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I got Fritos! Where's the Chili?

  • Dommy Oct 21, 2013 03:37 PM

So I brought catering for my team from Mike's Deli (delicious as always!) and they know me now and throw in a couple of more bags of fritos... hee... So now this week I am on the hunt for the best chili in L.A. for take out. Willing to drive!

--Dommy!

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  1. Always wanted to go to Tubs, anyone been?

    http://www.tubschili.com/

    Jacks on Crenshaw is closed but Earlez is said to carry the torch

    http://earlezgrille.com/

    8 Replies
    1. re: jessejames

      I like Tubs... but their spicing is a bit of the softer side. It actually works REALLY well with rice (especially their Chile Verde one, it reminds me of Moms!), not so much Fritos.

      I do love Earls! They are one of the few old skool places that does Chili over Tamale RIGHT. Hmmm!!

      --Dommy!

      1. re: Dommy

        monday nite football sure would be better with that! never had it over the tamale....is it the same chili that jacks had?

        1. re: jessejames

          Not sure about Jack's chili because unfortunately my frito+chili revelation came late in life and chili fries gross me out.

          But's really good fast food tommys like chili, they use it on their chili dogs. It's hard to find a place that does chili+tamale right (or even still does them). Earls is good because they keep tamles steamed. So they a nice soft and moist. It's the gut bomb you'd think they are...

          Now if only someone would make a good tamale torta in this town and I'd have the catering take care of for my next meeting...

          --Dommy!

        2. re: Dommy

          I wonder how the former Chili Addiction http://www.theaddictionbistro.com/ (now The Addiction Bistro) is doing these days? They normally feature 4 different types of chili each week.

          1. re: Servorg

            I like Chili Addiction. They do one of the best housemade ketchups in town and they offer their chili to go frozen by the quart. Both are stupid expensive... but I'm a sucker for such things...

            --Dommy!

            1. re: Dommy

              One other thought. Clementine http://clementineonline.com/ has what they describe as:

              Meaty Chili $8/pint -
              Our hearty all-meat chili — smoky, with a slow burn

              Haven't yet tried it...

              1. re: Servorg

                I dunno if I've had Clementine's Chili... I might have as I buy their frozen soup quarts often. And believe it or not, they are cheaper than Chili Addictions...

                --Dommy!

              2. re: Dommy

                Expensive things ?

        3. Ok, you'll probably slap me, but for a true Frito Pie, there's only one chili in LA that'll work.

          Tommy's.

          (I would consider The Hat, but their chili is *almost* too good for Fritos.)

          50 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            so mealy you don't even need the fritos.... love chili, just don't love LA's Tommy style chili ... a bit on a jay burger (rip) but id rather have the more liquid and meaty stuff...ok, put a tommy burger in front of me and it won't go to waste....

            1. re: jessejames

              Fritos + chili is essential. You need a nice strong spiced chili to cover up the toe flavor of the frito. And you need the frito to add crunch and salt and make chili less like just eating meat slurry...

              --Dommy!

              1. re: Dommy

                Lol dat toe flavor

                1. re: Dommy

                  toe flavor...

                  i just lost my lunch.

                  unless you mean toe flavor in the way a runny triple creamy Roquefort has got the toe flavor en masse.

                2. re: jessejames

                  Dont's remind me of Jay's, oh Jay's Jayburgers.

                  The shitty little stand at the corner of SM and Virgil to cure the late night munchies with a triple Jayburger (chili, cheese, onions, natch) and washed down with fresh squeezed lemonade. No french fries. Just bags of potato chips, and graying slices of mildewy pie in the display case (I can't think of one person whoever ordered a slice of pie from there).

                  Pure fucking bliss.

                  1. re: kevin

                    i agree...tommy can't carry jay's jockstrap

                    1. re: jessejames

                      JJ, do you remember those graying slices of pie ?????

                      1. re: kevin

                        Kevin -- I had two jayburgers for eyes so missed em

                    2. re: kevin

                      During Jay's later tenure, I was enjoying a burger at the stand, and Jay showed up in his full plaid golfing regalia. He saw that my friend and I weren't having accompaniments with our burgers, so he split a bag of chips with us. He was awfully sweet and gallant.

