesos per person prior to the event and 300 pesos at the door. In addition to all the chili, an order of El Rio’s famous smoked riblets and an agua fresca are also included. Regular El Rio menu items will also be available for purchase.
Entertainment will be provided by Dave Whitty, Da Crew, Mikki Prost and The Texas Embassy Blues Band.
Pearl Burrus and Vera Carp return to emcee the event again this year. These two characters – two of the 22 zany characters from “Greater Tuna,” a satirical comedy about small towns, small minds and big hearts –had the Cook-off crowd in stitches with their off-the-cuff and sometimes off-color quips last year. They appear courtesy of Incanto, where their show returns soon.
Warique, the local, Old Town restaurant, is this year’s Amigo Sponsor, while local bars Andale’s, Captain Don’s, Murphy’s Irish Pub, Nacho Daddy, Que Pasa & Winston’s Bar & Grill are the T-shirt Sponsors.
Two bottles of Patron Tequila will be raffled off at the event. To enter, bring a non-perishable food item for one free raffle ticket. You get one ticket per donated item. The food will be distributed to those in need. Last year, donations went to victims of Hurricane Willa in San Blas.
Tickets to the Chili Cook-off can be purchased at the door or in advance from All-Access, Café Roma, Captain Don’s, DZ Route 66, Escondida Sports Bar, Gringo Loco, Kelly’s Pour Favor, Los Muertos Brewery, Murphy’s Irish Pub, Nacho Daddy, Que Pasa, The Salty Caesar, Refugio Infantil Santa Esperenza A.C. RISE, Suriya Events and Winston’s Bar & Grill. Also making chili coco Tropical Restaurant, El Torito Sports Bar and Marriott Champions Sports Bar.
Doors open at noon. Chili will be served from 1-4 p.m. and voting takes place from 1-3 p.m.
Confirmed chili judges include Gary Beck, Paul Mayer (Vallarta Food Tours), Madeline Celeste (Vallarta Tribune Editor) and Jim Lee (Living Vallarta).
El Rio BBQ Bar is located in Paso Ancho, in a beautiful setting alongside the Cuale River, less than ten minutes from the Libramiento. Driving directions: From the south or centro, take the Libramiento through the small tunnel, then turn right at the signal just past the bridge. From the north, turn left at the signal after the large tunnel and just before the bridge. Free parking will be available. There is a new concrete road from the highway to El Rio. For more information, call Rio BBQ at (322) 222-2510.
8th Annual Riverfest
Also coming up at El Rio BBQ Bar is the 8th Annual Riverfest – a festival to benefit Pasitos de Luz, a local non-profit organization founded by mothers of disabled children. This excellent charity runs a day care center and provides rehabilitation, nutritional meals, physical stimulation and therapy.
The Riverfest dates are Saturday, March 2, noon to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 3, noon to 6 p.m.
Ten bands will be featured during the festival. Playing Saturday are The Gecko Band, Brimstone, Anna and The Others, The Texas Embassy Blues Band, The Jokers and La Trez Cuartoz. On Sunday, Piel Canela, The Cheko Ruiz Band, Los Bambinos and Johanna’s Band will perform.
Apart from El Rio’s food options, there will be edibles from Barcelona Tapas and Pasta Fresca, a silent auction, 50/50 raffles and artisan exhibits. In addition, professional hairdresser Alex Daoud will be giving haircuts and “eyebrow threading,” with all profits donated to Pasitos de Luz.