So yesterday I had the great honor of having dinner with my new buddy, Jack. He tipped me off about Chili My Soul in Encino, and since nobody else was brave enough to go with me, he offered.
My first thoughts of the place were pretty random. Like, why the hell is this place in a strip mall next to Smart and Final? We were the only customers in the place at the time (7pm on a Thursday) but I was comforted by the fact that Issues of Bon Appetit magazine were flipped open to the positive reviews of the place.
Chili My Soul – Encino at Ventura Blvd and Balboa.
Since I’m going all vegitarian during weight consciousness week (new name again), I stuck with the program and split my bowl between the Spicy Garden Vegetarian (a 4 on their 10 pt scale) and the Vegipotle (9).
The chilis were flavorful and good. However, for being the only customers in the place, it took a while for us to be served. I mean really, how long does it take to put chili in a bowl. You’ve gotta be pretty stoned to not be able to read the labels right?
Anyway, the good things about the place are these:
1) It offers 30+ types of chili – Ranging from mild to pretty spicy (my 9 was about a 1 on the Orochon Ramen scale)
2) They have lots of toppings you can add (cheese, red jalapenos, chocolate chips)
3) The staff is friendly and they give tons of free samples.
Now I think those 3 things alone make this worth the trip, but I’m a chili lover. I don’t think their hottest flavor will satisfy the sadistic heat-mongers out there, but that’s okay. Their chili has fresh ingredients and it tastes great.
Regarding the Vegepotle, I found the veggie chorizo to have a granola-like consistency, so I might pass on that next time around. However, if I weren’t trying so damn hard this week to eat healthy, I probably would have gone with one of their meat chilis. Maybe the “Demon” which boasts “six of the world’s hottest peppers.”
The dining room is pretty plain, but there are a couple of cool photos, including one of the owner playing in a 60s, reminds me of the monkeys, rock band.
In the meantime, go head out to Encino, at the corner of Ventura Blvd. and Balboa, and pick up some gourmet chili. It’s not cheap, it’s not fast, but it is good. I put my seal of approval on it.