On a whim, I tried a different way to cook chili that worked much better than I expected. I bought a pork roast (I can't remember the cut, but it was a cheap one) and roasted it first. I then broke up the meat and cooked the chili. In a word, it was great. The roasted pork flavor really came through. Roast pork is particularly tasty thanks to the gentle frying the meat receives from all of the fat distributed throughout the cut. The texture was also great. Rather than cut the meat, I pulled it apart, giving it more of pulled pork BBQ texture. I'll also try it some time with beef, but I suspect that pork is the meat for which this gives the strongest effect.
Trev, Jan, and Karem took me to a wonderful evening at West End Grill located, appropriately enough, in the West End. The restaurant still has its old tin ceiling festooned with stained glass chandeliers. I was too hungry to take a picture of our appetizers: crab cakes and bleu cheese tarts. The crab cakes had just a bit of heat to them, something you don't always find in a crab cake but which worked very well. The bleu cheese tarts lived up to their intriguing premise, rich and tangy. This is my caprese salad. The mozzarella, tomato, and basil were all outstanding. The balsamic vinegar had been very well aged, giving it a thick consistency. My main course was tuna, perfectly prepared to a medium well. The tuna left just enough room for a chocolate lava cake paired with decaf coffee. The cake was rich and moist. I kept scraping my plate to be sure I retrieved all of the chocolate.