South Bay firefighters resurrect Chili Cook-Off; Assyrian food fest in San Jose

By Linda Zavoral
Once again, the South Bay’s finest will be sharing their best firehouse chili — for a good cause — now that the San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation has resurrected the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off.

Jim Aparicio, vice president of the burn foundation, says about 25 crews, local entrepreneurs and others will compete Saturday, Aug. 17, in Campbell.

Chili samples are $1, beer is $5, with tickets for both going on sale at noon. Chili should be ready for tasting at that hour too. Look for an array of creative chilis — this is a no-holds-barred competition. There will be a judging panel as well as people’s choice voting.

The event will also feature live music and classic cars.

All proceeds will go to burn survivors, Aparicio says. The nonprofit foundation supports burn camps for children and retreats and support groups for adults; provides financial assistance to families; purchases equipment for the Valley Medical Center burn unit; and sponsors training and educational programs.

Details: Noon-5:30 p.m. along Campbell Avenue. 408-667-1535 .

All Assyrian food festival

Coming up this weekend is an opportunity to savor a full Assyrian menu.

The 21st annual Assyrian Food Festival runs Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17 and 18, in San Jose and features foods inspired by the Middle Eastern and Russian homes of the cooks’ ancestors. That means it’s a long list — kebabs and dolmas, soups, appetizers (like borek, which are Assyrian egg rolls), Russian-influenced piroshki and a wide array of desserts (baklava, zoolbia, dates, rice pudding with saffron). Traditional Assyrian chai tea will be served in Samovar Alley.

A returning feature is the Chef’s Choice inside the church hall, where festivalgoers can dine on, well, whatever the chefs are inspired to make. Festival spokeswoman Elizabeth Estensen says that might be seasoned kepteh meatballs in a savory broth, or a Mediterranean-style ratatouille called tabaka, or any number of other dishes from the Assyrian canon of recipes.

Details: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 17 and 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Aug. 18. Assyrian Church of the East, 680 Minnesota Ave., Mar Yosip Parish, San Jose. Admission, parking are free, and there is a free shuttle from the Tamien Caltrain station parking lot, 1355 Lick Ave.

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