Monday, November 15, 2010

The Quest for the Holy Cheese Coney

Cincinnati is known for many things, some good and some bad: Pete Rose and The Big Red Machine, mediocre "professional" football, WKRP in Cincinnati, the stigma for being 10 years behind the rest of the country, Nick Lachey, Mayor Jerry Springer, the 2001 riots, etc. These are just some of the images people may have when they think of Cincinnati, Ohio.  However if you bring up food and Cincinnati, only one image will pop up in peoples minds: Cincinnati Style Chili.

A couple of months ago, me and my girlfriend were enjoying an evening of fine dining at our local Skyline Chili and came to the realization that even though there are plenty of options in town for Cincy style chili, we always frequent Skyline for our cheese coney cravings. Not only is Skyline our go to option, we haven't really tried out any of the other parlors. I have been to the other two chains in town, Gold Star and Dixie (only once and I was not sober however), while Skyline is the only place she has been. This is understandable for her as she moved to Cincinnati 5 years ago for college, I however, have lived here my whole life but have not once been to the mom and pop chili parlors that help define Cincinnati. We found this to be highly unacceptable and vowed  to rectify this.

There are two food items that are most commonly associated with Cincinnati chili: the cheese coney and the 3/4/5-way. While I like the occasional 3-way *insert sophomoric joke here*, I much prefer the cheese coney. Alison is a transplant who loves Cincy chili, but doesn't care for chili over spaghetti. Thus, this journey we are embarking on will be to find the best cheese coney in town. We will of course make note of any food items that make certain chili parlors stand out, but the focus will be on the cheese coney. Admittedly, I don't go too crazy with my food, therefore I like my coneys to only have the bun, hot dog, chili and cheese. So I will be representing for the plain eaters out there. Alison on the other hand likes mustard and onions on her coney, so she will have those with more exquisite taste buds covered.

On our quest we will hit up the large chili parlors, the iconic chili parlors that hipsters like to brag about going instead of going to get chili served by the man, and the chili parlors that even the native Cincinnatians might not be aware of. Along the way not only will we post reviews and pictures of every coney ate, we will post various tidbits and fun facts about Cincinnati chili, do polls, and give the history of the parlors we visit. We also welcome any recommendations about which chili parlors to visit, we currently have a list of 13 that we plan on going to (some are listed on right side of blog, full list will be revealed in a post later this week), but definitely want to be alerted of any place we may have missed.

After the quest is over, we hope to find the perfect Cincinnati style cheese coney and can consider ourselves true Cincinnatians.

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