Did I mention that it’s hot out?

I realized yesterday that it’s kinda been a while since I wrote a general, lacking-a-theme, miscellaneous-style post around here, what with all the time and energy I’ve been putting into 3-ways and enjoying the view from my soapbox.  Oh, and let’s not forget  beer-related posts for Hoperatives and the international escapades of some guy who always just happens to be where my facebook location says I am.  Luckily for me, he’s being followed by a vague and possibly dangerous dude and seems to be running from a murder; I’m just daydreaming.

At any rate, I figured I’d take a day and just sort of ramble a bit.  Like the Good Ole Days™ of early 2010.

I took the older kids to the pool yesterday, sans Puddinette and the Attitude, because it was not only naptime for the ‘Tude but also ridiculously hot.  And when I say ridiculously hot, I’m not just talking about some minor inconvenience heat here.  I’m talking about wondering-how-I-could-personally-do-something-to-make-Hell-freeze-over-and-cool-us-off-a-little heat. A Memorial Day temperature of 90 degrees is Just. Plain. Wrong.  It’s almost enough to make a body start wondering about this global warming business, but, and let’s all say it together, weather is not climate.  That’s not to say I don’t believe there might be some validity to global warming, but that’s another post.

By the way, have you ever noticed that when discussing global warming, it ultimately all comes down to belief?  I love that we talk about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and global climate change using the same basic vocabulary.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or pool, as the case may be.  I wasn’t sure how I’d manage at the swim club without another adult present, because, um, sometimes I tend to use my own childhood as a reference for whether or not I’ll allow my kids to do something.  Back in my day, as long as a kid wasn’t juggling flaming chainsaws while riding a unicycle on a tight rope over a pit of hungry alligators, all was well.

That kind of analysis, for instance, can lead to exchanges like this one*:

“Dad, can I practice swallowing flaming swords like that guy at the circus?”

Hmm…no fires in the house when I was a kid, I think to myself.  “Sorry, buddy, you’ll have to go outside and practice for a circus career.”

I guess maybe consulting my past experiences probably does not conform to the Accepted Standards of Modern Parenting.  Which means I’m going to have to keep working at it if I want to earn my “Overly-Cautious” or “Hovering” badges.  Otherwise, I’m afraid the Puddinpop could end up tying his own shoes in college, and won’t that be pretty embarrassing for him.

Kidding aside, even though there were enough people at the pool yesterday that I briefly thought we’d unwittingly shown up on Lady Gaga bobble head day, everything turned out very well.  I took three kids in with me, left with three kids (the same ones even!), and everyone had a good bit of splashy, wet fun in the pool.  It was an excessively warm naptime well spent.

Now, will someone please leave their door open and cool the outside world?  That’d be great, thanks.


*No actual sword-swallowing, flaming or otherwise, occurred in the writing of this post.

The Free Day

I assume I am probably in the minority here, but I really feel that of the 3-day weekend most US Residents are enjoying at the moment, today is the bonus day.  I’m sure there’s a contingent of people rolling their eyes and wondering exactly when I fell off the turnip truck and lost whatever sense the good Lord originally saw fit to give me, but I’m sticking by the assertion. 

Tomorrow will feel Saturday, because in my mind there will still be another day of freedom before returning to our respective grindstones. Monday will seem like Sunday, because family gathering always feel like Sunday, no matter what day of the week they fall on.  And we’ll all spend that precious off-day on Monday with one eye on our merriment and the other suspiciously waiting for it end, and with it our playtime.

So, today, right now, is bonus time, and I’d like to spend it profitably.  Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, that means the pool is Now. Officially. Open.  I don’t know about you, but in my mind, the first and last days of pool season are obligatory.  Sure, it was 65 degrees out when the club actually opened this morning, and since the pool is only warmed by ambient heat from the air and sun (which, in case you haven’t noticed, has been largely absent these past few weeks), I suppose it’s not unfair to say that the water temperature was a few degrees below what I would consider ideal.

