Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !!

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mayor al
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Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 03/14/03 6:42 PM
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When I first tried chili at a small place in southern Indiana I wasn't prepared for what the locals refer to as Cincinnati-style chili !!! Digging deep into the bowl I expected to fetch up some beans and meat...or at least some beans. But NOOOOOOO, There was the residue of someone's Italian Dinner ( I thought) resting at the bottom of my bowl. My companion, a local resident, explained that " All Chili has some form of pasta in it somewhere". Being a Californian I was sort of accustomed to odd combinations, but had not heard of this before. Now, after a couple of decades of Midwestern life, I am not only accustomed... I miss the noodles when I go to those Tex-Mex or SouthWestern Style places. While I enjoy a moderate amount of 'Heat' in my Chili, I find my system agrees with the nutmeggy/cinnamon combinations found at Empress, Skyline, or Gold Star Chili parlor's. I just wish the pro's would use a bowl instead of a plate... Give me a bowl of 5 way, and I will just grin... You can have your Tex-Mex Bowl of Red anyday.

Michael Stern
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 03/14/03 9:09 PM
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I too really like Midwestern chili, known in Chicago where I grew up as Chili Mac. If you do wantheat with this style chili, the place to go is[url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=301']Real Chili[/url] in Milwaukee or Chili John's up in Green Bay. Chili John Isaac is supposed to have been the man behind the invention of the spoon-size oyster cracker (to help dampen the heat of his chili).

jennycola
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Mon, 03/17/03 1:32 PM
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I'm looking for some chili help. I persuaded a chef to give me his chili recipe (my husband loves it) and it contains something called Brown Sauce, it apparently comes in a large can. Any thoughts on what this might be? Should I try a restaurant supply company to get some or is it like a tomato/beef stock sauce?

jessicazee
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sat, 03/22/03 8:32 PM
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jennycola, how much "brown sauce" is called for? If it's only a little tiny amount, it might be Kitchen Bouquet? Although I've never heard of that going in chili. You should ask the chef. I'm sure it's something not used regularly in home cooking. The chef should have known that and given you another option...but...

Here's a recipe I found for professional brown sauce - I guess it's like your general "white sauce" - only it's um, brown.
http://www.recipesource.com/side-dishes/sauces/03/rec0334.html

stanpnepa
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sat, 03/22/03 10:45 PM
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Skyline Chili cans their sauce and it's really easy to make---even I could whip up dinner in fifteen minutes---and the wife loves it too! A friend of a friend gave us a couple---they have relatives in Cincy, so I'm not sure whether Skyline is available for purchase by the can or by the case---but it's awfully good Roadfood that you can store in your cupboards.

jennycola
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Mon, 03/24/03 12:46 PM
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thanks jessicazee!- I thought of Kitchen Bouquet. The recipe does call for a lot, the amount of brown sauce is (gulp!) 2 gallons! I still hope to check out a restaurant supply house if the chef can't be more specific on what "brown sauce" is (trying to hide his secret recipe perhaps?). I think I'll try the brown sauce recipe you sent and see how it works out.

jessicazee
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Mon, 03/24/03 5:59 PM
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Cool! Tell me how it turns out. It seems like such a weird ingredient for chili. I put lots of stuff in mine, but never brown sauce - it must be a binder or thickener of some sort. I use a lot of beef stock and cook it for a very long time at a simmer, then besides all the other stuff, I'll add some cornmeal to thicken it a bit.

seafarer john
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 04/22/03 9:56 PM
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Brown sauce is Sauce Espagnole. It is made by making a brown roux.
Butter or oil and flour cooked till it is a nice nut brown, and browning beef or veal with bones in the oven, and adding the roux and brown meat and bones to a pot of water and onion, carrot, garlic, parsley, thyme, bayleaf, salt and pepper, tomato paste, and simmering for several hours. it is usually used as the base for some other sauce- like chile. Or you can go to the grocery store and buy the stuff in a can.
Or you can buy The Joy of Cooking (not to be confused with the Joy of Sex which you might also want to buy) and Erma will tell you more about Brown Sauce than you will ever want to know.

