|bowl o red from anna mae's chili shack|
some of the eat street collective were at this weekend's chocolate festival. for me, the big attraction was anna mae's chili shack. i've been a convert since the mac n cheese i had a while back and definitely wanted to give the chili a try. today was a perfect chili con carne kind of a day as winter always calls for comfort food with bold gutsy flavours. at around half two which is when i got there, there was quite a long queue. the steam that lifted from the oversized pan of chili was meaty and cumin spiked. the shack itself is an american fest complete with the flag from uncle sam's land. you can get a bowl o red from the most patriotic of states texas, and you can choose to 'pimp it up' with jalapeno corn bread.
|anna mae's chili shack, chocolate festival at southbank|
i get a bowl o red with a little of the jack cheese, sour cream and lime. the bottom of the cup is a firm white rice, perfectly steamed in a industrial sized rice cooker. i've never quite mastered how to use one and was very surprised at the perfection of the rice. on top of that is ladled a generous helping of a dark chocolate coloured chili flecked with kidney beans. i love that anna mae's chili has kidney beans. to me chili isn't complete without these despite the politics of it and the fact that so called original recipe is bean free. for the garnish there is some sour cream, a wedge of lime and roughly grated jack cheese. to celebrate the chocolate festival anna mae had used some of willie's artisan venezuelan black cacao into the mix.
|the giant sized pan of chili and rice cooker|
i take my cup of chili and retreat to a corner. i take a comfortable seat on a stack of what appear to be plastic markers to cordone areas. they are very comfortable and are shielded from the wind. i gently fork the cheese and sour cream into the chili and dig in. the texture is excellent. it is seriously good chuck ground just right. there is a gentle spice that comes through and the note of cumin firmly places itself on the palette. the cacao, aside from lending depth to the colour of the chili gives it a hint of bitterness. the sour cream is in marked contrast to the kind that you get in the states where it usually tastes quite synthetic. this is the real stuff with a slightly grainy texture. anna mae's chili is just as good as you'd eat in the states!
once fortified with anna mae's chili i was ready to wrestle the crowds and go tasting chocolate. there will be more about that in another post including what i thought was the best hot chocolate at the chocolate festival.