I'm showing my age here, but a brief in the DMN about X2 Chili being sold at Whole Foods Market made me recall the one-and-only, original Dallas chili-man: Frank X. Tolbert. Tolbert (who died in 1984) was a true bear of a man, tall and lanky and loud and funny and everything I imagined a Texan would be when I was growing up in Minnesota. And in case you didn't know, X2 is Frank's son, as well as an accomplished but eclectic artist, and X2 Chili is a frozen version of what the son cooked up for the father at the downtown Tolbert's Chili Parlor on Main across from El Centro, where those of us who worked at the Morning News back then spent many a lunch and, sometimes, dinner hour.
In fact, the first restaurant I remember eating at when I arrived in Dallas in 1978 was the Tolbert's across from the Melrose Hotel on Cedar Springs at Oak Lawn (there's a Walgreen's there now, and it was a Luby's before). Tolbert's super-serious chili was way too hot for my Yankee tastebuds back then, and that was before I met Frank X. his-own-self at the Morning News, where the guy pretty much had the run of the place. He occasionally wrote a history column, but he seemed to spend most of his time telling stories to youngsters like me when he wasn't holed up with Blackie Sherrod and/or John Anders (also rather elusive but personality-laden columnists at the News back then). Tolbert had a hand in starting up the Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert - Wick Fowler Championship Chili Cookoff, and if you don't want to try the frozen variety, you can get a fresh batch of Tolbert's chili at the remaining Tolbert's in Grapevine, operated by Frank's daughter (and X2's sister) Kathleen.
And I guarantee you that if you click on all of the links in this blog post, you'll have added a mini-history of Dallas and Texas to your party repertoire.