Sundancer7
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 04/22/03 10:00 PM
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That sounds really good. Under what label can you buy it? To me that sounds like a sauce that can improve a chile or any thing else.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Tacohead
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/23/03 5:30 PM
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I was fortunate to live in one of the rare places outside of the OH/KY/IN axis that served "Cincinnati Chili". Gold Star made a run at the Denver market and opened a spot in the Tech Center. I had no idea there was an entire culture surrounding this unknown food (to me). As luck would have it, we had a new employee from the Cincinnati area (hi spamlamb!) who explained to me there is more to this than "just another fast food". After a few visits and coaching, I was hooked for life. A bad thing since the Gold Star folded (I'll save for another post).

Anyhoo - I finally made it to the Cincinnati area last year and tried both thwe legendary Skyline (in Norwood - was told to stick close to the city center. I also had Skyline in Columbus and didn't notice a difference) and Dixie Chili (Erlanger, KY). Both were outstanding! So now the big question:

Next time I happen to be in the area, what is the best couple of places to try: Empress Chili, Camp Washington Chili, Pleasant Ridge Chili, US Chili, Chili Time, Blue Ash Chili, others?????

Sundancer7
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/23/03 5:37 PM
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Tacohead, I am anxious to hear the response you get. I have tried all of the above and I liked them all. I have stopped at the "Gold Star" many times as they have several facilities in the Cincy area. I did "Skyline" and they were also good.

Several more facilities in the Cincy area do a better job as they are smaller and control their quality better.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Michael Stern
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/23/03 8:24 PM
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I like[url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=119']Camp Washington[/url] best. And for double-decker sandwiches (a lesser-appreciated aspect of Cincinnati Chili Parlor cuisine), [url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=1166']Price Hill[/url].

Hastyman
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/23/03 9:12 PM
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There's a Chili John's in Beaver Dam, WI which is unrelated to the Chili John's in Green Bay. It's a very retro-looking-and-feeling place, like stepping back into the 1940s. (They have a KILLER neon sign on their facade.) The chili is more of a peppery hamburger-and-onion stew; I don't think there's any tomato in it at all. Also, unlike the rest of Wisconsin's chili, it's pasta-free.

Hastyman
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/23/03 9:16 PM
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Oh yeah . . . I'm willing to bet the most unique chili place in the Midwest is New Chili Time in Minneapolis (Dinkytown, near the U of M). It's a combination Cincy-style chili parlor and Ethiopian restaurant. A friend of mine from Cincy said it was "like a mom-and-pop place back home, but not as good as Skyline." The Ethiopian food--well, it's really not to my taste, but the Africans I went to grad school with raved about it.

paul and louise
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 08/27/03 6:19 PM
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i have never made the same chili twice
some good, some too adventuresome
make your texas red, or basic meat and tomato sauce chili
add beans, then a little cocoa and ginger, cinnamon, turmeric to taste
personally i love cincy chili on a dog[hot that is]

Bushie
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 08/27/03 8:00 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by paul and louise

i have never made the same chili twice
some good, some too adventuresome
make your texas red, or basic meat and tomato sauce chili
add beans, then a little cocoa and ginger, cinnamon, turmeric to taste
personally i love cincy chili on a dog[hot that is]


What I usually do is make "real chili" the first day for dinner, then let the rest set a couple of days in the fridge. I'll add a little cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, and a tiny bit of brown sugar, then serve it over spaghetti with chopped onions, grated cheddar, kidney beans (canned) and whatever hot sauce I have open on the side.

I love "5-ways", but my wife and daughter only eat this meal to be polite, I'm convinced.

EliseT
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Thu, 08/28/03 2:38 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Hastyman

There's a Chili John's in Beaver Dam, WI which is unrelated to the Chili John's in Green Bay. It's a very retro-looking-and-feeling place, like stepping back into the 1940s. (They have a KILLER neon sign on their facade.) The chili is more of a peppery hamburger-and-onion stew; I don't think there's any tomato in it at all. Also, unlike the rest of Wisconsin's chili, it's pasta-free.


We have a Chili John's in Burbank that was opened in the 50s by the Green Bay guys. I thought it curious that they claimed to invent the oyster cracker, but I guess "inventing" a size of cracker is more plausable. It is charming because there are all these metal pots in an island in the center of the counter and they dole out whatever combo of ingredients and heat you order, then throw handfuls of oyster crackers in the to go bag. But I have to say I still like my chili better than any I can ever buy, so I don;t go there much.

