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#1 PDXChilihead

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 01:33 PM

Hey folks, I've finally gotten off my butt and written a report on my search for that
elusive bowl of good Portland chili. I've tried writing this before, but when I've sat in
front of my computer, I've drawn blanks. Since this is a rather large project, I'll post
small parts every week. So……. here it goes!
I've tried all of the following places since last winter. I picked apart each chili and
reviewed them using different criteria. I noted the aroma, color, and thickness. I checked
out the meat if any, beans, and any vegetables? How were the spices, salt, heat levels?
Any alcohol? Was it served with cheese and onions, and what was on the side? As for
me, I've been in the food/restaurant business for years. Back in the Midwest, I judged a
few regional chili cook-offs. The only real good thing about those was the free beer! Like
you all, I love good food and was determined to find the best bowl of chili. Personally, I
like beans in my chili, but appreciate a good bowl of Texas Red. To me, some things
should not be in chili. Nothing Italian, sausage or fennel, and no cinnamon (sorry
Cincinnati fans). As far as vegetables go, I'll accept corn, and maybe carrots & celery in
vegetarian, but no zucchini or olives! I also don't like a salad on the top! The staff
provided some of the info, so, buyers beware. Prices and quality are subject to change.

So far, I've only found two places that serve a pork-based chili: The Iron Horse
Restaurant (6034 SE Milwaukee/503-232-1826) and Si Senor (4820 SW 76th Ave./503-
203-2999). There were no beans or alcohol used in either of them. Cactus Jack's uses
pork chorizo & Good Dog/Bad Dog uses Italian sausage, but more on them later.

My favorite was the Iron Horse's "Chili Verde", $6.95/bowl, $9.20 w/ rice & beans, a
green chili-tomatillo based chili. It had a great pork/green chili smell, but slight off-green
color, and medium thickness. The pork was both cubed and shredded, but could have had
more for the price. I thought the spices were well balanced and plentiful for a green chili.
It had nice lingering heat, although a mild greasy taste. This was one of the hotter ones I
tried, med hot/6>7. It comes topped with two cheeses and lots of green onions. You also
get free chips and salsa and choice of corn or flour tortillas.

Si Senor's "Green Chili", $6.95/bowl wasn't really green or chili, more like a spicy
tomato soup. It had a good "green" smell, but had an orange red color, and on the med.
thick side. It had hardly any shredded pork! There were very few tomatoes, onions, and
peppers. The spices were OK, but it could have used more meat and cut back on the heat.
It had a mild sweet tomato taste. This one was also hot, an 8+! I've tried this one twice
and it's been the same both times. It's not topped with cheese or onions. You do get free
chips, salsa, and bean dip, with flour or corn tortillas on the side.

I've only found one place that served a chicken chili: The Lucky Labrador (915 SE
Hawthorne/503-236-3555). Their "Chicken Chili", $3.25/bowl isn't served every day and
was just OK. It had a good smell with a reddish/brown color, but on the thick side. There
wasn't very much ground chicken. The kidneys were plentiful and had good firmness.
There were few tomatoes, but some onions, celery, carrots, and green peppers. There
were a good amount of spices, but too much cumin gave it an off-taste. Med/6 heat. No
alcohol was used. It's not topped with cheese or onions. On the side were good rustic
bread slices and a peperoncini.

#2 Plump_and_Juicy

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 02:34 PM

Welcome to PFG, PDXChilihead. I'm interested in reading your next installment.

#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 04:54 PM

Thanks Chilihead. If you don't mind, put all the reports in this same thread. It'll be easier.

I think there are several Mexican restaurants doing a New Mexico style chile verde around town with pork, but I'm not sure if most places are serving it as a bowl, but rather as a platter. I'm not sure how this would differ in style from Iron Horse's, but they sound similar.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 09:30 AM

Let's not turn this into another thread on the definition of a food that's really just an equivocation over regionally distinct styles. Doesn't anyone have any comments on chili in Portland and the places PDXChilihead has done the legwork of exploring for us?

