Where Chefs Eat: Texas Chili Parlor

By Megan Giller  |  February 12, 2014
Credit: Flickr/Paul Lowry

Plinio Sandalio, the Carillon’s pastry chef, is the unofficial ambassador of the Texas Chili Parlor, that bastion of old Austin and a darn fine place to get a bowl of chili and hang out with the locals. Though he works at one of the most upscale restaurants in Austin, Sandalio says, “If you can’t appreciate down-home flavors, then you’ve missed something.”

After his long shifts making creative plated desserts at the New American restaurant, he likes to come to “a place where there are no chefs and I can just drink a beer.” Sandalio is greeted by the staff with a Tecate with lime and a shot of tequila, and he eventually graduates to his greatest love, green chartreuse (he calls the restaurant “Texas Chartreuse Parlor”). The French liqueur is a happening trend right now, though it’s more often found in fancy craft cocktails than in a shot at TCP.

So what does Sandalio eat? He goes for the chili mac 'n' cheese with mild chili, the pork chops with a loaded baked potato (think chili and cheese) or the Texican burger, a classic burger loaded with refried beans, crushed Fritos, cheese, hatch green chiles and mayo. Followed by, of course, another round of green chartreuse.