Belleville Runners Club Continues Chili Cook-Off Ring of Terror


Death by chili and pastry at the Belleville Runner's Club Chili Cookoff - ROBIN WHEELER
  • Robin Wheeler
  • Death by chili and pastry at the Belleville Runner's Club Chili Cookoff
Last year we warned Gut Check readers about the Belleville Runners Club's insidious plan to fatten, nay, kill their racing competition with their potentially deadly Belleville Chili Cookoff concoctions.

Just when we thought they couldn't top the health-endangering creations of chili-topped nachos, Cheetos and White Castle sliders, the runners cooked up something that might not only give people spice ulcers and heart disease, but also a whopping case of the diabetes.

"C'mon! Try a Cinnamon Roll Chili Bowl!" hawked a tautly muscled runner in front of the booth.

In the frenzy of chili and $2.50 beer, we're highly susceptible to hawkers. Usually we stick the the booth's lighter fare, preferring their spicy, chunky chili drowning a bag of Cheetos.

But we passed on our traditional favorite because, dude. It's a cinnamon roll topped with chili.

And we've had three beers.

The runners club always has some of the better chili at the festival, so the club can afford to spend their efforts finding unlikely accompaniments. But Schnucks cinnamon rolls? No way. It's a cinnamon roll.

What if it makes their delicious chili taste like -- don't make us say it -- Cincinnati-style chili?

The fears were unwarranted. Chili served in a cinnamon roll is -- trust us on this -- a terrific idea. As the runners promised, the icing melted, adding a sweetness to balance the spice. Since they were chuckling like Vincent Price when they said this, we assumed they were lying. And while the cinnamon's definitely a prominent flavor, the rest of the chili is strongly spiced enough to keep the whole thing from tasting like an ill-conceived dessert. The sturdy roll holds up under the weight of the chili, giving a starch component that doesn't turn soggy.

So maybe the Belleville Runners Club isn't trying to kill us. Instead, they're going to feed everyone wonderful nutritional nightmares that instill enough guilt to make us join their ranks and pay dues.

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