Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hot enough for ya? Palookaville Chili Review

Last week I had the discomfort pleasure of being in hot, hot, hot Dallas, Texas for work.  Not sure if you've heard, but Texas is experiencing record breaking heat waves and an extreme drought.  I feel bad for the folks there because I have no idea how you survive in 100+ degree heat day after day.  As most people told me, they just stay inside all summer.  But what fun is that?

Ironically, although it's blazing hot all day and night in Texas (it was 99 degrees when I got to my hotel one night - at 10 pm!), spicy food is where it's at.  Tacos, salsas, chilis...I saw all of these items - and more - while out about in steer country.  (I also saw cowboy hats, boots, and the biggest pickup trucks known to mane, but...) 

Which makes me sad to learn that Palookaville Chili in Ohio City has had to shorten its hours due to lack of business at night.  Epic sadness.

If you're not familiar with Palookaville Chili, you must live on the east side with me.  No really, though, Palookaville is a new chili shop on the Cleveland food scene and due to a delayed opening, didn't get their start here until after things warmed up.  Our friends down south seem to eat hot foods year round, but we just haven't gotten that memo here in Cleveland yet, have we, folks? 

Palookaville serves multiple meat and vegetarian chilis - when I dropped in they had chicken, pork, and beef chili along with traditional vegetarian chili and a spinach paneer chili. (more on that in a second) They also offer a couple sandwiches and some tasty sounding sides - cornbread, baked beans, apple slaw.  All things that would seem to go well with chili.  In addition to these delicious items, every Monday, the fine ladies at Foodgazi serve up a vegan entree and a few sides in honor of Meatless Monday. (the gluten free quesadilla I had was SO good!)

I hear the word "paneer" and immediately think of Indian food, which makes sense, because I believe "paneer" translates to something like "cheese."  I love Indian paneer, so I figured I should try chili with paneer.  Why the heck not, right?

And so I took a cup (a huge cup!) of spinach paneer chili over rice home. (you can choose what to put your chili over - rice, noodles, etc.)  It turned into a late afternoon snack because I just couldn't wait until dinner to eat it.  Interestingly enough, my expectations for the chili were way off.  I expected Indian spice but this was more of a smoky chipotle.  Which was good, just not what I was expecting.  I really enjoyed having the chili paired with rice, too. 

Now that the weather is starting to cool down, I hope more people will be in the mood for some chili action.  I know I already am!  I can't wait to go back and check out some more Foodgazi specials and try the other vegetarian chili.  And I hope you give Palookaville a try, too.  Soon!  They seem like they could really use our business!

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