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 ExtraMSG

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 08:09 PM

Split out the off-topic stuff and put it in Cooking.

http://portlandfood....?showtopic=4419

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#6 PDXChilihead

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 07:55 AM

On the vegetarian side, I've tried 13. Of those, Marco's Café (3449 NE 29th) is out of
business. The Paradox Palace Café used to have a "Vegetarian 3 Bean Chili"; their "Holy
Mole Chili" now replaces it. I don't have a favorite, although the Vita Café was my
favorite, and The Paradox Palace Café is good, but both were too thick this time! I plan
on trying them again sometime. Most of the vegetarian chili's reminded me of spicy bean
soup! I'll only mention the firmness of the beans if they were either overcooked or too
hard. Only Wild Oats chili was pre-made. One good thing about vegetarian chili is that
you got something different and better than saltines. No alcohol was used in any of them.

Alameda Brewhouse (4765 NE Fremont/503-460-9025): Voodoo Chili, $3.95/cup or
$5.75/bowl. It had a good bean smell, but the burnt tortilla chips spoiled it. The black &
red beans were plentiful, which gave it a dark black color and thickness. There were no
visible tomatoes and very few peppers and onions. Spice wise it was well balanced, but
still could use more; it did have a nice little kick. Med/4>5 heat. It's topped with salsa
and very little cheese! Small pieces of homemade organic tortilla chips were served on
the side.

Bob's Red Mill (5000 SE International Way, Milwaukee/503-6076455): Chili, $2.25/cup
or $3.95/bowl. This one had a good tomato/chili smell with a dark red/brown color and
medium thickness. The reds and pintos were on the firm side and few. There was a good
amount of tomato chunks, but few peppers and onions. Although it had mild heat, the
spices were unbalanced and lacked depth. Med/5>6 heat. On the side was very little
cheese and onions. Served with a roll or cornbread.

Bread & Ink Café (3610 SE Hawthorne/503-239-4756): Black Bean Chili, $4.00/cup or
$5.00/bowl. This chili was a nice dark red/brown color, but was served warm. There were
a good amount of black beans. There were no visible tomatoes, but a good amount of
medium sized peppers and onions. The spices were OK, but could have used more; there
was a mild salt taste. It lacked a good base flavor and had an off/metallic taste. Med/6
heat. It wasn't topped with either cheese or onions, but sour cream instead, which gave it
an off smell. Bread and butter were on the side.

Clay's Smokehouse (2932 SE Division/503-235-4755): Vegetable Chili (they dropped the
"Clay's Red Bean and Smoked" part), $3.50/cup or $4.50/bowl. It had a good chili smell
and color. The pintos were plentiful. There were very few tomatoes, peppers, and onions,
but lots of celery! It had an OK chili flavor, but could have used more spices. It had mild
heat, but still lacked any base flavor. Med/6 heat. It's topped with very little cheese and
green onions, saltines on the side.

Jalisco's Natural Foods (Saturday Market, Portland): Vegetarian Chili, $4.00/12 oz. It
had a slight chili smell, but more like tomatoes in smell and color. It was served warm
and on the thin side. There were a good amount of kidneys and they were a little firm.
The vegetables were plentiful and included large chunks of tomatoes, zucchini!, green
peppers, corn, and onions. The spices were balanced, but very lacking and there was a
mild salt taste! It tasted more like a tomato vegetable soup. Mild/5 heat. It's topped with
jack cheese and comes with a slice of whole grain bread.

Laurelwood Public House (1728 NE 40th, but moving/503-282-0622): Vegetarian Black
Bean Chili, $2.50/cup or $5.00/bowl. Great black bean/chili smell with a dark brown,
almost black color. There were a good amount of firm beans, which gave it a medium
thickness. No vegetables were visible! The flavor was good over-all, with balanced
spices, although a mild salt taste. Med/6>7 heat with a mild kick. It's topped with little
green onions & tomatoes, and very little cheese! I got stale tortilla chips on the side.