Actually, I think I saw a handful of arctic penguins roll down the water slide and clap their precious little flippers together while I stood in 3 inches of water and wondered how long it takes hypothermia to set in.

Of course, while I was loitering about in the vain hope that my feet would acclimate while considering the probability that certain key extremities might draw back up into my body cavity when I got in deeper, three of my four children were already fully immersed in the water and having The Best Time Ever.  Seriously, does their blood work better than mine or something?  Cause whatever they’ve got, I want it.

Oh, that’s right, it’s called youth, and I’m pretty sure my insurance company isn’t covering a prescription for that.

Upon returning home, I figured I should invest some time in another ubiquitous summer activity: watering the lawn.  Yes, I’m still trying to grow grass.  Honestly, we’ve had more success than I ever dreamed possible with Operation: Regrowth, which is to say that we have some immature grasslings rather than huge, dusty, brown spots.  Still, the new growth is a bit patch-work, but more water will fix that, right?  Someone needs to explain to me, though, exactly how a garden hose connected to an easily-cranked hose reel ends up on the ground in a twisted heap resembling one’s small intestines.  It took me ten minutes of plucking, pulling and re-positioning to release the Gordian Knot so I might commence watering. 

My sprinkler is happily sprinkling now, and even though today hasn’t exactly been an all-expenses paid trip to St. Thomas complete with a fruity umbrella drink and the overwhelming odor of coconut-based basting oil, I haven’t a single complaint.  It’s the Free Day, by golly, and if you can’t find a way to enjoy your Free Day, no matter what actually happens, well, you simply don’t deserve to have one.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe it’s time for the liberal application of malt-based beverages.


3-Way Thursday: Traditions and taste buds

[Pudn’s note: I’ve known echoamy, the author of our final 3-way Thursday post for, um, well, actually, I don’t know her.  I’ve never met her.  But she was the first person to volunteer for my crazy 3-way Thursday plan and I’m thrilled to have someone so enthusiastic on board.  Not only does her opinion as an actual Cincinnatian bring a touch of validity to this shenanigans (since otherwise it’s just two NKy heathens and my favorite Texan), she adds a much needed lady’s perspective to the topic at hand.  Let’s all welcome her to Puddintopia.]

As a lover of Cincinnati Chili, I was excited when Puddintopia put out a request for volunteers.  Until I followed CincyConeyQuest I had never thought about reviewing the different chili restaurants in Cincinnati.  But his quest made me interested.  So I gladly volunteered for Puddintopia’s Seeking of the Ways.

But you might ask, who is this person interested in Cincinnati Chili?  As a native Cincinnatian I grew up with chili.  Our family had Gold Star Chili once a week.  I liked chili so much that back in the day when I was to be married (not married now, not that it matters); we had chili at the rehearsal dinner (his mom used to have a chili parlor).  My niece who now lives in Germany did a similar turn with a Cincinnati based rehearsal dinner with Cincinnati Chili and Larosa’s pizza.  You might think I’m Greek, growing up with so much Cincinnati Chili.  No, I’m just your standard German-English-Irish Cincinnatian.  So yes, I love chili.  But what about my taste buds?  What do they like?

They don’t like chocolate except for chocolate milk and maybe cake.  They hate coffee and tea but like cola.  They love Mountain Dew and won’t touch a diet soft drink.  They love chicken Tikka Masala and other Indian foods.  They hate peas and lima beans more than any other thing (edible thing that is.)  They like tomatoes cooked but not raw and they like carrots and broccoli raw but not cooked.  As far as beer goes my taste buds are fond of imported Lagers and Ales but not fond of Stouts & Porters.  They are still undecided on IPAs and craft beers in general.

After reading my little food biography you probably will wonder in amazement if you agree with my reviews.  But let’s get to the chili.

The first Seeking of the Way was at Empress Chili in Alexandria, KY.  Unlike Puddintopia, who decided to go the carryout route, I decided to dine in.  Joining me in my journey is my BFF, Jenny.

