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……….

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