                    3. re: jessejames

                      Jesse, God do I miss Jay Burger!!!! I was just thinking about it the other day and its been gone for years. What a loss.

                      1. re: bringiton

                        :(

                        1. re: bringiton

                          I feel your pain. Grew up with the San Diego location. Never went to the LA one.

                          I'm wondering: is Jays the most heavily mourned dead restaurant in LA? Honestly the only other restaurant I can think of that gets nearly this kind of posthumous love, at least on this board, is LaBarbara's (never went), and it doesn't get half the love of Jays. It seems like someone should really come in with a spin off a la All About the Bread spinning off Bay Cities deli.

                      2. re: ipsedixit

                        I actually REALLY love Tommy's chili. I've always wanted to order one protien style... just a boat of chili, two patties and topped with their tomato, onion, lettuce mustard mix. I would call it death by dolores brick...

                        --Dommy!

                        1. re: Dommy

                          I see your Tommy's/Chili John's/Carney's and raise you Oki Dog.

                          I swear they put curry or someshit in their chili to make it awesome. doesn't feel as greasy as the other 3 either.

                          1. re: ns1

                            Will Oki Dog sell you a boat of their chili alone? I've probably revealed almost all of my disgusting eating habits on this post alone... but I just can't do an Oki Dog... even I have my limits...

                            --Dommy!

                            1. re: Dommy

                              In that case, you should do the Pastrami Burrito instead. That's really where it's at.

                              Mounds of pastrami, chili, and cabbage and sauteed peppers in a double-fisted flour tortilla.

                              Puro fucking bliss.

                              Nuff said.

                              1. re: kevin

                                k-dog, just add two dogs and cheese and you got the oki dog!

                                1. re: jessejames

                                  No, no, no.

                                  That fucks with the ratio and flavor profile.

                                  I'm all about that pastrami coalescing with the dope chili.

                              2. re: Dommy

                                I actually don't eat the Oki Dog (did it once, just to do it). Their chili dogs are fantastic though, vastly neater (and I feel smaller) than Carney's/Tommy's. No idea if they'll sell you the chili straight up, but $$$ talks.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  i get the chili cheese dog with pastrami and kraut and onions -- its very small, don't worry...

                                  1. re: jessejames

                                    From oki dog? Seriously? Sounds delicious...

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      not advisable on a regular basis but woof woof!

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        for a laugh, check out the yelp reviews on oki -- reads like a digest of spinal tap album reviews!

                                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/oki-dog-los-a...

                                        1. re: jessejames

                                          Meet up for lunch at Oki Dog ?

                                          Songs have been composed on Oki dog too

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            i think the night time is the right time but let me get back to you and let's do it.

                                          2. re: jessejames

                                            weak. roaches give the place character

                                            i go to the OG pico one btw.

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              what kind of roaches brotha?

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                Yeah, i was about to ask which one you guys go to.

                                                i always go to the one catty corner from roscoe's.

                                                i've never actually been to the one on fairfax near melrose near the old incarnation in mid-city on SM Blvd.

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  pico

                                        2. re: ns1

                                          Their chili dogs are also much cheaper than Carney's/tommys/fabs.

                                        3. re: Dommy

                                          How very sad. NOTHING ELSE is like an Oki Dog.

                                          Desert Island food. Last Meal food.

                                          1. re: DWB

                                            " Last Meal food."

                                            I'm willing to believe that statement (and probably the paramedics couldn't do a thing for the poor suckers...)

                                        4. re: ns1

                                          If it doesn't feel greasy as the other three clearly you need to add pastrami to your chili dog there next time...

                                          But don't you need some kind of haz-mat license to buy that in bulk?

                                          1. re: jessejames

                                            I understand that the land under Oki Dog has been declared a "Superfund" site...

                                            I owned a small business for most of the 80's with my business partner just around the corner from Oki Dog on Melrose and ate there one too many times. I just can't go back anymore. Kind of like the first type of alcohol you get violently sick on...

                                      2. re: ipsedixit

                                        i see your tommy's and raise you chili john's.

                                        1. re: linus

                                          I've never been to chili johns actually... Hmmm!!! They seem to be more of the Tubs model rather than Tommys...

