tub's fine chili

Tub's Fine Chili
4263 Overland Ave, Culver City, CA, USA

When I first spotted Tub's Fine Chili—a dedicated chili restaurant in a Culver City strip mall right next to my favorite comic shop— I thought it surely must have been a mirage. I mean, you can hallucinate just as much in Culver City as you can in the middle of the Gobi Desert, right? I'm sure Fatty Arbuckle did, anyway.

Strange that Fatty Arbuckle would hallucinate Jon Arbuckle. Anyway, the sheer specificity of comics and chili—two of my favorite things—coming together in such a way seemed like something my brain had to have invented, perhaps to suppress trauma, like when I had to invent three imaginary friends to gain some control over my merciless self-loathing.

But what trauma could I possibly have been suppressing to imagine Tub's Fine Chili? Why, the trauma of not eating enough chili, of course!

tub's fine chili

Granted, I eat chili almost sixty times a week, but it's still traumatic whenever I'm not eating some. So my hopes were high. And certainly there's much to love about a place so warm and earnest even existing, especially so close to the Death Star that is Sony Studios, right across the street. I mean, it's full-on cowboy themed!

tub's fine chili

The chili itself, while far from mediocre, hasn't really jangled my spurs all that much, if I'm honest. They offer several varieties; for this visit I had the "City Slicker Tub" of steak chili and, from spoonful to spoonful, it just kept being almost what I wanted it to be. The main issues, I think, are threefold: sizing (you order by the ounce, but it always seems small), condiments (you can get a "tub topper," but it always seems like too much), and heat (you add your own with liquid capsacin, but the chili itself has almost none).

What I want to order here is a huge bowl of chili with the right amount of toppings and a lot of heat. Of course, you can get close to what you want at Tub's, but as they used to say in Cripple Gulch, "close ain't good enough but for'a horse or a n…" … actually, come to think of it, that expression is a little outdated.

Review by Añüs Jînkuś, June 2009