The Virginian-Pilot Taste Test | Warming up to Chili

Chili is a meal to warm the tummy on a cold winter day.

It doesn’t matter if it’s at your home, your mom’s home or your neighborhood pub – chili is an American tradition on par with football. Our readers recently nominated nearly a dozen restaurants boasting memorable chili recipes for our monthly Taste Test feature.

And on a recent Saturday a panel of three judges volunteered their time by participating in an in-house blind taste test of chili from the three most-nominated restaurants. Here’s what they liked.

– Patty Jenkins, The Virginian-Pilot

Small’s Smokehouse and Oyster Bar

2700 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk, 626-3440

The Norfolk restaurant’s “Smoked Brisket Chili” is house-made with chunks of beef brisket in a tomato-base sauce with dark kidney beans and topped, on request, with one-inch cuts of green onions, cheese and sour cream.

Price: $5, cup; $8, bowl; or $16, quart-size

Score: 78

What they said:

“Initially mild, but with a slow building heat at the finish.” – Wendy

“The chunks of meat are tender with some fatty pieces.” – Terry

“Be prepared for the large chunks of meat – eat with a fork, not a spoon.” – Jeff

 Best of the rest

No Frill Bar and Grill

Two locations: 806 Spotswood Ave., Norfolk, 627-4262; and, 1620 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, 425-2900

This restaurant’s “Famous Chili” features large pieces of tomatoes, onions and celery as common in stews or soups and comes with cheddar jack cheese, served with corn bread. For an added touch, top with chopped green onions and sour cream, available on request.

Price: $3.29 cup; $4.49 bowl

Score: 67

What they said:

“This chili should be an accompaniment to the corn bread, which is moist and flavorful.” – Wendy

“Good flavor chili, but could use more heat.” – Terry

“Seasons and spices are just the right amount, but the celery is overwhelming and should be left out.” – Jeff

Scotty Quixx

436 Granby St., Norfolk, 625-0008

Served by the bowl, this chili has a sweet aroma with a dark, rich tomato-based sauce with beans and meat and topped with a shredded cheese blend.

Price: $5, bowl

Score: 66

What they said:

“Beer would be a wonderful starter with this chili. Ask for sour cream.” – Wendy

“Lots of meat and beans with a good consistency and aroma.” – Terry

“My taste buds and tongue were burning for a while.” – Jeff

About the scoring

Chili earned points in five categories: appearance/aroma; meat/beans; flavors/spices; texture; and value. Testers’ scores were added and averaged to arrive at the final score.

Other restaurants with multiple nominations

Regional

Chili’s

Red Robin

Ruby Tuesday

Virginia Beach

Seasons Best Bakery

Hampton

The Barking Dog

Our testers

 

Wendy Iles

53, Hampton

Occupation: President and head gardener, Hampton Grows Inc.

Favorite chili: White chicken chili topped with Monterey Jack cheese is the preferred variety for this former chef and 30-year veteran in the food service industry.

On chili: “Chili is interpretive – subtle to spicy and anything in between.”

 

 Terry Ward

62, Norfolk

Occupation: Maintenance

Favorite chili: The many in-house chili entries at the Pepper Lovers Club Chili Cook-off, held annually in November. Ward is a charter member of the club.

On chili: “Chili should be robust, thick and hardy with a lingering heat in the back of the throat. You should be able to taste the chilies and spices without heat being overwhelming.”

 

Jeff Holste

67, Virginia Beach

Occupation: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, retired. Part-time employment with Virginia Beach Resort Hotel and Conference Center

Nominated: Wild Bill’s chili at Froggie’s Cantina on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach

On chili: “My mom’s homemade chili was my ‘comfort food.’ Whenever I went home for visits in Pennsylvania, she would serve it in a carved-out bowl of mashed potatoes.”

 

Next up: chicken and dumplings!

Nothing says “Southern” like a bowl of chicken and dumplings. This is comfort food at its best.

Nominate your favorite(s) by contacting us with the name of the restaurant and the city where it’s located. If you’d like to be a tester, tell us why and include your name, age, city of residence and an email address, if you have one.

Nominations and applications will be accepted through Feb. 8. To submit nominations and applications call 446-2334 or send emails to taste.test@pilotonline.com.

 

Source:  http://hamptonroads.com/2015/01/virginianpilot-taste-test-warming-chili

0 comments

There are no comments yet...

Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment