[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.