Tristan Indiana
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Mon, 02/16/04 7:45 PM
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I alway thought cincy chili was german based being there is such a strong german population there. Imagine my shock when I found out the chili shops were started by greek immigrants to cicny.

TJ Jackson
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 03/26/04 10:36 AM
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A short review of mr Stern's favorite Cincinnati chili establishment appeared today in the weekend dining section of the local paper: http://www.cincinnati.com/freetime/dining/reviews/032604_campwashchili_yum.html

Wallyum
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 04/13/04 12:07 AM
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For anyone interested in online ordering:
http://www.dixiechili.com/
http://www.skylinechili.com/
http://www.goldstarchili.com/
This is the "Big 3" of the Cincinnati variety. Like someone said earlier, it makes for a quick and easy dinner for those nights when you just don't feel like going overboard.

Lone Star
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 04/13/04 4:13 PM
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Here in Houston on the local radio afternoon commute talk show, there is a running feud between the host of the show and his new intern, a young lady from Cincinnati.

Apparently, to people who grew up eating Skyline chili, being deprived of it would be akin to a transplanted Texan trying to find some enchiladas. This poor girl was so desperate she even tried an off brand can of midwestern style chili, which was awful.

As you can imagine, she gets a lot of grief from the Texan audience about her "so-called" chili.

They keep talking about arranging for some Skyline chili to be sent down and compare it with the one of the chili competition champions.

I have never had that kind of chili, so I could not say, but the feud does provide for some drive-time entertainment!

mayor al
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 04/13/04 6:46 PM
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Lone Star,
As I said in the very first post on this thread, The difference in the flavor plus the pasta in the bottom of the bowl threw me for a loop my first time around. However I must admit it does grow on you. I prefer my chili in a bowl as opposed to a platter that looks like a variation of of spagetti dinner rather than a bowl of 'Red'. Flavor is a matter of "there is no comparison"
Much the same as there is no reasonable way to compare BBQ Beef and BBQ Pork...It is an Apples and Oranges type of thing. I hope you get the chance to get some good Cincinnati style chile sometime soon. While you may not jump on the bandwagon, I would expect you to recognize it as a new curve on an old favorite.

Wallyum
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 04/13/04 11:27 PM
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Our old neighbors were transplants from Detroit, MI and Erie, PA. Neither of them had previously been familiar with Cincinnati chili and naturally I suggested Skyline and Dixie as potential quick meals when I welcomed them to the neighborhood. He eventually acquired a taste for our chili, but his wife never stopped referring to it as "spicy hamburger soup over spaghetti".
My wife and I have friends who live everywhere from the Carolina's to Florida. Whenever they find that we'll be in the "neighborhood" they ask us to pack along a case or so of the local product. (Either Dixie or Skyline. Gold Star seems to be regarded as okay only in a pinch.)

Tacohead
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sat, 04/24/04 9:35 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Hastyman

Oh yeah . . . I'm willing to bet the most unique chili place in the Midwest is New Chili Time in Minneapolis (Dinkytown, near the U of M). It's a combination Cincy-style chili parlor and Ethiopian restaurant. A friend of mine from Cincy said it was "like a mom-and-pop place back home, but not as good as Skyline." The Ethiopian food--well, it's really not to my taste, but the Africans I went to grad school with raved about it.


I made a note of this place for the next time I was in Minneapolis. Well I'm here now - and it appears to be gone - or at least it's not listed in the phone book... bummer!


Tacohead
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sat, 04/24/04 9:43 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Sundancer7

Tacohead, I am anxious to hear the response you get. I have tried all of the above and I liked them all. I have stopped at the "Gold Star" many times as they have several facilities in the Cincy area. I did "Skyline" and they were also good.

Several more facilities in the Cincy area do a better job as they are smaller and control their quality better.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN


Well Paul, it's been 2 years and not a lot of response. However, I've been back to Cincinnati twice on business since and managed to stuff 3 more places in. Empress Chili is VERY similar to Skyline/Gold Star/Dixie. Camp Washington has a similar flavor but a different texture to the pasta (more spongy). Price Hill Chili (sort of the "home" for this style of food - at least the home of Skyline). Again the pasta is of the spongy variety, but the chili itself isn't as heavily spiced as the more well-known places. Reminded me of Steak and Shakes generic attempt . I guess these days, Price Hill is more known for "double decker" sandwiches. No matter what - GREAT ambience. They don't make places like this anymore. And I was called "hon" by someone I wouldn't normally want that from. C'mon, it doesn't get better.....

