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The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
In which I'm pissy at Chili's
I realize this is not rational, but you don't fuck with a man's comfort food! ;-)

I've been dining at Chili's for at least 14 years, easily longer, but the oldest memory I have for sure is 1993. In all those years, the chili has been the same. All meat - no beans, etc. Thick, decently spicy - easily the best chili I've had at any chain restaurant, and better that most non-chain places. Just about every time I eat there, I get a bowl of the chili. The rest of my order may change, but I always get the chili because I really like it, and it is one of my comfort foods. Sometimes I'm just like "Yeah, I'll go to Chili's and enjoy a bowl of chili and forget work, etc." Tonight was one of those nights.

Only it all went wrong. I ordered the chili - but what I got was a bowl of... something not chili. It was watery, more soup than chili. It had some beef in there, but also beans. The spice was weak. It had just enough of a hint of the old chili flavor to really rub it in that it wasn't the old chili. It was a tease, a nasty, weak tease. It was like expecting a nice espresso and being served coffee out of a vending machine. Objectively it probably wasn't a bad *soup*, but it sure as hell wasn't chili in my book, and it damn sure wasn't what I was expecting. So, instead of relaxing me, it pissed me off and made me grumpy, as I remain. The rest of the meal was decent, but I spent the whole time thinking about how much the chili sucked and that soured it all. Oh yeah, and this soup also has a big dollop of sour cream on top - I hate sour cream.

Well, they have a survey code on the receipts, and I normally do those anyway. For the first time, I gave them low marks on things because of the chili. And that made them offer me text boxes to explain the problem - and I let them know how I felt. ;-)

The main reason I go to Chili's is because I love the chili. But you went and changed it and now, frankly, it sucks. What you pass off as chili is a watery soup that pretends to be chili with a little meat. And the beans? What's up with that? You never had beans in your chili. Or the damn sour cream on top.

The old chili was thick, meaty, and flavorful. The new pseudo-chili is watery and weak. I has just a hint of the old flavor, which only serves to remind what a poor imitation it is. I hate it. I am unlikely to bother eating at Chili's again unless the old chili returns.

Everything else was fine, but, frankly, I went in looking forward to a bowl of the chili and getting that bowl of spiced water ruined it for me and soured me on the entire meal. I spent the whole meal pissed off that you changed the chili that I've enjoyed for years. The old chili was supposedly award winning, and I could believe it. If this new chili won anything, I'd hate to taste the losers - roadkill gumbo?

Bring back the old chili or you've lost a customer.

A second box:
Frankly, I'm extremely pissed off. I've been eating at Chili's for at least 14 years, probably longer than that. And for all those years, one of my favorite dishes has been the chili. More than anything else, the chili was why I ate at *Chili's*. I almost always get a bowl of the chili, while the rest of my order varies. I generally go to Chili's specifically to enjoy the Chili, and the rest of my meal.

The past few months I've been traveling a lot and have been otherwise busy, so I haven't been able to visit the nearest Chili's as often as I used to. Tonight I deliberately made the time to get there, looking forward to the chili and some ribs.

When I got the 'chili' I was disgusted. Instead of the bowl of thick, meaty, flavorful chili I was expecting - I got a bowl of spicy water with a little bit of meat, some beans, and a dollop of sour cream on top. It was more chili-flavored soup than chili. Totally unsatisfying, and disappointing, especially when I was anticipating the old chili.

I do not plan on returning to Chili's again unless I hear that the old Chili is back. I've been a happy customer for many years, never had a major complaint, but you just did the best thing you could've to tell me to go away. From now on I'll just stick to Outback, 99, etc. No point in making any effort to eat at Chili's anymore. Thanks for saving me the time.

I also used the guest relations form on their website to let them know what I thought of their new chili too.

Fuck 'em, I'm not eating there anymore unless the old chili comes back. I'll stick to 99, Outback, Piccadilly Pub, etc. (I'd say the Ground Round down the street from Chili's - but that got replaced by another fucking Walgreens. Enough with the Walgreens already! They're everywhere!) Chili's is out of my way anyway, now that the main draw is gone, why bother?

Tags: ,
Current Location: 42.308929N 71.795328W
I am: grumpy grumpy
Current Media: TiVo: How It's Made

robotech_master From: robotech_master Date: April 7th, 2007 09:10 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, it's really annoying when a business changes the formula of a food you love. One would think they'd have learned from the lesson of New Coke.

For what it's worth, I think you might enjoy the stuff that Wick Fowler's 2-alarm chili kit makes. It's how I make chili—it's thick, meaty, hot, and pretty darned good stuff. Granted, you'd have to make it yourself instead of having a restaurant make it for you, but on the other hand one batch makes a huge amount; you could freeze most of it in single-serving bags and not have to look farther than your freezer for comfort food for quite a while.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: April 7th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I do like it - that's the chili kit I normally use when I make it myself. :-) I usually add a little more spice too.
From: jehanna Date: April 7th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Mmm, chili. I generally use my mom's recipe--either meatless or not depending on who I'm feeding and what's in the house--and then dump Dave's Insanity Sauce into it. :)
charmingmuse From: charmingmuse Date: April 7th, 2007 11:52 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Did you just become a grumpy old man? ;)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: April 8th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

I've been one for a while - it goes hand in hand with Dirty Old Man.
seawasp From: seawasp Date: April 7th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)

I must admit...

... I've never had a commercial chili that rated more than "OK", and that includes the mixes. Most are wussy little things, and the few that aren't use that abomination called "chili powder" which NEVER has even a tenth the cumin that should be there.
robotech_master From: robotech_master Date: April 8th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

Re: I must admit...

Wick Fowler's has a separate packet for cumin I believe.

(Heh. That reminds me of the book The Great Chili Confrontation, by H. Allen Smith, something no chili-lover should fail to read. In said book, Wick Fowler is the "villain." :)
etherial From: etherial Date: April 7th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Um, did you mention any of this to the waitress or manager?
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: April 8th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, I mentioned it to the waitress and she said I'm not the first, and that she doesn't like the new chili either. She said she's been telling people to do the survey and let them know they don't like it. :-)
hnybny From: hnybny Date: April 7th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I've never been a big fan of Uno's, but they used to have a great broccoli and cheese soup. Note I said "used to." About a decade back they switched to a watery, un-cheesy, obviously from a powder mix. When I was a teenager/young adult I used to go in and get the soup "to go" it was so good. Very sad. I feel your pain!
bdragon From: bdragon Date: April 8th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, I think Bob Bonin has gone out of the restaurant business. The old Ground Round in Shrewsbury has been gone about a year. The one in Framingham has been gone for a long while now, and I have no idea how long the Natick one has been gone.

He had some other restaurant in Westborough that is now a Jiffy Lube because the land was contaminated by the gas station next door.