Paradox Palace Café (3439 SE Belmont/503-232-7508): Holy Mole Chili, $3.50/cup or
$5.25/bowl. It had a very good smell with a brown color, but was very thick! The pintos
and black beans were on the firm side. There were no visible vegetables. The spices had
great balance and the mole gave it good depth and flavor. Large portion and filling!
Med/6>7 heat. Topped with little melted swiss and cheddar and very few green onions.
Sour cream is $.75 extra. A tasty rice-corn bread is on the side.

Perry's On Fremont (2401 NE Fremont/503-287-3655): Vegetarian Black Bean Chili,
$5.25/bowl. This chili had a good aroma, you could smell the beans and the spices. It had
a dark brown color and was medium thick. There were a good amount of beans, but
some were firm and some over-cooked. There were very few tiny pieces of tomatoes, but
no other visible vegetables. Spices were well balanced, but it had a very mild chili taste
and heat, could use more! Very mild/4 heat. Topped with an OK amount of jack and
cheddar, and red onions. Garlic bread and Caesar dressing, with large tortilla chips were
on the side.

Three Square Grill (6320 SW Capitol Hwy/503-244-4467): Black Bean Chili, $5.50/cup
or $6.50/bowl. The aroma was a very good bean & and chili smell, with a black/brown
color and medium thickness. The beans were plentiful. There were no visible tomato
pieces, but a few other over-cooked vegetables. The spices were good, but could use a tad
more, had more of a bean taste. Med/6 heat. It's topped with cheese, green onions, diced
tomatoes, crème fraiche, and a sopapilla! Hushpuppy and honey on the side.

Vita Café (3024 NE Alberta/503-335-8233): 3 Bean Chili, $3.25/cup or $5.50/bowl.
Good, but had a slight burnt/dead smell. It had a dark red/ brown color, and was thick as
mud! There were a good amount of reds, pintos, and black beans all with good firmness.
There were very few tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and celery. This chili had excellent
balance and a deep flavor, plus nice heat. Not as good as the last time I tried it. This
would have been a best of, but too thick! Probably was the end of the batch. Med
hot/7>8. Topped with a few green onions; cheese, onions, and sour cream are $.50 extra.
Buttered whole wheat was on the side.

Wild Oats (Various locations): Vegetarian Three Bean Chili (made by Kettle Cuisine,
comes in frozen), $2.49/$4.99/$7.49. Good aroma for vegetarian, although a little on the
tomato side. This one has a good chili red color and is medium thick. There are few
black, red, and pinto beans. There is a good amount of tomatoes, onions, and some corn.
The spices are good but could use a little more. Has a mild sweet taste. On the mild/5
side, but has a little kick. You get nothing with this one.

#7 ExtraMSG

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 08:12 AM

Thanks again, PDXChilihead. Nice work.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#8 Twitch

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 08:38 PM

Amazingly thorough. I'd love to hear your opinion on the Laughing Planet veg chili. It's been years since I had it. BTW, what's your favorite chili accompaniment? Chips or cornbread?

#9 PDXChilihead

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:03 AM

Now for the beef! Unlike pork, chicken, and vegetarian chili, where all the restaurants
made their own (except Wild Oats), a few places use a canned, mix, or frozen chili. For
the most part, they will tell you what they use when asked. There are a few I'm
suspicious of though, and I'll note those. You can spot that pre-made or "canned" taste. I
tried some of them, but if it's something you could get in a store, I didn't bother! It also
seems that Stagg is the clear "winner" for places that don't make their own. Two of my
favorites, All Yall's BBQ (1337 NE Broadway) and Henry's Café (2508 SE Clinton), are
out of business. Another place that is closed is the Foothill Broiler (33 NW 23rd Place).
Applebee's, The Candy Store, and Elmer's are off the menu, so I won't review them.
Only The Buffalo Gap, Cactus Jacks, Esparza's, The Iron Horse, and Podnah's don't use beans. As
for beans, I'll note what kind they are, but as for how they are cooked, I'll only say if
they are too hard or overcooked. Most all of the following use ground beef. Unless I state
otherwise, you usually get saltines or some type of cracker on the side. A lot of these are
mediocre at best, some downright awful, but there are a few surprises. I'll let you know
my favorites. No alcohol was used unless noted.

