All I can really say is salty! Or salzig, as I was writing this post while drinking a Bohemian Pilsner beer at Hofbrauhaus Newport and had access to German friends. I know that isn’t the correct usage or grammar, but I learned a new word. So with our new German word, salzig, let’s take a look at US Chili.
I have never been to US Chili in Camp Washington and even though I am writing a post about it, I still have never been there. The reason for that is simple: their hours. I assume the place is mostly a breakfast-lunch joint and that is why they don’t have hours in the evening. Even on Saturday they close around 2 and they aren’t even open on Sunday. So I knew this would be a challenge this month. With my work schedule and my weekend sleeping in schedule I wasn’t sure what to do.
That’s where my friend Jenny, who was at the first “seeking of the ways” stop with me, saved the day. She volunteered to pick up the chili and bring it to me for lunch. It was a really, really, hot day so she dropped the food off to me at work, instead of us finding a place to go eat it. I could get used to this. I got a text and went downstairs and picked up my lunch. Like wouldn’t it be nice tomorrow to have someone send you a text and you just step out of your air conditioned building lobby for one minute to get the food? OK, maybe places deliver, but it was nice for a second to think I came up with idea. And, yes, I know I can take my own lunch to work.
Jenny must have felt guilty about the portion size because she wanted to give me a cheese coney too. She opened the bag and showed me a small cup with chili with a large condiment size of onions and another of hot sauce. I’m not a big eater, so I just took the chili and chili accessories. She told me the place really was a dump and it’s a good thing we didn’t go in to eat. I’ve seen US Chili from the outside before and kind of like the building that it is in. And it must be really difficult to have the chili parlor across the street expand and continue to be pretty successful. So I guess I’m feeling a little pity for US Chili.
Back at my desk and time to prepare my 4-way onion. I noticed there was no plate or bowl in the bag. Luckily we had a few paper plates in the office. After a couple of photos I poured the chili onto the plate (and evidently I forgot to take any photos of it on the plate.) It held more chili than I thought. The spaghetti was large but not as large as the spaghetti at Empress Chili in Alexandria. The chili was a dark brown, kind of the color of mock turtle soup (and maybe turtle soup, too, never had it). I like mock turtle soup. Maybe this won’t be so bad. I added about half of the bag of oyster crackers that were very thin. At least there were a bunch of crackers in the bag as opposed to the amount given by other chili parlors. The cheese was melted as it got to ride a few miles from Camp Washington to downtown on one of the hottest days of the year. The onions looked fresh and you could tell they were chopped by hand. So it looked like other Cincinnati chili, except slightly darker in color.
First taste: salty. Second taste: salty with a bit of spice. I can forgive a restaurant for a lack of flavor that needs salt. I don’t rate them well, but at least I can make the food palatable. But food with too much salt? There is no way that I know to overcome that. I continued to eat and if I could taste anything past the salt it was just an OK chili with a medium amount of spice. I decided to add some of the hot sauce from the large container they gave me. The hot sauce seemed like a watered down cocktail sauce with a hint of Tabasco sauce. Guess what? The hot sauce didn’t make a bit of difference. It made it a tad hotter, but not any better. The onions were fine and the cheese was very mild.
I wound up eating about half of the chili. Luckily, I didn’t get sick from it, which is great because I had been gassy all morning. In fact, for whatever reason, the gas went away. Overall I’d rate it a 1 out of 5 (maybe a 1.5 for getting rid of my gas).