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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Remember when a group of us showed up at Hot Doug's and ate every single thing on the menu? What a glorious day. While the sausages specials rotate on a weekly basis, I felt confident that we had tried as much of the menu as we could in one go. So imagine my surprise when I walked in to Hot Doug's this past weekend and came face to face with the Bowl o' 40-Sausage Chili ($6.00), a completely new kind of menu item. I figured it was my duty to try it.

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Don't go expecting a Texas bowl of red. As the name suggests, the bowl is something of a grab bag of various sausages, along with some beans and sharp cheddar cheese. This is hearty, filling stuff, the kind of chili that fortifies you and prepares you to face the blistering cold. Still, considering it's hodgepodge nature, it's kind of amazing how well it all works.

I suppose the real question is whether it's worth ordering instead of one of the expertly prepared sausages. That depends. If this is your first time stopping by Hot Doug's, you'd probably be better off sticking to the rest of the menu. But if you're a veteran, then belly up to a bowl, and don't feel the least bit guilty if you decide to pair this with some cheese fries.

Hot Doug's

3324 North California Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 (map)
773-279-9550
hotdougs.com‎

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