Chilli for days, or Holidays.

The winter holidays are here. In San Diego, I feel it has been cooler than usual, even with all the fires going around. "Cause you're hot then you're cold" Katy Perry would say to refer to SoCal's weather going from cold at night, to cool, then hot at midday, then back to cold as soon as the sun goes down. One thing I know for sure is that my skin gets extra dry this time of year and oh man do I itch, especially on the top of my feet.

Have you been outside during the 4:30ish 5:00 PM part of the day? Did you experience the sudden change from day time to dark within a couple of minutes? I was hanging out with friends this past Sunday for a one more time hang out away from Cueva Bar Café. I prepared a delicious big pot of chilli and cornbread to go with it. Everyone loved it and it seemed many went for seconds. Needless to say, there were only two servings left which Jo and I had for lunch on Monday. After one of the attendees asked me if there was a secret ingredient to my chilli I decided right then I'd share my recipe here in this blog. Had I told you that when I cook at home I don't follow recipes? This wasn't the exception, although I do recall roughly the amounts and ingredients that I used. So, for those of you who like to follow recipes as a base to create your own version of chilli, here is the one I cooked for my friends this past Sunday. I know is not tapas or pintxos, small plates and bites, antojitos or botanas but give it a try, cook it, take pictures and send them to me or share on the comments below, cool?

Chef Oz's winter chilli. (feeds 20)

-3 lbs ground meat of preference.

-45 oz of cooked beans with its juice

-6 medium tomatoes of the vine, crushed

-2 medium onions, diced

-1 garlic head, cleaned, minced

-16 oz frozen corn

-3 bell peppers, diced

-Cumin powder, to taste (add a little bit at a time)

-Smoked paprika, to taste...same as above

-Chili powder, to taste..yes, same as above

-Salt and black pepper, to taste. You can always add more but you can't ever add less.

-House made hot sauce I made with fresh cayenne peppers.

-Bacon fat from the morning bacon I used to make eggs, bacon and cheese breakfast muffin sandos


Using half of the bacon grease, caramelize the onions and garlic, add the remaining veggies and cook until tender but with a bite. Remove from pot and add the remaining bacon grease to brown the meats. Once the meat is browned, add veggies, beans, crushed tomato. Cook and stir until mixed together. Add the tomato sauce, one cup of white vinegar (the secret ingredient), cover and cook on a low simmer for at least 30 minutes. A couple of things about chilli are that the longer you cook it, the better it tastes and also that it tastes better the day after when you re-heat it.

Since I am talking about soups, I want to share with you I started offering a delicious pozole inspired chicken soup at Cueva Bar Café. It is a little spicy but it doesn't have hominy, or radishes to add after we serve it. It does come with dices of panela, an avocado slice, a quarter lime and a cooked to order corn tortilla. I know you like soup especially now that is cool in the evening.

Upcoming Holidays, or Holi-daze?


11 Veteran's Day. Do you have family that has served in the military? Even though I am not the biggest fan of the military I have had the chance to work and live along with some fine humans who happened to be veterans that served in one or two wars. School is closed and we aren't open at Cueva Bar Café so for me is a chance to spend time with my kids.

13 Caregiver Appreciation Day. There is a holiday for almost everything these days. Also, caregivers are an important part of the world, right? I've had grandparents who needed one and thinking ahead I know my parents are going to need caregivers too, especially since only one of us siblings lives in the same city as my parents.\

21 Great American Smokeout. Pass the grape dutch pon the left-hand side. No? not that one?

28 Thanksgiving Day. Gobble gobble we'll be closed at Cueva Bar Café.

29 Black Friday. We will also be closed this day. Make sure not to get trampled at the store. Program your coffee pot to start by itself right about the time you'll be waking up, or, are you waiting in line all night?

Whether or not you celebrate any of these holidays I feel is important just to know and learn about the society we live in. Many of these holidays I didn't know about until I married Jo back in 2000. Nowadays per example, even people from Mexico like to celebrate Thanksgiving and go to extents of travelling here in order to take advantage of the Black Friday sales. Contrary to what our president says about Mexicans, there are loads and loads of working-class families that have some extra cash and they like to come here to spend it. Bad hombres and bad mujeres exist everywhere not just south of the border. I personally think is very interesting and makes no sense my fellow Mexican sisters and brothers would travel all the way to border cities like San Diego, Laredo, McCallen, etc, but I also know Mexico doesn't offer some of the same quality products one can find at retail shops in the U.S. but if they do, they are imported from Europe or the US, therefore, costing double so travelling across the border is actually more cost-effective.

About the author:

I chef Oz write these blogs. I am a home cook gone pro when my wife Jo and I decided to open Cueva Bar Cafe in San Diego California. I am passionate about offering a space where people gather for a good time, and to enjoy mindfully prepared tapas, made with love and passion by our culinary team. I'm all about inclusive peace, love, mutual respect, unity, kindness, and compassion under the sun with liberty and justice for all.

Let tapas bring us together!

Cueva Bar Café is my approach to the concept of Tapas with an essence of Mexican cuisine, known for continuous reinvention and embracing evolution, where food is prepared in a cosy, relaxed and inclusive atmosphere.

Letting the inspiration flow and keeping balance in mind, I marry Mexico’s ingredients and flavours with elements from around the U.S and the world using local - organic produce and vendors as much as possible to create both delicious and healthy dishes that have little to zero impact on our environment.

Cueva Bar in San Diego California offers a tapas and small plates inspired menu with plenty of omnivores, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

Every day happy hour is from Tuesday to Saturday from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Happy hour offerings are $2 off all food on the menu and $3 off all drinks by the glass.

Late-night Spanish style happy hour on Friday and Saturday from 9pm to 11pm where we treat you to a tapa or pintxo with each drink you order.

Monthly Wine Tasting. Happens every first Saturday of every month.


TEL 619-269-6612

2123 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116

© 2020  Cueva Bar. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy