Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fast Food Feast: James Coney Island's Green Chili

James Coney Island NOW offers green chili stew.: Courtesy photo
JCI Green Chili served dine in
James Coney Island is a favourite Houston fast food chain that's been an institution in our fair city since 1923.  It's a place most well known for its coney island hot dogs, as well as burgers, cheese tots and fries.  However, in recent months JCI as it's affectionately known has been overhauling their menu.  They've hung onto their classics (The Houstonian Combo) but have added in some new options such as their Greek Salad and a full sized Philly Cheesesteak.  While these changes have been frustrating (i.e none of their new premium burgers come in a combo form), I applaud them for being willing to experiment with their menu and try new things.  
Green Chili Cheese Coneys
with Green Chile Cheese Fries
New Mexico style Green Chili made with Hatch Green Chile peppers, Pork, and Green Tomatillos has been gaining a larger audience in recent years.  I myself experimented with making some after seeing a Food Network special on all the different varieties of chili there are.  While I like a bowl of red or one that is chunky with coarse ground beef and chopped veggies (but NEVER, EVER ANY BEANS!), I made a batch of it and found it went over very well with my family and friends.  I make that dish about once a year just to shake things up a bit.  I've had the classic dish at several local eateries during a trip through New Mexico back in 2004.  But when I saw that JCI was serving this wonderful yet obscure dish here in Houston--for the dreaded Limited Time Only, I had to give it a try.  Of course, I also had to try it on a couple of their coney island hot dogs and on their fries with cheese sauce as well.  So that being said, here is your:

Green Chili with Sour Cream
Pepper Jack Cheese and
Tortilla strips served To Go

Green Chile Blueprint:
Sauteed pork
Green Tomatillos
Hatch Green Chile peppers
served with shredded Tortilla Strips
I added Pepper Jack Cheese & Sour Cream for 99 cents extra

This green chili is EXCELLENT!  The pork is sweet and chewy.  The Green Chile and Tomatillo sauce is rich, starts herbal and finishes medium spicy.  The stuff sits in the pot all day and like any good chili, it improves as the spices and other ingredients fuse, meld and harmonize.  The Tortilla Strips, Pepper Jack Cheese and Sour Cream mix well Like any good bowl of red, a bowl of green is warm in the belly and very satisfying.  I give kudos to the folks at JCI for turning out a very good Green Chili and I recommend it to anyone.  I also give the manager at the Southwest Freeway location in Stafford Kudos for allowing me to get my Houstonian Combo with Chili-cheese fries with Green Chili on both rather than their usual red chili.

Some folks are very gaga for Green Chili, but others turn their noses up at it since it's unfamiliar.  My advice is to give this a shot.  It's a nice change of pace from the usual red chili, and the Foodie Professor gives this Dish an A+.  

And Remember:
Eat Happy!!!
Zao an, Y'all!!!

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