Port Jefferson’s Heart Warming Winterfest took over the downtown area Saturday, with features like a “Chili Walk” and a wine tasting to try to warm up its over-frozen residents.
My 3-year-old and I decided to take on the chili crawl to restaurants on Main Street, E. Main Street and Broadway.
We wound up sampling the fare at The Wave at Danford’s, The Steamroom, Tommy's Place, Billie's 1890 Saloon and Pace's Steak House. Gourmet Burger Bistro and The Village Way both ran out of chili by the we time got there, and we didn’t make it to The Pie, Portside Bar & Grill, or the winner, Fifth Season.
Tommy's Place came in second; Billie’s was third.
The results were based on votes by 137 participants, who paid $5 each for tickets to at each restaurant, a mug and small cups to fill up with chili at each spot.
Our take, in order of favorites:
The Wave: Mild and tasty. Hot peppers didn’t overwhelm.
Pace’s Steak House: Hearty, with a nice mix of vegetables – a fellow sampler was partial to having corn in the recipe.
Tommy’s Place: Not bad. My daughter especially liked it, in part, because she has a cousin Tommy and thought he owned the place. I'm not a huge fan of refried beans, though.
The Steamroom: Spicy! A seeming combo of clam chowder and chili, it’s served on the menu throughout the winter season. My mouth was burning for about 10 minutes.
Billie’s 1890 Saloon: More like chopped beef soup.
For the win, Fifth Season will receive a trophy and a "Best Chili in Port Jefferson" banner to display in the restaurant.
The Winterfest festivities also included an ice sculpture demonstration. In the video below, Anthony Tavitian of Deer Park's Ice Sculpture Designs shows how a dolphin is done.
And Richard A. Anderson, Jr., of Creative Carving in Wading River, put on a wood-carving demonstration, creating an angel holding a heart in commemoration of Valentine’s Day.