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  #1  
Old May 24th, 2006, 12:39 AM
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Default Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

So my mom passes me some Zippy's Benefit Chili tickets. I run down to my nearest Zippy's and hand them over. I get asked the usual "Do you want that heated up?" question, and this time I say no. I usually say yes.

In a minute or two, my number is called and I get: Zippy's chili in 1.5-pound plastic bags, complete with heating directions, ingredients list, and nutrition info. Obviously, this is the chili you get when you order it online or get it in the frozen section at the supermarket.

I check the ingredients, and holy cow. This thing is loaded with stuff you don't expect in take-out food. You know, preservatives and stuff. Naturally (or unnaturally), I expect this stuff from packaged food, but when I order chili at a restaurant, especially chili that a restaurant considers a specialty, I expect just chili. I've been places (sit-down places, even) where I suspected the chili came out of a can; however, one doesn't think of Zippy's chili as being equivalent to what comes out of a can.

I've known for a decade or so that none of the chili is made in the restaurants: I've seen it being unloaded in giant plastic bags (like bags of potting soil, only a little smaller) behind the restaurants. I just always assumed it was just chili, though.

Are the restaurants serving us exactly the same chili they send out to web-orders? If so, shouldn't they be ashamed of themselves? They're selling a glorified canned chili, really, and not letting us know. I feel betrayed.
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  #2  
Old May 24th, 2006, 12:46 AM
damontucker damontucker is offline
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

It tasted the same when I tried it when it's shipped to the big island as it does in the restaraunts on Oahu... I couldn't tell the difference.

We also have family in the mainland that orders zippy's online just to get the stuff! http://www.zippys.com/zippys/rates.asp#suggestions

For that matter...how many Oahu people know that Zippy's is only an Oahu thing...neighbor islands no more?

Last edited by damontucker; May 24th, 2006 at 12:51 AM. Reason: clarification
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  #3  
Old May 24th, 2006, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Gotta be the same stuff, no matter where. That why the taste ('quality control') is the same. Just like McDonald's.

Of course, maybe you feel cheated, cause Zippy's is a local place, and McD's is some kind of global monster. Well, Zippy's might've started that way, but it has become a victim of its' own success.

Instead of badmouthing them, from a public place....why don't you go and ask them, and then share the answer with us, in here. You might be surprised, you never know.

They might even be willing to share the recipe with you...the original 'family-style' one...that way, you could make it at home, and choose for yourself, what you want to put in it.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

To many, Zippy's chili is an abomination. Even I know that on some levels, it's awful. But it falls into the category of, "So bad it's good." Or rather, "It's what I grew up with, so I just love it." A guilty pleasure. A taste of home. Definitely distinctive.

I'm surprised if, indeed, the "sealed and preserved for shipping" stuff is the exact same formula as what's served in the restaurant. I mean, I knew it was mass produced in vats, but if anything, I figure they'd only spend the money on all those preservatives for the stuff that had to keep, versus what would be on a plate in a couple of days.

Still got that bag handy? What was on the ingredient list?
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Old May 24th, 2006, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Don't you just imagine this big million-gallon tank up there in Waipio Gentry as the bottomless source of this gunk? And the complex system of flexible pipes pumping it into big trucks? (Does Zippy's own Rotor Rooter or does Rotor Rooter own Zippy's?) (hey come to think of it, maybe Zippy's could design a fool-proof sewer system!). And the many minimum-wage workers in hairnets and latex globes with hand can openers dumping in kidney beans, dehydrated onions, Lawry's Chili Mix packets and TVP? And for good measure, some chewy gristly ground beef to assure that it is indeed almost real.

Let's just say I'm no fan of Zip's chili--however, I must confess that I do love a chili frank plate at least once a year.

Now my husband, he can make a mean pot of chili! From the initial asthma inducing browning of poblanos to that garnish of lime squeezed on top, my man knows chili.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by manoasurfer123

For that matter...how many Oahu people know that Zippy's is only an Oahu thing...neighbor islands no more?
Plans for the first Zippy's on Maui have been delayed.