I don’t care for counter service, which Empress has.  And it’s not an open kitchen, which seems to be the standard in many chili parlors. I like open kitchens.  It’s not a security thing, or cleanly thing, it’s just a chili thing.

The price was 6.59 for a four way onion with a large Mountain Dew.  I think that is a bit less than I’ve spent elsewhere for the same thing.

The first thing I noticed was that the plate was round instead of the traditional oval, which made it look like I had a whole lot of chili.  The spaghetti was huge. It looked like the spaghetti my mom served when I was little.  Most chili parlors have thinner spaghetti.  This begins a lesson from Jenny, whose mother is Italian, on pasta.  Thicker spaghetti makes more of the sauce or chili attach to it, making it more flavorful.  Then she told about Perciatelli, which is hollow spaghetti, which of course even more sauce can attach to, which is not what we have here but kind of interesting to know.  I realize the value of how more sauce attaches itself to the pasta in thick spaghetti but I think I still like thinner spaghetti.

The chili had a nice flavor, but it was somewhat bland.  I even had to add some salt to bring out the flavor.  The cheese was mild and had a pleasant taste (I have started to dislike some cheese, so this one must be good if I didn’t mind it).  The onions were nice and fresh.  Two bags of crackers were about the right amount for the 4 way.  After putting salt on it, I consumed almost the whole plate full.  I was very full (or was it due to the Hofbrauhaus Newport beer I had on the way home?)

So this was not my favorite chili, but it was good enough for me to eat most of it.  I rate it at 2.5 out of 5.  Jenny’s review was simply “Good taste but chili should be spicier”.  She had cheese coneys, by the way.


3-way Thursday: The do-over

[Pudn’s note: I’ve known the author of this 3-Way post, Brooksy, aka Mark, for the better part of almost twenty years.  I worked at the retail chain that Dustin Hoffman said sucked in Rainman; Mark dated (and later married) someone who was close friends with someone else who worked there.  Come to think of it, I don’t really know how it all worked out that we’ve known each other so long.  It’s kind of lost in the college-era fog.  At any rate, for nearly two decades, he and I have been politely disagreeing about the best place Cincy chili.  I was thrilled, then, when he said he’d happily contribute to 3-Way Thursday.]

Three way Thursday….Wooo *Wayne’s World Theme Song* Excellent!!!!

Today, I start my foray into the world of food blogging. The good news is that I am not really going to venture too far out of my wheelhouse, because it is 3-ways. I have long been a fan of Cincinnati Chili. I have never been of the mind that you must eat just one Chili. There should be no chili monogamy. It’s a 3-way, for God’s sake, it implies more than one if you know what I am sayin’.

So, my adventure for the “best” 3-way starts at Empress. Now I am glad that the fine people at Cincy Coney Quest have already drawn the order because that adds a little bit of legitimacy to this whole thing. If it were strictly up to me I would stop every time I saw a new place, impartiality be damned.

I got to Empress on Monday afternoon around 2:00. There wasn’t a lot of traffic in the place so I went to the counter and ordered my 3-way. Then came the up sell that I bought, hook, line and sinker. Today is all you can eat 3-ways for $4.99. Heaven, or it could have been.

My first 3-way came out, slowly. The woman behind the counter walked by it many times. I carried it back to my seat to try it out. At first glance it was kind of impressive. It was a large portion covered with a fair amount of cheese on a large round plate. This last bit is in fact a little irksome. The round plate throws off the whole ratio of Chili:Cheese:Spaghetti. My first bite ended up being mostly spaghetti, thick spaghetti. The second bite I made sure to get chili. The chili was paste-like. As if it had been simmering entirely too long. The flavor was mild, meaning hardly any flavor. There was no spice whatsoever. All I’ll say about the cheese is that it may as well not have been there. It had no flavor it added nothing but color and grease. After I got through a couple of bites I saw that the bottom of the plate wasn’t just meat and chili but water, as if the spaghetti went straight from a pot of water to my plate. This made the bottom part of my chili even more bland than the top. Being Monday, I was able to give the restaurant a re-do.