                                          --Dommy!

                                          1. re: Dommy

                                            I've bought a tub from Carney's plus raw dogs. To me there's is like Tommy's but better

                                            1. re: jessejames

                                              And I'll take a Carney's chili dog over a Pink's or Tommy's chili dog any day of the week.

                                              In fact, on the current scene, Carney's still makes the best chili dog in town. There chili might be a skoshe notch better than Tommy's but their dogmeat is head and shoulders above.

                                            2. re: Dommy

                                              Dommy!

                                              You should go totally ghetto and just drop by your local 7-Eleven and pump away to your heart's content ...

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                LOL! Where I live right now, it's so ghetto there are no 7-Elevens even close by... But Culver City is like adding its 24th... LOL!

                                                Me and Peggy Olsen... Pioneers!!!

                                                --Dommy!

                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                  No 7-11s ??

                                                  If there are no starbucks there too, you may just be in the ghetto.

                                              2. re: Dommy

                                                Chili John's is strictly on the Chili John's model. And highly recommended.

                                                1. re: condiment

                                                  I don't quite understand your sentence here.

                                                  "Chili John's is strictly on the Chili John's model."

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Chili John's has been making chili since 1900. (Since 1946 in Burbank.) It is a style onto itself.

                                                    1. re: condiment

                                                      Hi Condiment. There is an original family member (although neither location will admit that the other exists - I have been to both locations) who serves the same chili (with the same name) in Green Bay, Wi.

                                                      1. re: WildSwede

                                                        Did you just go to the original in Green Bay ????????

                                                        Thanks.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          I have been there twice - 2 years ago and again last year. Not during last month's visit to Wi.

                                                          1. re: WildSwede

                                                            i see.

                                                2. re: Dommy

                                                  Chili John's is good - but they do more of a Cincinnati-style chili. 5 way, 4 way, whateva you want. May be good on a Frito Pie.
                                                  I am throwing in the chili at Larry's Chili Dogs (just down the street from Chili John's). Reminds me of the chili they had at Pappa John's in Van Nuys in the 70s. This is where I fell in love with chili dogs (and fries)! ;-)

                                                3. re: linus

                                                  i've never been to chili john's either. would this style of chili go well on, say, fries? :>

                                                  if so, are there are any recommended shops close to chili john's that sell good fries to attempt this culinary merge? :>

                                              3. Chili John's.

                                                1. My vote goes to Dog Haus in Pasadena (and Alhambra). Their tater tots with chili and cheese? It may kill me but I am pretty sure I don't care.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: RoxyGrl

                                                    LOL! I had those last week... They do EXCELLENT tator tots... but I think I like that same type of chili better at Slawdogs...

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                  2. I've never tried it, but how is the chili at Jinky's in Studio City? Only been there for breakfast/brunch, but they have a variety of different types of chili on the menu.

                                                    1. Philippe's chili would go well with Fritos...

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                        Where is Philippe's?

                                                        1. re: sweetsgal

                                                          Downtown LA, a couple blocks from Union Station.

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            Right, I remember now how could I forget the home of the Original French Dip. Did not know about the chili.

                                                      2. Thanks everyone for the recs! Despite what you would think, Fritos don't have an infinite shelf life, so I decided to to Chili Johns an pick up some of their famous chili!

                                                        I excitedly told P. Who within 10 minutes pulled up the Triple D episode featuring them.

                                                        o_0

                                                        I should not have seen it. As many of you know, I worked in the food business. In Vernon. Next to a dog food factory. I've been on a kill room floor. I've survived a visit to a hot dog factory (Which was WAY worse than our Canned Dog Food Operation). I've been in a multitude of kitchens, from pre-columbian to modernist. I've been eating the type of meat slurry chili for a LONG time. I love it... But I had NO idea. NO IDEA. It was made in such a fashion like what they showed on that TV show. I don't spoil it to you... but basically, what do makes Carnitas and Duck Confit look like health food.

                                                        Still, I was pretty darn committed... so after Yoga class (no really.) I hit the road from USC to Chili Johns.