TJ Jackson
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sun, 04/25/04 12:01 AM
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Next time, get to Blue Ash Chili...and be sure to get some Goetta somewhere, I believe both Camp Washington as well as Price Hill Chili both serve it

AndrewO
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Thu, 05/20/04 7:11 PM
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I've lived here in cincinnati for almost a year and can't at all handle the so-called chili, and i started with an open mind. I love regional foods but this is some crazy stuff. Maybe because it's called chili, is what messes me up. I can't handle it even on top of hot dogs, and I consider myself a chili dog conneiseur, at least in the south!

mayor al
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Thu, 05/20/04 7:18 PM
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Andrew
it's kinda like a Jedi-Starwars thing... Close your eyes and open you mind to the Force !!! I like my peppery spicy chili, but If they would only serve the Cincy Chili in a bowl instead of a plate I would vote it an equal to the Western Style. Different strokes---

UncleVic
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/21/04 12:22 AM
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Around here they call it Chili Mac (West Michigan)... My old landlord is a chef and he used to bring me a quart of the stuff home maybe once a week... Not bad, and was very filling... Though well appreciated, being a Northener, I prefer the juice - meat - and Beans variety of chili! If I was to have pasta with meat and sauce, make it a Lasagne! or Sphagetti dinner!!!

hawkeyejohn
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/21/04 9:08 AM
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As a midwesterner, I do not want to be associated with this type of chili at all.....'cause it ain't chili.

Alexander
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/21/04 9:19 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Stern

I like[url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=119']Camp Washington[/url] best. And for double-decker sandwiches (a lesser-appreciated aspect of Cincinnati Chili Parlor cuisine), [url='http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=1166']Price Hill[/url].


At last, another Camp Washington lover! Best of the Cinti chili parlors.

Michael Hoffman
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 05/21/04 12:40 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by AndrewO

I've lived here in cincinnati for almost a year and can't at all handle the so-called chili, and i started with an open mind. I love regional foods but this is some crazy stuff. Maybe because it's called chili, is what messes me up. I can't handle it even on top of hot dogs, and I consider myself a chili dog conneiseur, at least in the south!


The way to deal with this problem is to order a three-way, a four-way or a five-way. That way you never call it chili. As to the dogs, remember that they are called Coneys, not chili dogs, and that'll help you avoid thinking of it as bad chili.

sbukosky
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 05/25/04 7:35 PM
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I grew up in Milwaukee knowing chili as the chili soup my mother would make. Thin and with elbo macaroni and kidney beans. The next step was the brief time that Chili John's of Green Bay had a shop in Milwaukee. I ate the stuff several times a week. A friend of mine was a fan of Real Chili in downtown and both were close in taste and style but Chili John's had more fat in it. If you let the bowl cool it would turn solid!

They closed the Milwaukee shop and now are in Green Bay only on Military Road and also in the new Packer's Stadium. When in town on business, it is a must have for a meal.

Since my introduction to the two chili shops, I've frequently made my own, favoring either Carol Shelby's or Wick Fowler's kits. I usually doctor them up in an attempt to duplicate Chili John's or Real Chili's but am missing some ingrediante(s). One ingrediant that I add generously is cumin and yes, I add all of the hot pepper. I've often wondered about other additions. I've heard that cooking chocolate is one. Sorry, cinnamon doesn't do it for me.

Stogie
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 05/26/04 8:20 AM
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sbukosky....

As a seasoned chili cook, if you are using Carrol's or Wick's stuff, you have about the best packaged mix there is. The addition of cumin is about all you need. I taste more and more heavily flavored cumin entries.

Stay away from the chocolate...not a single competitor I know uses it....just doesn't add anything.

If you look at all the winning chili's from years past you will notice they are VERY basic with nothing "fancy" or out of the ordinary. The "secrets" are nothing more than using fresh chile's.

Stogie

Michael Hoffman
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 05/26/04 9:29 AM
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While I do add cumin, I also add some more cayenne. I want my bald spot to sweat.