A & L Sports Pub (5933 NE Glisan): Chili, $2.50/cup or $3.00/bowl. Made by Stagg,
includes cheese and onions.

A & W (Various): Chili (comes in a kit), $1.49/cup. This med. thick chili had a dark
brown color and a good chili smell. There were a good amount of ground beef cubes and
an avg. amount of kidneys and reds. There weren't any visible tomato or onion pieces
and very few peppers. The spices were OK, nothing stood out, but had a mild salt taste
though. It was OK but didn't taste fresh. Mild/5 heat. Topped with nothing.

Ash St. Saloon (225 SW Ash/503-226-0430): Chili, $3.00/cup or $4.00/bowl. It had an
OK aroma and brown color, but was served warm. There was an OK amount of meat, but
had a "canned" texture. There were a good amount of red beans, but no visible tomatoes
or onions and very few peppers. This one was lacking in spices, and had a mild salt taste.
They claimed it's homemade, but tasted like Stagg. Mild/4>5 heat. Topped with a good
amount of cheese & onions.

Big Daddy's BBQ (two, tried 3001 SE Hawthorne/503-234-0007): Big Boy Chili,
$3.50/cup or $4.95/bowl. It had a good aroma and color. There was little meat, and few
chunks. It used reds & few overcooked kidney beans. No tomatoes or onions were visible
and there were very few peppers. It had good spices, but had an off/"canned" taste. It was
a lot better than last time I tried it, still needs more meat & better beans. Mild/5. Cheese
and onions weren't offered this time, served with a side of cornbread.

Biscuits Cafe (various, tried 5131 NE Sandy/503-288-8271): Chili, $4.59/cup or
$5.00/bowl. It had a very good chili smell and color, but was on the thin side. There was
an OK amount of meat and a few chunks. There was a visible grease film and you could
taste it. There was a good amount of large red beans, but on the firm side. No tomatoes
were seen, but there were a few peppers and onions. This one had a very good chili taste,
good balance of spices and heat, but a very mild salt taste. It was one of the better tasting
ones. Med/5>6 heat. Topped with large chunks of onions and very little diced cheese.

The Bomber (13515 SE McLaughlin, Milwaukie/503-659-9306): Chili, $3.50/cup or
$4.99/bowl. This med. thick chili had a good color and a great smell! There was an avg.
amount of meat and a few chunks. There were an OK amount of reds, few kidneys, but
didn't see any vegetables. This chili was well rounded and had a good amount of spices.
The flavor was good, just a little on the sweet/"canned" side, mild salt taste. Better than
last time, and a large portion. Topped with a good amount of cheese and lots of onions.

Bradley's Bar & Grill (11995 N Center Ave./503-289-6090): Chili, $2.95/cup or
$3.95/bowl. The aroma was good, but had a slight "canned" smell and was on the thick
side. There was an OK amount of meat, but no chunks. There were a good amount of red
beans, but no vegetables were seen. The flavor was OK over all, but too salty and no
heat! I still think it's "canned". Med/5 heat. Topped with little cheese & onions.

The Brew Bar & Grill (10933 SE Main, Milwaukie/503-653-6369): Chili, $2.25/cup or
$3.75/bowl. This thick chili was served warm and had a slight "canned" smell and dark
red/brown color. The meat was sparse and there were very little chunks! The small reds
were plentiful and had a good firmness. There were a few large chunks of tomatoes, but
no other vegetables. The spices were unbalanced, garlic was missing and it had a weak
base flavor and mild salt taste. This chili lacks meat, spices, and tomato flavor. It also has
a "canned" taste. Med/6+ heat. Topped with an avg. amount of cheese and onions.

