Born in OKC
I guess you could call this a trip report and I know there will be some flack. I have to say, up front, that my "milk chili" was Southwestern, or Texan (see my posts under Shanghai Jimmy’s Chili Rice) but I’ll try a dish of something with the same name in other places. I’ve never been to Cincinatti and if I go I certainly have the names of several well regarded chili places to try there, and I will.
I have been to Naples, Florida a couple of times,and as a matter of fact left just ahead of Fay last week. As those of you who have been there recall, there is a Skyline branch on Hiway 41 in Naples.
I’ll come back to that in a minute.
First, let me say that Truluck’s (Texas – Austin – roots), Lurcat’s (Minnesota beginnings I think) and Ridgeway’s (Florida original maybe) are fine. fine places to eat, but to me are places for a special meal and not necessarily roadfood. Truluck’s has a treatment of SA fish ribs cooked like BBQ that is very unusual. Cafe Lurcat has a roasted cauliflower sise that is also different. Ridgeway’s is a great place for brunch and the attached deli and wineshop next door are fun. I happened to meet Tony Ridgeway this time and he is a very nice host.
Second, Alice Sweetwater’s and Randy’s Fishmarket are both great places where the main attraction is fresh local fried fish and they both do a good job. There is also a hispanic grocer whose name escapes me with great Caribbean and Central American food you can buy and eat in a park nearby. I’ll add that name later. And there is Pastrami Dan’s, a sandwich shop also on Hiway 41. They have about six or five items on their menu" Pastrami sandwiches (On a bun, sorry, didn’t see rye), roast beef sandwiches, combo sandwiches, hot dogs, chili dogs, and a bowl of chili. Pastrami Dan’s is also on Hiway 41 and not far from Skyline. The people who run it are from Connecticut. IMO, the last three are very much roadfood places.
Let me say also that all the places I’ve mentioned are good the summer as well as in the winter when a different crowd with more money is in Naples. The hospitality and quality control deserve high marks both times.
But I was going to talk about Cincinatti chili and the Skyline version in particular. My impression of the the "three-way," I guess it was, spaghetti, cheese, and onions is that it is more like an Italian dish than anything else. Some one else in this thread mentioned a spagheti and meat sauce dish. Also, the copius amount of cheese entirely overwhelmed the chili – and I like cheese. Worst, the cheese and the seasoning in the chili, the "Greek" spices, do not go together – and I like Greek dishes. If I had gotten it with beans that would have added kidney beans I think, and again, that’s different than what I grew up with.
I’d also comment that it is more of a bowl of brown than a bowl of red, again because of the Greek seasonings, I think.
In fairness, I’d have to say I have tried Skyline canned chili and did not have all of the same objection. One of these days I’ll try their frozen and see how that goes. But next time I try the fresh product I’ll get just a plain bowkl of chili with onion and maybe cheese on the side. If I add a lot of hot sauce that might be a better bowl of chili for someone with Southwestern tastes.
If and when I get to Concinnatti I will try the chili at three or two places there, at least. But for the moment, in Naples, Florida, the chili at Pastrami Dan’s (made by "Dan’s" mother) beats Skykine by a wide margin.