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Monday, August 1, 2011

Ted's Coney Island: The Champagne of Coneys

After a typical hell day of work servitude of late, I decided the best course of action was to jot down to Jim’s Coney Island on S.W. Ninth and snag me a beer and a couple of Coneys.

Upon getting there I was disappointed to find they were on vacation for the week. Good for them to have the luxury of time, but bad for my base desires. I vacillated between walking up the street to Henry J’s Taco House [see blog post], or catch the next bus back downtown. While seeking relief from the hot sun under a tree, I opted for the latter.

A bus transfer later and I was salvaging my afternoon at Ted’s Coney Island.

Ted’s has been an Ingersoll Avenue staple for generations, serving up beefburgers, tenderloins, pita sandwiches, along with their famous chili dog.

As an added bonus to their plethora of sandwiches, you can order them up as a basket brimming with onion rings, french fries, and some of the best Cole slaw in town.

First I tucked into Ted’s beefburger. Finely ground beef, pleasantly seasoned – with notes of onion and celery. Generously spooned into a hot dog bun, and adorned with your choice of chopped onion, mustard, and pickle spear. A vastly superior product to the Maid-Rite, an Iowa-based franchise known for their signature loose-meat sandwich. Equal in satisfaction to the legendary Canteen of Ottumwa [see blog post].

As for the basket sides, they all rate highly in my book. Sweet tasting onion rings. With an added sprinkle of salt, they're pert near perfect. Crisp, golden shoestring-cut French fries. Not at all wilty like your typical McDonald’s fry. If these fries were seasoned out of the fryer, then it's been done with a gentle hand. I wouldn’t spoil these with ketchup.

And lastly, the fine chopped Cole slaw. Cool, crisp and refreshing. The thin, sweet dressing perks up with a subtle tartness as you get to the bottom of the Styrofoam cup.

As for Ted’s Coney, it’s a fairly decent hot dog slathered in their greasy, savory, meaty chili sauce. Simply, the sauce is finely ground beef simmered in a melange of earthy spices. Similar to the beefburger, standard Coney accoutrements are chopped onion, mustard, and a sliver of pickle spear.

Ted's also serves up their chili sauce slathered on hamburgers, tenderloins (a very popular option), and solo in bowls with oyster crackers on the side. On it's own, I can best describe the chili as a meat gruel, in as much that it could easily be drunk rather than eaten with a spoon. Crackers are a must for added texture.

No matter how you enjoy Ted's chili, it is best eaten hot. The sauce congeals as it cools, building a pool of orange fat around the perimeter, a trait shared with Jim’s Coney sauce and George The Chili King's namesake goo [see blog post].

Also to note, Ted's is one of those happy few places, like Mr. Filet and Gazali's, to offer up gyros cut from a rotisserie. The pre-sliced variety that crops up at less discriminating restaurants and food carts is just abysmal.

Ted's Coney Island on Urbanspoon Photos from the Picasa Web Album: Des Moines area chili joints

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