Thursday, November 25, 2010

Iconic Cincinnati

In 1951 Johnny Johnson, fresh off the boat as it were, walked into Camp Washington Chili and began his first day of work in his new country. He never left. Still there today, 6 days a week, Johnny is just one of many icons at this Cincinnati institution.
The Camp Washington area of Cincinnati is named for the old military camp that trained thousands of soldiers for the Mexican/American war and of course the restaurant, opened in 1940 is named for the area. The original building is long gone now. Demolished in the name of progress and has been replaced with a modern, 50’s diner themed emporium. 
A painting of the old building hangs on the wall amid dozens of magazine and newspaper articles and their James Beard Award
It’s not often you find food synonymous with a city and even rarer that you find three such items all under one roof. Goetta, (pronounced “get a”) the pork or pork, beef and oat mixture found in loaf or bulk sausage form that is a staple on breakfast tables. Double decker sandwiches are not to be confused with Dagwood sandwiches. The two tiered sandwiches are filled with such things as beef, ham, cheese, bacon or veggies between each toasted slice. Then of course there’s Cincinnati chili. The icon of icons in the Greater Cinci Area is widely regarded as THE best around.

So on with the eatin’.

We ordered a side of goetta. At Camp Washington, it’s made into a loaf, sliced and then put on the flat top to give it a beautiful crust. It’s a little bit spicy, heavily seasoned and is absolutely fantastic.
We opted for ham and turkey double decker. The meat is of the cold cut variety sliced thin on toasted white bread with lettuce and mayonnaise. Simple, perfect. I will point out that they didn’t skimp on the mayo and I thought it made for a good balance in the sandwich. The girl next to us didn’t think so as I watched her scrape some of the mayo off.
The chili is simply fantastic. We went with a three way (spaghetti, chili, cheese) and split it. Not as tangy as Skyline but with a little more balance in the flavour. There was no one flavour that stood out above the other but one giant flavour. We both had to admit, it was the best Cinci chili we’d had. It had the requisite mound of cheese on top but not the comical amount that I’ve seen at other establishments and that also helped with balance.
Last but certainly not least were the chili, cheese Coney's. As per usual the dogs were of the pup variety, steamed on steamed buns. Loaded with chili, diced onions, mustard and a heap of cheese. There were fabulous.

You can find Camp Washington Chili at 3005 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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You can also find them on the web.
Camp Washington Chili on Urbanspoon

 Well that’s about all for today. We’ll see ya next time. Take care.

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