Chili & Golf Trail

Travel Channel's Food Paradise: Chili

Compiled by Fat Guy

What goes better with shoulder season golf than a steaming hot bowl of chili?  You'll need something to warm up those stiff hands after you've putted out on 18 and the wee nips of whiskey have started to wear off.

I make my own "One Beer, Two Bean, Three Alarm" chili at home about every other weekend during football season.  A strong hint of my Buffalo sauce makes it's way into the flavor profile.  I use ground turkey rather than ground beef, because the stuff seems to soak up the spices better, and if your ground beef is too fatty or not drained well, I find the beef juices can actuallly distract from the delicate balance of tomato vs. heat.  I could share the 21-ingredient recipe if properly persuaded, but it might involve personal favors, and my chili is probably too spicy for your woosie-ass anyway.  Best served with a stack of garlic bread.

Here's the best spots in the country for chili (based largely on Travel Chanel's Chili Paradise ), paired with spicy nearby golf by Fat Guy.

Seattle, WA

Slim's Last Chance ( )

In Seattle, the grunge capital of the world, you’ll know you’ve found paradise when you spot the Slim's Last Chance blue neon sign that reads “Cold Beer… Booze… Hot Chili.” Order the turkey white bean chili. Once the turkey and spices are cooked up, the cooks at Slim’s add homemade chicken broth and white beans. Then they let it simmer for an hour and a half – the finished product is a pot of chili gold. Or try “The Works” at Slim’s and a blowtorch will melt cheese over your chili, and then cover it with sweet onions, diced tomatoes, sour cream, tortilla chips, cilantro, chives and a roasted jalapeno.

Slim's is only a neighborhood over from famed Seattle muni West Seattle GC ( ), where Freddie Couples cut his golfing teeth.

Los Angeles, CA

Chili Addiction

Chili Addiction’s ever-revolving selection of flavors will have you jonesing for your daily fix.  Chili isn't just limited to the bowl at Chili Addiction; it's also a great topper to burgers, hot dogs and fries.

Golf in L.A. generally centers around star-studded private clubs.  Those on a chili budget will want to tee it up at nearby muni Roosevelt MGC ( ), a hilly 9-holer with views of the Griffith Park Observatory.  Their walking-only policy will help you burn off that chili dog.

New Braunfels, TX

Phoenix Saloon

Phoenix Saloon is a Chili Hall-Of-Famer, as the original owner of the place pioneered modern-day chili powder.  Prior to that, chili was only made from fresh peppers and largely served only in Texas during certain times of the year.  To make sure their chili is the spiciest around, the Phoenix Saloon combines a variety of hot peppers into the mix. For those craving something besides a bowlful, the Phoenix Saloon’s take on the chiliburger has the spice stuffed inside rather than slathered on top.

Build up a Texas-chili-sized hunger with a round at nearby The Bandit ( ) just outside San Antonio.  Then cool off at Travel Channel fave Schlitterbahn Waterpark ( ), consistently ranked as one of the best in the country.  Adults will gravitate to the park's Biergarten heated pool and swim-up bar.

Austin, TX

Texas Chili Parlor

During the Capital Challenge, in order to make sure all participants inhale the full 6 1/2 pounds, each portion is put on a scale at Texas Chili Parlor.  Their XXX Chili is so hot, it comes with a release limiting the parlor’s liability if your mouth spontaneously combusts.

Tee it up at nearby legendary Austin muni Riverside GC ( ), where legendary teacher Harvey Penick honed the games of two Tour legends, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.

St. Louis, MO

White Knight Diner

Perched on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis, the Gateway to the West is also the gateway to this castle-themed time capsule in the heart of downtown - the White Knight Diner.  “The Slinger” may not be haute cuisine, but served with a side of bread, you’re looking at all 4 food groups on a single plate. This is the breakfast … and lunch… of champions.

Sling a few balls around respectable St. Louie muni Forest Park GC ( ).  I'm told I played this course once, during my buddy Tim's wedding weekend back in the mid-'90's.  I must have been in rare form, because I only remember about 30 minutes worth of the entire weekend.  I have vague recollections Forest Park was a fun round.  Whether or not the course had anything to do with it, I can only guess.

