Friday, Jan 20, 2017

It’s Chili Time — Where The Heck Do I Find a Bowl?


neverenoughthyme_chili_450x298With temperatures finally dipping into the 40s at night chili season is officially upon us.

But finding a bowl — good or bad — might be more difficult than you think. It’s a dish very few dare to take on, for whatever reason.

Maybe because opinions regarding what goes into a really good bowl of chili are as fickle as which way the wind blows. Red or white? … Beans or no beans? … Ground beef or turkey? … Spicy or not too spicy?

It’s all a matter of individual taste and I won’t get into that today, well, maybe just a little.

This column is more about pointing you to our coverage area’s best bowls of chili. You don’t give a hill of beans about my preferences, nor will my opinion change your mind as to what you believe belongs in your chili.

So let’s whip out our spoons, skip the food fight, and dig right in.

Never Enough Thyme

54 McGinnis Ferry Rd, Alpharetta
Tel: 678.297.1124

The chili at this surprisingly delicious Alpharetta eatery (picture above) is a true Texas-style chili, served in a deep jet black bowl and prepared with carefully cubed bits of sirloin steak. No beans, of course. It’s a heaping portion and about as close a Texas-style chili as you will find anywhere, even in the lone star state itself.

The Fickle Pickle

1085 Canton St, Roswell
Tel: 770.650.9838

The version served at this popular Roswell sandwich shop is a bit unusual. The sauce is thick, as if thickened with flour and extremely hearty, prepared with small beans and large pellets of ground beef. There is a certain sense of refinement to this version of a common man’s dish, as if wine is added to smooth out the edges. But don’t be fooled, you’ll feel this chili’s sting long before you get to the bottom of the bowl.

Cuzi Fresh Cafe

4160 Old Milton Pkwy, Alpharetta
Tel: 678.867.9854

They serve a few different chilis at this undermentioned cafe on Old Milton, but it’s usually the kickin’ beef. Sweet to the bite at first but then finishes with a more seasoned and slightly spicy kick. It’s a traditional red sauce chili with kidney beans and finely ground beef. And, they even have a solid beer selection to wash it down. What’s not to like?

Farm to Ladle Avalon

2200 Avalon Blvd, Suite 3920, Alpharetta
Tel: 678.534.5390

This newcomer is considered by many to be the best restaurant at Avalon. In terms of quality of ingredients, who can argue? All local. All fresh. The chili is no exception and is prepared with lean turkey and three different types of hearty beans, and traditional chili seasoning. Perfectly executed like everything else out of this kitchen. I got my first taste at the Ponce City Market location. Welcome to the suburbs, Farm to Ladle.

Black Diamond Grill

1485 Peachtree Pkwy #D4, Cumming
Tel: 678.965-4770

My kid grabs a $20 bill and disappears to the game room. I order a bowl of chili and a beer at one of the tall tables near the bar and watch a game on one of this sports bar’s gazillion televisions. This red sauce chili is on the sweeter side, and prepared with finely ground beef and kidney beans. Not a bad effort by a sports bar that seems to have everything to distract, uh, I mean occupy your kids.

Butcher & Brew, Alph