Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Chili Bowl

This afternoon, Nate and I went to the Fourth Annual Milwaukee Chili Bowl. We went to the bowl a couple years ago with some friends and had a really fun time, so we were looking forward to it.

For the bowl, about 25 or so restaurants bring out their best chilis in four categories: traditional, vegetarian, spicy and unique. $11 in advance got you six samples (in something like 3 to 4 oz. cups) and bringing two cans for the Hunger Task Force (the event is a benefit for the nonprofit)got you two more samples. Plus, someone handed Nate and I some extra tickets on our way in.

Our favorites
-Durango--this one had whiskey and Guinness and a good amount of heat. It was the first one we tried and by the time we went back for seconds (about an hour later) it was all gone.
-Motor (at the Harley Davidson Museum)--for some reason, I can't remember what this one all had, but I know it was good!
-Hinterland's elk chili--I had never had elk before, but this had a really nice taste and they put some great, crunchy crackers on top.

The good ones
All of these were really pretty good, but nothing about them really stood out to us. Some were better than others--I liked the shredded beef in the Bistro Bar chili and the Baja Grill's had a nice, little bit different flavor.
-The Soup House
-Hooter's (yes, they were there. The only chain, thankfully)
-Rip Tide's seafood white chili (more like a chowder, but it was really good)
-Cafe Tarragon's veggie chili
-Baja Grill/Karma's chili
-Hyatt's Bistro Bar 333

The OK ones
These all seems to be pretty standard chilis (besides the one from Iron Horse). I didn't really like the Hofbrauhaus one, but it was better than the not-so-great ones.
-Brocach's meaty and veggie chilis
-The Iron Horse Hotel's red deer and blueberry chili (yes, you read that correctly)
-Brat House's brat chili
-Solly's chili (I said it tasted like the chili you would get at George Webb's)
-Hofbrauhaus' brat chili

The not-so-good ones
-Molly Cool's seafood chili--it was very thin, way too fishy tasting and had chunks of burnt somethingorother
-Sake Tumi's seafood or something chili--there was way too much going on in here: squid, octopus, scallops, tofu .... it was really not good
-John's Sandwich Shop's fennel and barley chili (I would not call this chili--I'm not sure what it was)

This year's bowl was at a room at the Harley Davidson Museum. It was a nice location to have it, but the room was pretty small and crowded when we arrived. There weren't many tables, and it's hard to eat and drink while standing. All in all, we had a great time, and we waddled out of there about an hour later.


  1. I love the use of the word "somethingorother," it paints a great mental picture! I must say, my favorite type of chili is based on the simple style one my mom used to make - it included macaroni noodles, ground beef, tomato sauce/diced tomatoes, etc...the usual suspects...I really like having some sort of noodle involved in my chili.

  2. Tee hee, "Marcello." :) See, I do not like noodles in my chili. I don't see the need for it. And come to think of it, none of the restaurants, at least those we tried (and as you can see, we tried a lot) had noodles in theirs.