                                                        After a much needed detour to Valerie's in Echo Park for a Salad (so I can show my face at my doctors next week and beg off the need for Liptor for another year...) I made it to Chili Johns at around 2:30p and they were going full swing. The Guy bump was in full effect... people were happily eating their bowls of Chili and Spaghetti and offering me advice on my order. In the end, I got one of each... Beef and Chicken... They advised me to serve it with beans... Frito pie really doesn't NEED beans... So I decided to for go picking up a can.

                                                        I came home and opened up the containers (which they make sure to shove into a ziplock bag and everything had settled. The pool of grease was an inch thick. Ugh. I ALWAYS get a tub of Tommy's Chili to go (to dip fries) and it is greasy... but nothing like THIS.

                                                        I made my Frito Pie

                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                        I made P. Chili Dogs

                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                        Overall, the chili tasted too much like Cumin. Tommy's and Slaw Dogs is much more balanced for this type of chili. We liked the chicken better because it seemed to have more texture than the beef which kinda added not much to the fritos or the chili dog, it seemed more like a condiment.

                                                        The fritos did a REMARKABLY good job of standing up to the Chili... despite just getting SOAKED in the grease... they remained crispy and really helped balance the cumin and other flavors on the pie (I added shredded moz for creaminess and raw white onion for some brightness)

                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                        Overall, the folks at Chili Johns were right. The chili straight was just too rich for my frito pie. I left most of it on the plate because it really left my palate coated (we paired with Stella Cidre, which actually went very well... but was in no match for the grease, which on a temperate night, congealed a lot quicker than is appetizing).

                                                        Tomorrow... more salads...

                                                        --Dommy!

                                                        18 Replies
                                                        1. re: Dommy

                                                          Thanks for reporting back!

                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                            isnt frito pie supposed to be made IN the bag?

                                                            1. re: linus

                                                              Not on my rug!

                                                              --Dommy!

                                                              1. re: Dommy

                                                                isnt it obvious the bag is a vital component to the recipe and would have balanced any flaws you found in the chil...oh forget it.

                                                            2. re: Dommy

                                                              oh god. my curiosity got the best of me and I watched the DDD episode.

                                                              I don't think I could in good conscience eat that beef chili.

                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                Oh yea. It's equally horrifying in person when you open the lid and just a pool of grease is staring at you.... It's almost like a double dawg dare...

                                                                --Dommy!

                                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                                  The bean chili sounding better

                                                                  1. re: Dommy

                                                                    I've been eating Chili Johns for years. But no wonder I always got heartburn while munching on that foodstuff.

                                                                  2. re: ns1

                                                                    in defense of the probably indefensible, when you sit at their counter and order a bowl, you don't really notice a "pool of grease." at least i don't. oil floats, and i think they draw the ladle up through the vat and drain it before they plop it into the serving dish.
                                                                    i'm not a registered dietitian, nor do i play one on t.v., but i doubt it's any worse for you than in and out.
                                                                    and plenty of people around here enjoy a delicious slab of lardo on toast.

                                                                    i eat there maybe a couple or three times a year. it's a stretch to recommend, but i sometimes get a hankering for it.

                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                      " i doubt it's any worse for you than in and out."

                                                                      I can't believe that ground beef + stuff is worse for you than beef fat cooked in beef fat.

                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                        The slices of American are probably worse than shredded cheddar.

                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                          hey man, it's not like in and out is charcoal broiled. it's griddled in fat. and it has a bun (sugar and simple carbohydrates) and they serve fries (simple carbohydrates cooked in fat) and then there's all the special sauces (oil, more sugar) and then there's the sodas (yadda yadda yadda).

                                                                          but this is a silly argument, and it's chowhound.
                                                                          chili john's is sort of a "love it or hate it" kinda place.
                                                                          you should give it a try, then judge. if you have to, y'know, use the necessary room before you get through a bowl, maybe it's not the place for you.
                                                                          or maybe it is.

                                                                          i've taken people there that liked it, i've taken people there that were revolted.
                                                                          and you can get a glass of buttermilk.

                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                            ...we really can't agree on anything huh? Lol

                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                              i think we can both agree although you haven't tried it, you would probably not enjoy chili john's.

