Best Bites: Everything’s Gone Green Edition

Our weekly picks for the most enticing foodcentric events in the Tallahassee area.

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22.

With Earth Day coming up on Sunday, April 22, we’re all being bombarded with tips on how to go green. Here at Tallahassee Bite By Bite, we believe that supporting locally owned businesses, from farmers markets and shops to bars and restaurants, is an environmentally friendly act that we can choose to make every day of the year. To find your new favorite Tallahassee business, check out Locally Owned Tallahassee and Local Business Saturday.

Tallahassee’s fleet of food trucks will be out in force during Girlz Rock!, a night of music and dance performances by local women that’s part of Tallahassee PRIDEFEST 2012. The event begins at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20 at the All Saints Hop Yard, 453 All Saints St. Admission is free. Beer will be served by the Hop Yard and the Fermentation Lounge; a wristband for folks 21 and older costs $10 and includes 2 free drinks.

Friday, April 20 is the most wonderful day of the year for local mac ’n’ cheese fanatics. Bread & Roses Food Cooperative will host the 12th Annual Vegan Mac and Cheese Bake-Off from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 915 Railroad Ave. in All Saints. For a suggested donation of $2, you can sample all the entries in three vegan categories: traditional, innovative and dessert. If you’ll be entering your own killer mac ’n’ cheese recipe into the competition this year, arrive 15 minutes before the event begins with your dish, a list of ingredients and serving utensils. For more information, call Bread and Roses at 425-8486 or email breadandrosesfoodcoop@gmail.com.

Earth Day in the Park, Tallahassee’s annual downtown celebration of all things green, will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 22 at Ponce de Leon Park. The family-friendly festivities include garden and aerobics demonstrations, music, one-mile walking groups, and fitness, organic food, wellness and sustainability vendors. Admission is free. You can find out about additional Earth Day Week events around the area at the City of Tallahassee website.

Chili Cook-off Victory is Sweet … and Spicy

On December 3, Ryan (my boyfriend) and I won first place at Andrew and Heather’s 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off! Our friends Andrew and Heather have a serious chili cook-off every year, so we were prepared to compete. They decked their house out in chili decorations, had t-shirts made and gave out chili-themed prizes. Last year, Ryan and I came in second place, so we felt the pressure, and wanted to beat it! *Side note: Ryan and I are both really competitive.

Our first-place pot of chili.

There were eight different types of chili entered into the contest. Everyone left the kitchen and each pot of chili was given a number. Heather, the host, handed out small cups of every chili and all the guests tasted them, then ranked each chili from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) on their scorecards. After each chili was tasted and ranked, Heather tallied up the rankings. The results are as follows:

3rd place: Chris Lowery

2nd place: Manuel Bermudez, Rachel Henry, and Alberto Bermudez

1st place: Amanda Doumanian and Ryan Reeves

After the contest, everyone enjoyed chili, chili dogs and chili cupcakes. The sweet and spicy chili cupcakes were made by Candace aka Cakes by Candace. This fun night ended with a win and has left us pondering what to do for next year.

Chili cupcakes made by the local baker behind Cakes by Candace.

If you want to learn more about hosting a chili cook-off of your own, email me at tlhbitebybiteAD@gmail.com for more details. If you want to know our chili recipe, too bad — it’s top secret 😉

Best Bites: It’s All in All Saints Edition

Our weekly picks for the most enticing foodcentric events in the Tallahassee area.

Join this fellow at the Fermentation Lounge for drinks, food and live music at the Festical fundraiser on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

If you love visiting All Saints as much as I do, then you’ll be thrilled by the slate of great events taking place in the neighborhood during the next several days. That’s in addition, of course, to the monthly First Friday festivities hosted by the galleries, shops and eateries in Railroad Square Art Park, set for 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.

Good news for fans of eating on the go: The number of mobile food trucks operating in the state of Florida jumped more than 10 percent this year, according to a report by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can grab a meal on wheels at the Food Truck Round Up, which begins at 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 at the All Saints Hop Yard, 453 All Saints Street. Participating trucks include Fired Up Pizza, Kool Beanz, Lasang Pinoy, Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery, MoBi and Street Chefs. Sounds like the perfect stop for a late snack. Admission is free. For more information, visit the All Saints Hop Yard website.

Bread and Roses Food Cooperative will hold its 3rd Annual Vegan Chili Cook-off at 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 at 915-2 Railroad Ave. Chili chefs will compete in one of three categories: traditional, fire alarm and innovative. If you’re going for the glory, plan to arrive at 2:45 p.m. and bring a notecard listing your dish’s ingredients. Chili aficionados who just want to eat can sample all the entries for a suggested donation of $3. For more information, call 425-8486 or email breadandrosesfoodcoop@gmail.com.

The folks at Fermentation Lounge will help out one of their own, bartender Trevor Bond, who incurred huge medical bills after a recent mountain biking accident, at the Festical fundraiser. The event, which features food, a silent auction and live music by the Stoned and Lonesome String Band, begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7 and runs into the wee hours at the lounge, 113 All Saints Street. Festical-goers also will get first crack at imbibing a new haus apple cider that’s spiked with cinnamon and cranberries. Twenty percent of the night’s sales will go to Trevor, and the lounge’s owners also will match the first $500 in donations made by attendees. Admission is free. For more information, call 727-4033 or visit the Fermentation Lounge website.