Twice in the last week, I’ve done something I’ve never done before. Well, I’ve done it at home, on my own, but I’ve never had anyone else’s.
I ate Cincinnati chili, the famous chili-spaghetti.
Both of the major local chains have a vegetarian selection year-round, but one has been advertising their veg option pretty intensely during Lent. Last Thursday, I got takeout from the Gold Star Chili drive-thru and brought it home. I was a little too scared to go inside.
If I’m being completely honest, I willl admit that the chili was okay. Their website tells me the chili is vegan, and it’s full of beans and corn in a thick, dark, tomato-y sauce. I even think there were lima beans in the chili. I enjoyed it, and not everyone would say they like lima beans in their chili! The spaghetti, though, was awful. It was mushy. Yuck.
So, that’s try #1 at Cincinnati chili. Alex and I agreed we probably won’t be back. But over the weekend, I got an email from our local Loving Hut, announcing their version of Cincinnati 5-way as a menu special. I really wanted to give it a try.
This was pretty cool to try, because it really had that smoky, hot, almost bitter flavor of what I imagine to be the real deal. The email disclosed the ingredients: organic spaghetti, organic tomatoes paste, Gardien crumbles, vegan cheese, sweet onion, and organic beans. They didn’t give away the spices, but there sure were some good ones in there.
This spaghetti was good, and plentiful. I wonder if “real” Cincinnati chili is as much spaghetti as chili –- that’s the idea I got from both restaurants, and it surprises me.
Am I converted to Cincinnati chili? No, but I’m glad I tried it. Here’s to preserving local delicacies! (And understanding why they are apparently immune to globalization.) Who knows, after twice in one week, I may find myself craving this stuff.