Elevations Eats: Home-cooking and home-brewing for the homeless | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Elevations Eats: Home-cooking and home-brewing for the homeless

We at Elevation Eats firmly believe that cooking may just save the world. A local example of which can be seen at Homebrew for the Homeless, the annual fundraiser for Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless.

On Sept. 23, locals gathered at Leigh Wayne Miller’s Ranch to raise money for a great cause. Centered around a chili cook-off and a homebrew contest, this family-friendly and dog-friendly event also featured live music, horseback rides, face painting, lawn games, a silent auction and a Donkey Deuce Drop, which is exactly what it sounds like. Entrants could buy a square inside the donkey pen and hope it would be the lucky location of the next donkey dropping to be produced by either Max or Steve, the resident burros.

All proceeds went to support Tahoe Coalition for Homeless and the Warm Room.

Homelessness is a rampant problem in South Lake Tahoe and, contrary to popular belief, not just a transient one. According to figures that were shared at Tahoe Regional Young Professionals’ Tahoe Town Hall: Addressing Homelessness, only 18 percent of Tahoe residents can afford the median priced home in area, and 87 percent of those who stayed in the Warm Room are local.

Elevation Eats was asked to pitch in and help judge the chili contest, and we were glad to be of service! Troy and I joined Kai Crowe from Chimayó to meticulously rank our way through nine different cups of chili. It was … filling.

Each bowl was very distinct in flavor and ingredients. Some stand-out favorites included Jennifer Lay’s Vegan Chili. That’s right, vegan chili. She entered both a hearty meat version (also delicious) and a vegan, but as she is a vegetarian herself, the vegan was closer to her heart and it showed. It was delightful and packed full of flavor.

Another favorite was Katie Shea’s Snow Chili. This was a very close second for the win. Inspired by the recent September snowfall, Katie’s white chili used a creamy chicken base instead of tomato. Bonus points for creativity.

But the final winner was Danny Salgado with his slow roasted and marinated pork chili and homemade sauces. The chili was then topped with fried cheese.

The homebrew contest also demonstrated homegrown ingenuity. Glenn Simpson, winner of the people’s choice for homebrew, had two brews that stood out. His lighter entry was seasoned with lemon zest instead of hops, which provided a refreshing bitterness that wasn’t overwhelming. His darker brew was made in old scotch barrels, and the oaky sweetness shined through.

“The Warm Room performs a vital role in our community,” says Dr. Marissa Muscat, executive director of Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless. “Homebrew for the Homeless is not just a fundraiser, but also a way for us to say ‘thank you’ to our supporters with a day of fun.”

And by the way, at 8:27 p.m. Steve the donkey finally picked a winner in the Deuce Drop.

We love to see home cooking join forces with a good cause, and we were even more thrilled to be a part of such a great event. As always, see you there!

Elevation Eats is the brainchild of Rae and Troy Matthews: South Shore locals, internet enthusiasts, and the food-obsessed, Tahoe-loving, annoying-couple down the street. This is their second food-related project. Their first is the blog LustForCooking.com, a celebration of cooking at home. Elevation Eats is dedicated to documenting and promoting the Tahoe food scene with a focus on sustainable living and cultural advancement. Find out more at elevationeats.com.


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