Neither The First Nor The Last Chili Cheese Fries of the Decade: Part Three of a Three-Part Chilogy
If it has not been said before this moment, I shall say to you now: Rosecrans Avenue through Hawthorne is the chili corridor of Los Angeles. Here, consumer chili-cheese confidence at some point over the course of the past few decades did peak at an all-time high, flatline, and remains there still, fluctuating plus-or-minus chili5% per annum. The intersection of Rosecrans and Hawthorne alone manages to sustain not one, but two full-sized Wienerschnitzels, believe it, their perimeter immediately surrounded by Piggies to the west, Cougars to the northwest, Chili King to the north, Fabulous Char-broiled due east and of course not forgetting the locale of, you heard it here, possibly the best burger in Los Angeles, B & R Burgers, even closer, east. But this grouping is merely the tip of the chili-and-cheese-coated iceberg; indeed, the list of atherosclerosis purveyors rivals even that of auto mechanics here in Lenawthorgundowood as it bleeds into Torrance and Gardena.
Consider the chili cheese fry platter as a meal in itself, and the sole the reason for my visit to Chili King Friday last, a nondescript shack in Lennox, both dwarfed by and servicing the needs of the car wash whose lot it shares. The cost of said meal (pictured, top): $3.25.
Within seconds of my approach I pick up on the probability that the tenders of said shack would rather be selling me pupusas or tamales on this day. Both delicacies are called out first, with largesse, on the wall’s menu, establishment nomenclature be damned. Still, cuisine bait-and-switch and brief language barriers dodged, my tinfoil-wrapped $3.25 chili-cheese fry platter arrives soon enough, and it is a not inconsiderable platter for the price, and I am eating and enjoying the music thumping out of the adjacent car wash. Jack-cheddar blended store-bought cheese melts before my eyes as I dig into a chili that has a certain funk about it: spices merge with the graininess meat can only attain once it’s been simmering longer than perhaps it should have. It’s a mysterious chili, any way you slice it. What precisely have they been throwing into that pot? This chili entices even while it eludes categorization; ’tis a murky, grainy affair. One thing is certain, however, and that is that regardless of what comprises it, this chili is also most certainly a stain-your-shirt type of affair. No doubts about it. Previously frozen thick-cut fries form a crunchy bed, one that softens over time underneath this goopy mess someplace, but I do not demerit Chili King’s frozen fry factor: unless you’re B & R (hand-sliced with skin-on), and few are, basically standard operating procedure in these woods.
Directly across the street, a jet flies over the downtrodden façade of an aptly-named strip club (Jet Strip; nice pun). Her presumably cool, glittery, dark, perhaps disgusting, sickeningly-sweet interior beckons to me now, but I have places to go; platters of chili to consider. Full dancer schedule, various dance prices and unnecessary interior descriptions available at http://www.jetstrip.com/ (I’m told).
10623 Hawthorne Blvd
Chili Corridor-adjacent; tell ’em Ryan sent you.
(They won’t know what the hell you are talking about; still, tell ’em.)