Chili My Soul: a quick review
PaulF.'s message on Chili My Soul reminded me I had always wanted to try it. With business in the Valley today, there was opportunity. When I walked into this humble store front, there is a party of four only one of whom speaks English trying to decide what to have and the woman behind the counter holding court describing to them the offerings and how wonderful they were like a grandma might describe her grandchildren. After a few minutes of her oratory she realized I wasn't with the group and might like to order something. After the order was taken, she went back to the group to offer them samples which by the time I left I wasn't sure they knew what to do with and they still had not ordered. I got my bag of booty and headed of to meet Dommy! for lunch.
In the bag was Durango Chili #7 on their heat scale. In it were Smoked Chipotles, beef, beef chorizo and maize. Also Very Verde, #3 on their heat scale, with lean pork loin tomatillo and green chili broth accented with mild diced red chiles. Plus chips cornbread, salsa, green onion, lite sour cream, cheddar, monterey jack and pumpkin seeds. Oh and one spoon.
The Chili Dommy! and I both noted was thin. Not as in watery but as in texture and there were not a lot of chunks of beef, pork or veggies in it. I though later maybe I am too used to having thickened somewhat starchy chilis, but these were more on the soup side and I tend to think of chili as a stew.
That said, the flavor was incredibly complex and spiced as advertised. The Durango was at my pleasure/pain threshold and Dommy! after half her serving was in desperate need of fluid. The sour cream helped to tone it down few notches. This went very well with the chips which though they were light and airy held up to the chili. They did not soggify or break.
The Very Verdi was light but flavorful and suprisingly went very well with the Pumpkin Seeds which was a recommendation of the lady behind the counter. It added texture and a bit of salt which was needed to the Verde.
The corn bread was nothing to write home about but it too added something to the chili, texture.
Total damage was 21.50 plus a trip to the valley. Not a bad place and we do want to go and try more.
One other note: PaulFs post mentioned the potential for bottlenecks at the counter. With the few people who were in there at that time how it was, I can only imagine if it were busy how nuts it would become.
The chili is definitely not as thick as what a lot of people expect from chili, but a few are thicker than others. In particular, the ones that have beans and approximate traditional Texas chilis -- Texas Pride (I think) and Gunslinger. But a lot of chilis get thickened by adding flour and other fillers. Since CMS prides itself on distinctive flavors, I can see why they would avoid adding things to thicken the chili.
I agree, I'm intrigued by the flavors but the consistency is not what I make at home. I like the place a lot and more than once I've gone in, tasted many samples, filled up, bought some chili and saved it for lunch the next day. It's just down Ventura from my office so if you hazard another journey into this netherland, give me a call and I'll meet you for lunch