The Broadway Grill & Brewery (1700 NE Broadway/503-284-4460): Homemade Fiery
Chili, $4.25/cup or $5.95/bowl. The aroma was very good. The beef was finely ground
and plentiful with a few chunks. There were few pintos and kidneys, and they were both
overcooked. Very few tomatoes and onions were seen, but no peppers. The spices were
well balanced and very good, and it had good heat. This one had very good flavor, it just
needs more/better beans. Large portion! Med/6>7 heat. Topped with very little cheese &
onions.

The Bucket Brigade (8012 SE Powell/503-774-8953): Hot & Spicy Chili (wasn't on the
menu this time, but available), $2.50/cup or $4.00/bowl. It had a very good aroma and
color, but was on the thin side. There was an avg. amount of meat, a few chunks, but
there was a little grease on top and it was in the taste. There were few overcooked pintos.
There were very few tomatoes, no onions or peppers, but some celery. The spices were
well balanced and nothing was overpowering. This one was very different than the last
time I tried it. It was OK, just too thin and greasy. Med/5>6 heat. Topped with a good
amount of melted cheese, and an OK amount of red & green onions. Two hot rolls with
butter on the side.

The Buffalo Gap (6835 SW Macadam/503-244-7111): Badlands Chili, $4.25/cup or
$6.50/bowl. It had an inviting aroma and color, but was on the thick side this time. There
was a good amount of meat, and a few chunks. There was mildly visible grease and it
was in the taste. There are no beans. No tomatoes were seen, but there were some onions,
and too many green peppers! Red wine was used. Spice wise it's not well balanced, and had an
off flavor, probably due to some different spice, it was just OK. Med/5 heat. Topped with
onions; an OK amount of cheese is $.50 extra. Cheddar corn muffins on the side.

The Bullpen (1730 SW Taylor/503-222-3063): Chili, $2.50/cup or $3.50/bowl. This bar
used to make their own, now they use Stagg. Cheese and onions are on request, bread and
saltines on the side.

#10 Angelhair

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:11 AM

Dude, you are very committed!

#11 bbqboy

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 10:19 AM

I'm admiring your work.
but Celery? in Chili? Yikes!

#12 concreteoatmeal

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 12:32 PM

Dude, you are very committed!

i second that!!! :w00t:, i make about 4 gallons of chili every year at halloween(was my fathers tradition and i just kinda picked up the torch)which lasts til about august. So as you can imagine i dont feel the need to order chili out very often. thank you for the info chilihead!
"If you were expecting a kick in the groin, and you get a slap in the face.......thats a win where I come from"

#13 ZenBoy

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 12:40 PM

Totally impressed by the depth of reporting here, but man, it's not looking good overall. I read a lot of overcooked beans and grease slicks in there.

#14 ExtraMSG

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 02:22 PM

PDXChilihead, after you're done, I'd love to get an overall top 5/bottom 5 from you.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#15 PDXChilihead

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:13 PM

Amazingly thorough. I'd love to hear your opinion on the Laughing Planet veg chili. It's been years since I had it. BTW, what's your favorite chili accompaniment? Chips or cornbread?

Thanks Twitch! I haven't tried the Laughing Planet yet. I'll try them this fall and do a report once I finish this one. As for what accompaniment I like, it's tortilla chips, you can dip with them. I prefer cornbread with BBQ or a good bowl of Hoppin' John. What I don't like are saltines. They're just lame!

#16 PDXChilihead

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:28 PM

I'm admiring your work.
but Celery? in Chili? Yikes!

Ya' I know, a few places use celery. But it gets worse; The East Bank Saloon puts black olives in theirs, the Lucky Labrador uses carrots, and Jalisco's uses zucchini!