Springfield, IL

Joe Rogers' Chili Den

In 1993, the state legislature officially proclaimed Springfield "the Chili Capital of the Civilized World." If Springfield is the chili capital, then this stop along historic Route 66 is the capitol building - Joe Rogers' “The Den” Chili Parlor. Chow down on a chili-topped hot dog.

Near Abe Lincoln's house in Springfield, play at Piper Glen Golf Club (6,985 yards, par 72; Greens fee: $28 and up, 217-483-6537, ). Ranked #38, Golf Magazine's " Thrifty 50" (Top 50 Courses under $50).

Cincinnati, OH

While a handful of cities try to lay claim to the title, Cinci is the Chili Capital of the U.S., consuming more chili per capita than any other city. There are dozens and dozens of chili joints in this town, alot like there are wing joints in Buffalo. Hey, you gotta stay warm somehow when the cold winter wind blows off the Ohio River. Cinci-style chili is defined by the Greek influences of local immigrants.  A hint of cinammon is part of the flavor profile.  Unlike Texas chili, Cinci-style is high on flavor and low on heat. They're big on covering a heaping bowl with cheese. And some places like to serve it over noodles, spaghetti-style. Another popular local option is to have it Coney-style, on a dog.

How To Order Chili in Cincinnati :

Two-way: spaghetti and chili
Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and shredded Cheddar cheese
Four-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded Cheddar cheese, and diced onions or beans
Five-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded Cheddar cheese, diced onions, and beans
Cheese-Coney: hot dog topped with chili, shredded Cheddar cheese, diced onions, and mustard

Camp Washington

At Camp Washington, skeptics convert to believers with their first bite of freshly made chili-covered spaghetti.

Skyline Chili

"Skyline Chili is by far the most popular version of Cincinnati chili. Skyline restaurants dot the local landscape the way McDonalds does in other cities. Television commercials for the specialty dominate late night viewing and even the groceries stores carry it in the frozen section as well as the canned goods section. Basically, you would have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to not notice this chili if you live in Cincinnati. Skyline Chili opened in 1949 and has definitely taken over the taste buds of Cincinnati. The recipe's origin lies in the Greek ancestry of it creator, Nicholas Lambrinides. Completely unique in the field of chili, it has a sweet taste and thinner, runnier consistency compared to the hearty chili most Americans know. It is more of a topping than a chili. Locals enjoy it on little hotdogs called coneys topped with mustard, onion, and cheese. They are addictive the way Coca-Cola is, and there are many Pepsis out there.

Although many others have tried to copy the recipe, it is a family secret and nothing is as good as the original. The chili is ordered in terminology that can seem a little shocking if you don't know what people are talking about. When someone says they are craving a three-way, they definitely mean Skyline. The classic three-way is spaghetti noodles, topped with skyline chili and mounds of cheddar cheese. This is their signature dish and by far the most popular. Next come the four-way and five-way, adding onions and red beans." []

Gold Star Chili

"Another Cincinnati chili giant is Gold Star Chili, Skyline's main competitor. . Gold Star is also a chain restaurant; four brothers with a dream opened it in 1965. The Daoud brothers claim they have the best Cincinnati style chili, but the chili styles are completely different, so it seems a little unusual that Gold Star is even compared the Skyline. Gold Star Chili is definitely more like the traditional chili that is served across America. Thicker and heartier, lacking the sweet taste, and larger chunks of ground beef differentiate it from Skyline. Their family recipe is also secret, but the spice mix can be found on the seasoning aisle of the grocery store as well as in the freezer and can section. If you are snowed in you house in Cincinnati, you definitely do no have to forgo your chili. Gold Star chili is also served on coneys and spaghetti noodles. The terms three-way, four-way, and five-way also are used here. The one thing that the two chilis have in common is the fact that there are no beans in the actual chili; they are definitely a later addition that most Cincinnatians don't consider to be a part of chili." []