Mokkers
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Thu, 07/1/04 9:58 PM
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I really like the Cincinnati style chili (I'm a transplanted Ohio boy). I wouldn't say it's the best because there are many good chilis, but that style is VERY good and I miss it. On occasion we do our own 3-4-5 way chili. I should order some from Skyline or Empress.

Key ingredients are the cumin and the cinnamon and you have to get the balance right. If one or the other overpowers then the chili is ruined.

One other ingredient I always add because I think it puts a nice edge on the chili is a cup or two of very strong coffee. It adds depth to the chili and helps calm down the tang and acidity from the tomato sauce/paste.


sbukosky
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Fri, 07/2/04 8:50 AM
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Hmm. Coffee? Seems like something "Cookie" might add in the chuck wagon rather than throw out the pot that has been boiling over the fire. I might try that next time.

hairylunch
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 07/6/04 10:53 AM
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So I registered just to reply to this thread . . .

Anyway, someone earlier mentioned that they were told to try to stay close to the actual city when having Skyline - the reason for this is that the locations outside the city are franchises. My personal favorite location is the one on Ludlow, close to the Univesity of Cincinnati campus. Part of this is from my time as a student at UC, but the other part is that it has personality.

I mean, it's open till 3 or 4 in the morning (Skyline is great after a night of drinking.) It's popular around campus, so if you go after the bars close on a weekend, they have a Cincinnati police officer working the door/acting as a host - you'll often have lines waiting outside to get in. Once inside, it's pleasantly crowded (and in the winter a bit humid/steamy), and this is where the real personality comes in. You have quite a few regulars, both students and locals, along with the great staff, many who have been working their for ages. (Squeaky, one of the waitresses, is the first that comes to mind.)

This location is one that hasn't been modernized with the fancy, touch screen computers and displays over the prep area. The waitresses call out orders just like a classic diner, so you'll hear them call out things like "4 cheese on 2" and "5-way inverted and dry." (Inverted is where you have it with the cheese under the chili under the noodles, and dry is where they'll take the plate, put spaghetti on it, put the chili on, stick another plate on it upside down, and drain out the juices/grease/flavor . . .) It's amazing how the prep people keep up with all the chaos of the orders being called out.

Anyway, I think Skyline is the best (Goldstar just doesn't compare) . . . it's arguably an acquired taste, but it's also one of the things I miss most when I'm not in the area . . . I've had my parents buy me cans and mail them to me . . .

hermitt4d
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 08/4/04 3:49 PM
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Reading thru Robb Walsh's new book, The Tex-Mex Cookbook, I came across a link between a bowl of Texas red and mid-western chili I didn't know existed.

"Take spaghetti and chili con carne, mix together in equal portions and you will have one of Mexico's most popular dishes." So goes a recipe for Chili Mac in the 1920s by Mexene chili powder (Magic Mexene All-Purpose Seasoning) which was apparently produced by Walker's Austex chili company in Austin.

Beyond that, I didn't know that many old Mexican restaurants in Texas (what we now call Tex-Mex) had a version of chili mac on the menu for many years, as another way of Americanizing their food. Some still serve it. Walsh cites Larry's in the Houston suburb of Richmond, where Spaghetti Mexicano is still on the menu. The dish apparently involves spaghetti on top of tamales topped with a rather bland chili gravy, then cheese. Not 5-way, but not a bowl of Texas Red either.

Here's a link to Walsh's review of Larry's, which is mainly known for its enchiladas, from a couple of years ago:

http://www.houstonpress.com/issues/2002-05-23/cafe.html

BT
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Thu, 08/5/04 1:45 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Tristan Indiana

I alway thought cincy chili was german based being there is such a strong german population there. Imagine my shock when I found out the chili shops were started by greek immigrants to cicny.


Well, in their head they were probably just making a version of pastitsio, tailored to please the silly locals:

PASTITSIO

250 gram spaghetti, cooked

1 onion, chopped finely

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup of minced meat

2 tomatoes, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped finely

1 tablespoon butter (or margarine)

2 tablespoons cake flour

1 and a half cups of milk

1 egg, beaten

1 cup of grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Using a large frying pan, saut the onion and garlic. Add the meat and brown.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and parsley. Simmer until cooked through and the mixture has the consistency of a sauce.

