Teams from fire houses all over the city met at the El Coyote Mexican Café once again to battle for the hottest of the hot trophy. The El Coyote chefs grilled the carne asada and chicken, while the firefighters prepared their spicy masterpieces. Event guests tasted and scrutinized the different salsas and then used their favorites to top their chips and tacos. There was also plenty of margaritas and beer to help wash it all down.
The variety of ingredients used in the salsas was overwhelming. Besides the usual chipotles, jalapenos and serranos, some of the stations got very creative by adding fixings like shrimp and pineapple. The crew from Fire Station 17 warned guests to make their booth the last tasting stop because their salsa was criminally insane. “17’s salsa was so spicy that I couldn’t taste anything else for an hour,” agreed one guest.
While each guest had their favorite, the panel of judges was supposed to have the last word on deciding which salsa was best. Event judges Wendy Burch and Chris Schauble from the KTLA news and Adriana Davalos, Miss Los Angeles Latina 2013, gave it their best shot but the competition still ended up in a tie between FS 87 and FS 21. El Coyote’s grand lady Marjorie Cristoffersen was called in to break the tie and after sampling both recipes, awarded the 1st place trophy to 87’s.
The winners from 87’s were nonchalant about their victory. “We don’t need strategy,” said Kenny Breskin. “We just bring it,” finished Jeff Harvey.
While not a prize winner, Martin Gutierrez from the FPB still enjoyed the event. “It’s a good competition,” he said, “but it all depends on the judge’s preferences. Our recipe is something that I picked up in my mom’s kitchen.”
The many event sponsors made sure there was enough food, drink and salsa for everyone, and in the end, ensured that the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firemen’s Fund was amply endowed. Our thanks to Wells Fargo, Derek Vehling, Collective Color, Heipler & Heipler, Tom LaBonge, Mitchell Englander, Zev Yaroslavsky, Wells Capital Mangement, New York Life Insurance and Pacific Development Solutions Group.
“Firefighters have a really tight community. This is a great way to celebrate their hard work with a twist,” said Wendy Burch. “And I love emceeing an event where the salsa is hot – and so are the firefighters!”
By Dave Wagner
See more spicy photos from this event! Click here.