Saturday, October 18, 2014

Operation: Chili-Bowl

(Bob Evans Chili)

Frischs Big Boy vs. Bob Evans: Bowl to Bowl Battle of Chili!

Featuring special guest Troy T.

It was a cold, rainy October day. I was joined by someone who I consider a personal inspiration. Troy T., the voice behind The Midwestern Hellride [Radio] Show and personally responsible for exposing me to many great bands including Gang of Four ('Damaged Goods"), Mission of Burma ("This Is Not A Photograph") and the punk-ish side of The Pretenders ("Precious"). I had previously explained to Troy how my Mom and I had somewhat of a disagreement after I told her that I had a bowl of chili, as part of a three course meal, at Bob Evans. I told her it was good, maybe even a bit better, than Frischs. I had spoke sacrilege! My Mom said that no other 'Frischs Style' Chili can beat Frischs Chili... So after bouncing the idea of eating back-to-back sampling in the same day and writing about it, Troy was game to give it a shot too. So, with the rainy weather and an uncommonly 'chilly day' (pun intended) we slammed some Iced Coffee and headed to Frischs Big Boy located in Forest Park, Ohio. 

Forest Park has become a regular destination point for quick grabs from drive-thrus and sit-down meals. Frischs, Starbucks, Skyline Chili, Wendy's and Subway locations, which are all inside Forest Park, are the 'best' locations for many of those restaurant chains. Many... But not all. The Frischs Big Boy in Forest Park isn't the ideal location for its chain, but also not the worst either. So when Troy and I ordered our chili, what came in the bowl was un-usually bland. Watery, vacant of the famous chili beans and even meat, crackers were immediately mandatory. We expected a better showing of what Frischs had to offer... If not for Troy ordering an accompanying portion of Onion Rings and using the Chili as a dip-- of which was fucking ingenious-- the experience was almost marginal.

I said ALMOST... If I must rank the visit on a scale of 1-5 stars (with 5 tops) Frischs gets a 2.5 and that is being generous. 

Honestly, Troy and I were surprised. Let down, AND surprised. As we motored to Fairfield's second Bob Evans Restaurant location, I was already expecting a greater showing in Bobs favor, which was insightful and correct.

Fairfield, Ohio. My 'hometown'... There's two Bob Evans locations in Fairfield. One location is currently 'dead' to me. It's close to the abode, but gave such poor service recently that if the family gets a hankering for Bobs, we drive a few miles out of our way to their second local neighborhood location... The one that's near Pearls (aka 'Paradise') a favored greasy-spoon restaurant that I've  mentioned before with favorable standings. 

Alas, the bowl of Chili from Bobs was far superior to Frischs! At Bob Evans, their chili is seasonable-- available information the Fall and winter-- our chili was served in a dish that is usually used for their Gravy & Biscuits. The first time I experienced their chili, it was served in a different bowl that was smaller, but still good as being served as the 'soup' choice in their advertised three-course meal option*.

Bobs chili is considered a 'soup' on their menu which is great and makes it available in the $5.00 take-home soup option. Yeah, $5.00 is the new $1.00, I see that, don't like it, but see how that's become the new norm. $5.00 for a substantial portion of their chili has my mouth watering even now as I compose this on another cold, rainy day.

Bobs chili tasted more like what Frischs chili should have. Everyone is entitled to a bad day but on this day, Bob brought out the fist-bumps for Troy and I. Meaty, beany, hot... Delivered with crackers and cheese and onions** warranting 4 stars out of 5-- it's a stunning upset for Frischs Big Boy! 

Ordering a crispy order of Onion pedals, that became another great dispable addition, Troy and I were more satisfied with Bob Evans-- which was a well-spent $1.00 more-- and we're still amazed by how much Frischs Chili outright sucked!

So my Mom, who was as surprised as Troy and I, was insistent on giving Frischs another chance and even though I haven't asked Troy yet, I'm pretty confident before Bobs Chili season is over, we may do it again... Plus, my Mom told be a couple days later about how great Culvers chili was which may need further documentation!

So, look for a 'Chili-Bowl 2' soon.

(Frischs Chili with Crackers)

(Bob Evans Table Advert)

(Frischs Menu)

(Bob Evans Receipt)

*the chili spoons well on a split biscuit too!
** Onions for Troy but not me.