Using a greased oven proof dish, layer the cooked spaghetti and the mince in the dish.

Use the butter, flour and milk to make a white sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and let the white sauce cool.

Stir in the egg and grated cheddar cheese. Pour over the mince and spaghetti. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

HiredGoon
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Mon, 08/23/04 12:12 AM
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Bob's Big Boy resataurants which used to be all over California had a good "chili spaghetti." Mid-west style chili served over spaghetti noodles with melted cheddar and raw diced onions on top. It was my favorite growing up, got it every time I went to Bob's. Sadly most of the Bob's closed down in CA during the early 90s. Not to be confused with the Elias Brothers Bob's Big Boys all over Michigan, similar but different.

AndrewO
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sun, 08/29/04 5:10 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

quote:
Originally posted by AndrewO

I've lived here in cincinnati for almost a year and can't at all handle the so-called chili, and i started with an open mind. I love regional foods but this is some crazy stuff. Maybe because it's called chili, is what messes me up. I can't handle it even on top of hot dogs, and I consider myself a chili dog conneiseur, at least in the south!


The way to deal with this problem is to order a three-way, a four-way or a five-way. That way you never call it chili. As to the dogs, remember that they are called Coneys, not chili dogs, and that'll help you avoid thinking of it as bad chili.


Michael, I tried The root beer stand in sharonville (because of your review, http://roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=512) and like it pretty good. I had the footlong, it was still a coney dog but it didn't have all the spices that Skyline had so it was okay and they do have the best rootbeer.

hermitt4d
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sat, 09/4/04 12:32 AM
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A question from a neophyte: I recently ate at a Steak and Shake in Grapevine, TX and tried a cup of their chili. I saw on the menu they served it something like Cincinnati style, but I couldn't eat that much along with my burger. Not bad stuff; certainly better than Burger King or Wendy's chili. Does this stuff compare to the stuff from Skyline, Empress, etc. Taste in the same ball park or something completely different????

I may have to order some from the websites posted above.

BTW, S&S was here in Houston briefly in the mid-70s and a co-worker originally from St. Louis tried to convert me to them, but I was very much into Whataburger back then. I hope their expansion plans include getting back into Houston. The original double was a good burger, just about the perfect size for me.

6star
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sat, 09/4/04 12:49 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by hermitt4d

A question from a neophyte: I recently ate at a Steak and Shake in Grapevine, TX and tried a cup of their chili. I saw on the menu they served it something like Cincinnati style, but I couldn't eat that much along with my burger. Not bad stuff; certainly better than Burger King or Wendy's chili. Does this stuff compare to the stuff from Skyline, Empress, etc. Taste in the same ball park or something completely different????


Steak n Shake chili, at least in Illinois, is NOT "Cincinnati flavor" chili.....no cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc. It is a mild "Texas flavor" chili with sauce, meat, beans, spaghetti, cheese, and onions if you wish.

hermitt4d
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Mon, 09/6/04 4:09 PM
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Thanks, 6star.

That was 'Texas style?' Seemed kind of sweet to me and noticeably lacking in cumin, not to mention heat.

I've seen Skyline in cans at Kroger here, but with the spaghetti already included, which didn't sound too promising. I found some Skyline, chili only, in the freezer section, tho, so I'll be trying it soon, maybe tonight.

Lots of people on Roadfood seem to want to open hot dog stands; my restaurant fantasy is to open a chili parlor. This is all in the name of research, you understand .

TJ Jackson
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 01/19/05 10:40 AM
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Cincinnati has a crappy new (about a year old) free weekly paper run by the folks at the Enquirer but made to look like it is an independent paper, in an evident attempt to run the good local free weekly (Citybeat) out of business. Sucks.

Anyway, they have a rundown on Cincinnati Chili in this week's issue. see all the sidebars linked on at: http://www.cinweekly.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050119/COV/501190306

I have often mentioned that Cincinnati loves chains like Olive Garden and such, and this is quite evident in the results of the survey you'll find on that page, where the local megachains (Skyline and Gold Star) have nearly 2/3rds of the vote for their least common denominator chili. Sad but true.