#17 PDXChilihead

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:43 PM

Totally impressed by the depth of reporting here, but man, it's not looking good overall. I read a lot of overcooked beans and grease slicks in there.

Thanks ZenBoy! I still have quite a few places to report on, so I don't want to sum up my conclusions right now. I still want folks to check this thread out and maybe get people to start a discussion. All I'll say right now is that a number of restaurants can't seem to make a simple bowl of good chili!

#18 PDXChilihead

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:49 PM

PDXChilihead, after you're done, I'd love to get an overall top 5/bottom 5 from you.

Hey Nick, thanks for all your help and kind words! I'll definitely do a Top/Bottom 10 when I'm done.

#19 PDXChilihead

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 01:18 PM

Cactus Jack's (4342 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy/503-977-2161): Texas Chili,
$2.75/cup or $4.95/in a bread bowl. Good aroma and dark red color, but thick! It has lots
of cubed steak, pork chorizo, and ground beef! No vegetables were visible, nor were
beans used. Beer was used. OK balance of spices and heat, but could use a tad more.
Good, but too much meat and too thick. Med/5>6 heat. Topped with lots of cheddar &
jack cheese, a few green onions, and sour cream.

Café Portlandia (410 SW Main/503-224-0335): Chili. Includes cheese. Did not try, made
by Sysco.

Cameo Café (8111 NE Sandy/503-284-0401): Chili, $4.25/bowl. Very good smell and
color, but on the thin side. There was a good amount of meat, no large pieces, but it had a
mild grease film and it was in the taste. There was an OK amount of red chili beans, and
a good amount of tomato chunks, but no other visible vegetables. There was a very good
balance of spices, but could have used a little more, nice heat. This one was good, just a
little thin and needed to be cooked a little longer. Med/5>6 heat. Topped with jack and
cheddar, and a few green onions on the side. Served with Ritz crackers.

The Candlelight (2032 SW Taylor/503-222-3378): Chili (made by FSA), $2.50/cup or
$3.50/bowl. This med. thick chili had a good brick red color, but "canned" smell, also
was served warm. There was a little amount of meat and few chunks. The red beans were
plentiful and had a good firmness. There were no visible vegetables. The spices were on
the mild side and it was a little salty. It needed more meat and spices, and had that weak
"canned" taste. Mild/4>5 heat Topped with lots of cheese & large chunks of onions.

City Sandwich Company (111 E 8th St., Vancouver/360-750-6758): Chili, $2.50/cup or
$3.95/bowl. Did not try, made by Sysco.

The City Sports Bar (424 SW 4th/503-221-2489): Black Bean Chili (made by Sysco),
$2.95/cup or $4.95/bowl. This chili was on the thin side, served warm, had a brown/off-
red color, and a very mild smell. There was a good amount of chewy meat chunks, but it
had a mild grease taste. The kidneys! were very few and overcooked. There were very
few vegetables. The spices were balanced, but needed more, also a tad salty. This chili
had a weak taste, had bad meat, and didn't have black beans! Mild/4>5 heat. Topped with
nothing, sesame crackers on the side.

The Cheerful Tortoise (1939 SW 6th Ave./503-224-3377): Homemade Chili, $2.50/cup or
$3.95/bowl. This one had a great smell and color. It had very little meat! There was an
avg. amount of red beans with good firmness. There were few tomatoes, peppers, and
onions. It had a great spicy well-balanced flavor and heat, just needs more meat. This one
was a lot better than last time! Med hot/6>7. Topped with jack & cheddar and a few large
chunks of onions.

Clamity Jae's (10805 NE Halsey/503-257-4939): Chili, $3.25/cup or $4.25/bowl. This
one had a very good aroma & dark brown color, but was thick. There was very little
meat! There were lots! of large and firm kidneys. There were a few large chunks of
tomatoes, but no visible peppers and onions. There was a good over-all balance of spices
and heat. It was OK, but could have used more meat & and less/better beans! Med/5>6
heat. Topped with cheese and large chunks of onions, saltines or garlic toast on the side.