The second 3-way came out much quicker and drier. I had requested that the server drain the water from the spaghetti first. She thought I was nuts. It tasted better than the first because it wasn’t as watered down. But I didn’t like it enough to finish it.

Overall, I am not a fan of Empress. As I get older and look for some complexity in my food, they don’t got it. If I have to put a number on it I give it 2 oyster crackers out of 5. Because I didn’t want to influence my post I abstained from all other chili since, so that means I am outta here and I am gonna get me some CHILI. Later……….

3-Way Thursday: No giggling allowed

[Pudn’s note: The author of this first Puddintopia contributor post, Crankybear, aka Tom, is actually the ‘Tom’ half of Tom and Carla, the couple that created and maintain Hoperatives.com.  He’s the one who rather infamously offered me the chance to ramble incoherently over there from time to time instead of wasting all my rants here.  I was and continue to be honored with the opportunity to write for them, and I’m likewise both honored and very fortunate that he decided to chime in on our 3-way quest.]

I love me some chili, no two ways about it. I grew up in Texas, where it’s considered a basic food group. The thing you come to realize about chili in Texas after a while is that there’s really no such thing as the One True Texas Chili©. Oh, sure, there are some qualities most agree are necessary: thickness though the use of corn flour, a varying degree of spiciness derived from various combinations of ancho and other dried pepper pods, and the use of beef as the main meat. Everything is religious war: tomatoes v. no tomatoes, ground v. cubed meat, and, of course, the ur-conflict: beans v. no beans. For the record, I’m tomatoes, cubed and no-beans by nature. I have, however, enjoyed chili that pretty much went the other direction on everything.

All of that is to explain why I approach the Cincinnati-style chili wars with a bit of amusement. And don’t misunderstand me: I love the stuff. I think it’s one of Cincinnati’s crowning gifts to the world. This plane of existence would be a much poorer place without it. But let’s be honest. It’s Greek spaghetti sauce. With cheese. Glorious, glorious cheese. Unlike some Texans I have no problem calling it ‘chili’ because, as I pointed out, there’s no standard recipe even there. The “Chili Queens” of San Antonio’s Market Square used their cultural memories to make a wonderful stew that they could sell as street food. So, too, did Tom Kiradjieff when he and his brother John started selling a stew at their hotdog stand next to the Empress Burlesque Theater on Vine Street.

Back in the day when the late, lamented Houston Oilers would take on the then-often-competent Cincinnati Bengals, the Houston newspapers would inevitably run a story on that weird stuff people in Cincinnati call chili. “It has chocolate in it, people,” the stories would say, “chocolate!” This was not seen as a postiive thing. I’d more or less forgotten about it until I was getting ready to move here from Philadelphia in the late 1990’s. When I interviewed for a job at UC I noticed all Skyline and Gold Star locations, but I didn’t have the time or inclination to try it. When I came here to look for a place to live, I took the plunge. For the record, Gold Star was my first. And I was hooked from Day 1.

You know you’re in Cincinnati when you can have a long conversation about cornhole and 3-ways and no one giggles. Much. That’s why it’s so much fun that Pud’n is allowing me to invade his corner of the Interwebtubes to talk about <snicker> 3-ways </snicker>. And it’s entirely appropriate that we start with the descendent of the place that started it all, Empress Chili. Our mission, as given, was to try a 3-way at the Empress on Alexandia Pike in Alexandria, KY. I cheated. I got a 4-way. I gotta have the onions. If I didn’t have the onions I feared I’d unfairly say something was missing. I think I’ve pretty well established that I’m not from ’round here. I’ve developed my taste in Cincinnati chili with onions, so that’s how I’m going to talk about it.