Roadfooders will be happy to see that the top single location place is Camp Washington Chili, with a strong review both here and at Hollyeats.com

michaelgemmell
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 01/19/05 1:43 PM
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Many years ago I worked for a man who was from San Antonio. He insisted chili does not contain beans. Now, I have never had "real Texas" chili, but I truly love Steak 'n Shake's chili. I'm from Galesburg IL, the site of the first S 'n S outside the Bloomington IL area--where it originated. Yes, it's a taste from my childhood I still enjoy when I'm in the Midwest (usually the first one I encounter is in Joplin MO, right off the freeway) and from a can at home here in San Francisco. The canned product includes beans but you can get "Chili Mac" without beans in the restaurant. Why not split a double Steakburger and one order of fries with your dining companion, and go ahead and have the Chili 3,4 or 5-way. You MUST MUST MUST have a shake! You will be glad you did. The chili has plenty of cumin, but IMHO S 'n S's secret is the paprika they also use.

You might not like one region's chili, but aren't we lucky to live in a country where there are so many different versions of this wonderful dish?

TJ Jackson
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 01/19/05 1:53 PM
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Agreed.

cyrano
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 03/1/05 1:21 AM
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Note to those (like me) who grew up on Texas or New Mexican chili and have the chance to try Cincinnati chili-- DO NOT add hot sauce to it in an attempt to make it more like what you're used to. I did this at a Skyline Chili place (in Dayton OH) and the result was godawful, but when I found some in the bowl that hadn't been touched by the hot sauce, it was ok.

And I agree with those who say Steak n' Shake chili is not like Cincinnati chili, at least not here in Columbia MO-- I don't mind having it with spaghetti at all, and if I want a little more kick, they'll bring me some sliced jalapenos.

UncleVic
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 03/1/05 3:18 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by hermitt4d

Thanks, 6star.

Lots of people on Roadfood seem to want to open hot dog stands; my restaurant fantasy is to open a chili parlor. This is all in the name of research, you understand .


Not sure if you've seen this site yet, but fairly intresting! http://www.chilimysoul.com/flavors.html

carlton pierre
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Tue, 03/1/05 6:40 AM
0
quote:
Originally posted by hairylunch

So I registered just to reply to this thread . . .

Anyway, someone earlier mentioned that they were told to try to stay close to the actual city when having Skyline - the reason for this is that the locations outside the city are franchises. My personal favorite location is the one on Ludlow, close to the Univesity of Cincinnati campus. Part of this is from my time as a student at UC, but the other part is that it has personality.

I mean, it's open till 3 or 4 in the morning (Skyline is great after a night of drinking.) It's popular around campus, so if you go after the bars close on a weekend, they have a Cincinnati police officer working the door/acting as a host - you'll often have lines waiting outside to get in. Once inside, it's pleasantly crowded (and in the winter a bit humid/steamy), and this is where the real personality comes in. You have quite a few regulars, both students and locals, along with the great staff, many who have been working their for ages. (Squeaky, one of the waitresses, is the first that comes to mind.)

This location is one that hasn't been modernized with the fancy, touch screen computers and displays over the prep area. The waitresses call out orders just like a classic diner, so you'll hear them call out things like "4 cheese on 2" and "5-way inverted and dry." (Inverted is where you have it with the cheese under the chili under the noodles, and dry is where they'll take the plate, put spaghetti on it, put the chili on, stick another plate on it upside down, and drain out the juices/grease/flavor . . .) It's amazing how the prep people keep up with all the chaos of the orders being called out.

Anyway, I think Skyline is the best (Goldstar just doesn't compare) . . . it's arguably an acquired taste, but it's also one of the things I miss most when I'm not in the area . . . I've had my parents buy me cans and mail them to me . . .


Hey Hairylunch,

I wish you'd post some more rather than justthis one time. I loved your piece about the Skyline location near UC. I've not been to that onethat I know of, but I felt like I had after reading your piece. Man, very descriptive and you made the place come alive. Please contribute some more articles.

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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Sun, 03/12/06 9:54 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Tacohead

I was fortunate to live in one of the rare places outside of the OH/KY/IN axis that served "Cincinnati Chili". Gold Star made a run at the Denver market and opened a spot in the Tech Center.


