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LA-style chili (Tommy's, Cupid's), in NY??

Hey all, I'm an LA transplant to the East Coast, and have done a pretty good job grafting my necessities onto East Coast establishments, while of course expanding with all the wonderful bounty that NY and its surrounding environs have to offer :)

The one thing I'm really craving at times, and have no idea where to find, is LA-style chili. For any of those who know the greats (Tommy's, Cupid's, etc.), you know *exactly* what I mean. For those who don't, it'll probably disgust you to hear it, but here goes- it's that almost radioactive orange, meat spackle-like substance. Not quite liquid, not quite solid, and never with any traces of actual beans, onions, tomatoes, or distinguishable pieces of red meat. I'm talking about that wonderful meat/fat paste that makes every burger and hot dog a masterpiece.

So, anyone??

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  1. Try Lupe's in Soho, 6th Ave a couple of blocks north of Canal. I've never had the real thing in LA, but Lupe's full official name includes "LA kitchen" ( http://www.lupeskitchen.com/ ) and when I was eating their chili, I was thinking "hmm I don't really like this, but it would be really good on a chiliburger." Now I'm thinking "chili cheeseburger". (in terms of Mexican, I prefer Lupe's green sauce things to their red, but that's my taste


    I can't recall if they serve burgers, it's Mexican food which is pretty good. If they don't you could BYO burger from Kool Bloo across the street :)

    110 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013

    Kool Bloo
    117 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013

    1. that was a perfect description of LA-chili!...it brought back many memories of Tommy's, Pink's, Carney's, etc...

      but i have no clue who serves in it NYC...but acidity's report of Lupe's sounds like a good bet...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Simon

        Don't get your hopes up too high :) Lupe's chili is more red than orange and more soupy than spackle, I mentioned it because I thought maybe they got the seasoning right and they have LA in their name.

        But it won't be a wasted trip in any case, their food is pretty good, and Mexican is awfully hard to get around NYC.

      2. OK, so here's an alternative for you. Go to Flushing, and find one of the XingXiang kabab stands and get the lamb skewers. I like the one on Sanford just off Main. Make sure to nod yes when the grill person asks if you want the extra powdered spices. For me, what makes them taste so good is that they remind me of the combination of flavors in a Tommy's chili burger. I know it seems strange, but the cumin, the slight gaminess of the lamb, and the chili and other spices just seem to be in a similar flavor profile of a Tommy's (or Pink's or Jay's) chili burger. I've been wondering what would result if I brought sesame seed buns, and slices of beefsteak tomato and asked them to just place the lamb in the bun. I might try it one of these days.

        Oh, and don't bother with Lupe's. And if it's just the chili that you're going for, give the one from Daisy May's a shot. There are stands around midtown and downtown, as well as the main store on the westside. It's nothing like Tommy's pasty chili, and more in line with real Texas chili, but I find it enjoyable in the way I've enjoyed a Tommy's burger of my youth.

        Daisy May's BBQ
        623 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036

        2 Replies
        1. re: E Eto

          Hmm, a good suggestion, but I have to say, I've had those exact skewers there and it doesn't hit the spot- I hear you on the spices, definitely, but without that glistening lardy goodness it just ain't it ;) Well, any others?

          1. re: BigBrother

            I'd say your SOL then. You can try the chili burger at Houston's (Saturdays only, I think). Maybe that might console you.

            378 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

        2. That sounds a lot like Pat's Hubba Hubba in Port Chester.

          This pic is not from the original location, but it shows a close up of Hubba's-style chili:

          I can't seem to find any pics of the original place. Here is a knock-off that supposedly opened up down the street (the pic is a pool of grease floating on top of a vat of chili):

          It looks gross, but I'm not the only one that swears by the stuff.

          1. Hi BigBrother,
            You can now order Tommy's chili online and have it shipped to you in NY. Tommy Koulax Jr. (the son of the founder of Tommy's) has started this online business and is also working with national distributors on getting grocers to carry his products. Check out the website: www.tommyschilifactory.com/

            1. Well, I tried Pat's Hubba Hubba. I'll say this- if there were a fictional country in which Tommy's style chili were the regional cuisine, Pat's would surely hail from that country. But whereas Tommy's scores an 8-10, Pat's was about a 5 :\.

              Oh and re: ordering, yeah, I saw that, but I'm looking more for a place to go, to invite friends, etc.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BigBrother

                sorry you went all the way up there and didn't get exactly what you were looking for.

                hubbas' is hands-down the best topping chili i've ever had, so i'm surprised. maybe it's a regional thing. i will have to order some tommy's though, to see what it's all about.

                1. re: Cheese Cheesely

                  Not to worry, it was on a trip back up to New England, so it was on my way.

                  I'm telling you though Cheese, if you like it, you will DIE over Tommy's- it is that good. Just please don't order it via mail as I can't even begin to vouch for its quality. Wait till you go out to LA and then bask in the delight. Get a classic chili cheeseburger with the works and a *separate* cup of chili with cheese and onions. Mix up the cup well, and take supporting bites along with the burger. Oh, and of course, the hot, lime green chili peppers they have as a garnish. F*&^% I'm hungry. Thanks a lot :)