Beyond the Bowl

Palookaville Chili // Late April seemed an odd time to open a restaurant specializing in a cozy cool-weather dish. But if you've been holding out on Palookaville Chili for the past six months, tis the season to dig in. The chili-your-way spot only offers five kinds (plus three sandwiches and four sides), but you can, for better or worse, forgo the simple cup or bowl. The no-beans Texas Beef topped with shredded cheddar, jalapenos and red onions turned an unassuming hot dog ($5) into a mildly spicy lunch standout. The meaty chunks far surpass the ground stuff we grew up on. Our regret is slopping the Chicken Verde over plain elbow macaroni ($6.50) and ordering it with cheddar, which melted into an unappetizing glob. The meat was tough and made us wish we'd gone for the Hot Pork, but we might give it another try in a burrito or over nachos. Straying from Southwest flavors, the Spinach Paneer doesn't need dressing up ($4.50, cup). The cubed paneer, a cheese curd common in Indian cuisine, replaced meat for a satisfying vegetarian meal. On the side, jalapeno bits couldn't save the corn bread ($1.75). The South likes it crumbly, but this was too much so and too dry for our Northern tastes.

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