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Nibbles & Notes: Chili, Ursa Minor, South African food

Expect range of tastes at chili cook-off

The winners of last year's United Way Chili Cook-Off opted for a mole base, sweet spices, ground nuts and hot peppers. Food For Thought, the Duluth East-based restaurant, won both the People's Choice Award and the top prize in the amateur division of the annual event that pits pros against pros and home chefs against home chefs.

The 27th Annual event is 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The competition features more than 40 chili recipes, and more than 1,500 chili fans are expected to attend. Tickets are $8 for adults, $3 for kids.

If past years are any indication, expect spicy to sweet, vegetarian to meaty. Red, green. Speaking of green — Green Mill offered Southwest lime chicken chili last year, and earned kudos, and Whole Foods Co-ops' Emerald City chili verde was spiciest. (And its servers donned "Wizard of Oz"-wear.)

Ursa Minor to open next week

There's a new brewery on the block. Ursa Minor is expected to open Sept. 26, according to the brewery's Facebook page, and the festivities will go on all week.

Erik Berry and Marc Gartman, whose LazyLightning420 is a tribute to the Grateful Dead, play from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 26 and Bob Husby, creator of the handmade Mug Club mugs, will be on hand.

Other acts scheduled throughout the week include Abe Curran and the Blue Rooster, Jacob Mahon and more. There will also be local makers on hand to show off works — including Harmonic Goods and Duluth Screen Printing.

Zeitgeist centers on South Africa with dinner-film series

Zeitgeist's "Spirit of Duluth Dinner and Film Series" will, this go-round, focus on South Africa.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 in the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe mezzanine (222 E. Superior St.), and the film will follow.

The event, hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centenary Committee, will include a meal of grilled chicken peanut stew, boerewors (a popular South African sausage featuring lamb and pork, which is smoked and then served with corn and root vegetables), malva pudding, South African wine and rooibos tea.

After dinner, there will be a screening of "A Reasonable Man" — the story of an ex-Army officer turned lawyer who defends a cowherd accused of killing a baby.

Tickets are $55 and available at

Talking 'bout beer and water

Dan Kraker of Minnesota Public Radio will consider the water-craft beer connection during a public conversation with brewers and scientists.

"Know Water, Know Beer" is 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Hoops Brewing, 325 S. Lake Ave. It's free and open to the public.

The panel includes Earth Rider's lead brewer Allyson Rolph, Castle Danger's Bjorn Erickson and the College of St. Scholastica's dean of the school of sciences, Dr. Aileen Beard.

On topic: water quality, from the perspective of brewers and beer drinkers, the mineral count in Lake Superior, and efforts to protect water quality and availability.