Saturday, May 23, 2009

Skyline Chili

I'm a few days late with the Cincinnati stuff, I know, but I had more important things to deal with...mainly, the destruction of all my hopes and dreams. Better late than never, I present to you my Cincinnati food review.

Wikipedia, what exactly is Cincinnati style chili?
Cincinnati chili is a regional style of chili characteristically served over spaghetti or as a hot dog topping. Cincinnati chili sauce contains finely ground beef, seasoned with a mixture of spices. Some aficionados report a distinct hint ofcinnamon and sometimes even chocolate. However, the precise identity of other spices is hard to determine. The flavor of Cincinnati chili is distinct from that of the more widely recognized Texas-style chili, and differs from that variety too in its thin consistency, which makes it more suitable as a sauce for other dishes than as a dish by itself.

When served over spaghetti, the chili is typically topped by a large mound of shredded mild cheddar cheese (as much as will fit on top without it falling over the sides). Because of the large amount of cheese piled on top, the first few bites often consist entirely of cheese, at least for inexperienced diners. When served on a coney-style hot dog, the chili is also topped with a generous mound of cheese. 
The day after the Dagwood, Andy and I went to Skyline Chili, one of Cincinnati's many chili chains (and official chili of the Cincinnati Reds!!!) for a reasonably-portioned meal. Being that Andy is a Cincinnati resident, I followed his example and ordered 4-way chili (spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, and beans) and a coney (chili dog with cheese).

Only after about 3 minutes, our food came out, due to the fact that all the food is cooked and ready to be served behind the counter. It was immediately apparent that they do not skimp on the cheese. After a little bit of mixing, though, the cheese melted and it became one homogenous dish, not spaghetti and chili with a cheese toupee. As for the chili dog....well, it had a cheese blanket as well. So did my Diet Pepsi. Also, our chairs had cheese seat cushions. And as Andy and I were eating, the kitchen staff came out with giant vats and made it rain using shredded cheddar. It was like a giant cheese snow globe.

But getting back to what actually happened, and not what I wish had happened...getting the chili dog with onions and mustard is definitely the way to go. The mustard gives it a little bit of a bite to balance out the sweetness of the chili and the onions give it a nice crunch.

Overall, the chili itself was very good. By itself, I wouldn't think that it would stand up as a meal, but as a pasta or hot dog topping, it does the trick. Personally, I like my chili on the sweet side anyway. If you're a person who likes spicy chili, though, you can still load it up with the hot sauce they put on the tables.

The Official Food Review Hierarchy
1) Not worth it
2) Stop in if you're driving by
3) Check it out if you're in town
4) I'd drive an hour for it
5) I'd drive across several states for it
6) I'd kill a man

Basically, if it's even a 2, it's good food. Anything 4 or higher is special. And pray to God that I never find a 6. 

Official verdict for Skyline Chili: Check it out if you're in town. This sweeter chili may be an acquired taste for some people, but if it's your thing, you're always in for a good, filling meal.

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