A spicy chicken enchilada edged a traditional lamb cooked in hot sauce in the city’s first ever Belleville Spicy Foods Contest on Tuesday.
Chilango’s Enchiladas Verdes narrowly topped the Lamb Vindaloo by host Royal Haveli Flavours of India according to the four judges given the task of choosing among six dishes to declare the winner and runner-up in the inaugural event.
The three restaurants participating — Royal Haveli, Chilangos and Boston Pizza Belleville – each prepared two dishes. All were judged on heat, overall taste and presentation.
Marlem Power and her brother Abraham Ramos opened Chilangos Mexican Restaurant on Front Street in March. Power said the Enchilada Verdes is a regular menu item, and extremely popular.
Anu Dutta of Royal Haveli explained the Lamb Vindaloo, boneless lamb pieces marinated and cooked in hot sauce, is a traditional favourite among those who like their food with bite.
Boston Pizza served Mitch Wings, a speciality of franchise owner Mitch Panciuk. While the wings are hot on their own, they are served with extra hot sauce for those who want more bite, or ranch sauce for those who want less.
The task of determining the winner fell to four local “celebrity” judges — Belleville Fire Chief Mark MacDonald, nurse Donna Moher and local media members Lorne Brooker and Bill Glisky.
In announcing the winners, Brooker noted the judges had a very difficult time picking just one of the six dishes.
“If the Enchiladas scored a perfect 100, the Lamb Vindaloo was 99.999,” Brooker said. “It was practically flipping a coin.”
The friendly competition among local food establishments was brought about by Boston Pizza’s Panciuk as a way to raise awareness of some of the new dining establishments in the city.
Panciuk said he hopes to continue the contest moving forward and possibly expanding it to feature different types of restaurants and foods in the future.