Dixie Chili

"Cincinnati chili can also be found at Dixie Chili, a one-stop location at 10592 Taconic Terrace in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nicholas Sarakatsannis, another native of Greece, began working at his own recipe for Cincinnati chili and many consider it to be the perfect specimen. Dixie Chili uses only the finest ingredients, beginning with 96% fat free beef. The chili is served over 100% semolina wheat spaghetti, and topped with Wisconsin cheddar cheese. He opened Dixie Chili in 1929, now his four sons, Georgise, Sprios, Chris, and Panny run the family business. For seventy-six years Dixie Chili has served up the delightful food to locals and those merely passing through. This is definitely a family affair; some families have been eating here for four generations. The local three-way, four-way, and five-way are offered here as well, but Dixie Chili takes it one step further with the six-way. The six-way offers chili, spaghetti, onions, beans, and cheese topped with freshly chopped garlic. The consistency of the chili here is something of a cross between Gold Star and Skyline. While not completely thick and hardy, it is not runny either. The sweet taste is definitely there and the garlic is a great addition. The chili is made fresh daily and the locals eat it up. You can buy Dixie Land chili by the can at the restaurant as well as in many of the grocery stores in the Cincinnati area." []

Price Hill Chili (4920 Gleway Ave)

This is another joint that often gets mentioned in the upper echelon of Cinci chili. "Price Hill Chili is a West Side staple. The restaurant serves up specialty Cincinnati-style chili and double-decker sandwiches, along with a variety of other grill items. Grab a drink while waiting on a table in the bar, called the Golden Fleece Lounge . The Lounge is a full-service bar in the back of the restaurant, which features sports games on the wide-screen plasma TVs. Ask for a seat in the back patio room for a street view." []

Lesser known chili joints that are preferred by some locals include Delhi Chili (4875 Delhi Ave), Pleasant Ridge Chili (6032 Montgomery Rd), West Side Chili Parlor (6520 Glenway Ave), Gourmet Chili (843 Monmouth), Empress Chili , (5675 Rapid Run Rd), Chili Time (4727 Vine), Sam's Chili (3900 Glenway Ave), Park Chili Parlor (4160 Hamilton Ave), Quatman Cafe, J&J, Blue Ash Chili, Chili Time , and Decent Deli . says Cinci is an underrated golf town, giving it the nod over Columbus as the best golf destination in Central Ohio. Shaker Run's 27 holes get top billing here, with a collection of par-4's by Arthur Hills that could make a run on any list of "Best Holes in the Midwest".  They also dig Stonelick Hills in Batavia as a course with alot of "wow" factor, plus nearby Elks Run , as well as Aston Oaks in North Bend.

Washington D.C.

Ben's Chili Bowl

Why it’s nominated: The half smokes, chili, and décor haven’t changed one damn bit since the place opened back in 1958. They never needed to.

What they make: Call it a hot dog and we’re going to whup you two ways to K Street. A “half smoke” kicks sand in the face of your traditional wiener. It’s beefier, spicier, and a whole lot tastier than anything Hatfield every slapped its tag on. At Ben’s, you order it like long-time patron Bill Cosby did: topped with mustard, onions, and chili. On the side? More chili, straight up, or French fries topped with chili. The viscous, milk-chocolate-colored chili has a tinge of heat and goes best clobbered with cheese and chopped white onions.

The scene: Drop by Ben’s on any given night and you’ll find guys dressed like pimps waiting in line with District officers. You’ll see packs of hipsters co-mingling with interns from the Hill. Ethiopians, Vietnamese, and Salvadorans all call out orders to the frenzied cooks behind the bar. Ben’s is a nexus, which is perhaps why it’s survived the MLK riots, drug wars, and city reconstruction efforts. There’s history everywhere from the photos of celebrities lining the walls, to the clientele, to the carefully calibrated seasoning of their famous chili. You can taste it.

Quote: “We are no frills—just great food and big sizes,” says Nizam Ali, co-owner of Ben Chili Bowl. “We stay open till 2 a.m. weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends. We even open at 6 a.m. for construction workers, police, fire fighters and other government officials that keep DC running 24/7.”

1213 U Street Northwest
Washington, D.C., 20009-4442

Play: Head over to the University Of Maryland's Golf Course (College Park MD, ). Named the #1 restoration of 2011 by Golf Inc., and ranked in the Top 25 College Courses by Links Magazine, this course mixes links and parkland elements in a classic 1959 George Cobb design.