To me, one of the thing that makes or breaks Cincinnati chili (hereafter just ‘chili’) are the ratios. The ratio of spices is both important and closely guarded, obviously, but the meat-to-liquid ratio in the chili itself and the spaghetti-chili-cheese-(onion) ratio both figure into my evaluation. So here’s how it went at Empress:

The day I had it, it was a meaty chili. Not thick in any sense of the word, but there was a high ratio of meat to liquid. It had no problem coating all the spaghetti thoroughly, but when I was finished there wasn’t a thick layer of liquid in the bottom. There was just enough to use what remained of my oyster crackers to soak it up. That’s a solid win in my book.

I was surprised how delicate the flavor was. I got a lot of cinnamon and clove. I tend to use hot sauce on my chili, but I found I had to be really careful with it because it was really easy to lose the nice flavors of the chili itself. The onions were kind of hot that day, and I found that just a little hot sauce and the onions made it pop enough for me. I liked that the texture wasn’t mushy (at least until the cheese really had a chance to melt in, but that’s the way it’s supposed to work).

The portion I had was heavy on the spaghetti. Note that I’m not saying it was light on chili. If I’d had any more chili it would have possibly upset the meat-to-liquid ratio and that wouldn’t do. This could well be a one-time thing — maybe the noodles clumped up for a second when mine was getting dished up. It’s hard to say. It sure didn’t make the meal any less enjoyable.

If the ratio of spaghetti-to-chili was slightly off, the ratio of cheese to everything else was dead-solid perfect. I love cheese, but I will take the controversial view that you can have too much cheese on chili. My rule of thumb is that after a couple of minutes the whole mass should congeal into a soft shell. If the strands are still individually identifiable after a couple of minutes, there’s too much cheese. I’m happy to report that my serving had the perfect amount of cheese.

All in all, I enjoyed this one very much once I figured out that there was both a depth and a delicacy to the balance of spices in the chili. In an age where everything has to be extreme-and-in-your-face, Empress seemingly hasn’t given into that. I wish there were a location closer to where I live. I’d visit a lot. Then again, maybe my doctor is glad there isn’t one closer.

See Pud’n? You’re not the only one who can knock out 1000-words on a 250-word topic. Can’t wait for the next one!

3-Way Thursday: Empress Chili (Alexandria)

Before I really get into discussing my Empress Chili 3-way, I should probably explain the reason I decided to take up this quest that wasn’t covered in my recent Prologue post.  In a nutshell, as well as wanting to have an exhaustive knowledge of Cincinnati 3-way chili offerings, I also felt compelled to find out which places help you carry out a 3-way the right way.

As I’ve mention before, I’m a pretty busy guy.  With all the stuff I do, including work, writing, four kids, not ignoring my poor wife, complicating otherwise simple home repairs, etc, I don’t often get a chance to sit down in a chili parlor for half an hour and get my “way” on with a correctly shaped plate, a tiny bowl of crackers, and a squeeze bottle of hot sauce.  But that doesn’t mean I’m willing to let it be an infrequent pleasure in my life either.  Seriously, I’d have withdrawal.  So, a fella like me just has to get used to the carry out 3-way.

Now, let me tell you, the carry-out experience changes everything.  Remember what I wrote on Tuesday about the 3-way being a layered dish, never to be twirled?  Well, therein lies the single biggest difference between a good carry-out 3-way and a so-so one.  And it doesn’t matter if a parlor is importing nutmeg and cocoa that’s been handled only by certified virgins from the other side of the globe, no layers means no chance (at least of being my favorite).

3-way So when I opened the  take-out bag from Empress Chili and placed my piping hot 4-way (bean) on my desk, I immediately feared for the worst.  A deep, plastic deli-dish container rarely bodes well when it comes to my enjoyment of a 3-way.  However, we’re all about the science here, so I put my preconceptions aside, added my crackers and distributed my cheese.

Is it wrong (or perhaps disturbing) that my first thought was concern that the crackers being on top would impair the meltiness of the cheddar?  Thankfully, it’s irrelevant because that wasn’t the case.  Everything melted just the way it should.

