Chili is an amazing comfort food. It is great by itself or as an enhancement to something delicious like burgers, hot dogs or fries. On those cooler days, chili is the perfect food to warm you up. Here are some of the best chili dishes you will find in our fair county.
Pacific Coast Hot Dogs
3438 E. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
It would be really easy to drive past Pacific Coast Hot Dogs and not even realize it as the place is about as big as the banana stand on “Arrested Development.” However, you can get a hot dog here that is a satisfying meal by itself. The chili is thick and spicy without being overpowering. The chili dog is also topped with mustard and onion (you can order it with or without cheese). When you take the first delicious bite, you’ll realize the reason the chili dog is wrapped in paper is to keep you from getting chili all over your hands. Be sure to have a couple napkins handy.
3960 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92707
A few things are guaranteed when you order chili at Nate’s Korner. It will be hot (like that first bite of a Hot Pocket) long enough for you to take it home and still enjoy it. You can see the pieces of jalapeno and jalapeno seeds that give the chili its wonderful kick. Choose to get it with red onions and cheese to enhance the flavor. If you start to feel your nasal passages getting clogged or you just need something to warm you up, head to Nate’s.
23641 Rockfield Blvd.
Lake Forest, CA 92630
One word describes the chili fries at The Hat: massive. When you go in and order your fries, you can’t possibly be prepared for what will be presented. It is a giant mound of fries covered with chili (cheese is $1.50 extra) that you know you won’t be able to finish by yourself. The chili has a nice spice, but does not overpower. If you go to The Hat for chili fries, bring at least one other person along, and know that you won’t have to order anything else on the menu. The chili fries will be enough.
24356 Swartz Drive
Lake Forest, CA 92630
It’s not easy to improve on a chili burger. But one way to do so is to have that chili on top of a burger that is half beef and half bacon. When a Slater’s burger is placed in front of you, your response will likely be “holy cow!” It is a big burger that you could easily share with another person if you feel compelled to share a burger that is half bacon. The chili is tasty but mild and the other toppings are entirely up to you. Keep a couple of napkins handy when you eat this one. You’ll need them.
Jerry’s Wood-Fired Dogs
2276 E. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
If a chili dog is good, a bacon-wrapped chili dog is even better. At Jerry’s, you can get the Texas Tommy Dog for your chili fix. The hot dog is wrapped in bacon, then topped with chili, onions, cheese and Fritos. The combination of salty, spicy, crunchy and cheesy is as amazing as it sounds. Of course, Jerry’s has sides you can get with your hot dog, but you may not need them.
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