BEST CHILI Phoenix 2005 - Susan's Diner
The Food Channel has really effed up America's eating habits. Now everyone and his brother wants to make hot dogs with goat cheese, pizza with portabella mushrooms, and hamburgers with sun-dried tomatoes. What the hell is wrong with this country? There's no reason to go and mess up perfectly fine, Americana-type food with unnecessary culinary experimentation. That's why it's so hard to find a good bowl of chili. But after wading through a swimming pool full of high-class beef stew masquerading as chili, we finally found some chili con carne worthy of the epithet at a west-side greasy spoon named Susan's Diner. Set the way-back machine for circa 1960-something, and you'll end up at this little white house with a peaked roof. Take a seat at the weathered benches beneath all the pictures of Elvis, and vintage signs advertising stuff like "Babe Ruth underwear." Order a bowl of chili with cheese, and you get a brown mélange thick with beans, ground beef, and just enough spice to tingle your tongue. Fresh Cheddar shavings are piled on top. Mix them in until the cheese melts, and alternate each third spoonful with a sip of a Mr. Pibb-vanilla ice cream float. Later for that Food Channel gourmet-gobbledygook. When we want chili, we're headin' over to Susan's Diner.