                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                I like oki dog/tommy's, so I guess there's some hope.

                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  well, dommy appears to like tommy's as well, so maybe.
                                                                                  i mean, i get tommy's maybe once a year, if that. and i enjoy it.
                                                                                  it just seems weird to me someone could like tommy's chili and dislike chili john's.
                                                                                  but as the years go by, i get people less and less.

                                                                              2. re: ns1

                                                                                I think you may just like it.

                                                                      2. re: Dommy

                                                                        K I actually did go to CJ's today. They ran out of beef chili (I wouldn't have ordered it anyway lol) so I went ahead and bought the chili turkey.

                                                                        Had some chili turkey on top of spaghetti w/ onions, oyster crackers, and chilis on the side. It was not very greasy at all.

                                                                        It was tasty enough, but not tasty enough for me to go back @ 7.50 for a regular bowl.

                                                                      3. Well, I know it is late for the OP's quest, but we've mentioned Tommy's, Carney's, Oki Dog, and some of the chili specialists. Dommy no longer lives westside, so I'm throwing Chroni's into the mix for evaluation.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: nosh

                                                                          Well... I LOVE Chili and it's just the start of fall! In fact, I just picked up a tub of frozen chili from Foodlink (Will report back on that!) and thanks or the rec for Chroni's... You are correct, now living in a more central location... it'll gives me great opportunities to check out more great eastside eats!

                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                        2. Don't tell anyone but... Morningstar bean chili, white or red onion, sharp cheddar, and frito scoops. Way less guilt and quenches my chili thirst.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: ilovethissite

                                                                            vegan chili ?????????

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              With Cheddar on top, it's not Vegan...

                                                                              Veggie Chilis are quite good. I'm not a big fan of faux meat, but for a meaty and not quite inauthentic addition to a veggie chili, try Hominy... I love Pozole in my chili! :D

                                                                              Also, not a huge fan of scoops... They don't seem to be as crunchy... tend to be more greasy and the toe flavor to chili in using a scoop is off. The balance needs to be just right...

                                                                              --Dommy!

                                                                              1. re: Dommy

                                                                                ^ This, I made a hominy based chili and didn't miss the meat at all.

                                                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                                                  pozole is the same as hominy ?

                                                                            2. I'm a huge fan of chili, especially those served up in combination with burgers and hot dogs a la Tommy's, Pink's or Cupid's. (Hey, do all chill joints have an apostrophe in their name?!) Chili John's is awesome too.

                                                                              But no LA chili talk is complete without mentioning the White Chili at Kate Mantilini. While waiting tables there in college, I served up many a bowl of this unique take on chili (white beans, white meat chicken, white cheese, white rice) to ICM agents, actors, directors, musicians and others willing to pay Beverly Hills prices for upscale diner food. Yes, their White Chili is expensive—but it's damn good and worth a try at least once.

                                                                              Hey Dommy, I bet the White Chili will travel well for take out!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jj421

                                                                                I LOVE white chili...I'll be sure to add it to my list...

                                                                                --Dommy!

                                                                                1. re: jj421

                                                                                  Kate Mantilini White Chili recipe...on my list to make this month.
                                                                                  http://articles.latimes.com/1993-11-2...

                                                                                  1. re: ilovethissite

                                                                                    im not a fan of white chili.

                                                                                    What you mentioned at KM sounds way way way to funky for me.

                                                                                2. I was going to mention ChiliMySoul in Encino - but I see it closed a while back.

                                                                                  I live near Burbank, so I'm a Chili John's fan - partly based on convenience. I eat it there, rather than getting it to go, but I have never found it as greasy as some of you have. The problem is I like it with spaghetti and beans - and sometimes you don't get much CHILI! I go for the chicken - I actually find the beef too rich. But - I don't eat much beef generally ...

                                                                                  Dan

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: kronhead

                                                                                    Have you tried Larry's right down the street from Chili John's?

                                                                                  2. In NYC a long time ago, there was THE ALAMO CHILI HOUSE, it was in the theatre district. They served various kinds of chili - that's all they served.

                                                                                    My favorite was deep dark purple, it was thick and smooth - no beans, and had just the right heat. Onions and cheese were served on the side.