Chili Your Way!

Luke's former coworker and his wife are so lucky. They live right in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. For those who are unfamiliar, Old Town Alexandria is full of 18th- and 19th-century architecture, historic attractions, restaurants, eclectic shopping, and doggy boutiques! The cobblestone streets are excellent for evening strolls. Lee and Mary-Anne live just a couple of blocks away from King St (the main street of Old Town) in this old charming house. On Friday after work, we trekked to their neck of the wood for some grub. Since Old Town is dog friendly, we brought Pargo along with us.

Pargo was really excited to be out. Usually he walks behind us on leash, but on that night, he was happily leading with his tail pointing straight up. Everyone ooooh'ed and ahhhhh'ed over him. Our plan was to eat at an Irish pub because it had an outside seating area and a doggy menu (how cool!). Unfortunately, once we got there, we found that because of the nice weather, the outside space was packed. We ended up having to take Pargo back to Lee and Mary-Anne's house and leave him there while we grabbed something quick to eat.

The Hard Times Cafe was less than a 5-minute walk from their place. Inside was rather dark that it took my eyes a while to get used to the lighting. I believe this is the very first store of this popular chain, opened in 1980. It's a cozy restaurant and the tables are tiny too. I really liked the atmosphere.

Luke's food. Cincinnati Chili 5-Way - spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions & beans. It was his first time having chili over spaghetti!

My food. Since I don't like cheese, I ordered the simplest option - Terlingua Red chili over spaghetti. I visited my brother Andy in Cincinnati in the past so I've had the famous Skyline Chili before.

Overall a good dinner with wonderful company. Luke and I are definitely going back to Old Town for another visit this summer. We didn't get a chance to browse the shops nor walk down to the pier this time. I didn't take my SLR with me either so except for the food, I didn't take any other pictures.

Here are some photos I found on flickr though. Definitely a very quaint and picturesque town. I can't wait to go back again and take my own pictures with my camera!

Down by the pier. This body of water is the Potomac River.

Residential area with brick-lined sidewalk.

Boutiques after boutiques on King St. Next time I want to stop by at one of the doggy bakeries and get a treat (I hear they even have ice cream) for Pargo. We did try to go to one this time, but it was closed.

Hard Times Cafe
1404 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 837-0050


  1. I hadn't been down there in a looong while. But it was good to see Lee and his wife again, plus the little Beast had a good time roaming the sidewalks and yapping at other doggies. This was my first real serving of chili, prior to this, the Wendy's variety was the only thing that came to mind at the mention of chili. It was pretty good, very hardy and filling. But oily like a mofo. I woke up the next day with pimples all over my face. Definitely gonna have to eat this stuff in moderation next time.

  2. the cincinnati style chilli is an acquired taste... the first time I had it I thought the wendy's chilli was much better!


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