Admittedly, the first few bites of this monstrosity were hard to dig out of the container without my desk resembling a third-grade classroom on science project day, when everyone brings in the infamous baking-soda volcano.  And yes, I desperately feared eating what was effectively a bowl of chili on top and then being left with a heap of dry spaghetti when I reached the bottom.  That does not a 3-way make.

Miraculously, I found that the physics of the deep container can be used to help.  Digging my fork to the bottom, I was able to lift some of the spaghetti up into the chili where it remained surprisingly suspended, and the chili itself filled the vacuum below.  In this manner, to my delight, I was actually able to approximate a pretty decent layered 3-way experience from the container.

So, what did I think overall?  Well, I’m not going to give you an in-depth analysis that breaks down all the components of the chili.  I honestly couldn’t tell you if it had cocoa, cumin, kitten, or Klingon in it.  As far as eating stuff goes, my mouth is pretty capable at giving my brain an overall perception of something (Mmmm…good or Blech! Bad!) but not so skilled at individual flavors.  That said, I found the chili much to my liking.  It was definitely more savory than sweet, which is always a good thing in my book, with subtle rather than smack-you-in-the-palette spices, and just a bit of heat in the finish.

Of course, nothing’s perfect.  The chili was a little too subtle at times, a slight bit weak, and the beans were somewhat undercooked.  Admittedly, that might have just been an issue that particular day, one can never tell, but regardless, nobody likes underdone beans.  My only other minor complaint is that I didn’t have enough crackers.  For a large 4-way, one tiny bag of oysters is not enough to ensure that all the chili gets in mah belly.

Overall though, I’d say I enjoyed it much more than I expected to, especially given my reservations when first facing the dreaded deep carry out carton.  I’m hesitant to give a numeric score because when I judge things that way, something I know I like a lot will inevitably get a cumulatively lower score than something I know I didn’t like.  How’s that for a head scratcher?  At any rate, for now, I’m going with a thumbs-up approach, and Empress, the birthplace of Cincinnati chili, gets a thumbs-up from me for their Way.  All told, I would carry out it from this place again.  And repeat business is probably the best score I can give.

Oh, oh, oh!  One thing that made me smile at Empress before seeing or tasting anything was the advertised dessert at their counter.  Yes, that’s right, they were pushing the pudding pies the day I stopped in.  If that doesn’t bode well for Puddintopia’s 3-Way Thursday, I simply don’t know what does.


Epic Adventures

Rusty Nail

So.  Ever wonder what happens when a self-righteous beer connoisseur decides that the time has come to expose his neighbors to the joy of something craft brewed?  Last Friday I took a took a half-gallon growler of homebrew (brewed, fermented, and bottled with my own hands) across the street to a pool party.  Yep, the Craft Brew Crusader makes an appearance in my latest Hoperatives post.

You know you’re dying to read about how it went.  Why torture yourself?  Click the link and wonder no further!


The Great 3-Way Prologue

Just about six weeks ago, I posted a request for volunteers. I was looking for people that met three criteria:

a love of Cincinnati three-ways (the chili dish, not the social encounter), a (mildly) adventurous nature, and the ability to correctly employ the words “there”, “their”, and “they’re” when writing

Somewhat to my own surprise—mostly because I still have trouble believing that human beings not related to me read my nonsense here—I did actually get a few volunteers. So, yay!  My foolish plan might even work!  Also, hello, ego boost.

So, what is this foolish plan?  Not surprisingly, it all centers around Cincinnati 3-way chili.

I love 3-ways.  It’s a dish I could eat daily.  In fact, there may have been a brief period in my life (pre-Puddinette, I assure you) when I dependably consumed one probably 4 out of every 5 days.  For the record, that’s the kind of thing that happens when you put computer geeks with a shared loved for a particular anything together in an office environment.

