Monday, May 3, 2010

Chili John's

I get a chili craving on a regular basis, and I usually lean to the delish version at the Autry Museum cafe when I need a fix. But, now I've experienced Chili John's, and my chili world has totally exploded!

Chili John's is the oldest restaurant in Burbank, opening in 1946, and it's like time stopped. You walk in to a U-shaped counter with an old school cash register and lots of covered pots in the center, and maybe 25 swivel stools surrounding the U. For first timers, the server offered samples of the three chili styles: beef, chicken and vegetarian/lentil. Once that base selection is made, you decide mild, medium or hot. Then you choose beans/no beans, served over spaghetti noodles, served over a tamale, or served over a hot dog. Finally, it's the toppings, with cheese and sour cream as options, plus the little jars of chopped onions and carafes of oyster crackers on the counter. Wow! Once you settle on what you want, the server goes go work, making the dish from the steaming pots right before your eyes. I went with the spicy beef, with beans, served over noodles (my Mom always made chili with noodles) and sprinkled with cheese. It was fun to note that Chili John's invented the small oyster cracker that sopped up the final juices at the end.

While scarfing down my chili, I couldn't help but check out other options: the chili dog, the chili/tamale option, and don't get me started on the pies. I think I've found my new fix! Who wants to give it a try?!

Click here to go to their Web site.

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