Columbia Broil (4653 NE Columbia/503-287-5688): Chili, $2.50/cup or $3.75/bowl. It
had a great beefy chili aroma, but you could smell cumin. There was a good amount of
meat & some large pieces. There were a good amount of kidneys. I saw some small
pieces of tomatoes and green peppers, but no onions. This one was good; it just needs a
better balance of spices, less cumin. Med/5>6 heat. Topped with very little cheddar &
jack cheese, and few onions.

Crackerjacks Pub & Eatery (2788 NW Thurman/503-222-9096): Chili, $2.50/cup or
$3.50/bowl. It had a very hearty chili smell, but it was on the thin side. It could have used
a little more meat. There were a fair amount of kidneys. There were some tomato chunks,
and a good amount of onions and peppers. The spices had good balance and heat, but
there was a mild black pepper taste. This was one of the better ones. Med/5>6 heat.
Topped with an OK amount of cheddar and jack, and a few green onions.

Denny's (various locations): Chili con Carne (made for them, comes frozen), $3.69/bowl.
This dark red chili was med. thick, and had a good chili smell, but was served warm. The
ground beef was very sparse and gave this chili a mild greasy taste. There were very few
beans, tomatoes, peppers, or onions. This one had good balance, flavor, and a mild kick,
just needed more/leaner meat & beans. Med/5 heat. Topped with cheese and onions.

The Dog House (2845 E Burnside/503-239-3647): Cup-o-Chili (Nalley's Original),
$1.75/cup. They also add sliced hot dogs. Topped with cheese and onions.

Drift On Inn Bar & Grill (12611 SE McLoughlin, Milwaukie/503-652-7966): Chili,
$4.75/bowl. Topped w/ cheese and onions, and comes with garlic toast. Did not try, made
by Nalley's.

Duffy's Irish Pub (11086 SE 21st, Milwaukie/503-652-1507): Chili, $3.50/cup or
$4.50/bowl. Includes cheese & onions. Did not try, made by Stagg.

East Bank Saloon (727 SE Grand/503-231-1659): Super T-Ball Chili, $3.25/cup or
$4.25/bowl. This one had an off smell and taste, probably due to the olives, and was
served warm and thick! It had an avg. amount of meat. There was an avg. amount of
kidneys and they were on the firm side. There were a few tomato chunks, no visible
onions or peppers, but olives!? The spices were off balanced and weak. This one was
bland, needs more spices, and no olives! Mild/4 heat. Topped w/ lots of jack and onions.

Emanon Café (1000 NW 17th/503-222-6435): Chili, $3.00/cup or $5.50/bowl.
Good well-rounded aroma & color. There was an avg. amount of ground beef. The red
beans were just a little firm. No vegetables were visible. The spices were very good and
well rounded, with good heat. This one had a very good earthy flavor, just could have
used more meat. Med/6+ heat. Topped with little cheese and large pieces of diced onion.

Esparaza's (2725 SE Ankeny/503-234-7909): Chili, $3.75/cup or $4.75/bowl. The aroma
& color were very good, but it was on the thin side. There was an avg. amount of ground
sirloin, a few chunks, but on the greasy side. No beans were used, and there were no
visible vegetables. The spices were abundant & well rounded with a well-cooked taste,
but a mild BBQ flavor. It had good flavor & heat, just needs some vegetables and less
BBQ flavor. Med hot/7>8. It's not topped with anything, and has flour or corn tortillas on
the side. You also get chips & salsa.

#20 ZenBoy

ZenBoy
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  • 535 posts
  • Location:Portland East

Posted 18 June 2007 - 01:37 PM

Columbia Broil you say... drove past that place plenty of times and never gave it a second look. Might have to give it a shot. Cactus Jack's sounds good to me, too, but I don't get out to B/H Highway very often.

Thanks again for your mildly frightening, borderline obsessive Chili reviewing, PDXChilihead.