When the temperatures along the Gulf Coast dip below, oh . . . let's say 78°, we pull out sweaters and put a pot of chili on the stove.
But I'm here to tell you today folks, I've found the best chili in town. Don't even try to make it yourself anymore or tell me your Mama's recipe is the best. I promise you, Miss Bette's chili is better.
This dog is crying out for chili.
Oh, mercy goodness!
There you go. Quit your fussin'.
Bette Logan owns "Bette's Hot Dog Cart" located at The 181 Market in Fairhope. People who aren't even planning to shop at the market often make a special trip to the Hot Dog Cart just to get a bowl of chili or a dog piled high with the delicious topping.
(And once they see all the cool things at the Market, they usually end up walking around there too.)
Now that it's just "freezing cold" outside, there's often a line waiting for Bette's specialty.
There's a certain something that I can't put my finger on. Spicy? A little bit. Tangy? Somewhat. Savory? Now we're getting closer. You just have to try it for yourself.
To make it a formal occasion, wear your chili dog tie.
Originally from the far north state of Maine, Bette learned to make this chili when there was snow piled up to her eyeballs. If it can warm the toes of a Mainer (Maineitte? Maineorette?) then this chili will certainly warm our Gulf Coast bellies. Loving her new Southern home, and loving to cook, Bette has been a natural in the food business. Her secret chili recipe keeps the customers coming back, and her kindness turns them into friends.
Bette has been parking her cart at The 181 Market since December of 2011 and is one of the favorite vendors. Only open every Friday, Saturday and the first Sunday of the month, it's sometimes torture to have to wait the few days until she's open.
Sausage dogs and nachos are also on the menu, and to finish it all off, Bette's homemade nut brownies are so good they are usually sold out by noon.
And here's an idea: If you are in the area (hello, J. Larry Newton School carpool line Moms??) why not swing by Bette's and pick up a pint of chili for dinner? Oh! Great idea!
Now, everyone get in line early, because this chili really is one of the best kept secrets in Fairhope.
Directions to The 181 Market and the best chili in the world:
Take the four lane (Greeno Road) south from Fairhope. Turn left (east) onto County Road 32. Turn right on Hwy 181 and you will see the Market on your immediate right. Roll your window down, and when you smell something wonderful, you've found Bette's chili. - Lucky you.