A hot bowl of soup or chili can nourish and replenish body and soul during the bitter, gray days of January.
Slow Fox Chili Parlor in the Columbia Food Park offers a variety of chili: Ray’s Red with ground beef, tomato, onion and peppers; Chili Carlos with ham hock, pork shoulder, chorizo verde, tomatillos, onion, peppers, and hominy; and Louie’s Lentils with tomato, onion, peppers, yam and kale ($7 per bowl with a side of cornbread).
Chef and owner Derek Saner’s hometown Cincinnati Chili is regularly offered as a special. In classic Cincinnati style, it comes three way ($6, spaghetti, chili and cheddar), four way ($7, add onion or kidney beans) or five way ($7.50, add onion and kidney beans).
Recently, Slow Fox offered its own twist on chole bhature, an Indian dish traditionally made with chana masala mixed with bhatura, a fried bread. Saner’s version (called Nikki’s Chickpeas) starts with frying spices like cinnamon, cloves and cumin in olive oil then adding them to a puree of tomatoes spiked with garlic, ginger and serrano peppers. The chickpeas are mixed into the tomato sauce and then finished with garam masala, turmeric, curry powder and other spices. No bread thickens his version. The result is a warm tomato broth with carefully layered flavors and tender chickpeas, topped with cilantro, and finished with a lemon-infused oil.
Down the street, Elaine Frances and David White opened Hidden House Market in the historic Lowell M. Hidden House on 13th and Main streets. The menu features a low-carb, medium spicy turkey chili without beans ($9 for a regular-size bowl, $12 for a large bowl), topped with smoky lime crema, house-pickled jalapenos, crispy tortilla strips, red onions, sharp cheddar cheese and a cheesy garlic gluten-free wafer. The market also offers a rotating soup of the day ($7 regular size, $9 large). On a recent visit, there were two: a vegan soup made with carrots, coconut milk, apples and curry; and caldo verde, a Portuguese soup with paprika-tinged linguica sausage, generous chunks of tender potatoes, white beans and swirls of kale.