A long, long time ago, in a blog post far far away (or here) I talked about the delicious tradition of Cincinnati Chili. I was at Skyline then, one of the many ubiquitous chili hot spots to be found in the Cincinnati area. It’s a very strange phenomenon to me, this regional food delight. While everyone has certainly heard of chili, almost no one I polled knew anything about how it is served in the Cincinnati area.

How much is that Chili in the Window? Oh... $5

There are two major distinctions which set Cincinnati chili apart. First, its unique ingredients. Chili, Cincy style is often made with things like cinnamon, allspice, and…cocoa powder!!!  That last one is as delicious as it sounds. Trust me.

The second oddity of this dish comes from how it is served.  Its consistency is more liquid, making it perfect to put on top of spaghetti. Oh yes. It is commonly served on top of spaghetti, with fresh diced onions, beans, and a heaping mound of shredded cheddar cheese melting perfectly over the dish.

I have to confess, my first attempt to eat it with spaghetti was a failure. But, I quickly realized that it was because of the way the spaghetti was cooked. That is to say, overcooked. Cincinnati does chili brilliantly. They don’t necessarily do spaghetti. So, this trip, I did what any self-aware person who is at least as smart as Pavlov’s dog would do: I ate it by itself, or on top of a coney dog.

The jury is in. The verdict: criminally scrumptious!  At the risk of going all Food Network on you, it’s savory, but not too meaty or chewy. The spices really bring out a sweetness that you don’t normally expect with chili, but compliment the dish beautifully.  Now, as for the best place to eat this dish…