Here’s the thing, though: I have certain…notions…when it comes to a 3-way, both general and personal.  For instance, a 3-way should be eaten as a layered dish like lasagna, not like a pasta dish.  That assertion isn’t snobbery, either.  It’s because a 3-way is about the chili, not the noodle.  If you eat one as you would pasta, what with the [insert deity of choice here]-forsaken swirling, you’re almost certain to be disappointed. It ain’t al dente, and that’s intentional.  Also, twirling up the spaghetti means leaving a good portion of the chili on the plate.  I believe we can all agree that’s not where it belongs.  It’s suppose to go in one’s belly, or perhaps on one’s shirt, but it definitely should not be left on the plate.

As for my personal issues, well, I do a lot of, um, primping, with my 3-ways.  That doesn’t mean I have a cheese-stylist, a case of Aqua-Net, and an atomizer of Ode de Chili.  But I want my crackers underneath the spaghetti, and yes, I’ll need more than that little bowl you get when you first sit down at the table.  Truth be told, evenly distributing enough crackers under there to soak up the chili (because…where does it go? Yep, that’s right) without disturbing the layers is not always simple.

It doesn’t end there, either, oh no.  After the crackers are in place, well, the cheese usually needs a little distribution too.  I don’t want bits of spaghetti or chili without a healthy covering of melted cheese.  It is a 3-way, right?  I’m pretty sure cheese is one of those “three” things.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I do prefer the the cheese melted into a solid molten sheet of sharp orange.  Why?  Because everyone knows melted cheese is better, duh.  It’s been proven or something.  Seriously, scientific fact.  Look it up.

After the spreading of the cheese comes the hot sauce and then the…well there’s more.  Bored with my list of 3-way requirements yet?  I know, it sounds like the contract rider for a heavy metal band:  “Exactly 10,000 non-blue or green M&M’s will be on hand at all times, and the 3-ways must have melty cheese.”  The Puddinette can scarcely bring herself to go to a chili place with me, knowing the time and effort required before I’ll even begin to eat.  She used to always fear that she’d be finished before I even started eating, but it turns out that while I’m a bit slow out of the gate, I make up for it total speed.  In other words, once I’ve finished primping, a 3-way lasts just barely longer than the Kentucky Derby, the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Anyway, so I have a deep, potentially unhealthy appreciation for Cincinnati’s 3-way chili.  What’s that got to do with the “foolish plan”?  Well, I’ve been reading the adventures of a twitter acquaintance attempting to visit all of the chili spots in Cincinnati in search of their favorite Coney (which reminds me, if you don’t read the Cincinnati Coney Quest, you should…I’m just sayin’).  At any rate, once learned about the places they’d been, I realized that I’ve only ever had 3-ways from four different sources.  Which means that while I might currently have favorite (which will, for now, remain unnamed), it’s not really valid because it’s from a statistically insignificant sample size.  If I really want to claim I have a preference, well, it’s time to try some more of what’s out there.

The time, then, has come to proudly present Puddintopia’s 3-Way Thursday.  Every month, my intrepid volunteers and I will sample the n-way offerings of a different Cincinnati chili parlor, in the same order followed by the good folks at Coney Quest.  On the last Thursday of that month we’ll post what we each thought of the “way” produced by the particular restaurant or brand in question.

But Puddin, you ask, do you really need volunteers to drag into this nonsense?  Well, no, not really, I suppose.  But then, did you somehow miss that I just wrote 300 words focused on nothing but my 3-way OCD?  Clearly, I’m not the most reasonable opinion on any matter, let alone this one.  I decided it would be better if I had other, more sane people offering their two cents as well.

Hopefully they’ll take the edge off my crazy.

I guess we’ll find out Thursday.

I totally cannot wait.


The Evening Storm

As there will undoubtedly be a ton of crisp, striking images posted of the dramatic weather that rolled through Cincinnati this evening, I thought I should put mine out there as well.

This was how it looked on my drive home from work:


By the time I got home for dinner following my 15 minutes commute, it was starting to look a tad ominous:


Then, after a relatively brief family dinner, The Storm of Doom was upon us.  It kinda, sorta looked this, a little:


And then the Heavens opened and baseball practice was cancelled. 

In other news, I need to get a real camera before I start embarrassing myself.