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Jan 30, 2009 08:30 PM

ISO Best Chili in LA

I'm hosting a Super Bowl party and won't have time to make my own chili, so I'd like to take out some from a local establishment (preferably westside). Please share any suggestions for excellent chili. Thanks very much.

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  1. I know this may sound dumb, but my favorite chili is The Original Tommy's.

    I hate chili with beans and the chili there is damn good. HAHAHA

    5 Replies
    1. re: A5 KOBE

      I like Tommy's chili for burgers and dogs,but if you've ever eaten it by itself its pretty crappy. My daughter gets her chili on the side and I'll finish it off. One distinct thing I notice is that there must be a ton of masa or something in it that makes it thick and pasty and there isn't very much ground beef in it.

      If you still want it, they sell it by the quart for like $8.

      1. re: monku

        I agree. Once I held a taste test for chili dogs and actually drove to a half dozen chili dog places in the LA area (Carneys, Tail'o the Pup, Pinks, Tommy's, Art's, and brought home all the dogs, chili on the side, and buns. Each item was tasted by itself against all others. Carney's was hands down the winner among EVERY person for dog, chili and fresh bun at my taste test. Tommy's was at the bottom for each item. The dog was so bad. However, Tommy's is fine when it is all put together. My fav breakfast sandwich is the Tommy's English Muffin w/ everything on it. So, yes Tommy's chili is fine when it is part of the whole thing.

        This all reminds me. Carney's offer their dogs by the pound and a quart of the chili to-go. Now that would be great for the Super Bowl


      2. re: A5 KOBE

        I too like Tommy's chili - on a burger or dog, not the type of chili i would have just a bowl of and here goes, I actually like the chili that - ahem - Carls Jr puts on their burger, it has a good bite to it.

        1. re: malibumike

          See I always eat chili on either burger/hot dog or fries. I hate eating chili by itself, especially chili with BEANS!!!

          1. re: A5 KOBE

            That's because real chili does not have any beans in it ;-)

      3. Chili John's in Burbank, but call ahead as their hours are kind of wacky, or Chili My Soul in Encino.

        13 Replies
        1. re: kingpinjava

          You can google Chili My sould and look at their website. The last time I did I was a bit horrified by the prices.

          1. re: Hughlipton

            The last time I had Chili My Soul I was horrified by the taste -- like something from an amateur cook who had never actually eaten chili but had heard people talk about it.

            1. re: sbritchky

              I have been eating at Chili My Soul since they opened. They have fantastic chilis. Some I like better then others. I also agree that it may sound weird but I also love Tommy's chili on burgera and hot dogs. Tommy sells a 1/2 gallon for $8.00 or so. A great value

              1. re: sbritchky

                Based on just one experience, I wholeheartedly agree with Hughlipton and sbritchky about both the miserable quality of the chili and the outrageously high prices at Chili My Soul. Over a year ago, after reading a lot of positive notices on this site, I headed over to Chili My Soul and had one of the worst-tasting meals of my life. After sampling several of their varieties (they are very generous with samples), none of which impressed me and some of which instantly struck me as awful, I settled on a basic, traditional bowl of beef chili with beans. The gummy, smoky but otherwise flavorless glop I was served was downright ash-tray disgusting and struck me as borderline rancid. I must have dumped at least four tablespoons of hot sauce into it just to make it mildly palatable. Not helping matters was the rubbery corn bread that came with it. Honestly, even allowing that maybe I was there on a very off day, Chili My Soul was so bottom of the barrel that I doubt I could ever consider giving it another chance. Even Wendy's makes a more appetizing (albeit notorious) bowl of chili - and I believe it's still on their $1 dollar menu.

                1. re: Arthur

                  You continued to eat a bowl of chili that you thought tasted "borderline rancid" by adding hot sauce to it? And this was your choice over returning the "gummy, flavorless glop" that was almost rancid for a refund of your money?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Servorg, yes, absolutely, I continued to peck away at the chili, although I left at least half of it behind. I was there by myself and did not feel comfortable risking any kind of a ruckus by complaining about the meal or asking for a refund. I also prefer my chili to be very spicy, which this most certainly was not, and thought the hot sauce could help make it more edible.

                    Handling it differently wouldn't have changed the fact that the food was dreadful.

                    1. re: Arthur

                      there are times when we cut our losses. at least your $10.95 of chili was not $80 for a rack of lamb chops at il mulino (that was truely dreadful).

                      1. re: kevin

                        Arthur, since Chili My Soul lets you taste all the chili you want, if you found none to your liking, why on earth would you buy a whole bowlful? Just walk on out! There are plenty of restaurants to eat at in Encino, like Alcazar and the Hummus Bar.

