IN PICTURES: V Room’s 10th Annual Chili Cook Off

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.

Erasmo Perez, second place winner at 10th Annual Chili Cook Off at the V Room in Long Beach on Nov. 3. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Jalapeño peppers add extra heat at the 10th Annual Chili Cook Off at the V Room in Long Beach. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Marquita Billhardt puts the finishing touches on her “Grandma Carmen’s Chili” served at Christmas every year. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

The 10th Annual V Room Chili Cook Off. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Civilian tasters got to cast their votes, too. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Damon Dagger of Long Beach shows off his taco tattoo, similar to the mascot of L.A. Taco at the 10th Annual Chili Cook-off at the V Room in Long Beach. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Waldo Stout, left, and Sean Sieling of Long Beach show off their empty chili pot. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

 

Kenny Daniels celebrates as his chili is announced first-place winner at the 10th Annual Chili Cook Off at the V Room. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Kenny Daniels shows off his trophy as winner of first place prize at the 10th Annual Chili Cook Off. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Kenny Daniels celebrates his victory with a friend at the 10th Annual V Room Chili Cook Off. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

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