Mike's Chili Parlor
1447 NW Ballard Way, 782-2808
Mon-Fri 11 am-11 pm, Sat 11 am-midnight.

Mike's Chili Parlor is a dive bar with sports on the telly and that comforting smell of a workingman's armpit. It's a place where one could sit down in a booth with a frosty glass of watery domestic and a plate smothered in a version of chili that merges the almighty Ohio with the behemoth Texas and feel like you've arrived at your favorite pub, even if you've never been there before.

My friend Megan was in the midst of "Vice Week"--that is, the one week where she decided, suddenly freed from the watchful eye of her boyfriend, to indulge in Dove bars, small boxes of sugar cereal, jiggers of whiskey, Marlboros, and violent television. All she needed was a little of Mike's Chili Parlor chili to go with that ulcer.

Mike's chili is served with minced jalapeño, diced onions, and fine shavings of cheese, with the option to top it off with a generous wallop of Tabasco sauce. I lustfully ate my chili over my favorite food group--the hot dog ($5.50). Megan devoured hers with spaghetti, Cincinnati-style ($4.50, small). We both added a bit of salt and were fully satisfied with the chili quotient, appreciating the way the sauce dripped down our chins to stain the Formica tabletop. We sipped at our chilled schooners of Rainier ($1.50) and each ordered another from our friendly waitress, liking the way the smaller beverage container kept our beer particularly cold.

We also ordered a side of French fries, crispy with the skins still on ($1.50), and a patchier version of garlic bread that Megan passed over for another bite of my dog. Altogether, a hearty meal, yes--making us feel like a couple of well-fed truckers. We both left secure that Megan had satisfied yet another vice, fully prepared to bust out the Rolaids on the drive home.

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