When I was off in college, which seemed like a lifetime ago, one of my favorite comfort foods was chili spaghetti. So simple to make and also a pretty good bargain for a student's budget. First, cook your spaghetti and while that pot is boiling away, cut up either white onions and/or green onions and put aside. As the spaghetti is draining, open up a can of chili (no beans for me) and heat. Pile a plate with spaghetti and top with the chili. Make sure you also have shredded cheese available that you can sprinkle on top of the spaghetti along with onions. Every once in awhile, I'd even add cut jalapenos or a dash of tabasco sauce, if I wanted a little spicy kick. Definitely not the healthiest of meals, but heck, I was in college. That's par for the course.
Since college, chili spaghetti hasn't really hit my radar that much until I was a reading a Chowhound posting about a place called David's Chili House in the neighboring city of Azusa. I actually didn't recall the poster even mentioning chili spaghetti as being on the menu, but just the word "Chili" in the restaurant name brought back some memories so I decided to check it out for lunch one day.
When I arrived and finally sat down to look at the menu before ordering at the counter, I noticed that it was quite a mish mash of food items that were listed, everything from fried fish and fried shrimp with fries to teriyaki bowls. With a name like "David's Chili House", I was expecting the majority of menu to be chili-based, but that wasn't the case. I finally took a closer look at the chili section and what did I see, but chili spaghetti. Yum! My taste buds perked up and I knew what I was going to order.
I sat down in anticipation. Finally, it arrived. Looking at the pile of chili, onions and cheese topping the noodles brought me back to those of days of eating bowls of chili spaghetti with college roommates, sitting on couches in the living room and talking about our teachers, our classes and whatever else came to mind.
It was nice to reminisce for a little bit, but soon my growling stomach needed some attention. So grabbing my fork and spoon, I started mixing all the ingredients and than I tried my first bite. Was I wowed? Not so much. First, the spaghetti itself was a little over cooked and it was also a tad gummy. For some people, that may be okay, but I prefer my noodles more al dente. Although the noodles weren't up to par, that's something that could be fixed for next time. Unfortunately, I thought the chili was just okay. It had some good flavor, but it felt really one-note. The chili needed to be bolder and have more ooomph to it. Without the addition of the cheese and the onions, this chili spaghetti would have been more disappointing that it was.
Would I go back to David's Chili House based on just this one dish? Well, I wouldn't go out of my way to make a return visit. If I was in the general neighborhood and was craving chili spaghetti, I might give it another go, if only to see if my first visit was a fluke and it's actually better than my initial impression. At the very least, that one time there brought back some great memories and sometimes that's all you can ask of a bowl of chili spaghetti.
To see pics, go to:
David's Chili House
319 S. Azusa Avenue
Azusa, CA 91702