It's an Oahu thing now, but before Iniki hit in 1992, they were on Kauai.
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  #7  
Old May 24th, 2006, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lavagal
Don't you just imagine this big million-gallon tank up there in Waipio Gentry as the bottomless source of this gunk? And the complex system of flexible pipes pumping it into big trucks? (Does Zippy's own Rotor Rooter or does Rotor Rooter own Zippy's?) (hey come to think of it, maybe Zippy's could design a fool-proof sewer system!). And the many minimum-wage workers in hairnets and latex globes with hand can openers dumping in kidney beans, dehydrated onions, Lawry's Chili Mix packets and TVP? And for good measure, some chewy gristly ground beef to assure that it is indeed almost real.

Let's just say I'm no fan of Zip's chili--however, I must confess that I do love a chili frank plate at least once a year.

Now my husband, he can make a mean pot of chili! From the initial asthma inducing browning of poblanos to that garnish of lime squeezed on top, my man knows chili.
Will your man share his recipe?
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  #8  
Old May 24th, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

probably, mon cherie. Find yourself a bottle of stout, a big chunka chuck, and standby. Give me a couple of days, OK? It's best in a porcelained cast iron LeCrusset, the bigger the better. Surely you have one of those!

@
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  #9  
Old May 24th, 2006, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lavagal
probably, mon cherie. Find yourself a bottle of stout, a big chunka chuck, and standby. Give me a couple of days, OK? It's best in a porcelained cast iron LeCrusset, the bigger the better. Surely you have one of those!

@
Several. I also have a slowcooker, which is not all that easy to find, over here. Ricecookers, too, are a novelty item. Come to that, RICE is a novelty item, almost!
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  #10  
Old May 24th, 2006, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

The way this thread was titled in pun form as "Always Bean This Way" had me thinking it was going to be about their Vegetarian Chili, which I much prefer over the traditional Chili. Served HOT from the take-out counter, of course. I love the texture of the mushrooms in it - at least that's what I THINK it is! Or is it some sort of "Meatless Mystery"?

Here's Zippy's nutritional information page. Unfortunately it doesn't include the ingredients lists.

Last edited by Pomai; May 24th, 2006 at 08:41 PM.
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  #11  
Old May 24th, 2006, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

To cut cost and be consistant Zippy's chili is made in large quantities and shipped to the restaurants, not like the old days where it was made in the rest. and some cooks would add thier 2 cents in. I think they changed to central cooking in the early 80's
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Old May 24th, 2006, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pomai
The way this thread was titled in pun form as "Always Bean This Way" had me thinking it was going to be about their Vegetarian Chili, which I much prefer over the traditional Chili. Served HOT from the take-out counter, of course. I love the texture of the mushrooms in it - at least that's what I THINK it is! Or is it some sort of "Meatless Mystery"?
I've always been curious about the vegetarian version of Zippy's chili, but I'm hesitant to actually plunk down some money for it.

I tend to shy away from most vegetarian chili. In fact, these days I only eat the homemade turkey or chicken chili that my boyfriend makes (he puts a lot of chopped up chilis and Indian chili powder in there for me! ), as I often find that most vegetarian chili tastes like someone simply dumped a bunch of ketchup in there (blech). A lot of vegetarian chili seems to be very ketchupy and sweet, not yummy spicy. How would you describe the Zippy's vegetarian chili?
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Old May 25th, 2006, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

hard to say without tasting it yourself.

in general, zippy's chili of all variations are only ok. its basically a fast food type of chili. the centralized cooking of the chili made things worse in my opinion.

if you're eating a decent homemade version then you're not missing much.

their chili is not spicy either.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 06:59 PM
Erika Engle Erika Engle is offline
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Zippy's is a good stand-by ... and I don't know if it's psychological or what, but I'd be horrified at receiving a seal-a-meal BAG of chili for my fundraising tickets, instead of the familiar, reusable (and oh-so-kitchen-kitschy) plastic container!

Thanks for the warning!

