I’ve had this conversation countless times:
Turns out, they’re actually probably members of the infamous Bloods street gang. The Bloods’ colors are red, and the “C” is a bit of a poke at their rival gang the Crips. So I’ve stopped talking to strangers wearing Reds hats, which makes life outside the Queen City just a little more lonely.
For whatever reason, people always tell me that Cincinnati chili is “not real chili.” Here are the reasons why that is absolutely moronic: First, there’s only one ingredient that must be present for a sauce or stew to be considered chili. That ingredient is chili powder. It can be made of tofu and monkey brains…if it has chili in it, you can call it chili.
Second, Cincinnati chili is not just real chili, it is the realest chili. It is a Platonian form. It is a higher ideal. It is one of those rare spots in the universe where the fabric dividing our plane of existence from heaven’s has been ripped apart by a singularity of deliciousness.
Okay, Goetta is an acquired taste. Fair enough. But Zip’s and City View Tavern do amazing burgers, Montgomery Inn’s ribs and sauce are among the best, LaRosa’s pizza is as good as anything outside New York or Chicago, and have you had our beer? My girlfriend (an East Coast native) recently said to me, “When I think of Cincinnati, I think of great beer.” I’ve never been more proud in my entire life.
The airport’s in Northern Kentucky, you chode.
Before I start: There are some pretty cool parts of Northern Kentucky. I’ve had many a good night on Mainstrasse, and I’ve ended many a good night in Newport, particularly at the Hofbrauhaus.
But seriously, bro, fuck yourself. Even without the Banks — which are an addition that didn’t open until after I’d left — there’s a lot of great stuff on the Cincinnati side of the river. Mount Adams can be a little douchey, but the bars are amazing, Over-the-Rhine has MOTR, which might be my favorite bar ever, and Clifton and Northside are both great nights as well.
You’re boring. It’s been about four years since I’ve lived full-time in Cincinnati, and every time I go back — every three to six months — it’s gotten even cooler. Cincinnati is going through a renaissance right now. We’re like the Matthew McConaughey of cities. Yeah, we had our Failure to Launch moment during the 2001 race riots, but now is our True Detective moment. You know, without all the ritualistic murders.
Seriously though, Cincinnati is not remotely boring by any city standard. Just because you’re in the space between the Appalachians and Rockies doesn’t mean everything is boring.
There was an article series on Gawker a few months back that made the rounds arguing that Cincinnati was either the most racist city in America, or was among the top 5. What was particularly frustrating about it was that all of its “evidence” was anecdotal (from internet commenters no less) except for the 2001 race riots. And the race riots were caused by racial bias and brutality among the police. Which is kind of a thing everywhere.
Look…Cincinnati has a checkered racial history, and there are definitely racists in the area. That’s something that pretty much every city in the country has to deal with, though. Come back to us when you have some real numbers.
Being a Bengals fan — nay, a Cincinnati sports fan period, assuming we’re talking about the post-Big Red Machine era — is like living in that prison pit from The Dark Knight Rises. You can always see the light, and you can just about climb and reach out of the hellhole of despair, but you can never quite make it. It’s like Sisyphus — to impotently watch, year after year, as we come so close, just to lose in the first round of the playoffs every goddamn time…well, it’s a type of frustration that can only be expressed in the form of a deep, guttural moan. Which is pretty hard to type.
So yeah, if your team hasn’t won a Super Bowl in three or four years, I have zero pity for you. You’re just waiting in line for your next turn. I’m living through Groundhog Day.
This article was originally published on May 22, 2014.