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Nov 26, 2010 06:26 PM

Good Bowl of Chili in the Seattle Area (Preferably North of Downtown Seattle)?

My needs are simple. A good bowl of chili with beans. I want it to be made with hamburger, not steak, not turkey, or other meat. With kidney or pinto beans. Quality and quantity would be good. A big bowl on a cold, winter night would do nicely. Recommendations?

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  1. IMO, quality chili in Seattle-North has been suffering ever since World Class Chili in the PP Market shuttered.

    Mike's 3 Alarm Chili in Ballard kinda fits your description. And I like it at Maggie Bluff's, although I think they use steak. But IMHO, neither of those is any better than that you can whomp up at home using Carrol Shelby's "kit", available in supermarkets.

    Maggie Bluffs
    2601 W Marina Pl, Seattle, WA 98199

    6 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Kaleokahu, I feel your pain. Joe's chilis confused some palates, but stood out, for me. Texas was a good place to live, as was New Mexico, and, though I never actually lived in Cincinnatti, I got enough of the flavor of Skyline's Cincinnati chili to be confident in asserting that Joe's Cincinnatti chili plain knocked the tar out of them. I miss Joe, of course, for more reasons than his chiies, but I surely agree that Seattle's chili savvy took a nose dive, from which it has not recovered, when we lost Joe Canavan. Thank you for pointing to Maggie Bluff's as a temporizing move. Agreed that MIke's is worth investigating (for the building, if nothing else), and the last time I was there (a year ago), was way, way, better than my introduction to the place when I moved into the neighborhood, in 1978. Back then, the "chili" was an insipid gry glop, peeping out from underneath a layer of grease. These days, I hear better things. Good luck.
      Is Carol Shelby's at just any supermarket, or can you point to particular stores in North Seattle?

      Maggie Bluffs
      2601 W Marina Pl, Seattle, WA 98199

      1. re: mrnelso

        I think the wick-fowler 2-alarm kit is easier to find. Last time I bough some it was at Big-Lots. But if you know your way around dried chiles like anchos, it is possible to make a good bowl of Texas red with those, cumin, (Mexican) oregano, some onion and garlic, and cubed beef.

        But the OP wanted one with beans, so he can't be a Texas purist.

        I used to like the chili at Wendy's. but I have eaten there in years.

        1. re: mrnelso

          mrnelso: Haven't bought Shelby's in a long time, but got mine at QFC. Comes in a brown paper bag about the size of a 1/2-pound coffee bag if I remember right.

          1. re: mrnelso

            I tried the Austin Brown "Good Eats" recipe for pressure-cooker chili. Burned the bottom of the pressure cooker meat on my electric stove, which is just about all that's available in Seattle, because of fire hazard (and lack of natural gas)
            Then recently, i discovered that if I take a wire coat hangar (without a coating) and place it over the burner, my pressure cooker stopped burning the meat!

            1. re: PeteSeattle

              Tell that to the 750,000 natural gas customers PSE serves.

              1. re: tsquare

                You know, someone told me recently that if you bought a Coleman gas range with two burners and cooked on that instead of the electric stove supplied by your apartment managers, you'll save money since it's cheaper to use Coleman fuel than to buy electricity for the stove! And no one argues that you'll have an easier time cooking with gas than with electricity.
                But it's probably a reason to get evicted from an apartment. I've often dreamed of it, but I'm afraid to tangle with the mafiosi who run the apartments in Seattle.

        2. Try the chili at The Counter, the burger joint in Ballard next to the newest Trader Joe's.

          1. It's south of downtown, but I like the chili at Slim's Last Chance. If only they served rice, it would be perfect...

            1 Reply
            1. re: akq

              Note that Slim's "Texas" chili doesn't have beans, as the OP desires. I was there for happy hour on Friday and enjoyed the Frito Pie - a decent substitute to rice.

            2. i am also on the hunt for a decent bowl of chili in seattle.

              please, don't waste your time at mike's. it was a huge disappointment. it was mainly grease, and little flavor. nothing three alarm about it. however, it was made with hamburger, and beans were an option for the side (they come on the chili fries, but not the chili burger?)
              the price is right, the beer is cheap, the building is stellar, the staff was super nice, the chili was awful.
              i am going to try red robin (going to eat with the fam on saturday- only place on the eastside we can all agree on- kid friendly, large party friendly, etc...)
              i am just recalling a bowl of chili i had years ago at the college inn, in u district. it was really good, but i was a landscaper back then and ate a LOT more than i do now:) definitely worth checking out, as it is also a really cool venue with good beer and ambience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: orangefleabait

                I have to agree on Mike's. Nice people and place. Chili just doesn't cut it. I guess that I prefer something a little stouter. Nothing but thin, greasy burger.

                Slim's is my go-to in Seattle. The Texas red (as noted above, no beans) is an ideal chili dog/burger/fries chili. I've tried 2 of the other 3 and they are all good. A bit of a hike to get there, though. I've heard that you can order slims at the pig iron BBQ next door (slim's = no kids), but haven't had the chance to do it yet.

              2. Mike's Chili. Ballard. Go there. Predictable things in life: death, taxes, Mike's chili.