For decades, the V Room has been a community gathering space, a second living room and a dark home with stiff drinks offering an escape from computer screens and the Top 40 pop of the outside world.
I had been bringing my dollars to the V Room for years before I moved into the neighborhood; I mean who wouldn’t want to live within walking distance of a place where you won’t be judged for being on your third whiskey ginger before 2 p.m.?
This historical dive once served food, though the kitchen hasn’t been used in years. But, once a year, Long Beach’s finest chili cooks come out for a day drink, fueled by stewed meats, beans and cheese.
And that’s where I found myself on Nov. 3, as the V Room hosted its 10th annual Chili Cook Off.
People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice winner Kenny Daniels from the South Bay took top prizes with his ground beef, smoky bean chili. Erasmo Pereza came in second with his tri-tip, IPA based chili. With 12 entries to try, the judges and the estimated 500 people who showed up, had plenty of fuel to drink with.
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