After the Gold Star in the Tech Center closed, they briefly had an outpost in the food court at Southwest Plaza mall. I would make the 45 minute drive over there, just for a dish of 3-way. I still can't find any 3-way in town, but there is some decent pseudo-Cincinatti chili and coney's at Sams No. 3 on 15th and Curtis. Apparently Sam ran a "coney island" at that location in the 1920s. Sam's descendents (a Greek family) have built a diner in the old location and the orignial recipe for "Sam's No. 3 red chili" is still on the menu.

Tacohead
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 05/10/06 7:26 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by DenverJeff

quote:
Originally posted by Tacohead

I was fortunate to live in one of the rare places outside of the OH/KY/IN axis that served "Cincinnati Chili". Gold Star made a run at the Denver market and opened a spot in the Tech Center.


After the Gold Star in the Tech Center closed, they briefly had an outpost in the food court at Southwest Plaza mall. I would make the 45 minute drive over there, just for a dish of 3-way. I still can't find any 3-way in town, but there is some decent pseudo-Cincinatti chili and coney's at Sams No. 3 on 15th and Curtis. Apparently Sam ran a "coney island" at that location in the 1920s. Sam's descendents (a Greek family) have built a diner in the old location and the orignial recipe for "Sam's No. 3 red chili" is still on the menu.


Yep, I also managed to catch those guys at the mall. As it turned out, I had started working in the mountains nearby, so it was only about 15 minutes away. I made the same migration from Tech Center to West side too! Must've been the chili. Then one day they were gone - the end of the Denver Cincinnati Chili run. You know those guys couldn't even call their place Gold Star at the mall? That's because they had to offer Colorado staples like pork green chili just to make ends meet. I also tried the Sam's No 3 on Havana and Parker (not sure if it's still there)... it reminded me more of the Steak and Shake chili mentioned prior, which is just too bland for me.

Tacohead
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 05/10/06 7:31 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by cyrano

Note to those (like me) who grew up on Texas or New Mexican chili and have the chance to try Cincinnati chili-- DO NOT add hot sauce to it in an attempt to make it more like what you're used to.


Also starting my chili experience in Texas, I agree that it's best not to add hot sauce to obtain a familiar taste. But the hot sauce that is used for Cincinnati Chili, is a very key ingredient. The sauce is really a cajun pepper sauce, not too far removed from Frank's Red Hot for example. Perhaps an acquired taste - just like the chili itself.

curried bluebonnet
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 05/10/06 8:59 PM
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Love Steak n Shake chili 3 way. I even like canned and frozen versions of Cinn. chili--have never had the fortune to eat in that great city, though I'm sure I would love it. We sure are lucky to ber able to enjoy the diversity of TX , midwestern, chilis. But many yrs ago on a trip to New Mexico I discovered green chile--no I grow my own New Mexican Green chiles just to make it. So, yes, while midwestern chili is my favorite, we are lucky to have chile/chile diversity here!

PapaJoe8
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Thu, 05/11/06 3:19 PM
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Ok you midwest chili lovers, I hope this is a good place for a Texas chili cook to ask about not so usual things that can be used in Cincinati chil. I'm going to make a batch and the fallowing is on my list for 2lbs of meat. Just the unusual stuff.
5 Bay leaves
1t allspice
2T vinager
2T pumkin pie spice subed for cinamin
1T unsweetened coco
origano ??
celery ??
And how much tomato sauce/paste. I see all different amounts in recipes.
Are my amounts OK and am I missing anything?
Thanks,
Joe

Blower
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RE: Midwestern Chili...............Great Stuff !! - Wed, 06/14/06 5:59 PM
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I also go with a good amount of cumin and I'd go with 1 medium can of sauce then adjust to taste. One thing with this style chili is that it is so much better the second day. The best seems to occur when I make it on the thin side and let it sit. It seems like I use a lot more spices than regular chili and on the second day they seem to all blend together into one homogenous flavor.

I use the coco and about 1-2T is a good amount. I also use the allspice and cinnamon..mace does not work well, I think that clove might overpower not be good either so watch the pumpkin pie spice a little. Chili powder also seems to work well and gives a nice deep color.

Another tip is to add the meat to the liquid instead of pre-browining it as it tends to yield smaller pieces of beef that way. Also keep stirring for the first few minutes after you add the beef to get the smaller pieces.