This thread brings to mind a chili cook-off I had the pleasure of helping to judge several years back (in the 1980s). It was a U.S. Navy cookoff ... and I can't remember which team won, but my very favorite entry was called "Hellraiser," and oh-my-gosh! It was hot enough to be a pleasure for heat-lovers, it bit you without blowing your head off. It was like that John Mellencamp song "Hurt so Good" (you spice guys know what I mean, right?). It also wasn't overly tomato-ey or overly thick from too much flour ... I wish I'd been more serious about cooking at the time, because I'd love to have another taste to try to de-construct/reconstruct it. MAN that was the best chili I ever ate. A biker-looking dude had submitted the recipe.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsolutChaos
How would you describe the Zippy's vegetarian chili?
Well, to begin with, I ordered one today and took a photo for you!...


This (large) 5 oz. take-out container costs $3.75 which was ordered with crackers (2 packages included) instead of the usual white rice.

First I must declare that Zippy's Chili served hot at the take-out counter tastes like it was fresh made. Unless someone told me (like in this thread), I would have never known it came in pre-processed bags.

I would describe Zippy's Vegetarian Chili as being meaty in an earthy kind of way, most likely from the abundance of sliced mushrooms in it. The Chili flavor is pronounced, yet its spicy edge is considered mild, as is a hint of sweetness. There's also what looks like ground boca (soy-based) burger which gives it the simulated texture of ground beef, without the heaviness of it. Enough that it would have most carnivores fooled in this disguise. There's also an abundance of perfectly tender kidney beans, corn and small chopped pieces of bell peppers, celery and onion.

i-Hungry is right... you'll have to try it and be your own judge. For what it's worth, I think it's great... especially on those days when you crave something heavy, but should be eating light.

F-Y-I to expats: Zippy's take-out prices have risen considerably. A ZipPac is now $7.10 and most of their regular plate lunches are $6.50 or higher, breaking the former $5 ceiling. They've also phased out the classic paper plate with the cardboard paper box shell in of favor black styrofoam plates with vacuformed clear lids.

Last edited by Pomai; May 25th, 2006 at 08:37 PM. Reason: I kept the image considerably large so you can see the bits 'o' stuff in there.
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  #16  
Old May 26th, 2006, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

I'm a meat lover, but honestly don't usually notice the difference if the vegetarian version of Zippy's chili is being served. They're both good.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Pomai, I was debating wat to have for dinner. Your picture looked so ono I somehow tasted the Zippy's Chili on my taste buds. Only thing, I prefer the meat version. I going order a side Macaroni Salad with dat! Yummy!

I'm off to Vineyard Zippy's!

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Old May 26th, 2006, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Here on the Big Island there is this rumor that Cafe 100 and Zippy's had a "gentleman's agreement" that Zippy's wouldn't compete in the same market as Cafe 100. I think it's time to be ungentlemanlike as Cafe 100's food SUCKS BIG TIME and those from the Big Island who think otherwise need to check out some of Honolulu's hole in the walls for some great tasting grinds.

I'm still trying to find good eats here. Island Infusion is good.

But back to chili, when I was living in Honolulu several years ago I had an opportunity to participate in a market survey where we were put in a focus group by a marketing company and they asked us questions such as: Do you think they should serve Zippy's Chili during UH sports at the stadiums? Do you think Zippy's should be cross merchandised at places such as 7-Eleven? Would you buy frozen Zippy's chili from a supermarket or fresh at a non-competing fast food establishment such as Taco Bell?

I said, "Hell yeah to all of them" We got $50 cash for participating. Now I can get Zippy's chili at KTA and at Taco Bell here on the Big Island. But oh how I wish Zippy's would come here as a restaurant. I think they'd give Ken's Pancake house a real run for their money. Can you believe we only have one Jack in the Box and Burger King here in East Hawaii? Unbelievable. On Oahu you'll find Jack every two miles it seems.

As for transporting chili, once back in the late 70's I saw this big aluminum panel van pull up to the Makiki Zippy's and unload this huge pot of chili to the back entrance.

Anyway the veggie chili is pretty good. When I used to buy benefit chili, I used to buy four tickets and tell them to put it in one bucket (four one pounders = one bucket). I'd tell them to put two regular and two veggie orders in the same bucket. The veggies makes for a really hearty chili when mixed with the regular chili.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Is Cafe 100 that little hole-in-the-wall place, that serves up real corned beef and cabbage, on thursdays? I LOVED that place!

