The Loon Cafe
Despite the atomic power of their brew, chili connoisseurs are a prissy bunch. They squabble over whether beans are "authentic" and set up self-important rules regarding competition. The beauty of the Loon Cafe is that it disobeys. And yet the variety of the chili offered at this downtown staple ought to please everyone. Traditionalists can take comfort in a bowl of Pecos River Red (which is also served at Target Field). Pinto's Diablo Chili lives up to its name, though there's a subtle sweetness behind the fire. It comes with a spoonful of sour cream, grated cheese, and those tiny flavor grenades, green onions. True heretics would be wise to try the Chicken ala Ski-Dad, perhaps the spiciest concoction on the menu, or the vegetarian, which relies on — shriek! — beans. Whatever you choose, sit down, shut up, warm up, and leave the whining to the unimaginative guys who specialize in spicy beef-ketchup. You've got better things to worry about, like the sweat forming on your brow.