Cardinal Rule’s chili comes packed with veggies – chicken and broiled cheddar cheese are extra.
It’s winter – time to turn our thoughts to anything that can warm our cold, dead extremities (and colder, deader hearts). The surest way to get that job done: a heaping bowl of chili. The heat warms your throat and belly from the inside out, while the hits of hot pepper make you feel something (anything!) again. Depending on whether you stick to lighter versions or load up on beef, cheese and sour cream, it’s either a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier kept intact, or a fast track to some extra bodily insulation. Everybody wins!
Below, a sampling of the most super bowls.
This diner caters to meat eaters, vegans and celiacs with equal care (and equal flair). Its three-bean chili with parsnips, chickpeas and corn ($7) is a menu favourite – and, true to omni-vorous form, you can get it with pulled chicken for an extra $3. It also shows up atop chili cheese fries if you want to ditch the halo.
At this unassuming gas station/general store/BBQ shack/all-around Leslieville institution, you can snag a hefty takeout cup of soul-warming goodness for $8.18. Along with three types of beans, there are spoon-filling slabs of smoky brisket, plus just enough spice to set your mouth a-tingle. Seating is scarce, so be prepared to take it to go, and grab a corn muffin while you’re at it.
Potentially contentious opinion time: I am pro-beans in my chili. (And now I am banned for life from entering the state of Texas.) If you prefer how they do things in the Lone Star State, head to AAA for a bowl of Texas chili that features hunks of fabulously savoury steak – and not a legume in sight. Like all good Texas ’cue, the $14 bowl comes with a slice of white bread.
The last time I got a takeout order of chili from this Ryerson-adjacent BBQ bar, they gave me a fork instead of a spoon. That’s no mistake: the chicken version of their uncommonly sweet, smoky chili (they also offer it as a veggie dish) is dense with strands of pulled poultry, plus a few melty cheese curds. Heck, you could probably cut it with a knife.
This staple of Toronto’s queer scene will nourish your soul with colourful, sparkly, inclusive dance parties and your belly with vegan-friendly comfort food. (Who says you can’t be everything to everyone?) Case in point: its hearty all-vegan chili ($4/$8), which the kitchen packs with roasted veggies, chickpeas and black beans, then laces with chipotle. On weekends, it gets spooned into a hangover--murdering breakfast burrito.
Technically, the sandwiches are the thing at this Rosedale café. But it’s hard to say no to a piping-hot bowl chock full of spice-rubbed brisket -shavings, corn, tomatoes, beans and chipotle. Even more noteworthy are the remarkably un-Rosedale prices: $3.50 for a small, $5.50 for a large.
The lines that form outside this PATH-based soup chain have a lot to do with specialties like Jamaican crab bisque or Senegalese peanut soup – but the chili options ($7 to $10) are more than worthy. Kick A*S*S* chili (whoa, easy there with all that edge – you might hurt somebody) packs a punch of chipotle, while a Tex-Mex version offered in turkey-beef and vegetarian iterations provides more waistline-friendly options. Check the website to see what soups each location is offering that day, along with detailed nutritional info.
Move over, Wendy’s and Tim’s – there’s a new fast food chili option in town. Your favourite ubiquitous healthy takeout chain just added a rich vegan stew of corn, carrots and black beans, which gets ladled over filling scoops of brown rice ($8.88 and up). And, since this is Freshii, you get access to the full menu of toppings. Steak? Goat cheese? Falafel balls? Kalamata olives? Strawberries?? Knock yourself out, champ.
Multiple locations, freshii.com.