                        1. re: Arthur

                          I'm curious (and very skeptical) about your chili-palate....Besides Wendy's, what other places do you like for chili?

                          1. re: HBfoodie

                            HBfoodie, just by looking over this thread, you can see the chili options in the LA area are quite limited. So my answer to you is that I don't have a go-to place in LA for chili (although I had walked into Chili My Soul hoping that it might fit that bill). Once in a great while I stumble across a good local chili cook-off, but probably most of the chilis I eat these days are homemade (and not in my home).

                            None of which in any way alters the basic fact, again, that the stale, gummy crap I was served at Chili My Soul was unfit for human consumption.

                            And I never said I liked Wendy's chili. I just rated it better than Chili My Soul's. Hardly an endorsement.

                            FWIW, I had what I thought was a fantastic chili cheeseburger last week at Hamburger Habit on Sepulveda and National. It had only a fairly small dollop of chili on top, but it was just perfect.

                            1. re: Arthur

                              darnit, i'll get shit for this. but i do think fatburger's chili is pretty awesome.

                              and arthur it's about time you went to Fred's homemade burgers for an awesome homemade or at least homestyle chili cheeseburger.

                          2. re: ihrtfud

                            ihrtfud, I ordered an entire bowl because I specifically drove in from the West Side to The Valley for CMS's chili and to see how the whole meal combination would taste, i.e., chili with corn bread, sour cream, onions, etc. Sometimes first impressions from a sample can be very misleading. In this case they were not. If anything, the food I was served got progressively worse.

                            Regardless, what possible difference does any of that make? As I already indicated above to Servorg, challenging my motives is nothing more than a baiting, inflammatory distraction from the only pertinent fact, which is that the food was terrible.

                2. re: Hughlipton


                  The prices have increased and are high, but the chilis are the best in the city. (I am not even sure that the website prices are accurate.) You can get anything from basic chilis (and all different levels of heat) to chilies with somewhat wild flavors like curry, mango-chicken, and asian peppers. They also have a nice variety of meat and vegeterian chilis. If you want them for the Super Bowl, place an order today. They usually are swamped on Super Bowl Sunday. Over the phone, they can tell you which chilis they will have tomorrow. (They usually only have 8-10 of the 30+ types of chilis that they have on the menu. If you had called earlier, they could have probably prepared whichever chili you would want, but it is probably too late to make some of them to order).

                  If you want a variety, consider:

                  1) A mid-heat poultry chili -- Poblano Turkey (a mid-heat chili with good flavor) or Chicken Royale (also mid-heat with great flavor)

                  2) A higher-heat beef chili -- Gunslinger (a higher heat with beans) or Durango (a higher-heat smokey chili with beef and beef chorizo and maize, but no beans),

                  3) A milder beef or beef/pork chili -- Rio Grande (a pretty classic chili with beans), Texas Pride (beef with bacon, but no beans), or Santa Fe (beef/pork with hominy, but no beans);


                  4) A wild-flavor chili like Asian Fusion Beef, Curry Chicken, or Mango-Habanero Chicken.

                  (I cannot comment on the vegetarian chilis, because they are not my thing.) If you have friends who live dangerously, get some Demon, which is rated a 10+ on their heat scale.

              2. it's been a few years now, but for parties i used to get chili at the souplantation. it's was good....not excellent, so i would doctor it up with spices and hot sauce, and on one occassion i sauteed some beef and onions and added that as well. what made me think of it was the mention of price above. i don''t recall how much, but i remember thinking it was a great price per gallon.

                1. Just so you know, the best best bowl of chili (cold rainy day kind) is in Sunset Beach -- Chuncks of steak,chili beans and perfect flavor. While you are there get a cheese burger with that bowl of "Harbor House Steak Chili" and spoon some on just before you put that burger in your mouth. OMG, now you got me thinking of a chili-size with onion and sherdded cheese on top. Great burger, chili and cheese at Horbor House. Sorry it is not closer to the westrside but you asaked for the best.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JeetJet

                    Just had breakfast a couple of weeks ago at the Dana Point Harbor House with friends who live in San Juan Capo. Great breakfast. Now I have to try their chili cheese omelet next time.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Yeah, good breakfast there but those breakfast potatoes are not as good as they should be IMO. I get the Hobo potatoes or the Hobo rice. They make great soup also. Ask them before you order that chili cheese omelet if it is made with the Steak chili. I would think it would be but to be safe just ask. That steak chili on a chili cheese omelet would provide all the meat you need, lke havin chili, cheese, steak and eggs. Open 24 hrs a day makes this place a dream come true. At the Sunset Beach location always ask for a seat in the front dinning room. That rear patio has zero ambiance. The front section is a as close to a NJ Diner ambiance and menu as the LA Area has to offer.

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