Saturday was the Third Annual Chili Shooter’s Stampede that kicked off rodeo week in Livermore. We made and served chili at the first annual stampede, but have been attendees the last two years. This year, in addition to tasting chili at the stampede, we got to taste beer too! My sister Nancy, cousin Wendy, Nancy’s friend Deanna, and I went to the event and had a blast or as per Nancy, “a rootin’ tootin’ good time.”
A wagon pulled by draft horses carried us from one end of First Street to another
Eleven restaurants and one group of firemen were serving chili and twelve retail stores were pouring beer samples. The chili was served in a commemorative shot glass. The winners of this year’s chili competition have not yet been announced, but we sure know which ones were our favorites.
This year’s Chili Shooters Stampede commemorative shot glass
The First Street Ale House
The First Street Ale House was serving a very tasty chili made with rib eye steak and tri-tip. Next door a band was playing in front of Savvy Seconds.
The band in front of Savvy Seconds
Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department’s chili booth
At the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department’s booth a traditional chili much like grandma used to make was being served.
Last year’s first place chili winner was Demitri’s Taverna with a Mediterranean chili made with lamb. Unfortunately, none of us are lamb eaters so it was quite a surprise for us to find it in the chili. Nancy, Wendy, and I used to raise those smelly little ovine and for some reason we just don’t like the taste. This year our hopes soared when the young lady serving the chili at Demitri’s said she didn’t think it was lamb. One bite and ugh, we knew this wasn’t our favorite chili. Sorry Demitri, we love the rest of your food.
The unsuspecting Nancy being served lamb chili
The Winemakers Pourhouse that is just a few doors down from Demitri’s was serving a great turkey chili topped with blue cheese crumbles. The person serving the chili said that she makes it there daily. I plan to drop in for a bowl of turkey chili soon.
The Winemaker’s Pourhouse was serving a great turkey chili
Even Wienerschnitzel got into the action and were serving their award winning chili with fries. We loved them.
Wienerschnitzel’s chili cheese fries
We ran into several old time Livermore residents that day. One of the “Fletcher Boys” (that’s what our parents call Rob and his brother) was playing his banjo in front of the Woopsiedaisy Toy Store. We were so busy chatting with Rob and his wife Tish that we forget to go into Woopsiedaisy to try the beer they were serving.
We made it into Baughman’s Western Wear for some Sierra Nevada Old Chico beer and saw our cousin Robin selling tickets for the Livermore Rodeo. We also saw some boots that we’d love to come home with.
Our cousin Robin (in the middle) selling tickets for the Livermore Rodeo
Sierra Nevada Old Chico Beer and some really kickin boots at Baughmans
The hottest chili was served by El Sacromonte, the new upscale Mexican restaurant. It was called a “macho ceviche” made with Serrano chilies and halibut. Apparently I wasn’t macho enough to eat it. It was so hot I had tears running down my face and it took about fifteen minutes to cool down and get all of the Serrano chili seeds out of my mouth. Mucho caliente pescado for the gringo.
Just looking at this picture makes me break out in a sweat!
My favorite chili was served at Milano Joes, which is a fairly new Italian restaurant. It was made with Italian sausage.
Milano Joe’s Italian sausage chili
Dawn Shubert, my favorite photographer in Livermore, was pouring beer in her new downtown studio next to the Independent building. By the way, there is a French bakery under construction just two doors down from Dawn’s studio. While in Dawn’s studio we were surprised to see a picture of my daughter Laina in the window that Dawn had taken of her a few years ago.
Dawn Shubert on the left
A beautiful photo of my daughter Laina in Dawn Shubert’s window
Over at the Beer Baron aka Livermore Salon, beer from Altamont Beer Works was being poured. Stephen Sartori and Greg Robles (Greg’s mother was one of the recipe testers for our cookbook) are in the process of opening Altamont Beer Works off of Vasco Road in the business park behind the Occaisio Winery tasting room. It will be Livermore’s first brewery since prohibition. The excitement is mounting for its completion and opening.
Samples of Altamont Beer Works beer were being served at the Beer Baron
Besides enjoying the beer, chili, and the fellowship of the other tasters, another advantage of this event was that we went into a few stores we have not been in before. There is an Art Glass Studio on the corner of Second and L Streets that offers classes making art with glass. They also have already made items for sale, which included a stained glass sunflower and another sunflower made of small glass tiles that I would just love to have.
Some of the glass art at the Art Glass Studio
One of my favorite stores, Main Street Design, had some great Livermore tea towels for sale.
“It’s wine o’clock in Livermore” tea towels and beer pouring station in Main Street Design
We did stop by one store that was not participating in the stampede. There was a photo in the window of the Way Up Art and Frame that our mother was in from when she used to model for Livermore Rodeo advertisements in the 1940s. Another photo with our mom in it was hanging inside the store. There was a lot of glare in the window, but if you look closely at the photo below, you can see her on the bottom left holding up a pistol.
A photo of with our mother in the window of Way Up Art and Frame
OK, back to the chili. Casbah Cafe served a Mediterranean vegetarian chili which we enjoyed that was made with split peas and eggplant and was seasoned with tumeric. Harry’s Carvery served a chili that was chock full of ground beef and a Mexican flavor–also very tasty. The Swirl on the Square wine bar was serving “chili gone wild,” which was a vegetarian chili made with beans and lentils and it had a kick at the end.
Speaking of a kick at the end, we ended our day at Sauced, Livermore’s newest and finest swine bar. Yes, I said swine bar. This has become one of our favorite restaurants in Livermore. The decor is tastefully done in redneck chic, they have whisky on tap, and the food is fantastic. After trying their chili with brown sugar and a big BBQ flavor that was served with cornbread croutons, we sat out on their patio and enjoyed some salads. What a day!
Nancy and Wendy getting Sauced