Neighborliness in the Neighborhood

Everyone loves a good chili. And goodness knows there are about three billion different kinds of chili out there. I love a spicy chili with plenty of beans. My husband’s friend–my friend, really–Zach once told me that the first batches of chili never had beans, because chili simmered all day over heat in wait for hungry cowboys passing through.

Some like it hot. Some like it meaty. We made a chili recently that called for Red Tale Hawk Red Tail Ale as a base ingredient. My dad makes a famously delicious chili with a bit of a hodge-podge of ingredients (one of my favorites of which is brown sugar). Most chili recipes require a lot of mixing, maybe even some chopping, and a decent amount of “throw this and that in at the end to taste.”

I happen to be a big fan of chili of most sorts, and I have found the best vegetarian chili out there (I’m pretty confident). It comes from Stories Books and Cafe in Echo Park on Sunset. Jeremy and I are abstaining from meat for Lent. So, tonight, after being offered a holiday from work (and so not needing to go in for my night shift), we hopped on the motorcycle headed for Stories to procure some chili for a satisfying mid-week meal.

The most glorious thing happened as we ordered our chili tonight. Every time I eat Stories’ chili, I think to myself, “I wonder if they would give me the recipe for this if I asked.” And then of course I decide, no, they would definitely not flippantly give away such a clearly incredible recipe. Well tonight, I casually asked the man at the counter, “Do you guys ever give away the recipe?” and–to my surprise–he answered, “Well, I’m the chef. I could write it down for you. I put together a few other great recipes to make this one.” And he did it! He served us our chili and wrote down his recipe on a guest check for me! What a guy. What a place, this Echo Park. What a neighbor.

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One comment

  1. Jean Moore · March 5, 2010

    I made the Stories Chili from your recipe – wow, it was great!! Nice to eat something so good for me and tasty.

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