I used to go there, with my Hilo Landlady, Mildred DeLima. Can't find too many places like that, anymore.

Mildred DeLima (passed, and sadly missed) was half Japanese, and half Portuguese. I took her, many years ago, to Portugal. We took the train, from Biarritz, France, to Porto, and then made our way down to Lisbon.

The poverty and standard of living was a real eye-opener. The hostels, where we stayed, were usually just private homes, the occupants of the beds evicted, for us paying guests. One little lady, in Nazareth, actually grabbed us off the train, and dragged us to her place...we ended up buying quite a lot of the exquisite handmade crochet, that she had made for sale, in order to boost her meager income.

Everybody looked so familiar...Mildred would say, "Dat guy looks just like Blackie Mendoza", or "Isn't she the spitting image of Mary Gonzalves?". Porto was beautiful, but gray and bleak...except for the houses, which were completely covered, on the outside, with beautiful blue and white ceramic tiles, each about 5" square.

Every square inch of available space was planted with a garden, and every one had the tall, leafy Kale cabbage...for caldo Verde, the 'green soup', served at most meals, before the meat course.

Oops...sorry, getting carried away...back to Zippy's...
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Old May 26th, 2006, 03:03 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pomai
Well, to begin with, I ordered one today and took a photo for you!...

I would describe Zippy's Vegetarian Chili as being meaty in an earthy kind of way, most likely from the abundance of sliced mushrooms in it. The Chili flavor is pronounced, yet its spicy edge is considered mild, as is a hint of sweetness. There's also what looks like ground boca (soy-based) burger which gives it the simulated texture of ground beef, without the heaviness of it. Enough that it would have most carnivores fooled in this disguise. There's also an abundance of perfectly tender kidney beans, corn and small chopped pieces of bell peppers, celery and onion.

i-Hungry is right... you'll have to try it and be your own judge. For what it's worth, I think it's great... especially on those days when you crave something heavy, but should be eating light.
Wow--your description was almost as good as eating it myself. I guess I'll have to try it the next time my book club meets at Zippy's! Thanks for such a thorough response. Only on HT, right?
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Old May 26th, 2006, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

I agree with Craig about Cafe 100. It may be the mythical (or even real) creator of the Loco Moco, but it is not very good and it's closed on Sunday. It may have sixty varieties of loco, but none of them is very good.

Eat at Blane's instead, if you want a good loco.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Never understood the appeal of Cafe 100's loco mocos either. I'm a Ken's guy myself.

Oh! Um. Er, Zippy's Chili. Say, Scriv, why not just e-mail the customer service address at Zippys.com and ask if there's a difference between the packed-for-shipping and restaurant chili formulas?
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Old May 26th, 2006, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigwatanabe
Can you believe we only have one Jack in the Box and Burger King here in East Hawaii? Unbelievable. On Oahu you'll find Jack every two miles it seems.
.....and no Wendy's too Craig Wendy's has good chili(not good enough to drive 100 miles to Kona).
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Old May 26th, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by craigwatanabe
On Oahu you'll find Jack every two miles it seems.
No Jack in the Box in Palolo... or Kaimuki. Or all of East Honolulu, for that matter. Gotta go over to Kapahulu, or points Ewa.

Lots of small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants up Waialae, though...
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Old May 28th, 2006, 03:38 PM
Erika Engle Erika Engle is offline
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Default Re: Zippy's Chili: Has it Always Bean This Way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alohabear
.....and no Wendy's too Craig Wendy's has good chili(not good enough to drive 100 miles to Kona).
There USED to be a Wendy's in Hilo ... on Kilauea Ave., mauka of Kaiko'o Mall. My sister worked there, after I moved to Oahu.
She said all the overdone burgers from the grill wound up in the chili.
Maybe that's why there USED to be a Wendy's in Hilo?

I think the place where Wendy's WAS, previously housed other fast-food concepts, as I remember dashing out of then-neighboring KIPA-AM to grab a slice or two of pizza during my board-op shift on weekends.

I'm a Ken's loco-moco devotee as well. I don't remember ever eating one at Cafe 100, but I remember seeing a guy eating a DOUBLE loco-moco he'd ordered at K's Drive Inn (by Kadota's Liquors).
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