Fandango one for the history books

RANCHO SANTA FE — What do you get when you mix chilli, Mexican food, Prairie Fire and hot weather? The Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society calls it a Fandango!
On Sept. 26, the Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society hosted its annual Fandango and chilli cook-off at the La Flecha House, Rancho Santa Fe’s historic first home. Next to the house’s patio is Via de Santa Fe, which was blocked from traffic giving room for more celebration. And plenty came to celebrate! Attendance far exceeded expectations. “We planned for 200, but soon ran out of plates and cups,” Administrator Sharon Fabry said. The folk-rock band Prairie Fire had attendees dancing in the streets. A buffet of Mexican food was available for all, catered by Rodeo’s, but it was the annual chilli cook-off that had everyone talking … and tasting.
Competition was fierce. Society members were asked to bring their best and most creative chilli to the table. At least 10 individuals or teams were up for the challenge. First-timer Demetri Melekos entered his Chipotle Chilli Colorado and if there had been a “Hot & Spicy Award,” Melekos would have won. But this year’s First-Place Winners were Kent Jesse and Carol Freeman, serving their KJ Elk Chilli. So what gave them their competitive edge? According to chilli cook-off chair Debi Holder, the winning team hunted, cooked, set up early and secured that special spot in the line-up. It also helped they brought friends to sing their culinary praises! In the end, it was their masterful chilli that won over voters.
In other Historical Society news, the society recently received a $20,000 grant from the San Diego County Community Enhancement Program. These funds will help pay for the French drain repairs that were recently done to preserve the historic La Flecha House. The work was phase one of restoration work that needed to be completed and now the society is eager to begin phase two, which includes repairs to walls, hardware, roof and doors.
The Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society is still gathering recipes for its upcoming cookbook. All members are encouraged to submit a “Ranch” favorite. To submit a recipe for this fundraising project or for more information, contact Vicki Acri at vickiacri@sbcglobal.net or call (858) 342-5521.

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